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The Lake Forest Garden Club was founded in 1912 by a handful of forward thinking women as a volunteer organization dedicated to horticulture and conservation. In 1913, it was one of twelve founding members of the Garden Club of America. The original mission has been expanded to state that the "objective of the Lake Forest Garden Club is the advancement of gardening, the promotion of horticultural knowledge, and the stimulation of community interest in conservation and civic improvement."

Originally wooded, Lake Forest developed from a region of farms and large country estates. The trees and ravines of Lake Forest are of enduring interest to our members. From its earliest years, the Lake Forest Garden Club has contributed to the maintenance and protection of our magnificent trees; documenting outstanding specimens, planting hundreds of replacements, and sharing horticultural knowledge with fellow citizens. In the 1990s the club gave the City of Lake Forest a computerized tree inventory and maintenance survey program to help manage this natural resource. As part of its centennial project in 2012, members propagated native oaks that were transplanted to Forest Park. 

Today, one hundred-sixty members work to support vital conservation, education, and civic beautification projects. The club collaborates with like-minded organizations such as the Chicago Botanic Garden and Lake Forest Open Lands to provide educational opportunities to underserved youth. Public-private partnerships with the City of Lake Forest have enabled successful major civic projects such as Market Square (2000) and the Forest Park Project (2008-2016).

Club representatives are advocates for environmental protection in Washington at the annual National Affairs and Legislation Conference. LFGC supports national initiatives with funding for Garden Club of America scholarships and programs including the prestigious Rome Prize, the Garden Club of America/Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowship, and the GCA Founders Fund awards for exceptional community projects.

The club meets at least ten times a year with programs focused on conservation, horticulture, floral design, photography, garden history and design, environmental education, and civic beautification. In recognition of its one hundred-year legacy of service, in 2012 LFGC made a gift of $100,000 to the City of Lake Forest and the Forest Park Project for the rehabilitation of this historic park.

Mrs. Walter S. Brewster (Kate) represented the Garden Club of Illinois (renamed the Lake Forest Garden Club in 1921) at the 1913 Founding Meeting in Philadelphia. She served as GCA Vice-President from 1913 to 1916 and President of the Lake Forest Garden Club from 1922-1924.

Planting with Purpose: A History of the Lake Forest Garden Club

Lake Forest Garden Club recently published a history of it's first 100 years. Please send Planting with Purpose inquiries to Copies may be purchased for $45.00 plus shipping and tax directly from the club or by visiting Lake Forest Book Store at or 847-234-4420.

Lake Forest Garden Club is a founding member of The Garden Club of America

© Lake Forest Garden Club 2020. All rights reserved.

Use of photography is only by permission