For 25 years, the Riverview Garden Club has been gardening together to better their community.
The Riverview Garden Club was formed in 1992 by neighbors on the West Side of St. Paul to transform a weedy, debris-filled lot at Congress and South Wabasha streets into a garden oasis. Since then, the Garden of Good Hearts, as it became known, has continued to grow as a beautiful gateway to the West Side and as a resource for the community to learn, meet neighbors and make friends, and to work and relax in nature.
Garden coordinators Kathryn Malody and Ella Thayer schedule weeding and pruning work days at the community flower garden from April through October, and many volunteers share the work of keeping the garden of primarily perennial plants looking beautiful. Many of the plants in the garden were donated through the MSHS Minnesota Green program. The garden club has sponsored gardening classes, plant and seed exchanges, flower-arranging and boulevard-beautification contests. It has also published a community cookbook, hosted many social events such as garden tours, an ice cream social, a Mississippi River boat party and fall harvest pot luck dinners.
The efforts of the Riverview Garden Club have not gone unrecognized. The Garden of Good Hearts has won a number of awards including the “Excellence in Community Gardening” award from MSHS, and the “Best Garden of Beauty” from the Sustainable Resource Center Urban Lands Program.
For the past 25 years, the neighbors who enjoy the Garden of Good Hearts have frequently expressed their gratitude to the volunteers who tend it. “Hearing that,” says Ella Thayer, “is what make it all worthwhile.”