In 1913, a disagreement among a group of women ensued about how to pronounce “anchusa.” Anchusa is a type of flower native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Whether the argument was resolved is a mystery, but in the process the Kent Garden Club was formed. Its purpose is to promote greater interest in gardening, floral design, civic beautification, and wildlife. “These women all shared an interest in gardening and helping people,” explains Lynn Miller, current President of the Kent Garden Club. “Men would go golfing and attend business meetings and women would garden and share tea.”
Today Kent Garden Club does more than gardening though. They are highly involved in the community. “It has always been a mission of ours to be involved in the community. A lot of our members have been very blessed and they feel that it is important to give back.” They have planted gardens for many organizations throughout Grand Rapids and after finishing a beautiful garden, they teach people how to maintain it and move on to their next project. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s very own Ram’s Garden is one of their many projects.
The Ram’s Garden, named for Marshall Fredericks’ (1908-1998) bronze sculpture Siberian Ram was originally installed in 1995 and is prominently displayed adjacent to the main entrance of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. This garden welcomes guests with a colorful display of spring bulbs, summer annuals, evergreens, a water feature and distinctive trees such as a weeping eastern pine, a crimson queen Japanese maple, a Sargent crabapple and a 35-foot sugar maple. The Kent Garden Club members play a vital role in maintaining this garden’s beauty by volunteering each May to plant annuals in this garden. As Miller states, “It’s beautiful and what better to welcome you through the front door!”
The Frederik Meijer Gardens Foundation was pleased to assist the Kent Garden Club in establishing a restricted, named fund to support the Ram’s Garden in perpetuity. In 2005, The Kent Garden Club-Ram’s Garden Fund was created with a pledge of $10,000. The income from this fund helps offset the cost of maintaining this beautiful entrance to Meijer Gardens. “Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is such a diamond in the community and we are just so lucky to be a part of it,” says Miller.