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Flower Power
Nancy Fisher | 24th Street

(left to right) DMGC members Susan Halenza, Mary Friestedt, and Linda Teague. Photo Nancy Fisher.
Click on image to enlarge.

If you’re looking for a white gloves and cucumber-sandwich type of Garden Club, you’ve come to the wrong place. Since 1988, Del Mar Garden Club (DMGC) members have been rolling up their sleeves and doing the dirty work that makes our city bloom. And, along the way, they’ve become a family of sorts – always ready to support each other.

Widely credited as the founder of the club, Marnie Mahoney is quick to point out that it was a collaborative effort of about ten women who gathered formally for the first time at her home on Crest Road. “We’d been talking about organizing for quite a while, and I was just the one who finally set up a meeting.”

A three-garden Garden Tour took place on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The picture above was taken in the garden of Susan and Judd Halenza.
Photo Bill Morris.
Click to enlarge.


Marnie’s vision was of a garden club that would be an asset to Del Mar by beautifying and maintaining its public spaces and sharing a knowledge and love of gardening, which they’ve steadfastly done for 27 years. “We’re hands-on dirt gardeners,” says Linda Teague, who along with being a founding member, was the second female to graduate from Cal Poly Pomona in Ornamental Horticulture and went on, with her husband Bill Teague, to co-found the San Diego Horticultural Society.

Del Mar residents have benefited from the club’s landscaping, often with the help of the Public Works department, of the post office, the library, City Hall, the spectacular medians on Camino del Mar and Jimmy Durante Boulevard, and many other locations. Master Gardener and past DMGC President Mary Friestedt credits her move to Del Mar to seeing the medians on Jimmy Durante. “My husband and I were deciding whether to move to Rancho Santa Fe or Del Mar,” she laughs, “and when I saw those medians, I knew.”

A favorite garden of the owners designed, created and planted by Linda Teague and Mary Friestedt. Photo Bill Morris.
Click to enlarge.

Linda and Marnie remember trying to limit membership to 25, not to be elite, but because they thought it was the maximum number of strangers that others would allow to tour their private gardens. Nonetheless, membership grew and grew, and now includes about 65, many of whom are grandfathered in as “perennials.” This, members say, is the surprising gift they didn’t expect: a large family of supportive like-minded friends who regularly come through for each other.

Del Mar resident Susan Halenza, a long-time DMGC member whose home was on the recent San Diego Horticultural Society Tour, was a recipient of the club’s camaraderie when a conflicting event prevented her from spending the time needed to add the finishing touches to her garden. “When I came home I found that Linda, Mary, and Dwyn Robbie had done everything…including building a path, adding rocks and pebbles, and contributing beautiful additions from their own gardens.”

Current DMGC President Gale Bakker, who considers it an honor to serve as president, agrees that she’s working with an extraordinary group of people. “We learn so much from each other and there is always a willingness to share information. The friendships that we have made in the club go beyond gardening.”
So congratulations to the founders of the DMGC for exceeding their own expectations and ours!

The Garden Club is honored by the City Council at its April 4th meeting.
Photo Ann Gardner.
Click on image to enlarge.


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