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Garden Club Takes National Prize

Douglaston Group, Vice President Receive Two Separate Honors

The Douglaston Garden Club has taken first place in a competition held by one of the world's largest gardening organizations, while its vice president has been recognized by a state group for his work at a neighborhood park.

The club received a certificate this week for the group's display at a nationwide flower show held in May by the National Garden Clubs Inc., which is one of the largest gardening groups in the world, said Douglas Montgomery, the club's vice president.

"It's amazing how far we've come," said Montgomery, a broker who has been with the club for four years. "We are one of the largest clubs in the nation."

For the show, participants sent in pictures of flower arrangements that were critiqued by a panel of judges.

Montgomery was also recently recognized by the Federated Garden Clubs of New York for his upkeep of Douglaston's Catharine Turner Richardson Park, which is located along Douglaston Parkway at 240th Street and 42nd Avenue.

The garden club was formed 85 years ago and now boasts 102 members.

"We've been around a long time," said Sheila Vondrak, a club member who also judges flower shows.

In May and October, Montgomery as well as a group of garden club volunteers and P.S. 98 Elementary School students planted as many as 4,000 tulips and daffodils and hydrangeas.

The group has been adding hostas and roadside day lilies throughout the fall and, in the spring, members will plant rudebekias at the park.

"When you have a public garden, you want to make it an all-season garden," he said. "You should mix annuals with perennials."

The garden club previously received some funding from elected officials who represent the community. But the current economic climate has forced the group to rely on donations. In October, the club hosted an event during which it planted seeds and held a bake sale.

It maintains Catharine Turner Richardson Park as well as the first three islands of Alameda Mall. The group formerly planted at Douglaston's Long Island Rail Road station, but the Douglaston Village Chamber of Commerce has since taken over its maintenance.

Montgomery said he waters the plants at the park every weekend.

"The reason I'm so aggressive with this is because it is the entrance to Douglas Manor," he said 

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