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The purpose of Manatee River Garden Club shall be to promote and encourage a community of nature enthusiasts who share the love of gardening, horticulture, floral design, environmental concerns and other related endeavors.


We strive to further the education of our members through our meetings held on the third Wednesday of the month that feature excellent programs and speakers.  Recent programs have focused on orchids, mosquito control, pruning tips, the moringa tree, Ikebana and Florida-Friendly landscaping.  At these programs we offer a light lunch, along with the opportunity to learn, laugh and enjoy the fellowship of gardeners.

The MRGC is a place to share your love of gardening and flowers.  Come join and make new friends by sharing, learning, growing and giving.


The club began in the mid 1920’s when a group of community-minded women decided to band together and beautify the Manatee River section of Bradenton with hibiscus and oleanders.  Other women were invited to join this beautification committee, which became the forerunner of the Garden Club.  Early meetings were held in the homes of members.  As attendance grew, it was decided in 1930 to call an organizational meeting at the Bradenton Woman’s Cub, whereby three circles were formed, one each in Palmetto, Palma Sola and Ellenton.  The club was federated in 1934, and became incorporated in 1945.


In 1936 a meeting place was secured at the Bradenton Memorial Pier.  The first flower show was held there that year.  With the outbreak of World War II, the pier was taken over by the Red Cross.  The Club helped decorate the USO canteen for the holidays and assisted in producing over 100,000 cans of food that local people had grown in Victory Gardens to help in the war effort.


The current site of the clubhouse was offered to the Club in 1948 by the Bradenton City Council on a long-term lease renewable basis.  After an old army barracks was torn down on the property, the first 80 by 30 foot building was erected.  The clubhouse expanded its footprint with additions in 1954, 1959 (using a bequest from Virginia Whitehill of the Founders Circle), 1960, 1962, 1970, and 1975.  Many improvements and remodelings have taken place since these early beginnings.


In 2008 it was decided to abandon the circle plan and become one club.  This enabled the Club to join efforts and sponsor more varied and expansive programs.  Read about the current activities offered inside the Club and those provided for the community by accessing Club Activities and Community Outreach.


Our history would not be complete without highlighting some of the projects undertaken by the Club, among which were landscaping and planting of the median strips on Manatee Avenue and Palma Sola Bridge causeway, the Red Cross Building, Bishop Planetarium, and the Girl Scout Little House.  Plantings were restored at the Patton House of the Gamble Mansion, Manatee Community College, Manatee Historical Village, the Palma Sola Botanical Park, and many others.


The MRGC is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code.

If you are interested in joining this active and evolving garden club, see the Membership tab.  Join in the fun and camaraderie as we learn how to garden in Florida and make beautiful designs with our tropical flowers.  As stewards of the environment, Manatee River Garden Club is well known in the community for its programs on horticulture, water conservation, plant propagation, recycling, and many other environmental issues.


Credit:  Content adapted from “The History of Manatee River Garden Club” by Alice Wallis, 2011

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