Founding of the Friends of the London Civic Garden Complex
The Civic Garden Complex opened in September 1996. Barbara Grindley, a member of the Garden Club of London suggested to The City of London that a group of volunteers be recruited to be present in the building a few hours each day to allow the public to see it. Volunteers were to be called Friends of the Civic Garden Complex and were recruited from The Garden Club, London and Lambeth Horticultural Societies and the Master Gardeners of London and Middlesex.
In the beginning, the Complex was open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday, but by 1998 the number of visitors dropped off and the open hours were reduced to 12:00 to 3:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
In 2000, Ruth Webber took over as volunteer coordinator with assistance from Joyce Chase, London Horticulture Society. They expanded opening times to include Sundays and Holidays, I :00 to 4 :00 p.m. as it was felt that more visitors would seek to visit the Complex.
In 2001, the Friends of the Civic Garden Complex undertook their first spring Plant Sale to raise money for the Biological Pest Control Program used in the Conservatory. The Volunteers continued to donate funds in support of the Program until 2003.
In 2002, Gail Dimson began to assist Ruth Webber as a volunteer coordinator and the Plant Sale became larger in scope. In 2004, the Greenhouse closure became an issue and the Volunteers became very involved with the City of London in raising funds to ensure the continuance of the Greenhouse growing operation. Monies raised from both the Spring Plant Sale and the Fall Bulb and Plant Sale went towards the Greenhouse growing operation and Complex improvements.
Sadly, on March 18, 2011 Ruth Webber passed away. Ruth’s energy and enthusiasm had always been the driving force behind The Friends LCGC success.
After Ruth Webber passed away, Gail Dimson assigned Coordinators for various duties so that the group could continue serving the community. The group continues to hold their very popular main events – Children’s Workshop in February, Spring Greenhouse Tour and Open House in April and the September Fall Sale.