The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club - History


The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club was organized in January 1980 by Carol Stratton (left above) and Jean Mitchell (right above), incorporated in December 1981, and five years later, it was invited to join the Garden Club of America

One of their first community projects was to save the old Piccadilly Nursery property on Dolores Street between Ocean and Seventh. After the Piccadilly Nursery went out of business in 1979, the City Council was divided over whether to sell the property for development or to keep it as a park. 

Piccadilly Park 

"It was the only open space in a mature block dating back to the early commercial beginnings of Carmel," Carol Stratton stated. "The campaign for this cause is largely the catalyst for the inception of the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club." (1)

To make a long story short the City of Carmel voted June 6, 1996 to have the Carmel Garden Club restore the “vacant lot with one magnificent oak,” (1) in the former location of Piccadilly Nursery. Landscape architect Walter Guthrie designed the plan and in April of 1997 the property was formally rezoned by the city as a park. The Carmel by the Sea (CBTS) Garden Club participated in a major renovation of Piccadilly Park in early 2015 and continues to maintain the garden to this day.

Harrison Memorial Library 

The CBTS Garden Club raised money for and implemented the landscape plan for Harrison Memorial Library at Ocean and Lincoln in 2004. Completion of this beautiful garden was made in 2007.  Though beautiful all year round, it is especially attractive in early spring when the daffodil flowers stand tall. Garden Club volunteers continue to take care of the library garden. 
Constance Meach Ridder Garden 

In 2012 the CBTS Garden Club renovated the garden in front of City Hall on Monte Verde between Ocean and Seventh.  It was dedicated to former club member Constance Meach Ridder, who died of cancer in 2011.

This garden includes drought-tolerant native plants, a walkway, hand railing, fountain, and patio seating.  In 2015, the Constance Meach Ridder Garden was accepted into the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian.  The City is responsible for its maintenance. 

In 2013, as one of the 200 member clubs of the Garden Club of America, the CBTS Garden Club submitted a project in celebration of the Garden Club of America centennial.  

North Dunes Habitat Restoration 

The CBTS Garden Club project was the North Dunes Habitat Restoration which began in 2009.  The goal of this project was to eliminate the invasive non-native ice plant and recreate a self-sustaining natural dune ecosystem with native plant species such as dune sagewort and beach evening primrose.

 Beach Evening Primrose

The Dunes Restoration, located at the end of Ocean Avenue and Carmel Beach, is surrounded by protective fencing which will stay in place until sometime in the future when it is expected that the area will look as it did one hundred years ago.

Until next time - Happy Adventures! 


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(1) Watson, Lisa Crawford. "Saving Grace Garden Club to Restore Piccadilly Park." Monterey Peninsula Herald, April 27, 1997, page C1.


All photography by LA Momboisse except for those listed below: 

Black and white pictures of Carol Stratton and Jean Mitchell - Harrison Memorial Library Local History Room Nixon File.