Potpourri Garden Club

Organized:  April, 1978
Meetings: 2nd Tuesday

Gardens, like friendships, are comprised
of collections, both varied and beautiful.

About Us

This year our club will be celebrating 43 years of gardening together! The Potpourri Club enjoys a ‘potpourri’ of experiences.

Potpourri is a fun-loving group of people who enjoy learning about and preserving nature. Our programs are varied and
include opportunities to explore gardens and natural settings as well as garden centers, making garden art and meeting
others who also enjoy playing in the dirt! Some members also volunteer at the Rock River Food Pantry, assisting clients to pick fresh vegetables from the Pantry Garden.

We love learning about new garden trends like straw bale gardening, making our own garden art such as hypertufa
garden planters, bird houses and painting garden stones.

We also take on important causes such as saving the Monarchs by encouraging the planting of milk weed plants.
Preserving bee habitats is another mission. Without bees we wouldn’t be able to satisfy the appetite brought on by so much gardening! All of these things inspire us to keep trying new things in our own gardens.

We have several fundraisers throughout the year with proceeds donated to a garden-related nonprofit organization in Rockford.

Guests are always welcome at our meetings and activities which end in some form of food and fellowship. One guest remarked at a meeting that “Everybody talks to everyone!” Interested gardeners may attend 3 activities as a guest.



2021 Potpourri Calendar of Meetings

Click here for Calendar

If interested in attending a meeting, joining our club, or just want more information, send an email through the ‘Contact Us’ feature on this page.  (Additions to programs, locations and information subject to change)

    Contact Potpourri Garden Club

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    President: Susan Schmitz

    Treasurer: Vicki Woodhouse

    Secretary: Diane Donze

    Sunshine: Diane Donze


    Potpourri 2019 community donations:

    $100 was donated to each of these groups:
    Klehm – Nancy Olson’s Children’s Garden
    Rockford Rescue Mission
    Habitat for Humanity

    $125: Nachusa Grasslands Nature Conservatory

    In addition, over 600 pairs of socks and toiletry
    items were donated to Carpenter’s Place.


    Members (35)

    Sharon Ackerman
    Linda Baker*
    Kathy Batzkall
    Becky Berggren
    Debra Bieschke*
    Susan Bonzi
    Patti Cavanagh
    Becki Dennis
    Diane Donze*
    Karin Emery
    Lynne Franzene-Lynde*
    Joyce Graczyk*

    * = member in more than one club


    Mary Lou Hiemenz
    Liz Hill
    Holly Howell
    MaryJo Hull*
    Leigh Johnstone
    Deb Jurs*
    Mary Ann Miller*
    Alice Moczynski*
    Carol Nelson
    Janne Rausa
    EJ Rebman*
    Mariann Reilly


    Kathy Schimmoler
    Susan Schmitz
    Sherry Seaver
    Barb Selquist
    Arch Smith*
    Ann Somers*
    Joan Tilson
    Dawn Urban
    Pat Wengrow
    Vicki Woodhouse
    Mary Wulff*

    Potpourri Club members assist clients in choosing fresh vegetables at the Rock River Valley Food Pantry

    History of the Potpourri Club

    In March of 1978 a group of enthusiastic women met under the guidance of Edythe Bailey to form a new garden club. Many of the women were newcomers to Rockford. The first formal meeting was April 12, 1978 and Shirley Pettis was elected the first president. Members suggested several names for this new venture and “Potpourri” seemed to be everyone’s favorite. The first members of Potpourri were Edythe Bailey, Marge Bloomquist, Mary Cloery, Shirley Freund, Inez Hayden, Vera Jackson, Sharon Johnson, Hazel Klirt, Sue Lesher, Lorraine Lightcap, Ginny Loesch, Shirley Pettis, Eleanor Rowland, Jan Schabecher, Sylvia Schultz, Laura Schulz, Robert Sell, and Gladys Swensen.The members of Potpourri had lofty dreams of enhancing gardening skills, attempting service projects, trips to gardening centers and shops, plus the added benefit of acquiring new friends. Projects taken on were plantings at Lewis Lemon School, areas along the river in Shorewood Park, several flower plantings in local nursing home grounds, plus some help in the beautification of parts of the downtown area planters. A major venture was at Midway Village and Museum Center. In the Spring of 1980, Potpourri took charge of the herb garden and spent a lot of time planting, weeding, harvesting, and drying the herbs. When this was accomplished, they packaged the herbs for sale in the museum’s gift shop, complete with directions for using the herbs. The project lasted for many years.

    Several members were also active in the Winnebago Garden Council, which Potpourri became part of. Disagreement with goals of the Winnebago Garden Council led several clubs to form another garden council. The Council of Rockford Gardeners was formed in 1980 and Potpourri became one of the founding clubs. Several of their members have been members on this board, even up to this day. They have supported garden walks, entertaining District I meetings, enjoyed elegant council Christmas luncheons with floral designers as the program and the Spring luncheon awards events. For many years they had a table of handcrafted items or tempting foods to sell as a money-raising project. The club always had success in their spring plant sale. They have shared gardening skills, recipes and tempting morning coffees, as well as potlucks.

    Over the years the club have lost some members who moved, or chose to leave, but it has always attracted new members. In 1978 the club comprised of 18 members and in 2020 we have 32 members.

    Potpourri has maintained its goals of enhancing gardening skills, attempting service projects, trips to gardening centers and shops, and I think the members will all agree that we have cultivated a bountiful garden blooming with new friends.

    Potpourri visited Event Floral on April 16, 2019 to make Easter bouquets with Jordan Calgaro, manager.
    Gorgeous flowers! Click here for Event Floral’s website.

    Event Floral manager, Jordan Calgaro, assists Mary Jo with bow making for her Easter basket floral.
    Everyone working on their masterpieces.
    Liz and Linda created beautiful arrangements!