The South St. Paul Garden Club was founded in 1992 under the name Community Gardeners. Charter Members listed in November 1992 were: Barb Anderson, Janie and Jeannette Birnstengel, Joan Engel, Becky Finkle, Larry Jackson, Karen and Kevin Kiel, Carol Knight, Ruth Lange, Ruth Nelson, Ann Parks, DeeAnn Roberts, Carolyn Stombaugh and Lois Swanson.
Upon affiliation with the Minnesota State Historical Society that year, dues of $7.00 per person were paid to the Society. (Those dues are $35 per person in 2008.)
The first Club Plant Sale was held in the Spring of 1993 and raised $247.75. (Proceeds from the Sale in 2007 were over $3,000.)
The first Community Garden Tour was held during Kaposia Days on June 27, 1999. Advance Sale Tickets were $6.00 each; $8.00 day of the tour. The Garden Club worked with South St. Paul : A Community for the Arts for several of the early tours. Artists and musicians were featured in gardens and tickets were sold by both groups. In 2002 both groups sponsored an outdoor tea following the tour at Cindy Krone’s garden on 10th Avenue North . Coffeen’s, which was then a coffee shop at 5th and Marie Avenues in South St. Paul , catered the event. Over 75 people attended and the elegant surroundings of Cindy’s lovely garden were the setting for the lovely tables, teapots, sandwiches, bars and cookies. We only charged an additional $2.50 for the tea, on top of the day’s ticket for the garden tour.
In 2003, the tea was expanded to an additional $15 per person price, again catered by Coffeen’s. This time the food was quite a bit more elegant and the setting was Carolyn Stombaugh’s garden on Highland Avenue in South St. Paul . Two seatings were required to accommodate the attendees.
In 2004, Coffeen’s was no longer in business and South St. Paul : A Commmunity for the Arts had ceased to exist. The post-tour party was moved to Southview Country Club and cost an additional $15 per person. That year Town Square Television also filmed the Garden Tour for the first time which led to the production for two more seasons of "Simply Gardening", a show hosted by Lois Glewwe which featured gardening tips, coverage of the annual tour and plant sale and several guest appearances by local experts.
Since 2005, the Garden Club has eliminated the catered event as part of the tour and provided cold drinks and cookies in several of the gardens. A volunteer recognition and appreciation brunch for the host gardeners has instead been held either the week after the tour, or as a closing event on the day of the tour.
IIn 2008 we held the 16th Annual Plant Sale and 10th Annual Community Garden Tour. Club membership has grown to over 60 members and for the past few years, the Club has been able to donate several thousand dollars to the South St. Paul Educational Foundation to enable elementary school students in South St. Paul to visit the Dodge Nature Center.
In 2009 after 10 consecutive years of hosting the Annual Community Garden Tour, the club decided to present the Garden Tour every other year.