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Our Unofficial History

The Affiliate Council


A garden is not a place it is a journey. 
- Monty Don

  • The Affiliate Council began as the West Side Branch of the Cleveland Garden Center in 1940 and was housed in the restored Cudell House for many years.

  • Their activities consisted of monthly Board meetings, afternoon discussions and library days.

  • The May show and flower shows were added and in 1948 a Harvest show for children was held.

  • In 1977, the West Side branch moved to the Beck Center in Lakewood and continued its monthly programs.

  • In 1988, the name was changed to Cleveland Botanical Garden, West Side Council.

  • In March 2000, the Council Board voted to expand the council to an area-wide Affiliate and Volunteer Council, and now represents approximately 55 affiliate organizations.

Change in Focus:  The Affiliate Council shifted
its focus from program planning to support of

the Garden’s mission.

  •  After moving from Beck Center, Affiliate Council activities focus on mutual support, Garden-Affiliate communication, volunteer cultivation, and philanthropic solicitation.  The goal is for the Council to support and promote flourishing area clubs and for the clubs to support the mission of the Garden in all respects.

  • In the late 1990’s, the Affiliate Council Instituted the first Affiliate Presidents Forum. The model was expanded to include two yearly forums.  The Spring Forum was developed into small discussions groups which met in area homes.  By 2008, the Fall Forum was held for Affiliate Garden Club presidents and their Club representatives, in which Garden staff and/or Board members would speak about Garden activities events, plan and needs.  The current model for the late winter/early spring roundtable began in 2005 and served as an opportunity for Council to review its mission and solicit feedback from participating clubs.

  • In the past, the Council has sponsored three garden tours: one in the east side suburbs, one in the University Circle area and Cultural Gardens, and one in the west side, lakeshore suburbs.  Also, a tour of Green Corp sites was held in August, and the Affiliate Garden Club typically supported the cost of transportation.   

  • In 2004, the first Affiliate Day at the Garden was held.  This was a free day with various activities and Affiliate Day is a ½ day event featuring a series of speakers on topics of interest.

  • From September 2001-July 2002, the Affiliates participated in a challenge grant set forth by the Kresge Foundation which raised one million dollars toward the Garden’s capital campaign.                 

  • Currently, the Affiliate Council meets six times/year and is the conduit of communication between the Affiliate Garden Clubs and Holden Forests & Gardens Council members actively promote support of the Holden Forest & Gardens mission through volunteerism, their membership and philanthropy.                                                    



Contact us

For any inquiries, 
to get in touch or to post an event.

Please Note:
The Affiliate Council Board does not
accept reservations or payments for
Holden Forest and Gardens
sponsored events or
Affiliate Member Garden Club
sponsored events.

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