About Us


“The purpose of the West Chicago Garden Club (WCGC) shall be to increase interest in gardening through sharing our ideas and knowledge, promoting and participating in community beautification, and protecting and promoting a clean, sustainable environment in which to live. “


Some of the ways we support our mission are:

  • Monthly Meetings: many with experienced speakers providing information on gardening, horticulture, and environmental stewardship.
  • Kruse Museum Garden Project: We have worked to create and maintain this beautiful, green and relaxing place in the heart of West Chicago since 1998.  See below for more information about this lovely garden.
  • Annual Plant Sale: Since 1999 this fantastic event has helped us to promote gardening to the community, promote sharing knowledge and ideas between our members, and fund our club and our various contributions to local organizations.
  • Donations of trees to the West Chicago Park District Arboretum project.
  • Donations to local organizations such as our College of DuPage Scholarship, the U of I Extension, West Chicago Library (Magazine subscriptions), The Conservation Foundation, and others.
  • Adopt-a-Highway: Our club has adopted a mile of Hawthorne Lane that we clean up twice per year.
  • Fun club activities that inspire our members and give them the opportunity to learn and exchange information. These include Field Trips, Workshops, Twilight Tuesdays, July President’s Picnic, October Bulb Bingo, November Pot-Luck & Silent Auction using “Garden Bucks” earned by participating and volunteering throughout the year in club activities and much more.


For more information about joining our club, please see the Join Us tab.

Kruse House Museum & Garden

The Kruse House Museum is an American four-square house built in 1917 and now owned and maintained by the West Chicago Historical Society.  The house is open for interior tours the second and third Saturdays, May through September, from 11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. The garden can be toured on your own, any day from sunrise to sunset. It is located at 527 Main Street, West Chicago, IL 60185.

Built during the Arts and Crafts Movement, Kruse House reflects the changing attitude towards gardening and the rise of garden clubs in the early twentieth century. Women had more leisure time and no longer needed to concentrate on producing food for their families. Mother and daughter Bertha and Celia Kruse belonged to the West Chicago garden club and created a typical flower garden of that period of time. As opposed to the structured Victorian beds of the past, natural plantings were allowed to spill out into large perennial beds, tumbling out over paths in a casual way. They used the natural slope of the property to create a rock garden and pond using stones collected during their vacation trips around the Midwest, especially from Wisconsin where they had family. They planted traditional perennials including roses, lilacs, phlox, and poppies, while allowing scilla, daffodils, tulips and Virginia bluebells to scatter throughout.

We have been restoring and maintaining their garden for over twenty years and although trees have grown and plants have changed, we have managed to retain the original basic structure of their garden. Featured on the old HGTV program “The Hidden Gardens of Chicago”, it illustrated a little gem hidden in a busy commercial area. The garden is open to all and we welcome group tours as well as individuals just seeking a place of relaxation and repose.  If your group is interested in a tour of the garden, please contact us at WestChicagoGardenClub@gmail.com.

Front Door Garden early Spring - Amelanchier in full bloom.

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History of West Chicago Garden Club

The West Chicago Garden Club was founded May 8th, 1925. It was born out of the West Chicago Women’s Club and met twice a month. Soon membership got too large, and another unit of the club was formed. Ultimately there were four units, two of which met in the evenings. The original unit called Columbine was followed by the Iris, Delphinium and Tulip Units.

From the beginning the Garden Club was active and ambitious. One year after its inception, the club held a garden competition and its first flower show. The flower show gained popularity with birdhouse competitions for boys and prizes awarded for flower arranging and individual flower specimens. In 1929, six hundred attended the show at which a pageant was held entitled The Enchanted Garden. It featured children dressed as bumble bees and assorted flowers.

Throughout much of its first 53 years, the Garden Club collected flowers from gardens and with the help of the Chicago Plant Flower and Fruit Guild, distributed bouquets to the poor and the ill. They maintained a library for gardeners and made donations to civic projects in the community.

By the 1960’s only two of the four units remained. Times were changing and in 1978 the Columbine unit that had founded the West Chicago Garden Club more than 50 years before, disbanded. The Iris Unit did the same by the years end. Although the club appeared to be dead, it was merely dormant. In 1998, residents interested in gardening and local history, engineered its revival. Today the West Chicago Garden Club has more than 100 members.