Founded in 1958, as the Garden Center Association and 54 years later to become Gardeners Connect we have had a long and venerable history.
Our founding mission was to promote and encourage among citizens of the greater Kansas City area an interest in horticulture and related gardening activities through education and information. Foster involvement to attain a more attractive and beautiful community, thereby helping to increase tourism, increase property values, preserve the environment. To make the community a more desirable place for business to locate and individuals to live.
The Garden Center Building in Kansas City’s Loose Park was constructed in conjunction with our founding. The buildings cost and a director of the building was hired with funds from the Ella C. Loose Trust. Horticulture classes were offered as well as soil testing. Garden clubs and societies were formed whose activities were based in the building.
A horticulture reference library with books donated by the Kansas City Library at the time of the construction of the building and two meeting spaces with small kitchens were part of the original construction. The library also serves as a conference room, still used by Gardeners Connect for monthly board meetings.
The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department took over the operation and maintenance of the building a few years later and has remained the caretaker of this important horticulture resource ever since.
In the 1960’s the trees at the park were mapped by Spenser Crews and plans were begun to replace those that were declining. In the 1980’s, we founded the Stanley R. McLane Arboretum adding 450 species of trees to the park and providing funds to maintain them. New trees are added to the arboretum yearly along with the annual Arbor Day planting.
Presently the Gardeners Connect hosts their speaker events at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Anita B Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, due to the increased attendance of the events and the needed parking. Gardeners still holds special events and workshops in the Garden Center Building and the Board of Directors still meets in the Horticultural Resource Library. Additionally, many other horticulture groups and societies meet at the Garden Center building.