Rock River Garden Club raises $15K for Dixon beautification projects

The Rock River Garden Club held their 11th annual fundraiser, Blooming on The Rock, at the Dixon riverfront Saturday evening, June 8.

DIXON — The Rock River Garden Club held its 11th annual fundraiser, Blooming on The Rock, at the Dixon riverfront Saturday evening.

The theme was “Fiesta on the Rock.” From 5-9 p.m., the 192 ticket-holders enjoyed a Mexican-themed buffet and margarita flights, participated in a live auction of planters made by the club’s members and prizes donated by local businesses and enjoyed a cash bar provided by Tipsy’s.

The Rock River Garden Club, a member of the Garden Clubs of Illinois, was established in 1957. Most notably, the club sets up flower arrangements and plant gardens at different local landmarks, including Veterans Park, the Post House Ballroom, Ronald Reagan’s Boyhood Home, the riverfront and more.

The live auction, the hallmark of the event, began at 7 p.m. Debbie Nagy, a member of Discover Dixon’s beautification committee, announced each auction item as it was presented and Mike Venier, Dixon city council member, acted as auctioneer.

All proceeds “go to the petunias and everything else around us that’s beautiful in Dixon,” Venier said at the event.

The fundraiser raised just under $15,000, which will be donated to Dixon in Bloom for the petunias that are displayed around town during the summer months; put toward the community gardens that the club plants and maintains; and donated to Beautify Dixon, for the various beautification projects the group hosts, Nagy said in an interview with Shaw Local.

Participants bid on 33 items, including elaborate flowerpots grown and planted by club members and volunteers, gift baskets donated by local businesses and multi-day stays at vacation houses.

The majority of the gift baskets and planters sold for anywhere between $100 to $300. Auction item 19, “Flores de Mexico,” sold for $300. It was a set of four pots with dahlias, marigolds and purslane. Each pot came with a small wrought-iron table and a plant ornament. Auction item 10, “Pepito Grillo,” sold for $210. It was a large pot with twisted arrows, angel wings, lavender blue geranium and grandaisy. The pot came with a cricket-shaped wire plant stand.

The largest bid was $3,000 for a stay at a condo in Key West, Florida. The vacation home, owned by a garden club member, has two bedrooms and access to the condo-community pool.

The most fought-over auction item was a stay at the historic Dempsey House in Galena. The two-story home was built in 1838 and an addition was added in 1852. The house has three bedrooms and is within walking distance to downtown Galena. The club sold four three-day stays at the house – two for $595, one for $600 and one for $625.

For information about the Rock River Garden Club, visit its Facebook page or email

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Payton Felix

Payton Felix

Payton Felix reports on local news in the Sauk Valley for the Shaw Local News Network. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2023.