MONROE — The Monroe Garden Club, one of city’s longest-standing organizations, continues to grow tall. Members share a love of gardening. Since 1950, the club has been an affiliate of The Garden Club of North Carolina.
The Monroe Garden Club strives to be a teaching organization within the community. The club is also a member of The South Atlantic Region of National Garden Clubs.
According to an email from club president Sharon Eichler to The Enquirer-Journal, the club meets every third Tuesday of every month at the Ellen Fitzgerald Senior Center; the meetings will move to the center’s new location once renovations are complete.
“We had been meeting at the Monroe Library for quite a long time, but once COVID hit, we had to find other locations for our meetings,” Eichler said. “Recently the library board decided that only city and library groups could use the meeting rooms, which is why we’re now at the senior center.”
The Garden Club’s projects have included building the Teaching Garden at Dickerson Park. The garden was originally compromised of flowers, fruit, and vegetables and included a storage barn for equipment. A chicken coop was also installed at the park.
The club also hosts speakers on different gardening topics.
“We also have design exhibit, horticulture, and show and tell,” Eichler said.
“There are set schedules for each of the above, usually representing the program for the month. Design exhibit consists of members creating a floral arrangement. Horticulture consists of members bringing in cuttings of plants blooming in their gardens.
“Show and tell consists of bringing in anything new or unusual that pertains to gardening. Members receive ribbons for design exhibit and horticulture and points for show and tell.”
Some of the club’s long-standing members, include Frances Hunley, Joan Ladd and Swaim Strong. Hunley has been a member for 69 years; she’s revered as a passionate gardener with unlimited knowledge of plants and birds. She was president of the club from 1984 until 1986.
Hunley, age 99, recalls wearing formal dresses, hats, and gloves to meetings and events in her first years with the club but said, “the club is not formal” anymore. Members now come to meetings dressed in slacks and t-shirts.
The membership mainly consists of women between the ages of 75-99. There are 33 current members in the club, and they “welcome anyone who would like to attend our meetings.”
Hunley looks forward to keeping the club “productive” and sharing her love of gardening with club members and the community.
“We have some wonderful women in this garden club who will do things,” Hunley said. “Through the years, they’ve seen that the garden club has done these things and I’m proud to be associated with them.”
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