Pinehurst Garden Club Celebrates 30 Years
BY DOLORES MULLER
Special to The Pilot
This year the Pinehurst Garden Club is celebrating its 30th anniversary: three decades of working to beautify the communities in our area.
Much as Frederick Law Olmsted planned and planted the landscape of Pinehurst, the garden club has worked to continue that effort, but not just in Pinehurst, for their involvement extends to projects in Southern Pines, Aberdeen and beyond.
What started 30 years ago with 10 women interested in gardening and encouraging horticultural home and community improvements has evolved into a group of 120 members, who are divided into five branches with 24 members in each branch.
The branches are named after trees or shrubs found in the Sandhills: Dogwood, Magnolia, Pine, Holly and Azalea. Each branch has its own individual projects, but on large community undertakings, the five branches work together.
Since the earliest days, the organization has been at the service of the community.
Each season, members of the garden club spend a morning planting flowers in and around the village of Pinehurst. Everyone in the community is invited to join in this effort to make the community colorful throughout the year.
In the village, next to the Given Memorial Library, is another club project, "The Memorial Garden." The garden was dedicated in 1989 when a stone marking the entrance was placed by the garden club.
Within the garden is a stake driven by James Walker Tufts in 1895 marking the center of his new village. The town boundaries were drawn in a one mile circle from this point. The entrance is across from the Holly Inn, and there is a plaque that designates the village as a National Historic Landmark.
The Pinehurst Garden Club played a major role in the design and landscaping of the garden, and twice a month, on a Monday, you can find members of the garden club cleaning, weeding and tending to the garden.
The Memorial Garden is a special place, and the public is invited to enjoy the serenity of the winding paths, welcoming benches and beautiful flowering shrubs and plants.
In 1991 the Garden became a living memorial with the creation of a fund to honor garden club members and memorialize friends, relatives and loved ones. The names of those honored or memorialized are recorded in an illustrated "Memorial Book." It is located in the Tufts Archives of the Given Memorial Library and the garden upkeep, in part, is accomplished through memorial donations.
The club's major commitment each year is the funding of a full scholarship given to a landscape gardening student at Sandhills Community College.
Local Pinehurst Garden Club scholarship recipients include Graham Gulley, co-owner of Gulley's Garden Center in Southern Pines, Chris Jones, who manages the greenhouses for Pinehurst Inc., and Jack Karstaedt, the groundskeeper for Kenana Stadium at the University of North Carolina.
These are but a few of the people the garden club has helped.
For the past 19 years, membership has been involved in the spring plant sale. The first scholarship fund was established in 1997, and each year the club is able to raise enough money to fund a full scholarship through their plant sale.
Last year, additional money was granted to a SCC Landscape Gardening student to go on the yearly field trip. It went to a student who would not otherwise have been able to take the trip because of a lack of funds.
To fund the yearly scholarship, the entire membership, 120 strong, participates in the plant sale. They begin taking preorders in February for vinca, begonias, impatiens and geraniums. Then in late April the sale is held in the parking lot in the village of Pinehurst. People pick up their pre-ordered plants, and additional plants, herbs and hanging baskets are sold that day.
Any money remaining after the scholarship is funded is used for community beautification projects.
"We are grateful to the community for supporting us in this effort, for without them buying our plants we would not be able to accomplish raising enough money to meet our goal," says Molly Rowell, president.
While the garden club's main objective is community beautification, members enjoy socializing at two luncheons a year, and at each garden club monthly branch meeting, from September to April, a speaker is invited or an educational program is presented so members have the opportunity to continually learn about the ever changing gardening world, its plants and techniques.
In addition to the club's ongoing projects, its involvement in various horticultural activities over the years has been numerous and include donating time, money or both to projects such as the Village Arboretum, Greenway trail, Fair Barn restoration, plants for the Given Memorial Library, Urban Forest Fund and the Master Gardeners Working with Children Fund.
Club members have participated in the Festival of Trees event, which raises money for the Sandhills Children's Center.
The club has donated shrubs to the Harness Track, bird baths and fountains to the Sandhills Community College and a water garden to Weymouth Center. Additionally, each year they purchase and plant plants at Habitat for Humanity homes.
They have assisted area schools with gardening projects and plantings, donated benches to the village and books to area libraries and schools.
Purchasing plants, planting and maintaining them, in the triangle at the intersection of St. Andrews and Lake Forest Roads, is project of the Holly Branch.
Dogwood's project is maintaining the triangle in front of the Sandhills Woman's Exchange, and Azalea branch designed and planted the ellipse in front of the Village Hall.
The Pinehurst Garden Club is a member of the Council of Garden Clubs, which is an organization with representatives from all the garden clubs in the area. The PGC has assisted the council with various activities such as conducting flower shows and most recently supported the council with hosting the 45th Annual Convention of the South Atlantic Region of the National Garden Clubs at the Carolina Hotel.
It is the Pinehurst Garden Club that hangs more than 75 swags around town. Christmas is also a time when club members help decorate rooms at Weymouth Center for the Arts in Southern Pines and serve as docents at the annual "Christmas at Weymouth" which is an annual fundraiser for the center.
The list of activities is a long one, and these are but a few of the club's community involvements.
As the Pinehurst Garden Club celebrates its 30th anniversary the organization continues its legacy to plan and plant for the future.
The Pinehurst Garden Club plant sale will be April 21.
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