Ninety- Three Years of Gardening
In 1924 a group of eight women who shared gardening interests placed an ad in the Journal looking for people who might be interested in forming a garden club. The result was a club of fifty men and women, who elected Mr. Robert Brewer as their first president.
In 1927 the Massachusetts Federation of Garden clubs was formed, and the Hingham club became a charter member.
By 1935 there were 159 women and 47 male members. Most of the activities concerned only these members. However, by 1940 the club had began the "fruit and flower" mission where members brought their offerings to the train station for the shut-ins in Boston. This mission continued for several years.
During the World War years members grew Victory Gardens and taught people how to preserve the produce. They held a horticultural therapy program at the Army-Navy Club and delivered bedside bouquets and Christmas gifts for the VA hospital in West Roxbury. Post war years brought a June Flower Show at the Girls Scout House in 1947. In 1949 we began selling hand made Christmas wreaths to the merchants as a fundraiser, which we still do today.
In 1952 the Historical Society gave the club the use of the Garden House (or Annex) in return for maintaining the Old Ordinary Garden. The interior was upgraded with heat, running water and electric wiring. In 1959 the club further renovated the Garden House with the proceeds from their Christmas Fair. In 1965 the terrace in front of the house was landscaped, and in 1972 members laid the brick terrace there. We stayed there until 2009, when we moved to the Library, where we have our meetings and exhibits such as our horticultural shows and the beautiful arrangements celebrating the 375th anniversary of the founding of Hingham in 1635.
In 1961 the Club held their first Standard Flower Show and fundraiser called "Holiday Traditions on Main Street". We began to reach out to the community more. Members began putting flower arrangements at the Hingham Public Library each week, and planted a tree each Arbor Day. We did Garden Therapy at Hersey House and the Brockton VA hospital. We gave a graduating senior interested in landscape design a scholarship, the first of many scholarships we have given. Among our many awards from the Federation was one for our Junior Gardening program.
In 1977 we entered an arrangement for "Art in Bloom" at the Museum of Fine Art and have participated every year since then. We held a plant sale the following year, which has now become an annual event.
In 1984-85 we planted a new garden at the Leavitt entrance to the Library to celebrate our 60th anniversary. By now we were engaged in many civic projects., including landscaping the Habitat House on Central Street, mapping the trees at More-Brewer Park and planting a new American elm at the Library. We gave 6,000 slips of Magnolia virginiana to 5th graders to plant in their home gardens. We paid for a master landscape plan for the South Shore Country Club. in 2000, and also for the design for the courtyard garden at the newly enlarged Library
Founders Park, on top of the tunnel cap in downtown Hingham, was landscaped and is cared for by the Club. At Jackass Park we paid for the design, plants and watering system and now maintain it. We still tend to the Old Ordinary Garden, the Library Gardens and the traffic islands in Hingham Center.
Our fundraisers and dues not only provide for our civic projects but also for many stimulating speakers at our meetings. Our field trips, visits to members' gardens and garden and Christmas house tours provide us with lots of fun and fellowship.
President Joyce Mandel
Vice President Maura Graham
Secretary Pamela Collins
Treasurer Ellen Garrow
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