The notion of a garden club may suggest a vision of gloved ladies gathering for tea and petit fours to deliberate over the various styles of flower arranging (“Should it be Japanese Ikebana, European or Western?”) and the virtues of nosegays (or tussie-mussies). However, as a garden grows and evolves, so has the role of garden clubs. They are alliances following a carefully cultivated history, and are abloom in Cherokee County.
The tradition of garden clubs in the United States was started in 1891 in Athens, Georgia, by a group of 12 women who gathered to share plants and cuttings. Later, they formed the Ladies Garden Club of Athens. The movement spread across the country as local clubs formed, establishing the Garden Club of America in 1913 and National Garden Clubs Inc. in 1929.
Through the years, national garden clubs have removed unsightly road signs, beautified highways, supervised the planting of Victory Gardens during World War II, funded scholarships in horticulture, and instituted “healing” gardens in hospitals, among many other projects.
Our Cherokee County garden clubs are in the Laurel District of the Garden Club of Georgia. The district is composed of five clubs dedicated to beautification, education, and promoting the love of gardening through what have become perennial friendships.
While members typically gather monthly, many ongoing projects are tended throughout the year. A club meeting often features a guest speaker, providing a lesson on horticulture, birds or butterflies, among other topics, and often includes tips on the more functional aspects of gardening, such as building a raised bed, constructing a compost bin or harvesting rainwater. Gardening programs are created and managed to benefit the community, as well.
The Cherokee County garden clubs are committed to many worthwhile projects that promote the importance of gardening in our native hills. Public gardens have been created and are maintained for citizens to enjoy. Children’s programs have been implemented to educate our youth about the vital role of plants. Club members also visit senior centers, and related activities are conducted for the enjoyment of Cherokee seniors. The Blue Star Marker at the Georgia National Cemetery, located on Highway 20 between Canton and Cartersville, is tended carefully, and wreaths are placed on the graves at Christmas, honoring our veterans. Christmas trees are decorated in a gardening theme in the lobby at the R.T. Jones Library in Canton each year, and the list goes on.
Most recently, the Cherokee County garden clubs have joined the tiny door movement, installing tiny garden doors across the county. The elfin doors are strategically placed, with the hopes of inviting feelings of whimsical surprise to all ages. These wee portals may be spied at Lewis Park, the Horizon Healing Center, the Cherokee Arts Center, the Ball Ground Botanical Garden and the Historic Crescent Rock Barn. They continue to appear “magically” throughout the county.
By Rajayne Cordery, contributing writer and a current member and past president of the Trayletaah Garden Club.
• Ball Ground Garden Club (established 1951)
Maintains Ball Ground Botanical Garden (with Rosalind Carter Butterfly Trail).
• Etowah Garden Club of Canton (established pre-1935)
Oldest garden club in Cherokee County.
• Laurel Garden Club (established 1956)
Cameron Hall Courtyard, Kenny Askew Park flowerbed
• Sixes Community Garden Club (established 2000)
Historic Crescent Rock Barn