Skip to page content
Return to Top

History of the Dublin Garden Club 1947-1973

By Ione Clay

On June 17, 1947 a group of flower-lovers met in Dublin’s Shamrock Park to organize a garden club. They were fortunate in having a leader, Mrs. G.L. Hollon, whose efficiency and familiarity with club procedures enabled her to guide them in working out the details of this organization in a very short time. It seems like the irony of fate, however, that Mrs. Hollon had barely had had time to see the Club well launched before her name was written at the top of our “Garden of Memories.”

But, thanks to the energy, initiative, and hard work of the leader and outstanding members of the group, the Dublin Garden Club began its’ first year in September, 1947 with a yearbook for 1947-48, a constitution and by-laws, a staff of officers, and standing committees and programs for the year. Its’ colors and flower had been chosen, also its motto for the year; the time and place of meeting had been decided; as well as its’ classification as a Standard Club, with the following requirements:

1. An active organization
2. One Flower Show each year
3. An annual Pilgrimage
4. A systematic course of study
5. At least one authoritative speaker a year on a garden subject
6. A garden project
7. At least one delegate a year to a State meeting

The Club has striven to fulfill these requirements; and, as its’ vision and program have widened, and as the list of requirements has lengthened, has added other activities from time to time.
Like the Roman god Janus, for whom the month of January is named, garden clubbers have two faces, and so look in tow directions at once. We look at our own enjoyment and at what we hope to learn from our study and activities in the Club; and at what we can do to make the Club an asset to the town and community, and a means of helping others. Generally speaking, I think these motives may be pretty well mixed in Garden Club activities, as in other phases of life.
The blending of these objectives is shown in the Club’s civic work. Thru the years we made cash donations to several worthy causes: the March of Dimes in 1958, the new home of Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. in 1957, the fund for landscaping the Governor’s Mansion in 1967; and donations to the Headquarters Fund of Texas Garden Clubs on inscribing the names of eight ex-presidents on the State honor roll.
Each year the Club sponsors a candidate for Queen of the Free Fall Fair, decorates a fair booth, and donates pies and cakes to the Fair. We decorated several floats for Rodeo parades. In 1956 our float, covered with white flowers, occupied by a pretty girl, and dominated by a huge butterfly, won first place and a prize of $40.00; and the float of 1959, with its pretty occupant and an enormous jitterbug, won an award of $30.00.
The Therapy committee make their civic contribution with flowers and cards sent to the hospital and nursing homes of Dublin, and order flowers sent to funerals of deceased Club members.
“Plant Dublin” is a slogan carried out on Arbor Day and at other times of the year. Results are: crepe myrtles at the south entrance to town on highway 67; plantings of iris in the area of the swimming pool; a young magnolia in Shamrock Park, planted in memory of Mrs. Joe J. Pate; an Arizona Cypress in the Park, planted I memory of Dr. T.F. Bryan; roses planted along the fences of the cemetery; and other trees, shrubs, etc.
Successful projects for beautifying the town were the “pretty yards” contests held in 1960, 1964, and 1966. Each year first, second and third prizes were awarded.
The Club works to protect birds and wild flowers. We aspire to see Dublin made a bird sanctuary.
Last among our civic projects in quest of beauty, I will mention the Christmas Lighting and Decorations contests beginning in 1964, in the judging of which the Garden Club has cooperated with the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
We sometimes hear it said that ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness”; and it’s surely true that however well a town is landscaped, it isn’t attractive if its sidewalks are full of trash. So the Garden Club launched an anti-pollution campaign long before Rachel Carson published her first epoch-making book.
Different methods have been used to increase public sentiment against trash-pollution: Litterbug posters in store-windows with the slogan, “Don’t be a litterbug; be a butterfly”; trash-cans placed on downtown street corners; convenient trash-bags for cars; the litterbug, as has been said, was also used on one of the Club’s prize-winning floats. (Our original idea had been to feature a human litterbug throwing paper on the streets for other participants to pick up; but this idea was discarded on account of the traffic hazard involved.) In 1969 the city superintendent urged people to avoid littering the streets and offered his cooperation. A clean-up day has been set, on which trucks are sent to pick up trash. On this project the Club has had the cooperation of the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Soil Conservation Service, the Boy Scouts, and the Cub Scouts.
In addition to these and other forms of public service, Club members have study projects and other activities that interest them personally. In its early years the Club used its knowledgeable members as speakers on horticulture, conservation, etc. But, beginning in 1955, our programs have included valuable and much appreciated lectures by representatives of the Soil Conservation Service, Texas A. & M., Tarleton State College, Dublin High School, the Hughes Day Lily and Iris Gardens, Wolfe’s Nursery as speakers on plant foods, erosion, water and soil conservation, plant enemies and how to combat them, conservation of wildlife, “conserve to enjoy”, day lilies and iris, roses, trees, pruning, and other interesting subjects.
Another requirement for Standard Garden Clubs is an annual Pilgrimage, usually to a place or event related to horticulture. Our first pilgrimage of which a record was found was on December 19, 1954 to see the Yule Season window displays in Comanche. In 1955 Club members attended Leonard’s Flowercade; a flower show in Waco, “Gardens Yesterday and Today”; and the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. The Chandor Gardens were toured in 1956. In 1958 we saw a flower show in Hico, the Dallas Garden Center Show, the Stephenville Flower Show, and a placement show in Comanche. Other pilgrimages have been: to the inauguration of the Comanche Club’s new building; a flower-arranging demonstration by Mrs. H.S. Kittel; the L.B.J. country, a Fall Harvest of Homes in Fort Worth. In spring of 1971 members of the Club toured bluebonnet country, and in 1972 a trip was made to see the opening of the Japanese Gardens, and to the Botanic Gardens of Fort Worth.
In addition to our pilgrimages, Club members have enjoyed several armchair trips to other parts of the world, thanks to the courtesy of traveling friends and fellow members. We take this opportunity to thank those who have conducted us on tours of: Dublin Yards in Bloom, the Glorieta in New Mexico, Western Europe, the British Isles, Hawaii, the South Pacific, the Scandinavian Countries, Mexico, the Orient, South America, and the Moon.
The most popular activity of our Garden Club seems to be its annual flower show. When the Club was less than a year old, its program for May was “A Contest of Fruits, Wildflowers and Vegetables in Kitchen containers”. Prizes were “awarded for the most artistic arrangement and for the most original arrangement.”
The show of the following year was spread out over several months. It began with “Floral Displays’ in October, continued as “Rose Arrangements” in November, “Dish Gardens” in January, “Potted Plants” in February, “Annuals in Attractive Combinations” and “Forced Flowers” in March. In January, 1951 the Club’s flower show was a “Display of Winter Bouquets.”
In 1953 our first formal flower show was held in the exhibition room of the Lloyd Hines automobile business. On April 24, 1955 the Club put on a show in the school auditorium: the “Parade of the Months”, which the Dublin Progress described as a “Bouquet for the Garden Club”. The next show was held in the Paris House, and called ‘Fall Festival of Flowers.”
For the flower show of 1957, “Melody Memories”, the High School lunchroom was turned into a flower garden, whose central point of interest was our huge butterfly. Two hundred eighty one names were listed in the guest book of the show.
For the show of 1958, exhibitors were asked to bring “Flower arrangements in your nicest containers.” The show of 1959, “Flower Time in Dublin”, was held in the school lunchroom.
In 1960 a placement show, “At Home with Flowers”, was held in the Clay home; and the placement show of 1961, “Springtime at Green Valley Farm” was in the home of Mr. and Mrs. D.R. Franks.
Strolling flower shows, “Fall Fashions in Flowers: and “Through the Year”, were held on October 27, 1961 and October 26, 1962 in downtown Dublin.
The Henderson building was the scene of the shows of 1963 and 1964, “The Magic of Spring” and “Beauty is our Business”, respectively. The show of 1965, “Adventure with Flowers”, was staged at the Parish House.
The Flower Festivals of the past three years have been held in the Foust garage (1970) and the Shamrock Restaurant (1971 and 1972).
In accord with the desire of true gardeners to share their products with others, the Dublin Garden Club for several years sponsored an annual plant exchange. This began with a bulb exchange at the Club meeting in October, 1948, and expanded over the years to include all kinds of plant materials from the gardens of Club members. On the date of the plant exchange this material was taken to a vacant building which someone had kindly lent for the day to the Club, and this material was traded for other plants, bulbs, seeds, etc., or just given away. I remember that Mrs. Snider would bring the exchange specimens of her fine iris, carefully labeled with the name and color of each specimen. The plant exchange was discontinued in 1967.
As all of us know, the dues of the Garden Club have always been very low; so we have had to supplement them in various ways. In early years a game party was given every now and then, for which an entrance charge was made.
In 1957 a slide show, with paid admittance, was presented by Mr. Wilson Higginbotham of Dallas, who showed views of Europe, with emphasis on Spain.
In 1960 the Garden Club presented a showing of hundreds of slides, lent by Club members and friends. In 1961 a benefit movie of the Grand Canyon was shown by Mr. William Bowen of San Angelo.
For several years the Garden Club has sold note paper, Christmas wrappings or other things as a money-making project. The Heritage Tour of Homes in 1972 added several dollars to the Garden Club’s balance in the bank.
Las of all I will mention the achievement of many members of the Garden Club who have devoted their artistic ability, ingenuity, good taste and hard work to compiling the Scrapbooks which together form a pictorial history of the Club during the past nineteen years.
In competition with scrapbooks from all parts of our state, these books have received grades of excellence, and the book of 1955-56 has a certificate of Award signed by the President, Chairman of Awards, and the Scrapbook Chairman of that year, of Texas Garden Clubs, Inc.
So I would urge you to go to the Library and look through some of these scrapbooks. They are beautiful to look at, and will make you prouder than ever of your Club?