President's Message

Nancy L. Hargroves

January 2019

NGC 2017-2019 President Nancy L. Hargroves

Dear Members,

The beginning of a new calendar year is often a time for reflection and for looking ahead. The year 2019 has a special significance for National Garden Clubs, as it was formed 90 years ago on May 1, 1929.

The first garden club meeting in Athens, Ga., in 1891, occurred during a time when women were seeking knowledge about a variety of subjects in study clubs of those with like interests. They felt they needed more knowledge, as they had not had the benefit of a formal higher education.

Many residents began to exchange plants among themselves when the development of a botanical garden at the University of Georgia in Athens did not come to fruition. (The State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia in Athens was founded many years later in 1968.) This first garden club meeting was planned for each member to study a particular variety of plant. These members dedicated themselves to the study of horticulture and the exchange of plants and ideas for the betterment of their community. The first flower show grew from the exhibitions of their flowers and vegetables.

As the number of garden clubs grew, these clubs saw the advantages of joining together into state federations to address common concerns such as groundwater and parks.

Ninety years ago, representatives of the 19 state federations were invited to come to New York City on March 11, 1929, to discuss the possibility of forming a national organization. This group decided to move ahead with the idea of the new organization and formed two committees: Nominating and Bylaws.

A second meeting was held in Washington, D.C., on May 1, 1929, for the purpose of organizing what is now National Garden Clubs Inc. The group’s main objective was to form an organization emphasizing horticulture. The Bylaws stated the objective was “to bring into relations of mutual helpfulness the State Federations of Garden Clubs and to make combined action possible when deemed expedient.”

The basic objectives on which NGC was formed are still relevant today – knowledge and networking among members across the nation to have one powerful voice. Our methods of studying, learning and communicating may have changed; but our focuses are still the same.

Congratulations to all the former and current members of National Garden Clubs who have fulfilled these original objectives for 90 years!

Nancy L. Hargroves
President 2017-2019
National Garden Clubs, Inc.