In the summer of 1933, Mrs. Thomas Alva Edison invited a group of friends from Jamestown to tea at her home on Lake Chautauqua and suggested they start a garden club in Jamestown.
The club was founded in 1933 and later joined the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State in 1936. Mrs. Edison's insightful suggestion began an 80-year journey which has taken the club through significant civic accomplishments, conservation projects and expanded the community's appreciation for gardening and flowers.
The club's history has left a long and respected legacy of contributing shrubs and trees to enhance community sites. Most recently its award-winning program, "Flowers for Children," taught children how to plant Daffodils, resulting in the beautification of Roseland Park's play area for children. The club also gave away over 200 free mini-hothouses to children attending last year's Spring Gardening Show at the Renaissance Center. They were made out of recycled roasted chicken containers.
Joan Erickson and Connie Wright present a thank you gift to Joyce Sechler, past president.
Front row, from left, are: Joan Erickson, Shaan Ballauff and Betsy Dalton. Back row, from left, are: Connie Evans, Margaret Elf, Joyce Sechler, Kathie Ayers and Nancy O’Brien.
The club's longest and most successful project is the Butterfly Garden at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Members weed, water and care for this garden all year long to enhance the life cycle of the butterfly.
The club's 80th anniversary was celebrated at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown with a luncheon. A special table was reserved for all of the past presidents attending. Joyce Sechler, recent past president, said it gave a wonderful feeling of continuity to have so many past presidents present at the celebration.
Donna Charest, the new president, was installed at the celebration, which continued the link between past and present.
A history display offered members a peek into the past through archival scrapbooks, newspaper articles and even a hat worn 60 years ago to the day by then-president Mrs. Charles Goodell. A peek into the future started with the nstallation of new club officers.
Mrs. Sechler indicated the club is vibrant, growing and has a very bright and promising future. The hostesses for the event were Connie Wright and Margaret Elf, both of whom were past presidents themselves.