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Concord Garden Club celebrates 100!

Members of the Concord Garden Club, the community and other gardening groups across the state gathered for their special 100th anniversary celebration on April 18 at the R.F. Strickland Building in Concord. The Concord Garden Club was the second garden club organized in America. The Concord Garden Club was founded in spring 1924, when the late C.T. Smith invited every woman in the town to meet at her home.

“This 100th year has meant a lot to me because my grandmother was one of the original members of the club,” said Bettye Strickland Rumble. “Because of Martha Boswell, we have this celebration today. She has kept us all together. We have many new members and we hope this 100 years foundation will carry us for another 100 years.”

The special 100th year anniversary included “Your Not Standard Flower Show” featuring club members dressed as flowers as MC Linda Huffman read interesting facts about the plants – and their personalities. Bettye Rumble portrayed the Rose, Judy Hopkins portrayed the Moonflower, Paula Duncan was the Dogwood, Cara Cook was the Iris, Ellen Cardin was the Pansy and Anna Evans was Peonies.

Vendors at the event included Cindy Heard of Cindy’s Florist who donated arrangements for door prizes, The Country Estate of Williamson who brought many varieties of daylilies, Bonsai plants grown and cared for by master gardener Harolyn Castleberry from Thomaston and the Mercantile Store in the Strickland Building.

“From the beginning of the club until the 1940s, membership was limited to the original members, their daughters and daughters-in-law because of limited space when meeting in homes. After World War II, as communities began to change and grow, this policy changed and those who showed interest and were able to meet with a daytime group were invited,” said Bettye Rumble. “During this celebration of 100 years, we want to pause and remember all the ladies who have gone on before us. Let’s pause to remember all the garden club ladies who are no longer with us,” said Concord Garden Club president Martha Boswell.

“We are setting up a scholarship in Gayle Berthe’s honor for horticulture students in Pike County who will be pursuing a career. Those who knew Gail knew she was very highly thought of at the state level and we were privileged to have her with us here.”

Pat Strickland, who is 99 years old, was also one of the speakers and she noted that she was a member of the Concord Garden Club for 50 years before she moved out of state but she is so glad to be able to return home to Pike and attend the 100th anniversary of the club.

The 12 charter members of the Concord Garden Club included Mrs. M.L. Dunn, Mrs. J.B. Madden, Mrs. F.M. Smith, Mrs. A.A. McElveen, Mrs. R.A. Mallory, Mrs. E.L. Raven, Mrs. C.R. Smith, Mrs. C.T. Smith, Mrs. C.B. Strickland, Mrs. R.H. Strickland, Sallie Mae Strickland and Mrs. W.A. Strickland.

Current Concord Garden Club members include president Martha Boswell, co-vice presidents Anna Evans and Paula Duncan and treasurer Jane Garner.

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