Tipp City Garden Club celebrates 90th anniversary

For the Miami Valley Today

TIPP CITY — The first and oldest organized garden club in the United States started in 1891 with a gathering of 12 women friends who shared plants and plant cuttings. The Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens, Georgia, formally organized the following year.

By the 1930s, local garden clubs had formed in communities throughout the United States. Initially a women’s activity, over time the garden club movement also engaged men.

The initial meeting of the Tippecanoe City Garden Club was held the first week of May 1932 at the Spring Hill Nursery company offices, and the club was organized. Mary Bohlender was elected as President. Mary was the daughter-in-law of Peter Bohlender, the founder of Spring Hill Nursery. Mae Wilson was Vice President; Charles Beyl, Secretary; and Rev R. Harshman, Treasurer. Meetings were held on the first Tuesday evening of each month. Membership grew to 20 by 1938 and to 25 by 1941.

In early years, the Tippecanoe City Garden Club met in member’s homes and set about beautifying yards, providing helpful suggestions in cultivating plants and hosting Flower Shows. At their second semi-annual Flower Show, attention was called to the special displays of more than 100 school children who were taking an active interest in floriculture. Citizens vied for the Garden Club awards each year for beautified home surroundings.

A change in name from Tippecanoe City in 1938 to Tipp City was reportedly the result of mail delivery mix-ups with another Ohio town with the same name. So, the Tippecanoe City Garden Club went by Garden Club or Tipp City Garden Club over the next decade. It was early to mid-1950s when members embraced the name of Tipp City Garden Club.

In 1982, a Champagne Luncheon was held on May 4th celebrating the Club’s 50th Anniversary with all 23 members in attendance at the Troy Country Club. Membership remained limited to 25 and by invitation only.

Tippecanoe-Tipp City celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1990. The Tipp City Garden Club at that time was dedicated to the interest in birds, flowers and trees and continued limiting their membership to 25 members. President, Eleanor Warf; Vice President, Gladys Gray; Secretary, Jane Paul; and Treasurer, Sue Ann Re’.

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary, a luncheon at the Troy Country Club was held in September of 1997. The Club brought beauty to Tipp City through the Gardener Award and Mum Festival Awards for home beautification, parade route decorations and business windows.

This year, the Tipp City Garden Club is celebrating its 90th Anniversary. Sue Ann Re’ has been active over 40 years and Jan Davidson, Jackie Gay, Linda Goodman, Carol Scott, and Donna Warner are 20-year plus members. A look back at traditions and practices from the early years inspired members to incorporate a few of them in future meetings. A Garden Brunch is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 6th in celebration.

Today’s membership of 27 includes men and women of Tipp City, Troy, Dayton, and Englewood. The Club is focused on plants, nature, flowers, birds and tree education. Meetings are held the first Tuesday morning of each month, February through December, with guest speakers. The warmer months are dedicated to carpool trips and tours. Membership is not limited. President, Elaine Stefkovich; Vice President, Janis Gudorf; Secretary, Denise Kenworthy; Treasurer, Sue Rambeau; and Sunshine Officer, Deb Keppel.

The Tipp City Garden Club welcomes all guests. If you have an interest, contact Elaine Stefkovich via email: [email protected] .