Current and some former members of Northwood Garden Club of Columbus gather at Graham's Farm camp house in Columbus Tuesday to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
May 19, 2018 10:02:45 PM
Fifty years ago, 13 charter members met at the home of Jean Wilder to organize Northwood Garden Club in Columbus. On Tuesday, eight of those 13 were among about 50 women gathered to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary with a brunch at Graham's Farm camp house in Lowndes County.
Charter members dressed in red and wore the club flower, a daisy. One of them was Gay Orr, who was the club's first president and also serves as the current president.
"It was a memorable time, especially for those members who returned after being away from Columbus for many years," Orr said.
Members enjoyed reminiscing about the group's past. Early programs featured area floral designers who introduced the club to basic flower arranging. Soon members ventured out into hosting flower shows in their own homes, complete with ribbons awarded.
"This began our participation in community projects like planting terrariums and flowers and doing container gardening in local nursing homes," said Betty Dill. "The club has decorated trees for the library during Christmas, done Christmas tree recycling, assisted with landscaping at the library and the YMCA, and sponsored a child yearly at Youth Nature Camp."
Dill, along with Lucy Phillips and Dai Waters, were instrumental in helping implement a three-year Garden Club Council project in the 1980s called "Plant the Town." It brought 20 clubs together, including Northwood, to get more than 300 trees planted along Highway 45 North and at entrances into the city.
The major city-wide effort was recognized at the Mississippi Garden Club Convention with the Roadside Achievement Award.
As a Federated garden club, Northwood adopted numerous projects. They include design and landscape seminars, historic preservation, conservation, garden therapy, horticulture scholarships and sponsoring a junior garden club. In the past three decades, the club has also assisted in hosting three State Garden Club conventions in Columbus. Each brought in many guests who enjoyed the city's historic homes and gardens.
Northwood strengthens community-Columbus Air Force Base relations by offering honorary memberships to the spouses of CAFB and Wing commanders while they are stationed here. Club members also take an active role year-round in decorating and maintaining seasonal decor at intersection corners in downtown Columbus.
All this and more is interwoven in the club history members recalled Tuesday as they looked through scrapbooks at the celebration.
"We could hear, 'Look how young we were as mothers, and now most of us are grandmothers,'" Phillips said.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.