By Colleen Sparks
In the 1920s things in the city of Phoenix were very different from how they are today but one group planted the seeds for an effort that is still blossoming.
The Washington Garden Club of Phoenix recently celebrated its 90th birthday. Founded in 1929, it is reportedly the Valley’s oldest garden club. Members meet monthly in the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District at Valley Garden Center at 1809 N. 15th Ave. and participate in events in various locations around the Valley.
The club visits locales around the Valley to learn from master gardeners and draw inspiration. Members also make silk floral arrangements for tables at the Phoenix VA Health Care System and has linked with gardens at area schools.
In 1929, the garden club gave women a place to congregate, as they generally did not work outside of the home, said Glenna Teel, president of the Washington Garden Club of Phoenix.
“Most of us have gardens,” Teel said. “I am a third generation (member). My daughter is a fourth-generation. Our theme for this year is to nourish our world, our clubs, ourselves. I enjoy getting together with likeminded people. I’m a vegetable gardener, a dirt gardener. Gardening is just healthy; it’s good for you, a good stress release. You’re getting your vitamin D, your exercise.”
A variety of speakers come to the garden club’s meetings to share expertise on growing fruits, vegetables and flowers; pruning trees; and other gardening techniques. The group has made garden markers and hanging baskets and also gives back, including donating trees to Valley Garden Center and supporting Desert Botanical Gardens and St. Mary’s Food Bank.
“We seem to be turning a tide toward growing our own food,” Teel said. “We are seeing an interest in preserving our wildlife in order to grow our food. We will learn about creating an environment in our yard to support our local wildlife.”
For more information about the club, contact Teel at firstname.lastname@example.org.