The first garden club in the U.S. formed in 1891 in
Athens, Georgia after a group of twelve women began sharing plants and
cuttings. As the women’s club movement
grew over the next several decades more and more garden clubs were
created. In addition to private gardens
and flower shows, they were active in their communities.
The Brevard Garden Club was established in 1937 with 25
members to study garden design and flower arrangement, as well as for civic
improvement and beautification. They
held monthly meetings with educational presentations.
While club members were women, participation in their flower
shows and annual Christmas lighting and decoration contest was open to everyone. The August 1947 Ecusta Echo had an article
about Jim Ashworth’s flower garden. He
won six first place and seven second place prizes in the Brevard Garden Club
Flower Show for his dahlias, gladiolus, marigolds, roses, and zinnias. Ashworth worked in the Gumming Department at
Ecusta. A January 1949 article mentioned
that Mr. and Mrs. Burder Teague won the Christmas home decoration contest
sponsored by the Brevard Garden Club for the second year in a row. Both of the Teagues worked at Ecusta.
Twenty years after the Brevard Garden Club began it had
grown to the point that a second club was needed. The Transylvania Garden Club was established
in 1957. Both clubs were active in civic
projects, beautification efforts, and clean-up campaigns. They both also sponsored Junior Garden Clubs
In 1960 two addition clubs, the Sylvan Valley Garden Club
and the High Hills Garden Club, were formed. A year later the four groups decided to create
the Transylvania Garden Council to coordinate the needs of the rapidly growing
garden club community. Together they
continued to hold flower shows and worked with the Beautiful Brevard Committee
on improving public spaces.
|In 1950 the Brevard Garden Club placed this marker at the intersection of
Caldwell St. and Highway 64 near Brevard College in honor of those who
served in World War II. It was the first Blue Star Marker in North Carolina.
From the beginning local garden clubs carried out numerous
civic beautification projects, including plantings at the courthouse in
downtown Brevard, the Transylvania Community Hospital on County Club Rd., and the
Brevard Music Camp. In addition small
green areas like Bullock Park at the intersection of Parkview Dr. and Park
Avenue were beautified. Garden clubs
were much more than social groups for women, they enriched the community and
created pride in it through their shared knowledge and hard work.
Photographs and information for this column are provided
by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library.
Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more
about our history and see additional photographs. For more information,
comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] or