The Paducah Garden Club has been “digging” Paducah’s gardens for 100 years and counting
It all started in 1913 when Mrs. George Flournoy gathered together a few civic-minded and garden-loving friends in her lovely garden named Lolo Mia.
Fast forward a century and you have ten decades worth of tree planting, restoration projects, fundraising, flower shows, conservation projects, war relief, landscaping, city beautification, and the anniversary of a beloved Paducah tradition.
The 100th anniversary of one of Paducah’s oldest clubs coincides with that of the Garden Club of America as well. Also founded in 1913, the Garden Club of America is a volunteer nonprofit organization that is comprised of 200 member clubs and approximately 18,000 members throughout the country.
Nominated by the Lexington Garden Club and seconded by the Garden Club of St. Louis, the Paducah Garden Club was proposed for membership in the Garden Club of America and admitted in January of 1929.
Throughout the years, the Paducah Garden Club has seen members come and go, trends arise and wane, and watched an ever-changing world grow and evolve as nature took its course. But most importantly, the members of the club have seen Paducah change, all the while making sure their city was changing for the better.
Throughout its existence, he Paducah Garden Club has actively supported legislation and any program directed at making Paducah and Kentucky better and more beautiful places in which to live.
For instance, on December 11, 1933, it supported a resolution urging the Garden Club of America to endorse the movement to make Mammoth Cave and the area around it a national park.
Or take the year 1938, for example; the year after Paducah’s greatest flood (a big year for the club, mind you). One of the club’s first projects was to restore the rose garden in Keiler Park, which was used for headquarters of the National Guard units stationed here during the flood.
And when America entered World War II, the Paducah Garden Club devoted most of its time and efforts to war relief work and took the lead encouraging the planting of victory gardens. It also decorated the stage of the Columbia Theater for the arrival of Gene Tierney and Chester Morris who came to Paducah in 1941 to promote the sale of war bonds.
Over the years, the Paducah Garden Club has planted dogwoods, ginkgos, yellow poplars and Kentucky coffee trees. It has raised money that was needed to purchase garden books for the public library, bought new doors for the Market House, promoted the now-historic annual lighted dogwood trail, and even presented semi-monthly radio programs on horticulture.
But overall, it has been, and still is, a group that is passionate about “our little corner” of Kentucky. And as the Garden Club of America states, is devoted “to promote greater understanding of the interdependence of horticulture, environmental protection, and community improvement.”
Just as the meetings and projects over the past 100 years of the Paducah Garden Club are treasured and tucked away in newspaper articles, books, records and moments in history, so this 100th anniversary will be as well. History is still in the making for this century-old group of devoted gardeners.
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