The Maumee Garden Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
To show Maumee's appreciation for the club's beautification efforts, Mayor Tim Wagener declared June 12 as Maumee Garden Club Day.
"We see evidence of their commitment everywhere," the mayor said. "The ladies not only improve the aesthetics of the city with their own wonderful yards, but they're also responsible for starting the hanging baskets that we have [downtown] and for distributing wreaths at the holidays."
As the club's name indicates, the main focus has been gardening.
Its stated mission is:
•To stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening.
•To develop the artistic use of flowers.
•To aid in the conservation of the soil, trees, flowers, and birds.
•To encourage civic beautification and development of home gardens.
The club has held fast to these principles for three-quarters of a century, even as it has followed the changes in society, Sue Utterback, a past club president, said.
"The club's history really does reflect the times," she said. "In the '30s, our treasury went down to two cents. In the '40s, members made sandwiches for the USO. In the '70s, it was all about the environment."
It was Prudence Lamb who started the club's annual practice of making festive holiday arrangements that were delivered to shut-ins.
For many decades, club members gathered every season at Mrs. Lamb's home to do that, explained Marcia McCready.
Mrs. Lamb is dead, having lived to be more than 100, but the annual act of kindness continues.
The club's 32 active members are all women. Not that there is any statutory prohibition against men, mind you.
When planting bushes and trees in Maumee's hard clay soil, husbands are indeed useful for digging holes, the women joke.
Monthly meetings are held in the evening in members' homes. In earlier generations, before women entered the work force in a big way, meetings were in the day.
This year, the club bestowed its Ivy Award pin to Ms. Utterback and Martha Marsh.
Eligible recipients must have been a member for 25 years, 15 of them on active status, and served as an officer of the club while exemplifying its highest standards.