In the Beginning
On the afternoon of December 1, 1915, twenty-five ladies met to consider organizing a garden club whose purpose and aims would be “for the pleasure and profit of amateur gardeners, where ideas could be exchanged, and interest stimulated in the proper care of flowers and vegetable gardens.”
Mabel Osgood Wright was elected the first president. Dues were 50 cents a year, and by the end of the first year, there were 100 members.
In 1923, The Fairfield Garden Club was admitted to The Garden Club of America.
The Club also amended its Bylaws to form two classes of membership: Active and Associate. “The Associate Membership shall retain all the local privileges of the Club except the ballot, with dues $1.00 a year. The Active Members to join The Garden Club of America with dues $4.00 a year.”
The focus at the time was represented by the formation of a new committee called the Wayside Committee to work in the schools for Wild Flower Conservation and Roadside Care which was largely an effort to limit and remove billboards.
Dues were raised in September 1923 to $8.00 for Active Members and $1.00 for Associate Members. In 1924, it was voted to raise the membership to 150 and 25 new members were admitted. The Club also formed a new committee for “flowers for hospitals and shut-ins.”
The next year trees and shrubs were planted at the Fairfield train station and town hall.
In 1926, The Fairfield Garden Club became one of the Charter Members of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut. And the following year the Club voted to accept “with thanks and keen appreciation Mr. O. G. Jennings’ gift of Wakeman Island as a wild flower sanctuary, as long as the Club shall exist.”
Planting Trees Everywhere
During the 1928-1929 year, an ambitious project of planting was initiated that has continued throughout the Club’s 100 plus years: $100 was given to the Southport Village Improvement Society for the planting at the Southport Station; 200 Japanese cherry trees were planted on Penfield and Rowland Roads and Lalley Boulevard; On Paulding Road, a cherry and a sugar maple was planted every 20 feet and a flowering cherry tree was given to every school and church, the library and Legion Hall. Additional trees, shrubs and conifers were planted at the railway station and around City Hall and in a neglected and disused cemetery. Three experts were employed to repair and care for certain old elms in town and The Fairfield Garden Club took to managing and financing spraying by experts of 1200 elms and shade trees, planting 250 tulip bulbs at the Old Academy and “employing a Monday morning pick-up man for the debris left on the Post Road.” And in the next year “several hundred more flowering cherry and crabapple trees were planted and also forsythia near the Gould Homestead.”