The purposes of The Garden Club of Philadelphia are exclusively charitable and educational, particularly to increase the knowledge and practice of horticulture, to aid in the protection and beautification of publicly used areas and historic properties and to address community needs in horticulture, conservation, environment, and related fields.
Garden Club of Philadelphia
The Garden Club of Philadelphia, the country's oldest, was officially founded as The Garden Club in May, 1904, at Andalusia, the home of Mrs. Charles Biddle. Over the next few years we acquired our logo, our motto (Furor Hortensis - translated as "Garden Mad"), and our current name. Our early members founded the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women in Ambler, PA in 1911 (now part of Temple University) and the Garden Club of America (GCA) in 1913. The Club in 1929 was a founding member of The Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania.
The fundamental objectives of the Club have always been 'Beautification, Conservation, Preservation ... gentle intoxication". Our Club has engaged from the beginning in many types of work - natural, state, civic, and currently, national. Over the years our Club has been actively involved in many civic projects. Our fundraising eforts support many arboretums and historic gardens in our area.
The Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America (PCGCA), of which we were a founding member in 1964 and now comprises the ten Garden Club of America Clubs in the Delaware Valley, was created to work together on funding worthy Philadelphia city horticultural projects. At the PCGCA Joint Meeting which is attended by members of all ten clubs, our Club presents an award in memory of our extraordinary member Dorothy Falcon Platt to a member of our GCA Zone V for horticulture, artistry, and freely sharing their knowledge.
Annually, our Club holds three horticulture shows, three floral design shows, and one photography show. The Club and our individual members exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show, consistently winning ribbons and awards, as well as volunteering in varied ways. With a membership of diverse ages and talents, we have the opportunity to both teach and learn.
A wide variety of workshops are offered for our members, often taught by one of our own, in areas such as flower arranging, propagation, photography, forcing bulbs, creating and planting troughs, decoupage, and jewelry made from dried plant materials.
A long time tradition is to create wreaths and arrangements for those in need of holiday cheer at the Christmas Greens meeting in December. Recently we added a card that provides information to our recipients regarding the plant material used and its care. Usually every other year, our Club decorates a Fairmount Park Historic House for the Christmas Tours.
There are numerous Standing Committees that represent all aspects of the Club. The Garden History and Design Committee created, in honor of GCA's 100th Anniversary, a photographic record in time of our members' gardens or other horticultural or floral design interests. This Committee has also recorded and submitted gardens to the Smithsonian Institution. The Conservation Committee organized a trip to Chestertown, MD, in 2014 that allowed members to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay
Over the years, our Club has published many items:
The History of the Wissahickon
Propagated, Potted, Protected, Pinched, Pricked, Pruned, Planted - A Date with Container Growing Indoors and Out, by Dorothy Simms Keith (daughter of Dorothy Falcon Platt)
Furor Hortensis, A Five-Year Calendar of Your Garden with helpful tips compiled by The Garden Club of Philadelphia 1997-2002; 2002
The Garden Club of Philadelphia - One Hundred Years 1904-2004; 2004
A Collection of Poems; October 2008
The Garden Club of Philadelphia 1904-2012 Furor Hortensis; 2013
Our Club sends members to a variety of conferences and meetings throughout the year:
The annual GCA National Affairs and Legislation Meeting in Washington, DC
The GCA Shirley Meneice Horticultural Conference
A Floral Design Conference
The GCA Annual Meeting
The GCA Zone V Meeting
Our members have been active leaders over the years at the PCGCA, Zone V, and national GCA levels. Thanks to our varied and talented membership, our Club maintains its unique spirit and charm.