In response to a cordial invitation, about thirty summer and local residents of Scituate and the surrounding area met at Greenfield Cottage, the home of the Misses Lewis of Scituate on June 30, 1916, with the intention of organizing the Scituate Garden Club. The first officers elected were Miss Annie Shufeldt as President, Mrs. Roger Dix as Vice President, and Mrs. Etta Seaver as both Secretary and Treasurer. The objective of this club was “The Advancement of
Gardening”, and the annual dues were Fifty Cents.
In 1927, the Scituate Garden Club, along with twenty-nine other Massachusetts Garden Clubs, was invited to meet in Boston’s Horticultural Hall for the purpose of creating a statewide federation which included developing a Constitution and By-Laws. The Scituate Garden Club was a charter member of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts (GCFM) whose first meeting was held on October 27, 1927. As of 2019, GCFM is divided into 9 Districts geographically with a total of 173 Garden Clubs participating. The Federation is a nonprofit 501 C (3) organization and all member Garden Clubs operate under their umbrella and must comply with all Federal and State regulations.
The Fruit and Flower Mission of Boston, part of a national social welfare organization, is first mentioned in the Club records in 1929, when the Scituate Garden Club donated $10. In 1930 members of the Scituate Garden Club and the Marshfield Women’s Club filled containers with fruit and flowers every third Wednesday for distribution to those in need. These were sent, via train, from Scituate into Boston. This civic project continued throughout the Depression until 1959, when the closing of the Old Colony Railroad rendered transporting all of these packages unwieldly. The Scituate Garden Club supported several relief organizations during the Second World War through donations of goods needed by servicemen, and providing services such as rolling bandages to the Red Cross.
The Club remained a summer club until 1962 when it was voted to amend the By-Laws and meet at least ten months of the year. As part of our Charter we are limited to sixty active members. At this time various committees were formed to conform with Federation guidelines. In 1963, the Garden Club held the first “Cranberry Festival” on the grounds of a member's farm. For over twenty years, until the farm was sold, this biennial event attracted visitors from all over the South Shore. We sold dried and fresh floral arrangements, crafts, garden produce, delicious foods, healthy plants, and hosted a delightful poolside luncheon. This was our sole fundraiser during those years. This has been replaced by our annual Plant Sale which held every May on the grounds of the historic Mann Farmhouse, adjacent to our Wildflower Garden, on Greenfield Lane.
Floral design has been one of the most popular activities within Garden Club. Many of our members have won countless awards competing in local, regional and national flower shows as well as in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts “Art in Bloom” event held every April. Members have achieved accreditation by attending the Federation’s Landscape Design, Environmental Studies, Flower Show and Gardening Schools. Some have studied further and received national accreditation as Flower Show Judges.
In the 21st century, the Scituate Garden Club will continue its objective of promoting “The Advancement of Gardening”. Our 100 plus year commitment to our town is demonstrated by our extensive support of various Scituate civic projects as well as through education supporting the appreciation of Horticulture, Landscape, Floral Design, Conservation and Environmental Concerns.