History and Mission of National Garden Clubs
- National Garden Club
- Florida Federation of Garden Clubs
- Deep South Region
- Deltona Garden Club
National Garden Clubs, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that aims to promote the love of gardening, floral design, and civic and environmental responsibility and we help coordinate the interests and activities of state and local garden clubs in the U.S. and abroad.
The first garden club meeting in the United States took place in Athens, Georgia in 1891. It occurred during a time when women were seeking knowledge about a variety of subjects in study clubs of those with like interests. They felt they needed more knowledge, as they had not had the benefit of a formal higher education.
The topic of gardening was a logical choice for women in Athens, as it was the site of the University of Georgia with its botanical garden. This garden had a collection of thousands of rare plants. With the failure of the botanical garden, many residents had an interest in exchanging plants among themselves.
The idea to have a garden club came from Dr. Edwin Dorset Newton, an Athens physician who had a keen interest in horticulture. Twelve women met in the home of Mrs. Edwin King Lumpkin on a January day in 1891 to form the Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens. The primary purpose was to study plants with each member studying a particular variety. These members dedicated themselves to the study of horticulture and the exchange of plants and ideas for the betterment of their community. Members were encouraged “to carry out experiments with different vegetables, flowers, seeds and so forth to find out which varieties were best.” The first flower show grew from the exhibitions of their flowers and vegetables.