Garden clubs long have been stereotyped merely as a circle of friends who come together to socialize and share gardening stories.
Garden club members say these days the stereotype doesn't fit. They are more likely to be involved in the community, sponsoring projects and events where their love of gardening is put on display.
The Augusta Council of Garden Clubs has 18 active clubs in Richmond and Columbia counties, with more than 400 individual members.
"Many have great projects that contribute to our counties," said Jil Powell, president of the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. "They go about their work without any concern for thanks. They do this because they care about their communities and how they might help."
Peg Glover serves as president of the Garden Arts Garden Club. Her club has taken on the Hope Garden at the Ronald McDonald House as its community project.
"We have people assigned each month to check the garden for weeds," said Glover.
Another garden club active in the community is the Pioneer Garden Club of Harlem. That club is responsible for maintaining the memorial garden behind city hall and sponsors a "yard of the month'' project.
The Cherokee Rose Garden Club maintains a memorial garden at Westmont Elementary School and sponsors an annual fall plant swap and sale.
Willow Wood Garden Club helps maintain the flowers at the Columbia County Library in Evans, while the Iris Garden Club has landscaped an area at Savannah Rapids Pavilion.
Council President Powell said the goals of each club are to "educate, beautify and conserve."
During National Garden Club Week earlier this summer, area clubs visited shut-ins, placed flowers in hospitals and performed various community-related projects. Council clubs also are helping to landscape a garden area at the Fisher House at Fort Gordon.
Being able to use their hobby to give back to the community is fulfilling for active members of the area's garden clubs. With meetings recently resumed after the summer break, garden clubs in Columbia County are looking for new members.
Those interested in joining a local club can visit the ACGC Web site at www.gardencentral.org/georgia/acgc to find a list of area clubs, along with projects that each club sponsors.
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