In the spring of 1940, a small group of gardeners met at the Jesup Blair Community House to form the Silver Spring Garden Club. The first meetings were held in the old County Building or in members’ homes. They held the first plant sale, the first picnic, and the first garden tour by 1941.
From 1942 to 1946, the club cooperated with the war effort by planting Victory Gardens, donating money, magazines, and flowers to various war projects, including Walter Reed Hospital’s Forest Glen Annex. The club donated over 30,000 bulbs to Jesup Blair Park to honor Silver Spring’s World War II servicemen and women. During the 1940s and 1950s, the Silver Spring Garden Club provided volunteer help to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for small park maintenance, clean-up after storms, and springtime spruce-ups.
The club participated in the landscaping of schools, hospitals, and libraries during the 1950s and 1960s. They took an active part in the landscaping of the Great Oaks Center (which served mentally challenged persons and is now the home of Riderwood retirement community) by donating trees, planting bulbs and daylilies, and assisting with garden maintenance for 15 years. Flower shows were held around the area including the then newly opened Wheaton Plaza.
The Silver Spring Garden Club has actively supported Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, with funds and volunteers since 1969. They have donated funds and plants to its landscape projects including the Fragrance Garden for the Blind, the Winter Garden, and the Rose Garden. In recent years, they have co-sponsored Brookside’s annual “Green Matters” symposiums, the annual “Wings of Fancy” butterfly exhibit, and the annual winter “Garden of Lights” show.
On the second Saturday of May the club’s annual “Garden Mart” is held at Brookside Gardens. The Mart is eagerly awaited by the gardening community. The sale of annuals, perennials, herbs, and vegetables, plants from members’ gardens, and a raffle has helped fund their contributions to worthy causes since 1940.
Club Benefits & How to Join
The general meetings of the Silver Spring Garden Club are open to the public. The meetings are held on the third Monday of every month (except July, August, and December) starting at 8:00 p.m., in Brookside Gardens’ Visitors Center auditorium, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, in Wheaton, MD. Knowledgeable and respected lecturers are chosen from the gardening world to give presentations at each meeting.
Annual dues for single/couple/household members are $10 per year and are payable by mail or at any club meeting. Workshops, tours, and special programs are planned during the year and are announced in The Grapevine newsletter.
Kathy is the current President of the Silver Spring Garden Club and highly recommends you join as well. She is the editor of Washington Gardener magazine (www.WashingtonGardener.com) and a long-time DC area gardening enthusiast. Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes your gardening questions.