The Friendly Garden Club of Beverly was first organized in 1936. Our mission is to encourage home gardening, to provide mutual help and inspiration, and to encourage an active interest in all outdoor life and community involvement. We are actively involved in many aspects of the community with our Civic Projects.
History of the Friendly Garden Club
In June of 1936 our Garden Club was started by a group of 15 or so, Beverly women who took a gardening course at Essex Agricultural School. These women decided to organize a club where they could continue to study and work together in this field that interested them.
Their early by-laws indicated a membership of 25 women who would meet at each other’s homes during the day. Their dues where $1.00 and it was suggested that they be “dirt gardeners” and that they would “disregard the matter of eats”. In June of 1937 the name The Friendly Garden Club was voted in on in the second ballot and it became the club’s official name. On November 28, 1938 The Friendly Garden Club became a member of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, Inc..
This small group of ladies held flower shows, supplied flowers to the City Home located on Cedar Street in Beverly, a home for the old and infirmed. They place flowers twice a month at the Beverly public Library, built and decorated flower boxes for Beverly City Hall and filled them with summer flowers and Christmas decorations. These ladies made bedside bouquets (in baby food jars) for the Chelsea Naval Hospital and helped decorated the Hospital for Christmas until it closed.
Over the years we have planted many traffic islands, planted trees, participated in the Boston Flower Show, Topsfield Fair, and staged many flower shows. We even planted several hundreds of tulips around a large anchor at Independence Park, only to see them bloom in other locations in Beverly.
In 1980 our meetings were changed to evenings to attract women with small children or who worked. In 1982 we formed a short lived Junior Garden Club and in 1984 we started our scholarship award of $200 to a deserving Beverly High School Senior who would continue their education in a field of horticulture.
Back in 1936, this small band of women little realized the amount of pleasure, talent, hard work and energy that would be expended over the next 70 years for their club. But who can deny the pleasure of working together making Christmas greens or seeing a garden take shape. Who would exchange the friends made and the knowledge gained by so many “dirt gardeners”?
That is “The Friendly Garden Club”!
By Dorothy Battis September 23, 1986
Updated by Jeanne Murdock 2012