The full slate of membership for the 23 women who make up the Poland Village Gardeners Garden Club were in attendance last week for a very special luncheon and meeting. It marks the 70th anniversary of the club, which has been an integral part of keeping Poland Village beautiful.
Longtime member Ginny Meloy said the club had a humble beginning in 1943. She presented the club's history at the luncheon and said there was only one garden club in the village at the time. That club met at the Poland Presbyterian Church and was more locally oriented. There was not much done in the then-newer sections of the village.
"Many homes in the village were new at that time," Meloy said. "The newcomers wanted to learn about landscaping because the new homes lacked it."
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Attending the April lunch meeting in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Poland Village Gardeners Garden Club was the full slate of members. Attending were, seated in front: Nancy Lenga, Lindy McMurray, Wendy Meub, Joan DeLucia, and Lee Eminhizer. In second row were: Cathy Lind, Sue Beil, Margaret Ann Jonas, Jackie Boniface, Fran DeGenova, Lorraine Santoro, Liz Majer, and Catherine Jacobs. In third row were: Robin DelNagro, Paula Barrett, Barb Delisio, Ginny Meloy, and Mary Kay Driscoll. In back row were: Susie Lea, Becky Rossi, Sue Anzellotti-Ray, Carol Cox, and Chris Boniface.
She said 25 women got together to form the Poland Village Gardeners on April 12, 1943. Their first effort was to beautify Poland.
"The object of the club was to stimulate and develop interest in plants and birds, to beautify our community, to share our gardens with others, and to encourage others to beautify their own surroundings," Meloy said. "That mission remains for the club today."
To branch out and care for community gardens would take funding and in 1958, the membership started an annual artist's day, based on the Greenwich Village artist's events. That helped bring in funds the gardeners used to support the Poland Forest and the gardens at Village Hall and the public library. The artist's show continued for 40 years and helped raise funds for many projects.
As the time went by, the original members starting to pass away.Remaining members would plant a tree in their memory. In 1995, there were 34 trees planted in the village by the present club members.
In 1998, the club held its last artist's day and has since come up with new ways to raise funds. They presently sell memorial bricks that are placed in the Centennial Gardens at Poland Village and have a historic program that enables homeowners of historic Poland homes to get plaque for display on their home. Proceeds from both go towards the club's garden projects. Informational pamphlets on both programs are available at Village Hall or by contacting a club member.
In 2006, the club completed a major renovation of the Village Hall gardens, including a graceful new pergola. The original garden at Village Hall was put in by Judge James B. Kennedy in 1923. Kennedy owned the home that in 1960 became Poland's Town Hall. Since that time, the Poland Village Gardeners took over maintenance and improvements of that garden. According to Jacobs, that work continues.
"Last fall, we completed a major improvement," Jacobs said. "We replaced the old hedge with 64 hicksii yews."
The hicksii yew is a tree that creates a hedge-like row that can be used to add elegance to a formal garden.
The work continues with spring under way. The members are planting flowers around the garden and will be maintaining it throughout the summer as well as the Poland Library gardens.