History

1906 – 1936

  • In 1701 Elizabeth Haddon of England Took Possession of Lands in New Jersey Which Her Father Owned & Later Gave to Her. She Came to this New World, Inspired a Town; and At Her Death, These Lands Passed On to Her Family and Subsequently Their Families.  By the 1870s, Remaining Estates Passed on to Mrs. Johns Hopkins (Mary Gill – Daughter of John Gill Vth, Descendent of Elizabeth Haddon’s Cousin John Gill Ist) then Residing in Philadelphia
  • Johns Hopkins Founded The Haddonfield Garden Club in 1906. Meeting at Her Haddonfield Summer Home, “Tavistock”, with 11 Relatives & Friends, their Purpose was to Exchange Ideas on Flowers & Gardens, and Preserve the Natural Beauty of the Area
  • Serving thru 1932, the 1st President Mrs. John Gill Willits (Anna Eastburn), Focused Efforts on Ways of “uplifting mankind”, and as was said of Her, “presided with wisdom and decisive authority”
  • Meetings Were Held Twice Monthly During the “Growing Season” of May to October, in Member Homes. Annual Dues:  25 Cents
  • Members Prepared & Presented Papers on the Care of the Flowers & Plants with which They Were Familiar, Tree Preservation, and Exchanged Tips on Mulching, Fertilizing and Composting
  • A 1909 Member-Proposed Club Motto (Not Formally Adopted) was:

“Go make thy garden fair as thou canst

Thou makest so ever alone;

Perchance he whose plot is next to thine

Will see it and mend his  own.”

  • The Meeting Focus Included: Flowers, Gardening, Floral Design, Community Improvements, Woodland Tours and Agri-Industry. In One Instance They Discussed Controlling  Bird Loss By: Feeding the Birds Early in the AM; Over-Feeding Cats & Letting Them Out Late AM
  • At Each Meeting, Hospitality & Refreshments Supported Harmony & Work;  June’s 1st Meeting:  a Garden Party with Cake & Ice Cream
  • In 1915, Prior to the Boro Land Purchase, They Created Wildflower Gardens and Bird Sanctuary in the Meadows at Hopkins Pond
  • Plants and Florals Were Given to Haddonfield “Rest Homes”, and  to the Veteran’s Hospital at Fort Dix NJ
  • Donations Were Made to: The School of Horticulture for Women, in Ambler PA; The Child Welfare; the Haddonfield Employment Relief (During the Depression); and Other Programs They Could Assist
  • In 1921, “Membership Limits” Were Opened to 35 Total (from the Founding 12), with a Continuing “Wait List”
  • The Club Held Their First Flower Show in 1925 at the Haddonfield Baptist Church: Admission was 25 Cents
  • In 1925 The New Jersey State Federation of Garden Clubs was Organized – The Haddonfield Garden Club was One of Its Charter Members (Today, We’re the Oldest in the State & 3rd in the Country)
  • Early Accounts Indicate The Club was “Informal” – They Made a Membership Accounting, Finance Recordings, Kept “Scrap Books” with Notes & Articles of Interest, and Began Taking Minutes in 1925
  • Town Beautification and Conservation Included Maintaining Estate Gardens, the Planting of Trees, and Woodlands Preservation
  • The Club Planted Rose Bushes and Flowers in the Window Boxes at the Train Station
  • To Honor the Town’s Colonial History, Members Were Instrumental in Having Town Roads Renamed: Main Street Became King’s Highway; Mansion Avenue Became Warwick Road; and Highland Avenue was Renamed Chews Landing Road

 

1937 – 1966

 

  • The Club Organized Under “Roberts Rules of Order” and in 1937 had Standing Rules Defining Officers & Committees.
  • Club’s “Object(ive)”: Encourage Interest in Gardens & the Study of Nature – Membership was “confined to those who love flowers”
  • By 1939 The Club had Opened to 70 Active Members, Still with a “Waiting List” of Prospective Members.
  • Meetings Were Suspended During the War Years of 1944 – 1946
  • 1946 Meetings Resumed: a “Cheer Committee” Organized to Prepare Holiday Packages of “Thanks” for Veterans; and “Invalid Bedside Gardens” Continued for Patients at Fort Dix Into the 1960s
  • State Legislative Action Advocacy was Undertaken to Purchase the “Island Beach of the Phipps Estate” Property as a Preserve
  • Phipps Island Beach“ Dedicated for Conservation & Protection of Owls and Hawks. HGC Continued with Other Land Preservation Acts

1967 – 1996

 

  • In the Mid-1960s, The Club Observed Aggressive Business Growth and Development was Undermining the Beautiful Historic Character of Haddonfield which Caused the Club to Engage More Actively in Preservation Efforts (Earlier Destruction of Old Estate Gardens, for the Sake of a Parking Lot, Had Angered Members and Prompted Them to Go Before the Commissioners to “Stop the Ruination”)
  • Garden Club Members Provided Input Into Plans to Preserve the Town’s Heritage: Historic Renewal, Preservation & Creation of Gardens; Protected Woods & Lands; and Architecture & Design
  • As Part of the Town’s “Beautification Plan” in 1972, The Club Designed and Installed the First 20 Plant Urns on King’s Highway, As Well As Creating and Planting Flower Beds in Lantern Lane
  • This Same Year of 1972, The First Annual Member Yearbook was Created to “Inform and Inspire” Members to Attend & Participate
  • During the 1976 Bicentennial, an Authentic Colonial Herb Garden was Designed and Installed at Greenfield Hall (Historical Society)
  • 1984 & 1986 The Club Renewed a “Standard Flower Show” Event (First Held in 1925), Affording Members Opportunities to Develop Floral Skills & Design Talents, Showcasing Their Work to the Public
  • Continued Involvement in Community Beautification Led The Club in 1985 to Submit to the Boro and Implement Their Landscape Design of The King’s Court – This Design was Entered into Family Circle Magazine’s Nationwide “Make America Beautiful Contest” – Winning a National Award & a Magazine Feature Recognition for the Project
  • The First Annual Herb and Perennial Plant Sale Held in 1987 at the Historical Society, Continues Today at King’s Court, as The Club’s Chief Fundraiser for Haddonfield High Senior College Scholarships
  • The Club Began Its Foray into the Philadelphia Flower Show (PFS) World – Winning Blue (1st) & Red (2nd) Place in the “Design Class”: First, with Their Full Room Entry “High Noon”; & Later with a Cut Floral Arrangement “Dr. Livingston, I Presume”
  • While Continuing to Win PFS Awards in the “Design” Class; The Club Shifted to Entries in the “Horticulture” Class

 

1997 – to Present

  • Horticultural Class Entries in the PFS Winning Double Blue Ribbons Included: “Anna Capri” in the Balcony Category (Also Won “Best in Show – in Class”) & A 13’ X 10’ Set, “Low Key in the Keys”, with its Flirty Feathery Pink Flamingo Grabbing the Attention of The New York Times, & Earning Our Exhibit a Coveted NYY Feature Article
  • The HGC Gained Respect & Recognition for Talent & Expertise
  • The Club Continues Win Awards at The Philadelphia Flower Show, and Invitations to Design Elsewhere
  • Countless Volunteer Hours Have Been Invested in Design of Public Places, Including: Spring & Winter Holidays at The Historical Society, The Indian King Tavern, The Haddonfield Public Library,  and Philadelphia’s Fairmont Park Historic Homes
  • In 2000, a Butterfly Garden with Plant Attractors, Arbors and a Water Fountain was Constructed Behind Lullworth Hall, at the Bancroft Site
  • Begun by The Garden Club, was the Concept and Initiative to Bring  a Bronze Sculpture of “Haddy” the Dinosaur to Lantern Lane (The 1858 Hadrosaurus was the First Intact Dinosaur Skeletal Discovery)
  • The Club Continues Annually to Design & Maintain “Streetscape” Planters on King’s Highway, Haddonfield Downtown Shopping Area
  • 2008 Members Designed & Tend: Six “Pocket Gardens”, Including Bette Powell Memorial Garden; The Herb Garden at Greenfield Hall; The Tatem Garden; and The Markeim Art Center Outdoor Planters
  • Garden Therapy at the Presbyterian Home; Floral Crafts at the Mable Kay Center, Continue to Offer Seniors a Creative Interlude
  • The Club Donates “The Little Reader” Statue in Front of the Library
  • For Veterans, Those Serving & Their Families, “Blue Star” Floral Arrangements Continue The 1940s Tradition Honoring Our Military
  • The Club Continues a Tradition Begun in the 1940’s, of Members Providing Fresh Flower Arrangements Weekly to the Library
  • $1,000 Scholarships are Awarded to Haddonfield College-Bound Seniors for Majors in Horticulture & Related Areas of Study
  • In 2008 Membership Included Men Amongst Its Membership, With The Club’s First Male President Elected for 2015-2017 Term.
  • 2016 HCC Undertook Conservation Efforts at Hopkins Pond Park
  • 2018-19 Under Law Honoring Veterans Service in All Armed Forces, HGC Sponsors a Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker on Route 41