By Don Rush
On May 19, 1933 on Page 1, just below a story with the headline, President Roosevelt Speaks on Wage Scale, the Oxford Leader’s next headline read: Garden Club Organized Here. Last Monday, May 15 the Oxford Garden Club celebrated their 90th anniversary.
The 1933 article reported, “ . . . Members of the Godey Girls and the Martha Washington Sewing Clubs met at the home of Mrs. C. O. Whitcomb the past week and sponsored an organization to be known as a Garden Club. The object of the club shall be to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening among amateurs, and to aid in the protection of native trees, plants and birds and to encourage civic planting. Officers were elected as follows: Mrs. J. S. Butler, president; Mrs. George Millspaugh, vice-president; Mrs. C. O. Whitcomb, secretary and treasurer. A committee to formulate by-law and constitution were Mrs. W. T. Blashill, Mrs. Jessie Kessell and Mrs. R. F. Price.”
The Oxford Garden Club celebrated their anniversary with a luncheon for current and past members as well as invited guests, at the Metamora Country Club. The club was formed on May 8, 1933 as 25 women in the community gathered together to support their love of gardening, both flowers and vegetables.
“The club was started by 25 farsighted ladies,” club president Judy Maybee said. “Their dues were 50 cents a year. Flower arranging was an important part of their meetings as well as visiting the gardens of the hostess after meeting. Meetings were held at members’ homes with up to 50 ladies in attendance. They started a flower show that continued on for many years. It was attended by locals as well as others from other local communities. They planted petunias along the main streets of town for many years.”
In 1935, the club held its first Flower Show, which turned into an Oxford staple for 37 years. It drew crowds from all over southeast Michigan, ranging from 300 to over 1,000 people.
During the WWII years, the club promoted Victory Gardens and supported the war effort. In 1941 Oxford Village selected the Petunia as its flower. Club members planted and maintained Petunia beds along Washington St. from Burdick to Drahner Rd., she said.
“At one meeting in the 1950’s, the hostess surprised the members with a special treat,” Maybee said. “They enjoyed their first taste of popsicles! At another meeting in the 1960s members were invited to the backyard to see the prize pigs of the hostess.”
At their 90th anniversary meeting, 41 current and past members attended donning colorful hats.
“We decorated hats so we could simulate a garden party for our anniversary theme. We also asked the ladies to wear pearls and gloves. They were all popular at that time,” Judy said.
After reading 90 years of meeting minutes, the anniversary planning committee learned many interesting and fun facts about the garden club and presented these at the luncheon. There were 14 presidents at the luncheon and they each were acknowledged.
Throughout the years the Oxford Garden Club has supported local charities. Since 1992 the club has planted and maintained one of the gardens in Centennial Park, winning the Oxford Village Beautification Award in 2011. The club currently has 42 members and they don’t meet in member homes these days – they meet monthly in the Community Room at the Oxford Senior Center, at Seymour Lake Township Park 2795 Seymour Lake Rd.
“For our meetings we have speakers come in, we travel to other gardens,” Maybee said. “In May we have a nursery crawl where we visit at least two other nurseries that are not local but not too far away.”
They have potlucks twice a year, one in April that starts their year and welcomes snow birds back from the south and one in November celebrating harvest sharing. “We share seeds and books and other garden related items.”
Their planning meeting for the year is in January. February or March they do garden related crafts.
People can join by contacting the the Senior Center 248-62-1720 or contacting by email at