December 2015 article for “A Walk in the Park” Magazine
Anyone driving through Terrace Park, in almost any season, would probably notice the plantings that catch the eye with a surprising splash of color as you round a bend or turn a corner. Flowers are part of Terrace Park’s history, thanks to one of the Village’s oldest organizations, the Terrace Park Garden Club.
To commemorate the first 50 of its nearly 100 years, Garden Club member, Diana Durden wrote an essay, “A History of the Terrace Park Garden Club”, and the following are some of her observations:
“Membership was not confined to Terrace Park but included women from Milford, Hyde Park, Plainville and other nearby areas. At each meeting members brought “bouquets” – arrangements which were voted upon.
Refreshments were always served following the meeting and were usually tea and little cakes. Roll calls were answered by naming the flower which gives each member the greatest pleasure, or reciting a favorite piece of verse, or by members telling the greatest delight and greatest disappointment in their gardens.
“In June, 1922, the “little girl members of Mrs. Cosby’s sewing class were present and at the instigation of our president, Mrs. Lloyd, agree to plant a root of ivy, to be furnished them by Mrs. Magee, in the “beds” about the walls of the schoolhouse. “
Over the years the Garden Club was active in efforts to eliminate weeds along the sidewalks, “have the garbage removed at least once weekly”, fight the proliferation of billboards and the invasion of Japanese beetles, and provide landscaping for what is now the Village Green. As early as the 1930’s there was an Environmental Committee concerned with pollution in the Little Miami River.
During the ‘forties, the Second World War was reflected in the Garden Club’s activities. In January of 1942 he meeting date was changed for the duration of the war so as not to conflict with the Red Cross meeting days In July of the year, “Mrs. Ruck reminded members than any surplus in their Victory Gardens would be gratefully received for canning for the underprivileged.”
The club also adopted many philanthropic projects, including many years of support for a ward in the Longview state mental hospital.
“On Christmas in 1925, Club members gave a Christmas Party for the ward. Thirty-five Christmas trees in bowls decorated with lights and ornaments provided the decorations and 36 handkerchiefs were given as gifts. The living conditions at Longview were noted to be “deplorable” and the Club donated $10.00 at the following meeting to help improve them.”
Fast forward to today, and the TP Garden Club is as busy as ever. Traditions such as the Memorial Garden, the bridge flower boxes, the yearly Table Settings luncheon, the “Race to the Green” plant sale, Christmas gifts to the Inner Parish Ministries, and monthly events and speakers are all sponsored by the Garden Club, which even provided the much-needed electrical service to the Village Green. And thanks to the trowels and know-how of Garden Club members, a drive through the Park, especially in the spring, is still a visual delight.