A visit to Chanticleer Gardens in May 2006
PHS Flower Show in March 2008 –
One of many blue ribbons for Lee Gittens
A visit to Sue Bunkin's Dahlia Gardens in September 2008... glorious specimens!
Countryside Gardeners was started in September 1933 by thirteen women who were all members of the Doylestown Nature Club but didn’t think the group put enough emphasis on flowers. The group that formed also wanted to become a member of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania. The original name was “The Garden Rakes,” but decided the
federation might regard this as too risqué. The name “Countryside Gardeners” was chosen because of the diverse location of members homes — “all over the countryside.”
The bylaws limited membership to 25 and dues were $1.00! Early club meetings were formal with ladies wearing hats and gloves and were called by their formal names at meetings. The club emphasized horticulture knowledge and the programs at these earliest meetings included various aspects of horticulture as well as birds, terrariums, sundials, shell collections and bees.
The club’s flower shows were held at Strawbridge and Clothier in Jenkintown nearly every year. Club projects included maintenance and planting at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, planting gardens at Historic Fallsington as well as planting memorial trees along the East River Drive in Fairmount Park.
Over 85 years later, Countryside Gardeners still exists and in many ways is much like the club that was created by those 13 women who loved flowers. Current meetings are informal, hats are optional!
The Club Today
Countryside Gardeners today is a diverse group of members, many of whom live in Bucks County, the surrounding area, and in New Jersey.
The meetings are held 10 times a year, January through June and September through December and are usually on the first Monday of the month at the Half Moon Inn in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Our meetings typically involve a program with either guest lecturers or workshops. We also have a mini flower show when meetings are held at the Inn. There are several excursions each year that include visit to points of interest within our community and beyond, such as the Grounds for Sculpture, Bartram Gardens and Chanticleer Gardens. All meetings include refreshments and a business meeting.
Many of our members have had great success at the Philadelphia Flower Show and they are more than willing to share their talents and experience with other members. We garnered two second place ribbons with our Table Entry in the competitive class of the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show.
Club projects have included a series of flower arranging workshops, ongoing restoration and maintenance of the Half Moon Inn gardens, yearly decorating of the Half Moon Inn for the Newtown Holiday House Tour and participation in Newtown’s Market Day. The club continues to contribute regularly to Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, makes donations to A Woman's Place, and prepares holiday food baskets for a family in need three times a year.
Countryside Gardeners has a constitution and bylaws, and is a member of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania which is affiliated with the National Garden Clubs, Inc. We have an elected board of officers who serve for two years. We encourage anyone who shares our interest in horticulture and design (and a passion for learning!) to consider becoming a member of Countryside Gardeners.
Membership in our club will bring you together with people who have a common interest in
flowers, horticulture and the environment. By taking an active part in the club, members will learn gardening tips and tricks, floral arranging, interesting facts about birds and insects, plus much, much more. Speakers include seasoned gardeners, professional horticulturists and floral designers, environmentalists, and historians. In addition, we exchange plants, seeds, bulbs, books or other literature, and also share information about local events, workshops and environmental news.
Annual membership dues for both active and associate members are payable at the beginning
of the club year at the regular March meeting. Members are expected to attend meetings regularly, work on volunteer projects and participate in the club’s mini flower show.