Garden Club of Dearborn – Our History
The Garden Club of Dearborn played a major role in the early life of Dearborn. On August 13, 1915, at Mrs. Louis Ives home, several Dearborn ladies formed the Garden Club naming Mrs. Henry Ford (Clara Ford) their first president and she remained president for the first five years of the club.
The early goals of the club were to advance horticulture and gardening and to improve the community. They achieved their goals by installing plantings at the schools in the community, securing the first school nurse, supplying milk for school lunches, and helping to form the first Dearborn Parent-Teacher Association.
Their approach was to start a project, demonstrate success, and then to persuade the School Board or Village Council to take it over. An example of this was the development of Dearborn’s first public library on Michigan Avenue. Through the donation of land from Henry and Clara Ford and the hard work of Mrs. Ford’s friend, Mrs. Clara Snow and her committee of Garden Club members, the library was established. In 1977 the first library, originally named Mason Branch, was renamed the Bryant Library in honor of Katherine Bryant, the sister-in-law of Clara Ford.
Over 100 Years Old and Growing
The Garden Club of Dearborn began with only eighteen members and now has about 100 active members. In 1931, the Garden Club of Dearborn was one of fifteen clubs to form the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan. Today this is known as Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc. with nearly 200 clubs and over 7,000 members. In 1932, the Federation became part of the National Council of State Garden Clubs, now known as National Garden Clubs, Inc., that now has over 276,000 members belonging to 9,300 garden clubs.
What We Accomplish Today
Today, the Garden Club of Dearborn is a 501c3 non-profit organization that continues to serve the community in many ways such as “Garden Therapy” with patients at Oakwood Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing center, installing plantings at the Henry Ford Centennial Library and in downtown West Dearborn, and by offering educational programs for public enjoyment.
Garden Club of Dearborn organizes our annual Holly Berry Brunch fundraiser to fund numerous scholarships to University of Michigan – Dearborn and Henry Ford Community College students, internships and garden restoration at the Henry Ford Estate, and landscaping projects at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, Environmental Interpretive Center at the University of Michigan – Dearborn and other local schools. The club also provides intra-club scholarships for members attending the Fall Conservation Conference, Flower Show School, and the Gardening Study Course and Landscape Design School, where one can become an accredited judge. These people then bring their knowledge back to the club and the community.
Join Us – Become a Member
By becoming a member of the Garden Club of Dearborn and/or attending our annual Holly Berry Brunch fundraiser, you can help the Garden Club of Dearborn continue achieving its many goals, which are to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, and to promote civic beauty by encouraging and contributing to landscape development.