The Garden Club celebrates its 85th anniversary

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By Kathryn Rice

The Maryville Garden Club celebrates its 85th anniversary and has been instrumental in the beautification of Maryville during these decades.

One of the things the club does is hold two annual plant sales to spread local plants to the community. Next up is the Daily Iris and Lily Sale from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, August 20 at the Nodaway County Senior Center, 1210 East First Street, Maryville. Then the next sale will be in the spring.

The Maryville Garden Club, Northwest District, is a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri, Inc. It has received a Certificate of Merit from the National Garden Clubs, Inc.

The club has 37 members, with each gardener being different and diverse in their interests.

Current garden club projects include a flower show held at First Christian Church, Maryville, every two years during the Nodaway County Fair. The flower show contest has judges from the Missouri Federated Garden Club. At the flower show, the horticultural categories must be outside the gardens of the presenters. Arrangements may have other elements added.

The club undertakes maintenance of the Mabel Perkins Memorial Garden at Lincoln and Main Streets, Maryville.

The evolution of this project began in 1937 when a gas station was built on the site in the form of a giant petrol pump. It was the first electric gas pump in Maryville. The gas station was closed in 1978. In 1980, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1981 the city purchased the land and the building was moved in 1982. It now stands in King City.

1984 saw the Maryville City Council create a beauty project and decided to fill the two islands at the intersection with dirt instead of concrete. At that time, the Maryville Garden Club took care of it and planted three ash trees on one of the islands.

Highlights from 1987 include Mabel Perkins, President of the Garden Club for seven years, National Master Flower Accredited Judge, Judah Park Tree Planting Project Manager, Historic Marker and Eugene Field Elementary School, Member of the state life and national life. , director of the Northwest District and chairman of the state convention.

Perkins requested that a statue of St. Francis of Assisi be moved from the Mount Alverno Convent which was closing and be placed in the project site. She died of a severe stroke in March. The statue was unveiled as a city garden in May. At the ceremony, the garden was named Mabel Perkins Memorial Garden in honor of the many contributions she had made to gardening in Maryville.

Since then, many perennials have been added to the garden. Burning bushes and spirea were planted. It is the goal of the garden club to have something that blooms at all times during the growing season.

Gardeners are also planting flower beds in Judah Park. In the past, the club has planted trees in city parks.

The Garden Club was instrumental, along with the Nodaway Chapter of the DAR, in erecting the white marble tree stump currently residing in the lobby of the Nodaway County Administrative Center. At the facility’s 2010 dedication, the club told the story of the marble stump that commemorates the white elm tree under which Nodaway County’s first court met on April 7, 1845 on a property belonging to Colonel Isaac N. Prather, eight miles south of Maryville. Prather brought the elm from Kentucky in 1841.

Clinton L. Allen Monuments donated the marble statue in the 1940s. The original elm tree died in 1962. It was decided that the monument would be placed on the east side of the courthouse under a seedling of l original elm. The monument was moved to the Nodaway County Administrative Center when the seedling died.

To celebrate its 85th anniversary, co-chairs Joann Espey and Billie Mackey set up an information booth at the 2022 Nodaway County Fair showcasing club activities, including maintenance of the Mable Perkins Memorial on South Main Street and Judah Park, as well as historical information.

Home gardeners meet at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday from March to December at the First Christian Church. During the summer, the club visits members’ gardens. Meetings are educational and members are friendly and welcoming, Mackey said. For more information, contact President Martha Moldaver at 660.254.9658.

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