In 1947, when the city of Lake Jackson was six years old, there were about thirty women who realized the importance of having a garden club in the fledgling township. They eagerly met and decided that they would meet on the second Wednesday of every month from September to June at 10:00 a.m. The club has continued to meet on the second Wednesday. They adopted the Calendula as the club flower and the club colors were to be green and yellow. In future years, we do not know when or why, the club flower was changed to the Magnolia grandiflora. One of the early members, Mary Cutshall, was an artist and she painted The Magnolia. This painting graces our entry table at every meeting.
These far-sighted ladies realized the importance of becoming members of Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. and National Garden Clubs, Inc., which at that time was the National Council of State Garden Clubs and they also became members of District IV of Texas Garden Clubs, inc.. The Houston Federation of Garden Clubs and Houston Council of Garden Clubs had been organized a few years before and the Lake Jackson Garden Club became a member of both of these early organizations and it remains a member of the Houston Federation to this day.
From the time the club was organized until 1947 they met in members’ homes but in 1952 they started meeting in the First Methodist Church, Social Hall with an occasional meeting at the Lake Pavilion. When Lake Jackson acquired a Library the meeting place was changed to the Lake Jackson Library.
Every year, in the early years, the club had a major project as well as a Flower Show. Some of the earliest civic projects were partial landscaping of the Girl Scout house and the Nature Trail. The Civic Committee was to take active charge of civic projects sponsored by the club, and encourage efforts to increase the landscape beauty of the town. There have been many more projects through the years, too many to mention in this space. Additionally, some were not recorded.
The club had a workshop almost every year on flower arranging, corsage making, etc. The first December meeting was a Christmas party with a gift exchange and at the Christmas party in 1954 the limit for the cost of the gift was $1.20.
In the early years there would be an all-day workshop and the club would either furnish the lunch or the members would bring a sack lunch. It would be a workshop or a flower arrangement clinic or treating and drying fresh plant material, etc.
Emphasis in the early years was on flower arranging and more than half of their programs were pertaining to some form of flower arrangement, but horticulture was definitely included in the programs. Most of their meetings had competitive exhibits of horticulture and/or designs. There was always “A table design” assigned to one of the members.
The membership dues were $2.00 a year and membership was limited to 35 members because they met in homes. The membership requirement as is found in the Bylaws of those early years:
“After three consecutive unexcused absences a member will be dropped from the list of members upon notification by the 2nd Vice-President.” Another requirement was: “All members are pledged upon entering the club, to enter at least one exhibit in the flower show sponsored by the club and to assist in making same a success.”
The first club prayer was: “Give me, Lord, eyes to behold the truth; a seeing sense that knows the eternal right. A heart with pity filled and gentlest truth; A manly faith that makes all darkness light; Give me the power to labor for mankind; Make me the mouth of such as cannot speak; A conscience to the base; And to the weak let me be hands and feet; And to the foolish – mind; And lead still further on such as Thy kingdom see.” Sometime after 1954 the club prayer was rewritten.
The objectives of the club in the beginning and now are very much the same. The Bylaws tell us that the Objectives were: “The object of this club shall be to sponsor mutual helpfulness in flower culture and garden construction; to aid in the protection of native trees, plants, birds and to encourage civic planting and civic beauty.”
The past seventy years, the Lake Jackson Garden Club has played a vital role in the life of Lake Jackson and continues to contribute to the beautification of the city as well as contribute financially to state scholarships and several charitable organizations such as: the Women’s Shelter, two Food Pantries, Home Delivered Meals, the International Disaster Fund, Seeds for Life. The Lake Jackson Garden Club has grown and matured along with the city.