On Tuesday, the Northside Garden Club of Klamath Falls will celebrate 65 years in existence.
In 1953 a group of women got together to form a garden club with the help of Sally Wood who was the first director of our Klamath District. The founding members were Bea Johnson, Margaret Volk, Eloise Hayden, Bernadette Mathis, Eppie Haddock, Helen Keller, Hildegard McClurg, Dee Henniger, Netta Mae Sohrakoff and Amy Ohles. The 10 women — our founders — did the hard work of organizing the Northside Garden Club. The first year, six more women joined, for a total of 16 members. The first president of Northside was Bea Johnson 1953-1954, followed by Margaret Volk in 1954-1955.
The chrysanthemum was chosen as the club flower, blue as the club color. The club bird became the seagull, which was changed to Bonaparte’s gull in 2002.
In our historical materials, it states that the club grew to 27 members in its second year. The highest membership came in 1983-84 with 40 members. Today, Northside Garden Club has 30 members.
Projects for the newly formed club their first full year were: Landscape and care of Shippington Park, litterbug campaign and flower arrangements for the Community Lounge. The club was heavily involved in the care and beautification of Shippington Park. The Shippington Mill owned the park and they let the club plant and landscape the park. In 1960, Shippington Mill gave the playground to the city and the park was renamed Krause Park. In 1965, Edna Robinson took over as park chairperson and was chair until 1976 when the city took over care of the park.
The first programs given at Northside’s meetings were about birds, iris exchange, perennial seed planting, strawberries, herbs, corsages, landscaping, roses, sweet peas and annual seed planting.
Meetings were held at the homes of members and at Moore Park. Each meeting opened with the flag salute and ended with a white elephant sale. Dues were $1.
In 1955, Northside participated in a five-garden club flower show at the Klamath Yacht Club.
Northside has had many master flower judges in our history. Pansy Jackson, Nina Price and Margaret Volk were all master judges. Marilyn Pile and Ginny Koutsky, current members of Northside, were both life judges but are no longer active judges.
In reading through our history, the list of projects and activities that Nortside participated in and accomplished is immense. The club ran a Christmas bazaar at the fairgrounds, flower shows, wrote our own cookbook, participated in Century Days of Klamath Falls, created Christmas baskets, supported the Claire Hanley Scholarship fund, garden therapy, Klamath County Fair — floral show, Blue Star Marker project and watering, maintenance of plants in the Klamath County Library and for many years now, maintained the flower garden at Marta’s House/ Women’s Crisis Center.
The club’s first budget printed in the yearbook of 1962-63 was $246.50. Club dues have increased as district and state dues went up. Currently, dues for Northside are $10.
Northside members are also very active at the district and state level. Lavon Ostrick and Jaye Weiss are the current co-directors of the Klamath District and many Northside members chair important committees for the district. Tanja Swanson of Northside has served at the state level for many years and she will be installed as the new state president in June of 2019.
Our club does an annual plant sale in June of each year, participates in the Senior Citizens Christmas Bazaar — where we sell freshly made wreaths, baked goods and handmade goods, and raffle off a Christmas and a Gardening basket. Money from our fundraising efforts are used for community gardening outreach and projects.
Therefore, if you love gardening and want to be active in gardening events throughout the Klamath Basin we invite you to join us at the Northside Garden Club. For more information, call Wanda Baker at 541-882-8373 or Bernie Wood at 541-884-2421.