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Gardening service organization celebrates 70 years

The Bay Gardeners celebrated 70 years as a club Oct. 10.

Formed by six women in October 1946, the club was given the name Garden Club No. 9. Goals of the original group were to learn good gardening practices and become more aware of the environment. Early programs included soil analysis, composting, wildflower identification, garden tours and plans to enter the local fair, with any winnings to be designated to the club treasury.

At one time, there were 16 garden clubs in the city, which is now down to two, said a long-time member. Club members have done civic projects, garden therapy and has long been about community service.

In 1950, the club started a gardening newsletter that developed into a newspaper column "Garden Gems" for the Telegram. In the 1950s members participated in the project of planting Hopi crab apple trees in Superior. Members purchased two trees for $3, one for them to plant and one for the city to plant. Many organizations participated in this beautification project.

In 1960, the club voted to join the Wisconsin Garden Club Federation. They became part of the Indianhead District as well as Central Region and the National Garden Club Inc. This connected the club with other gardeners and provided opportunities for furthering their education in many ways with schools and instructors accredited by the national organization.

In 1972 the club changed their name to Bay Gardeners. Members meet once a month in homes, churches or at the library, to make a difference in their communities, while continually learning and sharing that knowledge.

Through the years, this club has contributed many hours of work helping make Island garden, Iowa Avenue flower boxes, rose gardens in Billings Park, the Memorial Hospital courtyard gardens, Project Marigold, which provided seeds and soil to all first and second graders in the Superior school district, as well as floral arranging workshops with residents at Middle River Health and Rehabilitation.

Current membership includes residents of Superior, Iron River, Brule, Maple, South Range and Foxboro. Although this creates some serious carpooling, members try to alternate meetings in different areas to accommodate this challenge.

In celebration of our 70 years, the club recently voted to present the book "The Frightened Frog" to all elementary school libraries in our area. It shares environmental concerns about frog and encourages education and awareness of our small creatures.

We continue to grow in friendship, service and knowledge as we promote the joy of "Gardening for Good."

For information about the club, email BayGardeners@centurytel.net.

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