1931 - 1981 by Merritt S. Dunlap (President 1981-82)
The Fallbrook Garden Club was organized March 26, 1931 with fourteen members, the purposes being to study plant life, culture for growing plants, and an exchange of plants and methods of gardening. Mrs. Mable Richardson was the founder and first president. During the depression the club struggled through difficult times, but survived with a firm foundation and a sense of dedication which has been maintained throughout the years. It was a charter member of the California Federation of Garden Clubs (now California Garden Clubs, Inc.)
During the years, the club has decorated community Christmas trees, installed window boxes on civic buildings, decorated service men’s’ graves, provided bouquets for school graduates, planted wildflower seeds, and provided landscaping for the Fallbrook Hospital, high school, and road intersection plots. It has provided the high school and the hospital at Camp Pendleton with flowers, and the Fallbrook Hospital and Convalescent Hospital with Christmas wreaths. It provides plants or flower arrangements weekly to the public library. It celebrates Arbor Day each year by providing trees for the Little League Ball Park.
On March 26, 1981, exactly fifty years from the date of its founding, the club celebrated its Golden Anniversary at a gala luncheon, with Mrs. Dean Miller, its president for the past two years, presiding.
The Fallbrook Garden Club holds an annual fall plant sale and baked goods sale, which provided the major funds for the club’s activities. Among other events, the club has recently increased a high school student scholarship to $500 for college studies in Earth Sciences, and allocated $500 for landscaping a prominent corner of the new Fallbrook Community Building. It has also started a Junior Gardeners program in the elementary schools. And with all this, it is continuing past worthwhile programs.
The Fallbrook Garden Club held its 51st Annual Standard Flower Show on April 17 and 18, 1982, entitled FLOWER AFFAIR, “Our First Love.” It had 151 classes of entries in four Divisions; and besides ribbons for each class, ten major awards were given. The Horticulture Division was named “An Affair with Flowers,” and FLOWER AFFAIR, “Our First Love” was the theme for Artistic Design. Junior Gardeners had “Spring Fever,” and the Educational Division display exhibited “Knowing with Feeling.”
The Fallbrook Garden Club meets ten times a year and puts out a monthly newsletter, “The Garden Chirp.” Its programs feature the latest developments in horticulture and provide trips to outstanding gardens, as well as bring the latest observations of home gardening and bird watching to the membership.
At its founding in 1931 with fourteen members, dues were 5 cents per month. Today they are $7.00 per year. Membership by 1952 was 68, in 1981 it was 98, and at present it is 123. The club’s budget is approximately $4,100 per year.
The club flower is the geranium; club colors, coral and green; club logo, a goldfinch singing from a marigold; club motto, “Flowers, like friends, should be well chosen;” and present club theme, “Gardening is Fun.”
1981-2011 by Jane McKee, (President 2001-02 & 2005-06)
Over the past 25+ years the club has continued to grow (to nearly 200), dues have risen from $8.00 to $30.00 for individual members, $50 for a couple and our annual standard flower show has received eleven national first place awards. Four of our members have served as Palomar District Director - Joe Goble, Opal Maletta, Barbara Stevens and Jane McKee; eight members have been named Palomar District “member of the year” and several members have served as other District and State officers or Committee Chairmen.
In 1985 we honored our first Club “members of the year”, in 1994 we installed and dedicated a Blue Star by-way marker in the Village Square (on the wall behind the flag pole), in 1996 an evening program was added for those who were unable to attend daytime meetings, in 1998 study groups were started for those who wanted to learn a bit more about specific areas of gardening and jumping into the 21st century, our first website was launched. In 2006. Also in 2006 we celebrated our 75th anniversary at a gala luncheon with special guest CGCI President Elisabeth Tufo and presented our 75th annual standard flower show. In 2007 a garden tour was added to the list of projects and has become a major fundraiser.
The Club’s many projects have evolved over time but remain centered on local needs as well as support for State and National programs. Today these include: Fallbrook Botanical Garden at Live Oak Park, Arbor Day ceremonies, Memorial Day bouquets, Junior Gardeners, Penny Pines (over 125 plantations), Petals for Patriots, garden therapy, gardening and craft workshops, scholarships for Fallbrook High School graduates, and our annual flower show and garden tour. The newsletter, “The Garden Chirp” is now available to members via our website or e-mail as well as regular mail.
As we look to the future, we continue to be committed to member education, civic beautification and the conservation of natural resources.
A few highlights: