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Twinsburg -- Causing friendships to blossom and community roots to grow for 50 years, the Twinsburg Garden Club plans to celebrate its golden anniversary with a series of events to honor and build upon the history of the club.
The club was founded in 1963 by West Virginia native Peggy Hall with support from original members, like Marge Percy. Garden club member and Twinsburg resident since 1980, Ada Pollock notes that the club had 12 members during its first year, eventually growing to its current membership of about 40.
Co-president Virginia Schmidt said a strength of the club is how readily it welcomes new members and fresh ideas.
"I personally have always liked gardening and just decided to drop into one of the meetings and I was immediately made to feel welcome by the long-term members as well as the newer members," Schmidt said. "I think that with any club, if you remain stagnant, you could go away and we didn't want that to happen."
To kick off the landmark year, Pollock is scheduled to host and narrate "50 Years Down the Garden Path" Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Twinsburg Senior Center, 10260 Ravenna Road. The presentation will show interviews with longtime members, and scrapbooks, photos and other memorabilia will be on display.
Additional 50th anniversary events will include a tea luncheon April 6, an annual plant sale May 11 and a float in the 2013 Twins Day Parade Aug. 3.
The garden club organizes a variety of programs and projects, including the yearly flower sale in May and a biennial garden tour, which takes guests through several featured gardens in the Twinsburg area. Schmidt said the 2012 garden tour was the most successful the club had ever organized.
"That was a huge thing for us and we attracted many people from outside the [Twinsburg] area too, which was a good thing," added Co-president Karen Fullerman.
Fullerman said the annual May plant sale has expanded since its inception to include gifts, wholesale plants, raffles and other offerings. The plant sale will be May 11 at the Historical Society Barn, adjacent to the society's 8996 Darrow Road headquarters.
"The plant sale that we have in May has gotten more diverse, meaning that it used [to have] pretty much [only] plants that were taken from members' gardens," Fullerman said. "Over the last few years, we have gone out and bought wholesale plants to sell. We've made some things like terrariums and gifts for mother's day."
With members ranging in age from their 40s to their 80s, Fullerman said the club welcomes anyone in or outside of Twinsburg, and encourages any curious parties to come to a meeting to see if the club is for them. Regular meetings are the second Thursdays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Twinsburg Senior Center, except in November, when the meeting is held on the third Thursday.
"You really do make lifelong friends, everyone gets along and it's just really a wonderful group," Fullerman said. "I'm very happy to be a part of the organization."
Though the club has always been an active part of the Twinsburg community, Pollock said its priorities and interests have changed over the years as members come and go.
"When I first joined, we weren't having many flower shows ... but it's always been an active club," Pollock said. "They're always fund raising and doing things for the community.
"At some times, some are more interested in the craft side and winning awards," Pollock added. "At other times, they're more interested in the flower arranging and the workshops or exchanging plants and we always had a plant sale to raise money."
Although project goals and membership volume have shifted over the last 50 years, one thing has remained solid: the club's overall mission.
"To educate and beautify our community," Pollock said. "Planting the right kind of plants, how to encourage the wildlife to your yard, all kinds of things like that. I don't think any of that has changed, really."