Yardley garden club shares love of flowers and history These devoted horticulturists have been recognized by the Lower Makefield Historic Commission. Clubs

Posted: November 25, 2001

YARDLEY — The Martha Washington Garden Club was founded in 1935 in history-rich Yardley, near where Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware.

Club members said they were not sure why the club was named after the first First Lady, though.

"The early minutes simply say that a group of ladies got together and formed the Martha Washington Flower Club. We don't even know when the name was changed from 'flower' to 'garden' club," said Thelma Thompson, a Yardley resident and former club president.

One thing is clear. The club has a devoted following of horticulture enthusiasts.

Longtime club member Bonnie Long was determined to stay involved despite a move last year from Bucks County to Princeton, N.J.

"I could probably talk for an hour and I wouldn't repeat myself, there is so much going on in this group," Long said.

One particularly notable activity is beautifying the community, she said.

Two ambitious projects - improvements at Elm Lowne, the 18th-century home of Thomas Yardley, and at Slate Hill Cemetery, a 17th-century Quaker burial ground - were recognized in September by the Lower Makefield Township Historic Commission.

With its 110 members - women ranging in age from their 30s to their 80s - the club also emphasizes proficiency in flower design, tours of local gardens, seminars, and horticultural workshops.

The club boasts three master gardeners, Thompson said.

And they come in handy.

"It's great to call one of them and say, 'My rhododendrons are turning yellow, why?' "

With some members living in townhouses, workshops have focused on container gardening, flower arrangements, herbal gardens, and landscaping small areas, Thompson said.

In addition to being a group of women who share a love of gardening, the club raises money for young people going into horticulture, said club president Marion Holubec. Members of the nonprofit club orchestrate plant sales and garden walks, and last year the club gave $800 in high school and college scholarships, she said. The group also donates money to Bowman's Hill, a wildflower preserve in Washington Crossing.

In years past, the club has decorated the historic homes at Washington Crossing Park for Christmas, and it provides weekly flower arrangements for the Bucks County Free Library, Yardley-Makefield Branch.

The club meets the fourth Wednesday of the month at 12:30 p.m. from September to June at the Lower Makefield Masonic Hall at Edgewood and Heacock Roads, in Yardley. Dues are $20 a year.

For more information, contact Marion Holubec at 215-639-9259.

Have an interesting club or organization? Contact Susan Weidener at sweidener@phillynews.com.

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