District 1 of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc., presented its prestigious 2023 Marguerite Willey Bowl Award to Talbot County Garden Club on March 1. The presentation took place at the District’s annual meeting at Prospect Bay Country Club in Grasonville. TCGC’s incoming President Maribeth Lane accepted the award on behalf of President Carolyn Rugg. Federated District Director Jeanne Bernard made the presentation, together with State President Anna O’Kelly.
The Willey Bowl is awarded annually to the club that has best served the District in promoting the state or national objectives of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, of which TCGC is a member. The award’s namesake, Marguerite Willey, was a club president who emphasized Community Service and Garden Therapy by example. Her special interest was daffodils, and thus the bowl is always filled with lovely spring blooms upon presentation.
In giving the award, Bernard cited TCGC’s “breadth and scope of incredible work.” She continued:
“This year’s award winner is a vibrant, highly engaged club whose activities have been particularly emblematic of the priorities embraced by Marguerite Willey. This club, which has been around for over a century now and whose membership is the largest of most clubs in the State of Maryland, is committed to serving their community in many important ways.
“First, they educate their members and the public at large by regularly offering the highest quality programs and activities. They, every year, sponsor a Winter Lecture series, open to all, presenting timely topics and quality speakers. This spring, they are hosting an exciting and elegant luncheon and garden symposium featuring exceptional presenters. They alternate this program every other year with the Maryland Home and Garden Pilgrimage, which is a huge undertaking, opening the most beautiful properties for the touring public.
“This club prioritizes civic beautification regularly designing, funding and maintaining multiple gardens throughout their county—the Historical Society, the Free Library, the Gardens at 5 Corners at Idlewild Park and the Frances Plate Memorial Children’s Garden in this same park. Through their new Project Grants Committee, they will soon fund and plant a new garden as requested by the local Post Office. Outside of their regular civic beautification projects, they recently partnered with the Town of Easton to provide flowering trees, benches and periodic garden oases along the pathways of the Rails to Trails Project. The Rails to Trails Conservancy is a national, non-profit organization based in Washington DC whose mission it is to build a nation connected by trails. They seek to reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Planting trees and providing the opportunity for the community to connect with nature is a perfect garden club contribution.
“During the past several years when it has been difficult to safely serve vulnerable populations, this club has maintained an active Community Garden Therapy program. On a regular basis, particularly for holidays, garden club members convene to create arrangements for patients at the Hospice House as well as for clients of the Interfaith Shelter.
“Finally, this club has a very engaging Young Gardeners program whereby monthly at the Public Library, they teach students up to age ten from public, private and home schooling environments. As an example, the children have planted bulbs in the library garden and have helped create a book on gardening.”
To learn more about TCGC and its multi-faceted programs, visit talbotcountygc.org
At the conclusion of the District 1 meeting, Terry Holman of the Oxford Garden Club was installed as the new District Director.