By Shauntay Hinton
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — The wonders of Spring are in full effect in Columbus, and gardening enthusiasts are celebrating with the 85th Annual Convention of The Garden Clubs of Mississippi. This green thumb experience is not just about growing pretty flowers or killing nasty weeds. Shauntay Hinton takes us inside the rich history of garden clubs that pride themselves on being natural treasures.
Flowers, beautiful flowers can brighten a dull room, and the ladies of the Columbus garden Clubs are expert growers, but it’s not a pass-time for them. There is a deep-rooted history of patriotism, volunteerism, and love for one’s town that fuels the passion for being a garden club member.
“They are interested in conservation,” said Garden Club member, Anne Freeze. “They are interested in preservation. They are interested in beautifying Columbus. They are interested in knowledge, and how to keep their gardens healthy and happy.”
Garden Clubs started in 1891 in Georgia, during the time of Reconstruction after the Civil War where great damage occurred to monuments, buildings, parks, and roads. Over the years, Garden Clubs have grown into a national federation of extensive horticultural study ranging from beginners level to mastery status.
“It’s a year of weekly classes, it’s very intensive training,” said Freeze.
But not everyone has to be a master to enjoy the art of gardening.
Freeze admits, “My garden is a mess. My garden is just a mess.”
Registration Chairperson, Jean Taylor said, “Oh, I play with it. Maybe it’s not the best looking garden, but it is a lot of fun!”
This is the 85th year for the Garden Convention, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Over 200 dedicated gardeners from across Mississippi showed up to the Trotter Convention Center eager to learn about how they can improve their green thumbs, and chat with like-minded friends. Organizers are thrilled to keep this gardening tradition alive.
“We’re just excited to have them in Columbus today, so they can spend their money!” said Taylor.
The Gardening Convention is a 3 day event and will end on Thursday with tours of historic gardens and antebellum homes in the Columbus area.