The Garden Club of Dayton celebrates its centenary – Low Calorie Diets Tips

The Garden Club of Dayton is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is hosting a garden tour this Saturday. The club also has community projects across the city to celebrate its centenary. WYSO’s Jason Reynolds stopped to smell the roses…and peonies, irises, and dahlias. Sara Woodhull works for WYSO.

SARA WOODHULL: Let’s start at the beginning.

JASON REYNOLDS: It’s a sunny spring day and Sara Woodhull is showing me around her garden.

WOODHULL: These irises are from my brother-in-law in Portland, Oregon and they are beautiful, wild, and bright yellow. He sent them to me one winter and I said, “You know, it’s freezing here.” I didn’t have a place to put them. So I buried her under a pile of dirt. In the spring they sprouted.

REYNOLDS: In addition to flowers from her brother, she has flowers from her mother’s garden, her great-aunt’s garden, friends, and members of the Garden Club of Dayton. Woodhull is the club’s new president. Gardening is in her blood, she says, although she didn’t like it at first.

WOODHULL: Well, my mother had a fabulous garden. It was over an acre in size and included large vegetable gardens. And as children we had to help in the vegetable garden. I just couldn’t take it and I remembered thinking and telling her that I would never ever go to the garden in my life because it was awful. Well oops!

REYNOLDS: And now you have these fabulous gardens that you’ve been tending for 15, 16 years?

WOODHULL: 15 years. Yes, and I’m converting my garden to lots of native plants rather than bringing in exotic plants. So plants that are native to Ohio.

REYNOLDS: Why is this important to you?

WOODHULL: It’s important because we feed pollinators, bees, butterflies – the monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds especially love native plants. So, I have a little prairie that we passed, and I have milkweed growing there, which is the food of monarchs. So it’s really fun.

Sara Woodhull says movement, the way flowers move in a breeze, for example, is an important aspect of gardening.

REYNOLDS: Woodhull is not alone in her desire to make the Miami Valley a better place — and a stronger community — through gardening. Susan Sauer, Chair of the Garden History and Design Committee, told us a little about the club’s beginnings 100 years ago.

Angry: Katharine Houk Talbott was the main person who decided we needed a garden club and began lobbying her friends to join. And she was quite an interesting person. She had nine children and still managed to sing operas and seemed to be involved in everything in Dayton.

REYNOLDS: And for 100 years, the club has haunted Gem City’s finest gardens.

Angry: Gardens are ephemeral, and so they change. Every decade there are new things happening in gardens. And so we documented some of the very special gardens in our area for the Archive of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institute. So that’s what we’ve been working on. We are currently working on a garden, documenting it with maps and lists of plants and pictures. Then they all go to the Smithsonian when we’re done.

REYNOLDS: The Garden Club of Dayton also has affiliates throughout the Miami Valley. They grow trees for the city of Dayton. They have conducted gardening programs in schools and are working with Five River Metroparks on a riverfront project for their centennial project. They even have a dahlia named after the club.

And of course there is a garden tour this Saturday. It’s called The Garden Gems and takes place rain or shine. Nora Newsock is leading the tour. She says she’s thrilled that most of the gardens on this year’s tour aren’t owned by garden club members.

NEWSOCK: We like that we’ve been able to expand our gardens and our homeowners and different parts of the community and different types of gardens. A garden owner owns a restaurant in downtown Dayton. He grows his own herbs and his flowers that go to the restaurant. I mean we have a really wonderful, diverse group of gardeners and different types of gardens that we want to share with the community.

You can find out more about the Garden Club of Dayton — and get tickets for this weekend’s tour — at

Culture Couch is created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Garden Club of Dayton

Sara Woodhull, Susan Sauer and Nora Newsock of the Garden Club of Dayton.

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