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Club Chronicles: Cultura Garden Club enjoys affiliation with GCA

The Russellville Cultura Garden Club was organized and federated in 1951. Cultura is an affiliate of The Garden Club of Alabama Inc., which is oldest horticultural society in the South.

The Alabama Garden Club was organized April 28, 1932, at the Jefferson Davis Hotel in Montgomery, when 71 delegates representing 50 Alabama Garden Clubs met and organized the Alabama Federation of Garden Clubs.

In 1954 the Alabama Federation of Garden Club became incorporated, thereby changing its name to The Garden Club of Alabama Inc.

The Garden Club of Alabama Inc. provides education, resources and networking opportunities for its members. Its mission is to help members promote their love of gardening and environmental responsibility, as well as implement goals that will benefit their communities and provide citizens beautiful surroundings in which to live.

The first issue of The Garden Club of Alabama bulletin/magazine “Hortensia,” which means “lady gardener,” was published in 1942.

Mrs. French Craddock, the GCA president from 1946-48 had as her theme, “In a State Where Gardens Grow, God Walks,” which was later adopted as the official motto of the organization. She also wrote a Garden Club Collect, which was adopted by The Garden Club of Alabama Inc.

The Christmas lighting program Every Light a Prayer for Peace was begun Dec. 1, 1951, by Dorothy Speir Parrish in Greenville. She established a tree lighting ceremony for her town in which the citizens could take a moment during the busy Christmas season to stop and light a candle in honor or remembrance of a loved one fighting on foreign soil.

This program was adopted by the GCA and gained attention from the National Garden Clubs Inc. It is now observed by Garden Clubs throughout the nation.

Cultura Garden Club has won first place in the state for its Every Light a Prayer for Peace program.

The first Horticulture Scholarship was established in 1954 by The Garden Club of Alabama Inc. It was an annual gift of $250 awarded to a student at Alabama Polytechnic Institute – now Auburn University. Four thousand dollars was raised for the endowment fund the first year.

Also that year, the Garden of Memory on the Auburn campus was completed and dedicated as a living memorial.

Currently The Garden Club of Alabama Inc. consists of 113 clubs statewide, comprising more than 2,296 members who are affiliates of the Deep South Region of the National Garden Clubs Inc. and the National Garden Clubs.