Vidalia Garden Club celebrates 75th anniversary

Published 11:53 pm Saturday, September 15, 2007

VIDALIA — The history of the Town of Vidalia is linked with the history of the Vidalia Garden Club, garden club representatives said at the VGC’s 75th anniversary celebration Saturday.

Near the turn of the century, Vidalia was “one of the wildest cow towns” west of the Mississippi River, VGC Chair Eleanor Talley said.

“Downtown had enough business to keep 12 saloons going,” Talley said. “This was a town definitely in need of a feminist touch.”

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When the Great Depression hit, seven women formed the Vidalia Garden Club to help beautify the town.

The club worked through the years on landscape projects to make the town more appealing.

Things have changed a lot since the club was started 75 years ago, Talley said.

“While helping to prepare for this event, I often wondered what those seven ladies would say if they saw Vidalia today,” she said. “I’m certain they would say, ‘Well done.’”

Photos of members, flower arrangements and scrapbooks chronicling the club’s years were on display at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center.

Bunny Barlow, a VGC member for 40 years, said she was invited to join the club when she moved to Vidalia as a young woman.

Barlow said she loved being part of the club.

“It’s helping do things for your community and working together,” she said. “You get fellowship, as well.”

Mo Saunders, a member for 15 years, joined the club for the love of gardening.

“My dad’s mother was a big gardener,” Saunders said. “That’s where I got it from, I guess.”

Being a part of the club offered learning experiences, among other advantages, she said.

“You meet a lot of people who are knowledgeable about the environment and gardening,” she said.