Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

June 13, 2013

Moravia Garden Club garden tour

By Frances Benell, Moulton, Udell
Moravia and Unionville

---- — The Moravia Garden Club was organized as a result of a discussion by three ladies, Mrs. Lois DuVall, Mrs. Clara Gordner and Mrs. Genevieve Morgan at the 1947 Fall Festival.

A pre-organizational meeting interested in flowers was held in December 1947 at the home of Mrs. Morgan. Those attending were Clara Gordner, Louemma Palmer, Opal Pearson and Myna Williams, In 1948 the club was organized and federated and Myna Williams was elected president. Charter members still active at this time are Mrs. Dorothy Boyer, Mrs. Virginia McDonough and Mrs. Genevieve Morgan.

The present officers for 1976-1977 are taken from a Moravia Union story in 1976.

President — Mrs. Sibyl Whitehead, Past President — Mrs. Ann Repp, Vice President — Mrs. Delores Burkland, Secretary — Mrs. Esther Chelsvig, Treasurer — Mrs. Linda Harris, Historian — Mrs. Beverly Nielsen, Member at large — Mrs. Amy Gidel. Some of the major accomplishments have included planting of trees and shrubs in the Moravia area, Blue Bird Trail, visits to shut ins, a flower show held each year and increased interest in members’ own gardening.

This group has met every month since that formal beginning in 1947. That is amazing. Even though the names changed, the interest shown in improving Moravia through gardening is steadfast and true.

They are going to have a garden tour on June 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Beginning at our historical depot buildings, get your tickets at $5 for the whole tour. There is to be a drawing for those who visit all four places. To be eligible, you must have your marked ticket. The gardens to be toured are Reggie and Jeff DeVore, Rosemary and Larry Smith, Rita and Roger Boley and our own Mike and Melanie Seals “Country Roads” professional greenhouse.

“Country Roads” will have their new workshop just finished by the time of the tour, they hope. They are just now picking strawberries for the Honey Creek Lodge, so if you want yummy strawberries, it’s a great reason to visit the lake.

All their produce is now contracted to local businesses. They have tomatoes coming soon, early new good tasting varieties they have tested over the last few years. Something that has interested lots of people are the big tunnels that make it practical to have very early tomatoes and peppers, three tunnels are planted in tomatoes and one tunnel is all peppers. Melanie and Mike will have several suggestions on how you can eat fresh veggies that are very healthy food for you and better tasting.

The depot buildings will also be opera to tour if you like. Someone will be there during the garden tour to answer questions for you. The Depot has been working on a plan to have hardy plants that can stand some neglect simply because we are not there all the time. We will have chances on a beautiful quilt.

Listed below are some of the activities the Garden Club has been involved in.

They have always work with students and teachers from the school with projects, furthering a life-long love of plants and gardening. The lunches and dinners and other meals were often held at members’ homes and when the sub jest of food comes up, the Garden Club cooks are always mentioned. Joan Fox, a life-long classmate of mine, her mom Janet, was a strong member and dessert recipes were tried on the families the whole week before, so Garden Club days were treasured. Garden Club members also worked on the 150th years celebration of Moravia being a city in 2001.

The Garden Club helped with the Recycling Project in Moravia twice a month.

In 1951, early in their existence, the Garden Club featured making 10 homemade hats so fashion was also, along with cooking, a main event at the meetings.

The Garden Club made pie doughnuts as a fund-raiser, as the community welcomed Moravia Theater four nights a week at the movies in 1950. Quite a few World War II movies then, “Back to Bataan” comes to mind. Lots of inserts of Eisenhower, Truman and every movie ever made about the war in the Pacific. And cartoons, Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig, I remember quite well. Really old-time cartoons showed Walt Disney walking back and forth in the cartoon lab, tearing his hair hour when he couldn’t get a film to do what he wanted. Funny.

The Moravia Garden Club thought all the hard work of learning to judge, presentation and other skills paid of when they had 39 winners at a Harden Club Show, in holding their own show with judges from other places.