The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our lives and garden clubs are suffering also. Our typical public meetings, events and fundraisers have all been shelved. The Oxford Garden Club, like other local nonprofits, are forced to be creative to connect with each other in a virtual or safe fashion. We now use Zoom for business meetings and feature monthly presentations on gardening related subjects. One of the biggest continuing projects of President Dorothy Williams term, has been the concentrated effort for her Sunshine Committee which continues to reach out to our members who have lost a spouse and suffer from health issues on the home front. We continue as a club to use email to keep our members connected. This year has been especially hard.
Beginning in late March of 2020, when the Pandemic hit our state, many of our members utilized their sewing and quilting skills and used their sewing machines to create masks which were donated to local first responders when PPE was in short supply. This past December, many club members gathered safely with masks,10 feet apart to create special holiday wreaths that were sold by the Oxford Business Association as a fundraiser.
Our OGC members joined in our Wreath’s Across America event locally and helped place (and later remove) wreaths on the graves of Maryland Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery, in Hurlock, MD. Typically, this event is open to the public with planned, patriotic program and speakers but this ceremony was cancelled due to the pandemic. With limited people, every Veteran gravesite was donned with a wreath to honor them. All wreath donations were sponsored by local garden clubs on the Eastern Shore. Our garden club has a proud history of honoring our veterans and servicemen and we look forward to honoring our servicemen in a more formal service in the future.
The Oxford Garden Club received many awards this spring and fall for our 2019 functions by the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc., The Central Atlantic Region of State Garden Clubs and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. organizations for our 2019 activities. The FGCMD, Inc. notified our club that we had won two community service awards. One for an event held on Memorial Day in 2019 which honored fallen heroes, featuring guest speakers, our District Director, Doris Key, the Mid-Shore Community Band for a patriotic day. Another Community award was for our “Lunch Bunch” program where the OGC met monthly to create small, seasonally appropriate floral designs for the local Meals on Wheels program throughout the year. We also received a Yearbook award for our publication consisting of our club’s scheduled activities, bylaws with membership information.
District I, of the FGCMD, Inc. announced several awards for the Oxford Garden Club for 2019 – 2020. The entire club was awarded the Marguerite Wiley Award for the best district club project in promoting one of the state or national objectives of the FGCMD, Inc. for a District Standard Flower Show held October 19, 2019. This award traditionally is delivered by the previous year’s club winner, filled with a beautiful daffodil display. Marguerite Willey was President of the Somerset County Garden Club, in District I, and had a special interest in daffodils and emphasizing community service and garden therapy. Terry Holman was also honored to receive the prestigious Joanna Lloyd Tilghman Award of Special Recognition. This award is a pewter Jefferson cup presented at the District I Annual Zoom meeting in October by District Director, Doris Key, for exemplifying the objectives of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc. by special dedication to District I work.
Every 20 years or so, a club in the District I hosts our District I – FGCMD, Inc. Standard Flower Show. Luckily, we were able to host this show for public education and enjoyment before the pandemic hit. This National Garden Club Standard Flower Show consisted of all eleven of our district Garden Clubs on the eastern shore. The theme for this special District Standard Flower Show was, “Halloween” and it was held in Oxford at the Oxford Community Center on October 19, 2019. We were awarded 1st place by the Central Atlantic Region of State Garden clubs for the District Flower Show Schedule. In addition, we received a Flower Show Achievement award from National Garden Clubs, Inc. for our high caliber Standard Flower Show. As all standard flower shows have been cancelled for now, we are hopeful to participate in future shows and to share our love of gardening, floral design and educating the public when it is safe to do so.
Forever a hopeful bunch, a large committee is planning our bi-annual Secret Gardens of Oxford Tour, a fundraiser, typically held every other year. This year, the fundraiser committee will be adding Covid-19 CDC and Government safety protocols. The annual Secret Gardens of Oxford Garden tour fundraiser is a known treat for the public. This upcoming garden tour is currently being planned as a COVID-19-Safe, outdoor event for June 5, 2020. This special secret garden tour sells tickets in advance which are picked up the day of the garden tour. Maps and the featured secret gardens with garden descriptions are revealed on the day of the tour, along with a ticket in the form of a special mask. Self-guided tours, with signs and garden club docents, allow the public a secret glance at gardens typically unseen from the street. Each year we feature different gardens for public enjoyment. This year we are planning for the safe viewing of 8 different gardens, all within walking distance of the center of Oxford. Stay tuned.
It is no surprise as gardeners are typically very hopeful and positive folk by nature. We nurture people like we nurture our plants, and we welcome the opportunity for new members to grow with us.
Oxford Garden Club is a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc. and National Garden Clubs, Inc. Our Mission: To promote the knowledge of gardening and floral design, to participate in civic projects to conserve and beautify the community and to actively support all forms of conservation. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For additional information visit us at: www.oxfordmdgc.org or email us at [email protected].