PICKENS — Pickens ladies, celebrating 87 years of the Pickens Garden Club, met April 2 to don hats and gloves and dine in the afternoon of the patio of the Hagood-Mauldin Home in downtown.
Approximately 50 women from the current garden club roster were in attendance reminiscing about the days since 1926 when eight ladies gathered under the bell tower at Pickens High School to form the group.
Those eight ladies attending were born in the late 1800s and found time to leave home management, ironing and quilting to think of flowers and nature’s beauty. Over the years, the Pickens Garden Club has been responsible for many beautification projects in town and along nearby highways.
“We still foster the study and love of gardening, landscape design, flower arranging and horticulture,” said Katherine Gitto, club member. “We also encourage civic planting and beauty by planting trees and helping to erect signs welcoming visitors to our town. We have added the goal of fostering environmental concerns throughout the community.”
The club sponsors the Holly Springs Elementary School Youth Garden Club, recent winner of an award bestowed by the Garden Club of South Carolina. The rose garden, on the grounds of the Hagood-Mauldin House, is also maintained by the club. The club annually sponsors a youth’s attendance at Camp Wildwood and sells low-cost plants at the Pickens Azalea Festival to enable all interested citizens to have home gardens.
Among special guests were Dora Tait, curator of the rose garden at Hagood Mauldin House. Tait, a native of Peru, is the widow of Ian Tait, a Scottsman who managed the roses before her.
“I loved my husband very much,” said Tait, “but I gave him his space and time alone to come here and tend to the roses. After he died I thought I should be responsible for the.”
She has her own history with roses and gardening. “I had roses in Peru, many different kinds. I think that gardens come from God and give us a connection with God. Tending a garden and tending friendship s are the same. If you cultivate them, they will grow,” Tait said.
Miriam Hendricks of Easley also spoke to the ladies assembled in the garden last week.
She then provided a tour of the gardens surrounding the Hagood-Mauldin House, describing the different plantings and beds in addition to the roses. She is curator of the home for the Pickens County Historical Society
$38,000 was spent on repairing the porch roof of the house and rotted flooring and ornate columns.
Improvements to the gardens include defining what plantings are where. Identifying a collection of unique day lilies, repairing a brick fence, creating a mulch bed and lots of cleaning, trimming and pruning, Hendricks said. Azaleas and other shrubs had grown above the roof line.
To add a bit of frivolity to the event held on April 2, the members donned hats and gloves for the birthday celebration. In 1926, the gloves were white. In 2013, many wore festive gardening gloves. Members and guests were participants in the club’s annual April share and care plant exchange. The club welcomes guests to its booth at the Pickens Azalea Festival. Plants will be for sale.