Mary Sydney Green, Elise Winter, Frances Morse and Jan Stewart sat down together in the early 1990s and found out they each were interested in learning more about gardening and sharing with others what they had learned. In 1991 they established the Garden Club of Jackson with other members who shared their same interest in floral and garden designs as well as landscaping. The approach to achieving that mission has only changed due to the growth of the club. In the past twenty-seven years the same dedication they had to making a difference in the Jackson community has grown exponentially. Today the GCJ also raises funds, helps with civic improvement projects and educates.
Once Hollidae Morrison found out that garden clubs were interested in more than just plants and flowers, she dedicated herself to the GCJ. Having been a conservationist for years, she felt as if “the marrying of gardening and conservation [was] a perfect interest club.” Dolly Goings described her as being a “dedicated member who represents conservation issues at the national level.” Hollidae travels transnationally to promote conservation practices at other garden clubs and even serves as The Garden Club of America’s volunteer director of National Legislative Affairs.
As a conservationist, she enjoys promoting respect for natural resources. The club holds a high standard for environmental stewardship and keeps members informed on the current conservation issues. Gardens and public green spaces are critical to environmental awareness. Without them, the community may not remember how these shared spaces are visual reminders of our responsibility to give back to the world.
Without hesitation, Hollidae lists her favorite project as the Pollinator’s Playground Garden at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. She feels that by educating the younger generation about the importance of taking care of the wild pollinators, we can begin to prevent extinction and save the food supply. “Pollinators are responsible for approximately 100 different crops. Teaching our children the importance of them is crucial.” The GCJ helped establish the garden with money raised from their 2016 garden tour.
The Spring Garden Tour this year takes place on April 20th and 21st from 9 AM to 3 PM both days. On the tour are three homes and four gardens in the Eastover neighborhood. All the proceeds benefit the gardens and grounds of the historic Lowry House. The goal is for the money to restore the gardens at the house and to keep with the original era of the house. Preservation and restoration are both vital components of conservation.
The future of the club has no limits. The club members represent a variety of interests, with some overlap. This allows for a multitude of opportunities to improve Jackson’s landscapes. The GCJ will continue to share knowledge and educate the community. Improvements and sharing are inspired by education. From Diane Lewis’ The Great Healthy Project, Hollidae recites “The Healthy Backyard Pledge.” It says, “I pledge to take care of my yard without synthetic pesticides, weed killers or chemical fertilizers, except on rare occasions to resolve an infestation or to improve habitat for native plants and wildlife. I also pledge not to flush pharmaceutical drugs or household chemicals down drains and toilets.” By taking the pledge, our water will be cleaner, and our yards will be safer for those who love to roll around. It’s simple, but Hollidae encourages everyone to take it.
For more information about the 2018 Spring Garden Tour, visit www.gardenclubofjackson.com.