Garden Club Association celebrates 70 years


GREENVILLE — This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Darke County Association of Garden Clubs (DCAGC) and their involvement with the Great Darke County Fair.

There were flower shows prior to 1952, but nothing was listed in the fair premium books as to who was in charge. However, that all changed in 1952. the Redbud Garden Club in Ansonia became the first club to be in charge of the flower show through the DCAGC. There were co-chairpersons of the show in 1952. One of those ladies was Louise Sheffer. Her name was synonymous with the fair flower shows until she passed in 2008 at the age of 95. The other chairperson was Ruby Bostelman. Both were with the Redbud Garden Club. Kim Cromwell as served in that role since 2001.

Two years after forming, the club grew to have six active clubs. From 1952-2022, there have been 25 clubs that have been part of the flower shows. This year there were three with two adult clubs, Ladybug Garden Club and Wildflower Garden Club and a junior club, Butterflies Junior Garden Club.

The DGAGC and its clubs are more than just putting a flower in a vase. There is a huge educational component to the what they do. Charlene Thornhill, president of the DGAGC, said, “Garden clubs have been formed to bring knowledge to members in wanting to learn more about plant varieties, they want to learn how to arrange and what the judges are looking for in a flower show.”

The three clubs in the DGAGC also belong to the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, Inc. (OAGC) and according to Thornhill, that is “where we learn about the new plant varieties, new designs and then we bring that back to our local clubs to educate them on what’s new and try to work that into a schedule to show the public.” The flower show schedules and classes are written by a committee of members using the guidelines of OAGC.

In addition to Thornhill, the current slate of officers for the DGAGC are Cathy Detrick is vice president/secretary and Brenda Grant is treasurer.

Thornhill started showing in the junior program in 1954, “I have seen lots of changes in people, shows, etc. in my 57 years, but am very proud when judges and the public say, ‘It’s the Best County Flower Show in the State of Ohio!’ The junior department outshines most adult shows in the state. We’re proud of what we have, what we can offer, what we can educate the public on and working together with some great garden club members to bring a quality show.”

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