A Brief History of the Bar Harbor Garden Club
…Continued from 2010 to 2020
At the time of this writing, the Bar Harbor Garden Club is celebrating its eightieth anniversary of federation by the Garden Club Federation of Maine. We organized in 1934, and joined the Garden Club Federation of Maine in 1940. Though never large in number, with membership hovering between seventy-two and 101 over the past decade, the men and women of the Club have had an impressive impact on the horticultural and social history of Mount Desert Island, and had fun while doing so.
Despite our name, our members are from all over M.D.I. (and beyond), and our projects serve many towns here and on nearby islands. Our stated mission is: to promote the love of horticulture, to protect and preserve our natural resources, to provide educational opportunities, to contribute responsibly to civic and environmental needs, and to enjoy the fellowship of our members.
As noted in the “Brief History… From 1934 to 2009” by Betty and Richard Crawford and Janet Meryweather, we have done numerous supportive projects, large and small, from our start to the present. Among these, we have contributed gardening skills and financial support to Wild Gardens of Acadia, Beatrix Farrand Society’s Garland Farm, and the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve (which encompasses Thuya Garden, Asticou Azalea Garden, and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden). We encourage young folks from elementary school through college with contests and scholarships. For the latter we are trustees for the ‘Inge C.B. Weber Memorial Scholarship’, ‘The Peter H. Dolliver Legacy Scholarship’, and the ‘Nell Goff Memorial Scholarship’. We work to honor our Veterans (maintain Blue Star Memorial Marker and ceremonies) and our seniors (plantings and holiday favors at local care residences). During 2020’s novel Coronavirus we made significant donations aiding two local food pantries, and supporting local farmers by funding two Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. We are supportive of libraries and schools who ask our help, from edible plantings and perennials to greenhouse aid and tree plantings. We partnered with Jesup Memorial Library during their on-going expansion by providing benches in a ‘Pop-up’ garden, promoting the theme “Take Thyme to read”.
Also, noteworthy, our informative monthly meetings are open to the public. Over the past ten years our speakers have included Bill Cullina of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and important landscape architects Patrick Chassé and Bruce Riddell. Other experts spoke on orchids, bonsai, succulents, peonies, rhododendrons, medicinal herbs, mushrooms, apples, blueberries, cranberries, lichens and mosses, shade gardens, and even the sex life of plants, bees and butterflies!
In 2016 we contributed an important oral history about the beginnings of the Wild Gardens of Acadia to the Acadia Centennial Project. It was included in the time capsule for the Park. In 2020 we won a Maine Arts Commission Bicentennial Project Grant for our recent project to re-introduce Maine’s native lupine to our landscape. It is the Club flower.
Speaking of flowers, our biennial garden tours continue to be successful fundraisers. Though labor-intensive, in 2019 more than seventy volunteers worked hard and earned well-deserved kudos from hundreds of appreciative guests. New in 2020, we began informal “Gardening 101” on-site classes to further members’ knowledge.
In 2017 the Club began publishing a monthly newsletter, ‘The Lupine Log’. We also successfully preserved our eighty years of history in the Club Archives with an agreement with Jesup Memorial Library as our safe space. Currently we support a Club Facebook page, and have implemented online payment services on our website to facilitate Club donations, Membership renewals, and Purchasing of Garden Tour tickets.
The Bar Harbor Garden Club has a long and honorable record of service to the Community, and an abiding love of all Things Horticultural. We share a firm desire to encourage a better appreciation of our Natural World. Won’t You Join Us?