A Little Bit of Green Fingers History
Green Fingers Garden Club was founded in 1935 by twelve young women with horticultural ambitions. They had taken a course in landscape design, and decided that the cost of subsequent courses could be better absorbed by a larger group who shared their interest. With a copy of Robert's Rules of Order and the able guidance of a friend in Greenwich Garden Club, a new garden club was begun.
Searching for a suitable name, they came across a lighthearted poem by Reginald Arkell entitled "Green Fingers", which poked fun at the tendency of gardeners towards perfectionism:
Whose paths are always free from weeds;
Whose plants are always grown from seeds;
Who are most careful not to prune That standard rose a day too soon;...
They adopted the name "Green Fingers", and we like to think that we still carry the name in the spirit it was intended.
Our club has grown from the original twelve members to over 145. Incidentally, the age limit of 35 years which our young founders proposed has also been bypassed.
In the 1930s Green Fingers began presenting small flower shows and working with other clubs on civic projects. During World War II, the club focused on war relief, including supervising victory gardens grown for the benefit of Greenwich Hospital. Conservation and community service continued to play a key role after the war. Green Fingers became a member of the Garden Club of America in 1951, with a dedication to horticultural excellence, conservation, creativity in flower arranging and community service.
The GCA divides the country into twelve zones, each with a Zone Chair and a Zone Rep who serves on one of the eighteen GCA committees. The Zone Chair oversees all the clubs in that zone, and the Zone Reps are our resources for every aspect of Green Fingers operations. In addition to providing training on the nuts and bolts of club administration, the GCA focuses on national issues involving legislation, conservation and civic improvement. The GCA establishes the standards for horticulture and flower arranging judging, and oversees the judging program nationwide.
During the 1950s GCA clubs were heavily involved in organizing and exhibiting at the International Flower Show in New York City. But "quote auxiliaries", or junior club members, were ineligible to participate. In 1960 "Preview of Spring" became a training project for the auxiliary members of Green Fingers. The schedule was a duplicate of the horticulture schedule for the International Flower Show, and was also planned so that any members whose plants reached their peak a week too early would have a place to exhibit them. Hence the name "Preview of Spring".
Preview of Spring included all Green Fingers members in the late 1960s, since by that time GCA has no longer participated in the International Flower Show. "Preview" gained in stature, and by the mid 1970s was considered a Major GCA Flower Show. As such, Green Fingers was given the honor of awarding the GCA\ Fenwick Medal, the highest award given for a flower arrangement; the Corning Medal, for a horticultural entry of "exceptional merit notable for its cultural difficulty", and the GCA Certificate of Excellence for a horticultural entry. Over time, Green Fingers has been allowed to award additional GCA honors only given at shows designated by the GCA as Major Flower Shows.
We are also proud of the many civic improvements Green Fingers has contributed to our town-- improvements which are closely woven into the tapestry that is Greenwich-- from the trees that line Greenwich Avenue, planted through the foresight and determination of a Green Fingers member, to the pocket parks which dot the landscape along the Post Road and Greenwich Avenue; from the refurbished Ferry Boat Landing on the waterfront to the Butterfly Garden at the Audubon Center; from the Victory Gardens of WWII supervised by Green Fingers, to the many local playgrounds we developed and refurbished over the years.
As Green Fingers members we are committed to conservation education, whether in support of clean water resources and other local issues or in pursuit of legislative action. We are dedicated to continuing productive relationships with town government and other garden and civic organizations. And we take great enjoyment in working with each other to produce a beautiful flower show which raises funds for our future community projects. Welcome to Green Fingers.
2006 Patty Brooks Walker Club Historian