Leading the annual 4th of July Parade in Avondale Estates as grand marshal this year will be the City's two garden clubs - The Avondale Estates Garden Club and the Avon Garden Club. These active and community-minded residents are always working on a new project, fundraiser, or event that educates, entertains, and stimulate a love of gardening in an effort to restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment.
The Avon Garden Club was founded in 1953 and currently has 71 members. Avon Garden Club President Barbara Fisher said, "There are many events and projects that are done each year to benefit, beautify, and accentuate our community. Some of these are: our annual and famous pancake breakfast, post Halloween litter pick up, Holiday wreath making that benefits the City and/or Mountain View Assisted living, Valentines cards sent to Veterans abroad, Christmas stocking funds that are contributed to Central State Mental Health Hospital, environmental and recycling programs/ projects, youth ventures that work with the Avondale Elementary School curriculum and grounds, general planting, weeding, and soil enhancement for areas around the Club or common gardening areas in Avondale Estates."
Fisher joined the Avon Garden Club in 2004 when she moved to Avondale Estates. "I promptly fell in love with the Garden Club-all aspects-the people, the programs, the food and the community of Avondale Estates," she said. "This was where I always belonged."
Similarly, President Christi Granger joined the Avondale Estates Garden Club in 2013 after moving to the City. "On June 10, 1931 when 34 women, at the invitation of Germaine McGovern, gathered at 22 Dartmouth Avenue. Shortly thereafter, the women began to beautify public area of the city. The inaugural project of the Club was planting the Abelia hedge along N. Avondale Road with labor provided by workers from the New Deal's WPA. AEGC's beautification program expanded o include the shores of lake Avondale and the Bird Sanctuary beyond them."
Recently, the Avondale Estates Garden Club's 55 members hosted its first garden tour in more than 10 years. In addition to planting flowers at various locations in the spring and fall, the Avondale Estates Garden Club funds the planting of a memorial tree every year on Georgia Arbor Day and built and maintains a well-used Children's Little Free Library located near Willis Park. The Club supports a local women's shelter where victims of domestic violence are living temporarily. We plant pots of flowers and herbs to beautify their space. We also collect items of interest to children at the shelter. These garden and nature-related items are placed in colorful sturdy craft boxes and given to the children.
"The AEGC organizes a community Tree Walk every other year which is led by certified arborists. We plan on using our spring 2020 Tree Walk to introduce the City's Neighborhood Arboretum," she said before adding her thoughts about the speakers and programs organized by the First Vice President. "In the past year we have had programs on edible gardens, native plants, and winter gardening, we have hosted the authors of Seeking Eden, A Collection of Georgia's Historic Gardens, and have enjoyed a talk by Brooks Garcia a successful landscape designer who took us on the amazing journey he had when building his dream Tuscan villa in the northeast Georgia foothills."
Both clubs work together to to place a commemorative wreath at the Blue Star Marker the Friday before Memorial Day observed, inviting Veterans and City employees to join them for the wreath laying.
Anyone interested in joining either organization is welcome. The Avon Garden Club welcome guests to join a meeting, meet its members, appreciate an informative program and enjoy a delicious meal. The meeting time/date is 10:30 a.m., the first Thursdays of the month starting in September through May at the Avondale Community Club. Those interested in joining the Avondale Estates Garden Club should contact membership chairman Mary Ann Anziano at 404-933-5901 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They have both individual and family memberships and hold six meetings a year (3 evening meetings and 3 daytime meetings), as well as an annual field trip to a garden or nursery of note.
Fisher and Granger along with club will be near the start of the parade down Clarendon Avenue where they can appreciate the beautification and conservation efforts their clubs both have as important parts of their missions. The Fourth of July is also important to them.
"Words that come to mind when I think of this uniquely American holiday are a celebration of liberty, freedom, opportunity, independence, and choice," said Fisher. "The Fourth of July is packed full of Americana, in all of our beauty and pizzazz."
Granger echoed her statement, saying, "The Fourth of July is one day when we not only celebrate our wonderful democracy, but also our community by coming together with fellow citizens to watch parades, have cookouts, and enjoy our beautiful fireworks. Avondale is a special place and no more so than on the Fourth of July."