Now as a long-time garden club president, I picked up on the Human
Flower Project remark that garden clubs of 40 years ago were "more
leisurely noblesse, less grunt" and that today garden clubs have
switched from beautification to serious endeavors like conservation.
And "The cult of loveliness has been supplanted by attitude." It all
reminded me of my rant about the very old-school Federation of Garden Clubs:
Hey, I like networking, so I
naturally inquired about my club joining the Federation and was sent an
application for admission. The application form asked us to list our
club officers and then – and I’m not making this up – to indicate the
officers’ "husbands." Oh, and their own officers are listed by their
husbands’ names (Mrs. John Smith). Help – I’m having a ’50s flashback!
And naturally all their events are during working hours because these
ladies either don’t have to work or are all retired, I suppose.
of all that, to affiliate with them we’d have to pay them $8 for every
one of our members, every year. I’ll do the math for you. Our
150-member club would have to pay these troglodytes $1,200 every year
(2/3 of our dues income) for the privilege of being affiliated and
would still have to pay extra to attend any of their events.
I later learned that they’d doubled their dues to that exorbitant $8
because of their recent losses in the stock market. What’s up with
Anyhow, their website still claims 8,488 clubs and over 264,000 members in all 50 states and D.C. It offers actual scripts for
garden club meetings and "parliamentary tidbits." See, just the crap
the Divas succeed in avoiding altogether. People who’ve attended local
Federation functions (and who are at least in their 60s) have described
this bunch as their "mother’s garden club." But if we learn anything
from the girl gardening gang of Austin, it’s that white-gloved gardening events are out; sweat is in. Finally.
Now veering briefly off-topic, the ’60s feminist in me has a complaint. Julie Ardery of Human Flower Project started her article
with this: "We admit to a certain squeamishness about women’s groups.
this self-hatred? Probably." Julie, make that definitely. But why broadcast it and insult more than half the population, including yours truly, channeling Betty Friedan at her crankiest?