The Lebanon Garden Club was organized in 1936 as an offshoot of the Woman's Civic Club with many of the members belonging to both. In 1937 the Lebanon Garden club became federated into the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs.
The Woman's Civic Club placed floral displays in between the crates of Strawberries at the Strawberry Fair that started in 1909. That group of women spawned The Lebanon Garden Club.
The membership has fluctuated from 15-50 members throughout the years. It dwindled, but did not die during WWII as many women went to work or took on full time responsibilities of family owned businesses while the men were away.
After the formation of the Garden Club, members began a Flower Show in conjunction with the Strawberry Fair. Today we continue to host an annual accredited Flower Show open to the public in conjunction with The Strawberry Festival the first full weekend in July. Included in the show is a Quilt exhibition and Art Show.
Since the beginning, members have been active in community events, planting flowers at the old Jaycee Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, landscaping the old Library grounds and installing a drinking fountain years ago that is still in use today.
More recently, in 2000, the members of LGC were asked by Mayor Scott Simpson if they would be willing to revive an old Rose Garden in Ralston City Park originally created in 1983. Members took on the challenge, started pulling up weeds, cleaning the beds, taking out dead roses and with the help of generous donors planted many new roses. Today there are 125 Roses of all varieties such as tea roses, Floribunda, Old English, Shrub Roses, and mini Roses along w/a memory bench, two metal arbors donated by the members and daffodils donated by the Daffodil Society, all maintained by members' year round.
In 2013 LGC started co-sponsoring a Seed Swap at our Public Library where gardeners learn about sustainable seed saving and have the opportunity to swap seed and plants with other gardeners. There is also a different speaker each year that presents valuable information on seed saving, planting and answers gardening questions.
LGC has a successful plant sale the first Friday in May. Those fund help us to maintain the Rose Garden and donate to various garden related projects.
It is said if you need something done, ask the busiest person in the room, and Garden Club members are indicative of that.
We are very proud to say some of the most well know volunteers in our community were and are GC members. When Goldie Scott, a well-known educator was turned down for a loan over 50 years ago, she started a Credit Union for teachers in Linn County. That credit union is very much alive and thriving still today. Goldie continued to serve for over 50 years on the Credit Union Board. Another member, Thelma Johnson, Sr. First Citizen in 2007, started our local FISH organization when she realized there was a need in the community. She also hosted the annual plant sale at her home for over 30 years. Probably best known to Lebanon is Frankie Gray, winner of many Chamber Awards, such as Lebanon's Woman of the Year, Senior First Citizen and Outstanding Hospital Auxiliary Member. In 2010 the Chamber named an award after her, "Frankie Gray Answer The Call."
The present Matriarch of LGC is member Dona Townsend who joined in 1958. Yearly dues at that time were $1. Dona has held positions from Club President to Assistant District Director and everything in between. She belongs to the Daffodil Society, the Genealogical Society, is a Flower Show Judge Emeritus, a Daffodil Judge, an active member of LGC and an avid gardener.
In keeping up with the times, LGC has developed a website, FB page and a District website.
Blue Star Committee members, Joli Root and Ester Hillary, are involved in and hope to complete the installation of a Blue Star Memorial at our new Veterans Home by the end of the year.
In the last 10 years Lebanon Garden Club has donated over $3000.00 to local non-profits, collected 100's of pounds of food for FISH annually, along with planting 10 acres of forestland through the National Garden Club project, Penny Pines.