British filmmaker John Harrigan once said, “Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.” Nothing rings more true for the members of The Garden Study Club of Hinsdale. For the past 85 years, The Garden Study Club of Hinsdale has been planting seeds of happiness throughout the town in a concerted effort to beautify the community.
Many residents may not even be aware that the trees that greet them when exiting the train or the lovely garden behind the Hinsdale Historical Museum were planted years ago by members of this club simply to make everyone’s day a little brighter.
The Garden Study Club of Hinsdale was originally called The Junior Garden Club of Hinsdale and was formed in 1929 by daughters of The Hinsdale Garden Club members. These daughters wanted to learn more about gardening, hence the name “study” in the club’s title, which was added in 1933. “These daughters were there to study and to learn,” says Garden Study Club of Hinsdale President Kathy Adamec.
Kathy, a three-year member of the club, marvels at many of the long-standing members of the club. “They have been so involved in all kinds of social, philanthropic, and educational programs through the Garden Study Club,” explains Kathy. “So we want to take time to celebrate all their accomplishments. We have five members that have been members for more than 40 years. When you consider all the projects that these women have been involved in, it’s quite a celebration.”
From its inception, some of the main goals of The Garden Study Club of Hinsdale have been to encourage the beautification of the community, to increase members’ knowledge about gardening, and to encourage the protection of plants, birds, and butterflies. “We focus on all things green,” explains Kathy. “We focus on preserving and protecting birds, bees, butterflies. We have expert speakers come in to tell us how to do that. We learn what kinds of flowers attract birds and butterflies.”
The Garden Study Club of Hinsdale is responsible for many of the beautiful garden projects throughout the Hinsdale community. Some of the projects are new and one-time operations, and some are traditional, reoccurring programs within the Club. They plant and maintain the garden at the Hinsdale Historical Museum—everything from actually planting the flowers to overseeing the sprinkler system installation and providing fence material and stonework. The Club decorates a window inside the Hinsdale Library. They donate flower arrangements to The Wellness House four times a year. They also prepare a wreath for the Graue Mill every November. The massive wreath decorates the exterior of the mill throughout the holidays. “Our members get together and we bring cuttings from our own evergreen trees and we create a wreath that is 8 feet wide,” says Kathy.
One project, Trees for Tomorrow, was formally introduced in 1959 to replace diseased parkway trees. The club donated funds to plant crab apple trees along the south side of the Burlington tracks. “The crab apple trees that are so beautiful in the springtime,” says Kathy, “we created that.”
All of these programs are funded by an annual plant sale that takes place the day before Mother’s Day, usually in the parking lot in front of Kramer’s.
The best part of the club, however, can’t be found in the club’s objectives. The friendships that Kathy and others have formed via The Garden Study Club have happily surpassed Kathy’s expectations for joining the club. Members often bring a plant from their own gardens to other members’ houses and help plant it. “It’s really all about friendship,” says Kathy. “I initially joined to meet other women. Now, when I walk through my garden and I look at the trilliums or ferns, I think of my friend Sheila. When I smell the fragrance of my peonies in the springtime, I think of my friend Susan. When I look at my various types of sunflowers, I think of my friend Pamela, because all of these women shared their plants with me.”
– Rosie Conway // Photography by Joel Lerner
Pictured, left to right: Karen Sendra of Indian Head Park, Kathy Adamec of Hinsdale and Pamela Coan of Hinsdale are members of the Hinsdale Garden Study Club.