Jenks Garden Club seeks expansion
Jenks Garden Club has grown since its inception and in its 31st year, it hopes to expand even more.
Founded in 1988, the Garden Club has been a community staple in the group’s efforts to beautify Jenks and the surrounding areas. The club started out with three women and has grown to hold events such as the herb and garden festival.
One of the original founders, Helen Madden, is still active in the club and is the acting historian. She says she still remembers when she first heard about Garden Club.
“The way I became interested in it is that Connie Neal met me in the grocery store and said she was starting a gardening club and I said, ‘I’ve been waiting for that since I moved from Ohio, I really wanted it,’” Madden said.
From there, the club slowly made its rise to what it is now. They relied on fundraisers to pay for the community projects they would execute.
Garden Club’s first fundraiser didn’t go well.
“We relied on our dues which were $10,” Madden said. “We couldn’t spend too much on flowers and stuff in the community so we would do something to raise some money. One year we had a raffle to give away a Christmas tree. That was at the Christmas parade and later on we found that was illegal because we were selling chances.”
But the club found new ways to raise funds for its projects and today, it gives away a scholarship each year.
The herb and garden festival is held by the Garden Club on the fourth Saturday in April and serves as the fundraiser keeping the club alive. It started small and has since grown to house almost 100 vendors. 2020 will mark its 24th anniversary.
The vendors range from a variety of small businesses from around the area and surrounding states. It’s open to anyone except large businesses.
“We discourage any big box stores; we really don’t want them there,” treasurer Amy McAbee said. “Sam’s, Reasor’s, we don’t want them to compete with these local people that, this is how they make their money.”
Garden Club gets a majority of its help with the festival from the Jenks FFA chapter. In turn, its scholarship typically goes to an FFA member.
“(The festival) is a community event,” president Roger Twilley said. “It’s not just something we do, it’s something the whole community does. It helps with the scholarship. Every little bit helps when you’re going to college.”
The garden club’s season is about to begin again after a four-month break. The club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at city hall, the next will be Sept. 3.
The meetings consist of a keynote speaker and the discussion of club items. This month the keynote speaker is Roark Acres Honey.
Garden Club members emphasize the meetings are open to the public and they encourage new people to show up.
Madden’s 31 years as a member has her giving glowing reviews of the club.
“It’s been a wonderful year,” she said. “People who are interested and involved in garden club are the most wonderful people you’d ever want to meet.”