In 1952, the year High Noon was hitting theaters and people were buying tickets to watch Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, a smaller phenomenon was hitting Eatonville. The Eatonville Dogwood Garden club was holding it’s first meetings with 45 plant- loving members.
The President was Martha Parrish (who turned 99 this February). She says the inspiration was simple: “We were going to a lot of garden shows then, and one day it just sounded like a good idea.”
Beautifying the Community
Over the next six decades, while creating countless floral designs and earning numerous ribbons, they were also quietly making a big impact on the community.
With a span of 60 years, it’s impossible to cover everything the club has done, but here are just a few of the highlights:
• Put on flower shows in town
• Planted trees at Glacier View Park
• From the 1950s – 1990s they planted and maintained large containers of flower at Eatonville locations.
• Planted the Dr. Nevitt Welcome point
• 1962 they planted trees along Eatonville streets
• 1970 planted wildflowers at the old school at Glacier View Park
• 1987 landscaped and planted shrubs and flowers at the George Smallwood Park.
• Maintained plantings at Town Hall and Library
• Planted Trees at Northwest Trek
• Provided swags and plants to Eatonville’s retirement home
• Decorated for a variety of events — the high school library for community day, senior class breakfast, and graduations, among others
• Created bouquets for graves for Memorial Day
• 1989 they designed and planted Dogwood Park on Highway 161 with the Washington Dept. of Transportation, and continue to maintain it today
• Continue to provide horticulture education for youth
Still on the Go
The group is going strong, thanks to women like Martha Parrish, Vera Byrd, and Gladys VanBuskirk Hardy, who got the organization off the ground. “We did some crazy stuff, like a creating a cookbook with recipes made from wild plants,” says Martha. But looking back she says the Dogwood Garden club was basically a leap of faith. “We started the group and learned as we went.”
And thanks to that leap, the town continues to benefit from the women who have a passion for plants.