History of the Hampton Garden Club

Garden Club Sets Record Straight

By Priscilla H. Caira

President, Hampton Garden Club

Hampton Union

Tuesday, May 2, 2000

To the Editor:
The following letter was sent to Fred Rice on March 17th regarding his comments about the garden club in his Letter to the Editor on March 10th in hopes that he would set the record straight himself.

Since he has not, we ask you to publish the letter we sent to him.

Dear Fred:

The Hampton Garden Club would like you to publicly set the record straight in a timely manner. This Garden Club was started on February 10, 1932 and in 1934 became a Federated Club for a period of about 30 years.

The Club has under gone many changes from its inception and is no longer a Federated Club, as most of its members work and can only attend evening meetings. The club however has continued to serve the men and women who love gardening, development of home grounds, and the furthering of town beautification.

The Hampton Garden Club has 50 members at the present time, including Hampton residents as well as residents from the surrounding communities. Its senior members range all the way to 90 years of age and its middle age and younger members are mostly women, who work full time but still find time to attend evening meetings once a month and volunteer for our town beautification projects from spring to winter as part of our mission.

The town municipal sites that the Club tends are as follows:

  • Marelli's Square -- (Cost of plants and greens, etc., are reimbursed by the Town.) Plant the large containers, provided by the Town, in spring, summer, and fall and then replace the flowers with winter greens. The Town has never been interested enough to turn on the water that is available there and so our members hand carry water from their homes each week in order to tend the plants that the Garden Club volunteers have purchased and planted.

The team of three volunteers, (1 80-year-old senior, 1 Hampton Falls resident, and 1 full-time working Hampton widow) usually does this for the 20-week season.

  • Court House -- Plant annuals in the spring and mums in the fall if necessary.
  • Five Corners -- Plant flowers in spring and tend for the 20-week season. The Club takes care of turning on the water in the spring and turning off the water in the late fall.
  • Ruth G. Stimson Sea Shore Park -- Oversees that the natural state of the park is maintained.
  • Hampton Fire Station -- A new site as of August 1999. Shrubs purchased, planted, and tended through late fall.
  • Lane Public Library — (Cl ub earns $400 per year) Spring and fall clean up and mulching when necessary. Plant annuals in the containers, water, tend all plants for 20 weeks, and decorate with greens in the winter. Each month indoor floral arrangements are donated by Club members to spruce up the desk areas in the main library and the children's room.
  • Tuck Museum — New as of June 1999. Club members laid out, prepared, planted, watered, and tended the new garden around the new parking area throughout the summer. The Hampton Historical Society reimbursed the club for the cost of plants, etc.

The timing of your article was unfortunate as the 2000 season is just beginning for the Club and the need for volunteers is critical if the Club is to continue to participate in the cleaning, planting, watering and tending the seven sites we oversee as part of our town beautification efforts.

It will be even more difficult to get members to volunteer when they have to juggle their busy schedules, hand carry water to some sites, and tend the sites from spring to late fall, when they are publicly told they haven't done anything for the Town.

Last year 20 volunteers spent almost 300 hundred hours over the 20 weeks from spring to fall and filling planters with winter greens.

For a small club, whose middle age and younger members work and have families to the older members well along in years, to get 20 volunteers for 300 hours is not something to find fault with.

I know the Club needs to blow its own horn more, but we have all we can do to plan our programs, meet each month, and take care of our town beautification projects.