Windham Dirt Daubers, a 40 year old garden club, has decided to hang up their garden tools at the first of the year, citing declining membership as the primary reason. The club started May 10, 1971 after Susan Kauppila-Happel had envisioned forming a group of ladies to learn more about plants and flowers along with other related issues. The members listed on the roster when they dissolved were Marilyn John, Diana Martin, Rita Light, Rita Greene, Debbie Davis, Angie Smithburger, Dawn Kahoun, Dona McGuire, and Lynnea St, John. Inactive members were Karen Hoskins, Pat Clayton and original member Pat Burns.
Over the years the group had been very busy in the community. They had planted flowering crab trees around the circle of the township Green, they landscaped the court yard at Katherine Thomas (K.T.) Elementary School, planted the garden in front of the community center, built, maintained and planted flowers at the welcome signs one sees as they enter the town. They also landscaped the school sign at the high school and held fundraisers for vinyl picnic tables for the high school and junior high.
More recently, the garden club has maintained and planted flowers at the gazebo, war monuments and post office along with the welcome signs. The group not only planted the flowers, they watered them, weeded them and kept them looking great all season long. During the holiday season the group had always decorated the gazebo and served cookies for the community lighting ceremony, which they hope someone else will pick up where they left off.
Besides garden activities, the Dirt Daubers could be seen out supporting community causes as well. The group had worked with “Toys for Tots”, Salvation Army, the Athletic Boosters and had even purchased clothing for the children at K. T. Elementary Schools. They were committed to their community.
Along with working in their community, the group has had many guest speakers at their meetings speaking on a variety of topics that expanded their knowledge of gardening and other related topics. They even had a beekeeper come in to expand their knowledge of bees and how they relate to gardening. The club also had toured gardens over the years and most recently toured the Draime Estate Gardens in Howland which is owned by Kent State Horticulture. They were an active club that served their community diligently and will be sorely missed.
It was at the December township trustee meeting where Marilyn John, president of the club announced it was with great regret the garden club would disband on the first of January 2012. She cited declining membership and the age of current members was making it difficult to continue as the reasons behind the decision. John said she hoped the village and the township would continue to decorate for Christmas and has donated the decorations for the gazebo to the township. The announcement at the meeting brought a statement from Chairman Dann Timmons, who said he was sorry to see them disband after being such an icon in the community for 40 years but he guessed it was a sign of the times, where as folks were just are not interested in garden clubs anymore. Timmons, along with the other two trustees, has vowed to see that the gazebo is decorated each year for the holidays.
The garden club will be sorely missed.