The Art of Gardening

Posted by Anita on July 11, 2013

(written by Cate Putirskis, Archives Staff)

How is your garden doing this summer?

Gardening has been popular in the La Crosse area over the years, and a number of gardening clubs have existed (including many that are currently active) to assist gardeners in increasing gardening knowledge, while also serving as a social outlet for green-thumbers to gather.

The height of popularity for garden club membership occurred in La Crosse in the 1950s and 1960s.  Several clubs were formed during that time period, and club rosters show dozens--and, at times, hundreds--of individuals actively enrolled.  While the by-laws of many of these clubs do not explicity define membership along gender lines, an overwhelming percentage of club members were women.  In response--or, preemptively, perhaps?--the Coulee Region Men's Garden Club was formed in 1955, and open to men only.

Of the many gardening clubs that have been formed in the La Crosse area (for several of which the Archives holds records--come in and check them out sometime), perhaps some of the most unique items were created by the Floral Arts Garden Club (formed in 1964).  For many years, the yearbooks of these clubs were decorated in beautifully hand-painted watercolor motifs, sketches, or other crafty designs.  Take a peek below at some of these yearbook covers, and stop into the Archives to see the full collection.