Buffalo Garden Club members contribute to community beautification, share plants and plant knowledge with each other and have done so for the past 63 years.
The active club celebrates “Yard of the Month” during the growing season, holds a plant sale and hosts a flower show. Club members also maintain the display gardens at the Dallas County Community Park.
Janet Wood has been in the club for 15 years, some as a member, some as the local president and now as the Southwest District Director.
This year, the Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri Inc. partnered with a 4-H member to create a butterfly garden adjacent to the community park garden, which is located near the airport and the fair grounds. The Buffalo Garden Club has donated a butterfly bush to the project. A Blue Star Memorial also is at the park.
“It is for all veterans of the armed services,” Wood said. “These are only through garden clubs.” Blue Star Memorials are in every veterans cemetery and many parks, Wood said. The memorials are special projects by garden clubs.
The Buffalo club recently participated in the National Garden Club’s “Plant it Pink … Planet Pink” program. They surrounded the Blue Star Memorial with pink flowers to raise breast-cancer awareness.
The local club also plants a tree each year in observation of Arbor Day. The club most recently planted a tree at Grace Community United Methodist Church as a “thank you” gesture for letting them use church facilities for meetings.
The Buffalo Garden Club volunteers its time and resources to start gardens at Habitat for Humanity homes.
“The homeowners tell us what they want, and we do it,” Wood said. “If there is something too big, like digging a big hole, Habitat will prepare the site for us.”
The annual plant sale is now held during the Dallas County Expo, which was on Saturday, April 14. Club members sell seedlings grown at their own homes. The club operates under a license permit, and plants are inspected by the Missouri Department of Agriculture to assure they are insect- and disease-free, Wood said.
Each year, members enjoy an outing to plant nurseries in Tunas and Leadmine. They enjoy buying new plants as well as stopping at bakeries and country stores.
Ten months out of the year, the club meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1 p.m.
“It’s a fun organization,” Wood said. “We don’t try to be a professional group. It’s a civic organization, not just social.”
Buffalo will host the fall district meeting this year. Clubs from El Dorado Springs, Springfield and Shell Knob will attend.
The flower show is June 1 and 2 this year. It was pushed back a few weeks due to the prolonged spring, Wood said.
“We like to encourage community pride. When people have pride in their community, they have pride in their yard,” Wood said.
Wood is involved with the local efforts behind the Community Foundation of the Ozarks Growth in Rural Ozarks (GRO) project. Although Wood is not interested in GRO to gain employment for herself, she supports the community beautification aspect.
Wood submits club news to the Buffalo Reflex each month and always encourages interested people to attend a meeting. Members enjoy talking about plants, and even share flowers.
“That’s how I got a lot of my flowers,” Wood said. “You collect seeds, or people divide their iris and bring it in.”
Next month’s meeting will be at Thelma Kurtz’s home in Louisburg.
“She has a wild-lower walking path on her acreage,” Wood said. “The state foresters gave her an award for the path. It is very well planned, and decorated with little things along the way.”
Kurtz is constantly adding to and changing the path, Wood said.
The Buffalo Garden Club currently has 10 members who are generally non-working, often retired, women. Some members join with no gardening experience, and more experienced members teach about gardening and plant identification, Wood said.