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Cedar Mill News
Volume 4, Issue 2


February 2006
Danny Knispel with her 1987 Rose Festival Entry

History in the News
The Cedar Mill Garden Club

One of Cedar Mill’s oldest institutions will celebrate 60 years of accomplishment this year. On September 13, 1946, a group of 34 women formed the Cedar Mill Garden Club. Hazel Young, a descendant of JQA Young who was active in many facets of the community, was instrumental in pulling the organization together. Dues of $1 per year (including husbands) were agreed by those present.

One of those charter members, 93-year-old Roma Leuthold, still lives here in Cedar Mill, and still rarely misses a Garden Club meeting. She recalls that they first met in the Leedy Grange Hall, which still stands on Saltzman Road in front of Thriftway. She brought her then-infant son Marcus and put him to sleep in the kitchen in a laundry basket!

The group designed and donated planter boxes and benches to the Cedar Mill Library

The stated purpose of the group: “to coordinate the interests of those striving for better home gardens; to promote and protect the growth of our native shrubs, flowers, and bird life; to study in all its aspects the fine art of gardening and the exhibition of flowers; and to be interested in and to encourage any civic enterprises with regard to beautifying and planting.”

The group has certainly been successful in its goals. Promoting native plants and wildlife seems like a modern invention, but these women carried on preservation and restoration projects 50 years ago that still “bear fruit.” And they have enhanced many locations with their thoughtful planting.
Mrs. Young, along with Gertrude Pearson, organized the programs during that first year which included a picnic and tour of the Hoyt Arboretum and another at the Oregon Audubon Society Bird Sanctuary; studies of chrysanthemums, evergreens, fall planting, new flowers for the garden and more; and the first Cedar Mill Flower Show in June at the Grange Hall.

They joined the national Federation of Garden Clubs and entered flower shows all around the area. From Jean Schell’s talk during the fortieth anniversary celebration, “Flower shows were important to the club from the start of our history. 1947 is the earliest show held. We averaged one a year for forty years. The shows were held at Leedy Grange, Cedar Mill School, Cedar Mill Library, and in members’ homes and garages. We usually entered the Washington County Fair floral show.” Members also entered flowers in the Rose Festival Rose Show.

They held yearly plant sales to raise money for the club’s many activities. In 1951, they joined the Oregon Roadside Council, a group formed to preserve Oregon’s scenic beauty, and adopted the “Keep Roadsides Clean” project, soliciting the help of local schoolchildren. Members were “urged to contact legislators to seek support to eliminate offensive billboards along highways.”

Lucille Thomas teaches Vose Elementary students about plants

One year, the group planted 5000 daffodil bulbs on the Peterkort property along Barnes Road. A group of club volunteers was weeding the area one day when a woman got out of her car and picked a bunch of the flowers. A little girl from the volunteer group ran over and took the flowers out of her hand, saying, “These aren’t for you!”

For a number of years they took flowers to the Veterans’ Hospital. Other charitable work included support for horticultural scholarships, donating holiday greenery to retirement homes and making wreaths to decorate the library each year. They also made and donated the library’s flower boxes and benches. In 1952 they planted “shrubbery” along the entrance to the Union Cemetery on 143rd.

Working with children wa always important to the club. They taught children about plant care and flower arranging; planted and helped maintain schoolyard gardens; and donated shrubs and trees to several local schools.

Cedar Mill School and the adjacent park was a special project for the group. By 1957, they had undertaken a project to landscape the grounds of Cedar Mill School. In the early ‘60s, they received grants from the Sears Roebuck Foundation and from the Cedar Mill Community Club to beautify the newly acquired Cedar Mill Park. They created a “wildflower garden,” planting native flower varieties in the wooded area in the west end of the park. A Park District survey a few years ago showed that many of the flowers survive today, making Cedar Mill Park one of the most diverse native habitats in the area.

In addition, they created the sidewalks in the park, and installed a drinking fountain and a bench in memory of their deceased members. Unfortunately vandalism caused the fountain to be disconnected at a later time, but some of us are hopeful that as the park is used more, the fountain can be renovated. Last summer’s ivy removal projects disentangled it from encroaching vines, it’s located in the southwest corner of the park west of Cedar Mill School on Cornell at 107th.

Members of the Cedar Mill Garden Club have opened their gardens for the Cedar Mill Garden Tour, which is an annual fundraiser for the library. It’s always a wonderful chance to peek into some of the amazing gardens in the area. Additionally the club participates in a garden tour with Pioneer District 13 of the Oregon State Gardening Club.

The group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 11 am in the Beaverton Resource Center at Allen and Hall. Meetings still feature speakers and lessons on various aspects of gardening, crafts with plant materials, flower arranging, and plenty of time for socializing with neighbors and friends.

Cedar Mill Garden Club members continue to participate at the Washington County Fair. Club President Garnet Ascher says, “We have provided many club entries over the years. We currently teach gardening, floral arranging, conservation and recycling projects to 125 kindergarten students at Vose School. One project we are planning is to plant a “Patriotic/Memorial” tree in a park in this area. We also plan to work on historic preservation sites, and hold another plant sale which funds our programs, educational projects, etc.”

Membership is open to all interested in learning about gardening, floral arranging, touring nurseries, and volunteering in our expanded community. For more information, contact Garnet Ascher, 503-292-4460.



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The Cedar Mill News
Published monthly by the Cedar Mill Business Association, Inc.,
P.O. Box 91177
Portland, OR 97291-0177

Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229