The following information was taken from the records of the club historians and the club newsletters. Highlights of each year are presented.

Club members may obtain additional details and view photos about the items listed here by contacting the Club Historian.


A brief history of the formation of the Bowie-Crofton Garden Club -- by Jonas Bassen, past editor of the B-C Gardener newsletter.

A Bowie woman's amazement that Bowie didn't have a garden club, compared to Crofton, with two, prompted her in 1984 to place a notice in the Bowie Blade-News to gardeners interested in forming a club. Mrs. Peggy Wheelock thus was the individual most responsible for the founding of the club. The first meeting was on Tuesday evening, March 27,1984 at the Bowie library. Sixteen persons attended this meeting and became charter members of the Bowie-Crofton Garden Club. Three women were elected to serve as officers — Margaret Bond, President; Elaine Overton, V.P. Programs; and Suzanne Butler, Secretary. Charles Bender served as Publicity Chairman.

In June 1986 at a board meeting, the three original officers resigned. To avoid dissolution of the club, three charter members in attendance, Yvonne Williams, Jonas Bassen, and Harriet Feldman, agreed to serve as President, V.P. Programs, and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively. They were elected to serve two-year terms. The new officers encouraged greater participation by increasing the number of officers from three to seven. By-laws were adopted by the membership, which rose to 31 in July 1987. Publication of a monthly newsletter began in April, 1987. Subsequent administrations have continued the emphasis on membership participation through special projects and our annual plant sale

Some of the original members of the BCGC were: Margaret Bond (organizer) who is a master gardener with the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Office, Elaine Overton, Susan Butler, Yvonne Williams, Harriet Feldman, Charles Bender, Jonas Bassen, Harriet Feldman, Charles Hanners, Harold Moline, Peggy Wheelock, Jessie Smith and Pat Scheirer.

The BCGC meetings were later held at the Bowie Community Center and at Bowie City Hall on the last Tuesday of each month (except December) at 7:30 PM. Each meeting included a discussion time, a speaker on gardening topics, plant exchange and garden type door prizes.

Some of the speakers for 1984 were:

    • 4/24: Margaret Bond -- Vegetable Gardening

    • 6/24: Greg Lewis, Director of Watkins Regional Park -- Wild Flowers

    • 7/31: Harold Moline -- Plant Clinic

    • 10/30: Tim Warman -- Wild Flowers, Attracting Birds to Your Garden


The records are slim for this year and no newsletters were yet published.

Some of the meeting speakers were:

  • 3/26: Rich De Feo -- Plant Propagation

    • 4/30: Charles Hanners -- Azaleas

    • 8/20: Robert Stewart, County Agent -- Lawns

    • 9/24: Hildreth Morton, Bittersweet Nursery -- Herbs

    • 10/29: Anne Brooks -- Perennials

    • 11/19: Ross McKay -- Greenhouse Tips


First Newsletter: The first one-page newsletter appeared in February. It listed the date for the March meeting, door prize donators and several garden events for March.

Garden Tour Video: Several members prepared a 30-minute video tape, A Summer Garden Tour, which featured an educational tour of Dr. Harold Moline's garden. The video first aired on Bowie Community TV on 8/25.

Community Projects Committee: At the August meeting, the club began work on establishing a Community Projects Committee.

Japanese Beetle Eradication Project: A committee was formed to develop an educational campaign to encourage area gardeners to use milky spore powder to destroy Japanese beetle larvae. Reuter Labys, the largest manufacturer of milky spore, was solicited to help in the campaign.

Some of the speakers for 1986 were:

    • 1/28: Charles Thomson -- Bulbs; Margaret Bond -- Vegetable Gardening

    • 2/25: Charles Hanners -- Seed Germination

    • 4/29: Audrey Whitney -- Pruning

    • 6/24: Tour of Gardens of Harold Moline and Hans Hirschmann

    • 8/26: Clayton Werner, Horticulturist -- Basic Principles of Landscape Design

    • 9/30: Robert Howell -- Chrysanthemums


Japanese Beetle Campaign: In January, the Blitz the Beetle campaign was in full swing. Kent Winterson prepared a challenging poster to publicize the meeting. The Bowie Blade and Bowie Times newspapers carried a story about the campaign - Blitz the Beetle in 1987. Bowie Community TV aired the garden club meeting and the Bowie City Council agreed to issue a proclamation declaring April, "Blitz the Beetle Month. The members were encouraged to persuade their neighbors to put down milky spore and to distribute a Univ. of MD pamphlet on Japanese beetle control.

New Club By-Laws: The new by-laws were adopted at the April meeting.

In May the following officers were elected:

President: Jonas L. Bassen

1st V.P. , Programs: John E. McKenna

2nd V.P., Membership: Michael Parvis

3rd V.P., Plant Exchange: Stephen Hall

4th V.P., Publicity: Winnie Carrigan

Treasurer: Harriet Feldman

Secretary: Barbara Perkins

Membership List, 1987-1988

Ayres, Fran

Bassen, Jonas

Bender, Charles

Bernstein, Allan

Brust, Evelyn

Carrigan, Winnie

Feldman, Harriet

Hall, Steven

Hanners, Charles

Harris, Aurora

Hirschman, Hans

Holding, Rita

Leshinsky, Eleanor

Lucas, Pat

McKenna, John

Miller, Linda

Moline, Harold

Murphy, Theresa

Ohman, Billie

Parvis, Mike

Pelletier, Joyce

Perkins, Baraba

Potash, Neil

Roeder, Bob

Sandleman, Dorothy

Sandleman, Marc

Sundquist, Majorie

Weiss, Saul

Wendehack, Mary

Williams, Doug

Williams, Yvonne

Winterson, Kent

A Name the Newsletter Contest was initiated at the July meeting.

Club Finances: Membership dues was: Individual --- $5.00, Family -- $7.50, Junior -- $0.50. There were now 32 members in the club. Steve Hall designed a membership drive poster which was placed around the community. The treasury balance in November was $203.16.

Leaf-Shredder: The club purchased a leaf-shredding machine which was made available for rent from the garden club. A 3--4" application of shredded leaves makes an excellent mulch for gardens.

Field Trip: Six members took a tour of Homestead Gardens to see the poinsettias and decorated fir trees.

Holiday Party: The first holiday party was held on December 18th.

Some of the speakers for this year were:

2/24: Pat Kenny -- Herbs and How To Use Them

3/31: Michael Briese, Japanese Beetle Specialist Co. -- Milky Spore to Eliminate the Japanese Beetle

7/28: Robert Stewart, County Agent -- Plant Clinic

10/27: James San Antonio, Mycologist, Dept. of Agriculture-- Mushrooms in the Garden


Leaf Shredder: The club leaf shredder was defective and was returned and the money refunded by Hardware City.

First Club Community Project

The first community project of the club, The YMCA Memorial Garden project, headed by Neil Potash, was completed on June 30. Seven nurseries and commercial farms donated plants. Joyce Pelletier did the landscape design, and many other members contributed their efforts. The garden, located at the entrance to the YMCA, honors the memory of the former principal of the Meadowbrook Elementary School, Duane Franskoviak. Duane and his wife were killed in an automobile accident in 1972. A drunk driver was responsible for their deaths.The couple left five children.

Plant Sale: The first money-raising plant sale was held at the Grace Lutheran Church on Belair Drive, on April 29. Steve Hall was in charge of the sale.

Club Dues: As of July 1, dues were raised to $7.50 for individuals, $10 for families, and $1 for juniors.

Garden Tour: Garden club members visited Charles Hanners' Azalea Acres in Huntingtown, Calvert County.

New Officers: Yvonne Williams, past President installed the following new officers for a two-year term: 4th V.P., Public Relations -- Charles Bender; Secretary -- Martha Workman. Neil Potash was also appointed to be the club's first Historian.

Picnic: The Club's first picnic was held on August 20 at the home of Dorothy and Mark Sandleman in Bowie. Twenty-six people (including members, spouses and children) attended. It was decided to make the picnic an annual affair.

Holiday Party: The first Christmas Holiday party was held at the home of Yvonne and Doug Williams. Thirty-five members and their spouses.

First Honorary Member: Charles Hanners was made the first honorary member of the club at the meeting on August 30. Charles was so honored because of his many contributions to the club.

Meeting Location Change: In August, the meeting location was changed to the Bowie City Hall,, Room 14, opposite the Senior Citizens Center.

Some of the speakers in 1988 were:

    • 2/23: Erik Neumann, National Arboretum -- Flowering Shrubs

    • 3/28: Robert Alde, President of the Potomac Rose Society -- Roses

    • 7/26: Clayton Werner -- Ornamentals

    • 10/25: Robert Howell -- Mums


The YMCA Memorial Garden was dedicated on June 22.

Membership: Joe Walsh and Jeanne Ballinger joined the club in March. Barbara Henriksen, Marilyn McKee, Duane and Patti Stewart joined the club in April. Their are now about 50 members in the club.

Library Display: The club provided a gardening exhibit at the Bowie Public Library during the month of April. The exhibit was created by Jonas Bassen, Harriet Feldman, Steve Hall, Jessie Smith, and Kent Winterson.

Picnic: In lieu of the August meeting, the 2nd annual family picnic was held on August 20 at the home of Barbara Henriksen in Mitchellville. About 50 members and their families attended.

Plant Sale: The annual plant sale was held on April 29. The club's profit was $270.

Workshops for Members: The club began conducting workshops for members on different phases of gardening. The first workshop, on Plant Propagation, was conducted by Harold Moline on June 10. Twelve members attended the two-hour workshop.

Garden Tour: On May 6, 11 members made a field trip to Chuck Hanner's Azalea Acres in Calvert County.

Field Trips:

On September 15, several members went on a field trip to two unique wholesale nurseries, Bluemel and Bluemont in Monkton, Baltimore County.

Field Trip

Members visited the National Arboretum on October 21. John McKenna acted as tour guide for the following members (L to R): Helen and Bob Roeder, Jonas Bassen, Steve Hall, Jessie Smith, John McKenna, Charlie Bender and Bob Beringer.

On November 17, several members went on a field trip to Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, to see an indoor chrysanthemum display and to listen to music by the Washington Toho Koto Society.

Several members went on a field trip to the Mormon Temple on December 9. Snow added to the beauty of the Nativity Pageantry and display of millions of white lights. The Festival of Trees was educational and beautiful. Twelve trees were decorated by different Mormon churches.

Holiday Party: The Annual BCGC Holiday Party was held on December 17 at the home of Yvone and Doug Williams.

Here are the new officers for 1989--90:

President: John E. McKenna

1st V.P. , Programs: Jonas L. Bassen

2nd V.P., Membership: Kent Winterson

3rd V.P., Plant Exchange: Stephen Hall

4th V.P., Publicity: Evelyn Svoboda Treasurer:< Harriet Feldman

Secretary: Jeanne Ballinger

Some of the speakers during 1989 were:

    • 1/31: Jessie Smith -- Dry Flower Arrangements

    • 3/28: Charles Hanners -- Plant Propagation

    • 4/25: Thomas DeHaven, National Park Service -- Effectiveness of Landscape Planning in Public Areas

    • 5/30: Dr. Bruces James, Professor of Soil Chemestry at Univ. of MD -- Gardening Basics, Soil Conditioning for Bowie

    • 6/27: Paul Jung -- How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

    • 7/25: Lynn Batdorf, Curator of Perennials at the National Arborteum -- Low Maintenance Perennials

    • 9/26: Tom Turner, Ph.D. Professor of Agronomy, Univ. of MD -- How to Have a Perfect Lawn

    • 10/31: Robert Roe, President of the Potomac Lily Society -- What You Need to Know to Grow Lillies Successfully in the Wash. Area

    • 11/28: Scott Redlin, Plant Pathologist, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture -- Diseases of Woody Plants and Their Control