What: Garden Tour 2023
When: Friday, May 19, 2023, from 3 to 8 PM and Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 10 AM to 4 PM
Where: THE PORCH CLUB, Fourth & Howard Streets, Riverton, NJ 08077 and gardens in Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson, NJ
How Much: $20, Tour only;
$30, Tour plus lunch SOLD OUT
This year’s tour will include nine beautiful private gardens in Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson in all their late-spring glory. The gardens are all new, none repeated from the previous tour.
Come to the Porch Club for lunch on Saturday from 11 AM to 2 PM. LUNCH IS SOLD OUT.
Also included are vendors of garden-related items, displays by local environmental organizations, raffle baskets, plant and book sales, and a boutique of garden items for sale. The Porch Club is a registered 501(c)3 organization, and all proceeds help support their charitable initiatives and clubhouse.
A quilt, done by The Porch Club’s Stitchery Committee as a group project, will be raffled off at the end of the day on Saturday, along with two other baskets of garden and picnic items. Raffle tickets are available at The Porch Club.
OK, our PSA is over. Now, you know that we have to sneak in a bit of history.
Porch Club member Pat Brunker informs us that folks have been saving the dates for the Porch Club’s bi-annual Garden Tour since at least the 1980s. However, a search of area newspapers and our own archive of local newspapers and the Gaslight News has yielded little except small notices on community calendar pages.
The first info I have is from the tour on May 6, 1982. I scanned the program; see below. Shirley Brown provided the luncheon in 1982 – she won the Betty Crocker Cook Off award in her time. I think she won a stove… It’s our big fundraiser every two years. Proceeds support our building maintenance and charitable giving. The Garden Tour was started by the Club’s Garden Department by Chairmen Toby Hunn and Louise Vaughan.
Pat’s clues about that early Garden Tour set me off to search further. It turns out that Shirley Brown (the woman who provided the lunch in 1982) was a Porch Club president (1978), a dedicated community volunteer, and a longtime Calvary Church member.
An avid amateur cook, the mother of six was a regional finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1967. It’s not often that a Cordon Bleu-trained cook prepares your lunch.
In 1991, she was honored at a dinner for 20-year volunteers of FISH, a church-affiliated group that supplied medical and emergency transportation for area elderly residents.
Do you see how the smallest thread of a recollection can unravel a trove of forgotten history?
What else can we add to this chronicle of how the Garden Tour started?