History 1916-1969


The Garden Club of St. Louis was organized in February of 1916. Six couples, all interested in gardening, met at the home of the Eugene H. Angert's to discuss their horticultural successes and failures and decide to form a garden club. Their first President was Mr. Eugene Angert, and by the end of the year the Club had grown to 26 interested members. Mr. Angert served as President for two years, and in 1918 Dr. Herman Von Schrenk succeeded him.

First President of the Garden Club of St. Louis 1916-1917

Angert, Eugene H. (1877-1929). 

Eugene Angert was born October 21, 1877, in St. Charles, Mo. He received an A.B. from St. Louis University in 1896 and his LL. B. from Harvard in 1899. He practiced law in St. Louis (1900) and in 1912 he became a member of the law firm James, Hacker, Sullivan and Angert. He married Miss Vera Giannini of St. Louis in 1912. He also was the director of the First National Bank, the Securities Investment and the American National Assurance Company. In 1928, he organized the St. Louis Horticulture Society. He was the doner of the Angert trophy to the person who was responsible for the best backyard garden in the city of St. Louis as judged by the Horticultural Society.

Angert was the toastmaster at a dinner held for Charles Lindbergh when Lindbergh returned to St. Louis after his transatlantic flight, see photo. (Angert is standing to the left of Lindbergh).


In 1920, under the presidency of Dr. D. H. Duggar, the Club held its first Flower Show in the Display House at the Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden).


The  Garden Club of St. Louis became a member of the Garden Club of America, and held their second Flower Show at Shaw's Garden.


In 1922, Mr. Eugene Angert was again elected President. The third Flower Show was greatly enlarged, not only for all amateurs, but was opened to commercial growers as well.


During 1923 the Club held its first course of lectures on horticultural subjects for the public, having a series of three lectures during January, February and March, held at the Artists' Guild Building.

May 26, 1923 was the Garden Club of St. Louis spring show on the lower level of Floral Display House.  Click here for a photo.


Edith Mason was awarded a medal by the Garden Club of St. Louis for the best miniature garden exhibited at the 7th Annual Flower Show held at the Mo. Botanical Garden, May 22, 1926.


Mrs. Edward Simmons was elected the first woman President of the Club. During this year Mr. Eugene Angert organized the St. Louis Horticultural Society, which is still a very active organization. The Spring Flower Show of the Club had now become an annual affair.


The Club began a 5 year experiment with the St. Louis Parks Department to study the effects of air pollution on plant material. 


Through  the efforts of Mrs. Herman Von Schrenk and Mrs. O.K. Bovard, founder members of the Club, the Garden Clubs of Missouri were organized into a Federation.


With  Mrs. Von Schrenk as President, the Garden Club held its first Garden Tour of Club members' gardens. The Tour was open to the public for a fee. Since the first International Cut Flower Show and the first Greater St. Louis Flower and Garden Show were held in St. Louis in April, the Club did not hold its own flower show, but exhibited a colonial garden in the International Show as a special exhibit.


Mrs. Von Schrenk was President. The Annual Meeting of the Garden Club of America was held in St. Louis May 16, 17, 18, and 19. One of the outstanding attractions was the Annual Meeting of members being held on a river steamer as it cruised down the Mississippi from St. Louis to Selma Hall, earlier known as Kennett Castle, an old river landing some miles south of St. Louis. At that time it was the home of Mr. and Mrs. William O. Schock, members of the Garden Club of St. Louis.

Lunch was served at Selma Hall and guests returned to St. Louis by bus, stopping at several homes of members en route to visit their gardens.

In 1937, Mrs. I.A. Stevens was elected President of the Club. Since the Greater St. Louis Flower and Garden Show, which included commercial cut flowers and gardens as well as an amateur section open to all garden clubs, was to become an annual event each spring, it was voted that the Club discontinue their Spring Flower Show

at Shaw's Garden - the Club would exhibit at this show. As the first Garden Tour of 1936 was such a success, it was decided the Club would have a Tour every other year to raise monies for their projects. The entire proceeds of the 1939 Tour was given to the General Fund of Shaw's Garden.


The Club took part in the Garden Club of America project to plant the grounds of the Red Cross huts in military camps. Hundreds of plants were donated by members of the Club or purchased by the Club. Fort Leonard Wood, Jefferson Barracks, and Scott Field, in Illinois, were the principle areas planted. The wooden barrack hospital at Jefferson Barracks was also planted with gifts from Garden Club

members of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. It was here at the Jefferson Barracks Hospital that Dr. Howard Rusk started his therapy work among the patients. Gardening was included in this program, as well as many other crafts.


In 1947 the Club's project for the Greater St. Louis Flower and Garden Show was nine miniature gardens of different seasons and periods. The gardens were the idea of the Project Chairman, Mrs. Garneau Weld, and her committee of 15 members worked on the project the winter of 1946-47. The gardens were designed by Edith Mason. Each had its own inside lighting effect, and were viewed through a black glass frame 20" x 28" and were 30" in depth. So popular were these gardens that

they were exhibited in a special dark room at the St. Louis Art Museum from April 5 through the 19th. The little gardens were exhibited also in the Garden Club of America section of the New York Flower Show, and then were put on display for the next ten years at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn, New York.

The St. Louis Garden Club has always been greatly interested in civic projects. It has supported, or, as a Garden Club project, taken part in, roadside plantings, conservation, and as long ago as 1932, experiments in air pollution as related to its effect on plant materials. This experiment was carried on for five years within the St. Louis Park Department. But the Club's greatest interest has been to support the Missouri Botanical Garden either by raising funds for its general fund or for specific projects.


The Garden Tour of 1952 was used to improve the Wild Flower Trails at Shaw's Garden Arboretum at Gray Summit, Mo. (The Tours of 1954,1956 and 1958 were used for the restoration of the Linnaean House, a greenhouse built by Mr. Henry Shaw as an "orangery". The Linnaean House is known as the oldest greenhouse west of the Mississippi River.


In the fall of 1953 flower arrangements were made by club members for the Mo. Historical Society Annual Meeting. However, one of the most successful fund raising projects of the Club was Christmas Around the World, held December 4 through 6, 1953. This exhibit was held in the city home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Desloge. The rooms were large and not fully furnished at this time, so it was possible to have not only Christmas trees, but decorated tables as well. The Christmas traditions of 14 countries were represented, with authentic ornaments, decorations and food on the tables. When possible, a native of the country the room represented, was host or hostess in the costume of their country. The ball room, under the first floor, was truly an American Christmas, with decorated trees, roping, wreaths, and toys. This was a wonderful exit from the exhibit, as there were wide doors and steps under the main entrance of the house.  Money raised through this exhibit was presented to Dr. Anderson for the Missouri Botanical Garden and to Mrs. W. J. Hedley for the Federated Garden Clubs Building Fund, now known as the National Council of State Garden Clubs.  Click here to see a photo of the presentation of the twin $3,500 checks.

In 1953 the Garden Club of St. Louis was one of the sponsors for the Ladue Garden Club to become a member of the Garden Club of America.


Mrs. Martin Lammert III received the Garden Club of America Horticulture Award in recognition of her many fine contributions and accomplishments made to the club and the Mo. Botanical Garden. The 1956 Garden Tour netted around $3600 which was given to Shaw's Garden.


Mrs. I.R. Stevens gave a course of 4 lectures on The Small Do It Yourself Garden at the Woman's Exchange. It was very well received by the public. A Garden Tour was held the last 3 days of April. $3000 proceeds went to the Mo. Botanical Garden.


January 1958, the Garden Club of America Horticulture Achievement Award was presented to Mr. John S. Lehmann in recognition of his outstanding work and untiring efforts as Chairman of the Mo. Botanical Garden for 5 years. A Garden Tour was held and $3000 was given to the Garden for the restoration of the Linnaean House. The Blue Ribbon for the best flower in the Federated Garden Clubs' Flower Show was awarded to the "Bartow Lammert" iris grown by Mrs. Martin Lammert III.


There was a special tour of club members' gardens for the National Federated Garden Clubs' Annual Meeting in May. The meeting of Zone XI of the ,Garden Club of America was held in St. Louis September 29 and 30, 1959. The St. Louis Garden Club was co-host with the Ladue Garden Club. Each Club had five gardens of their members open for the visitors. The Ladue Garden Club was hostess for luncheon at the Old Warson Country Club. The Garden Club of St. Louis gave a dinner at the St. Louis Country Club. Dr. Edgar Anderson, Honorary Member of the Club won the Darwin Wallace Medal given by the Linnaean Society of London for his contributions to the knowledge of evolution. Mrs. IR A. Stevens was awarded the G.C.A Horticultural Merit Certificate for her work with iris and peonies. The 1959 Garden Tour netted $4000.


Members participated in the Centennial of the Mo. Botanical Garden and helped with special flower displays and redecorating of the Henry Shaw House. Decorations were also made for the Regional Meeting of the American Red Cross, the Annual Luncheon of the St. Louis Children's Hospital, and the Maintenance Fund Luncheon of the St. Louis Symphony Society.


Mrs. John S. Lehmann was made a permanent member of the Executive Board of the Women's Association of the Mo. Botanical Garden and a Life Member of the Women's Association Committee. Mr. and Mrs. George Pettus were given the Carey Quinn Award by the American Daffodil Society.

The Garden Club of America Award of Merit was given to Mr. Leicester Faust for his work in greenhouse gardening and propagation of plants. The G.C.A. Horticulture Award was given to Mr. and Mrs. George Pettus for their work in hybridizing daffodils and day lilies. Mrs. Martin Lammert III won the Carey Quinn Award from the American Daffodil Society. Two White dogwoods were donated by the Club to be planted in front of the Jefferson Memorial. Several members were involved in the planning and restoration of the park section of Portland Place. The Club participated in all phases of the Garden Gate Sale at Famous-Barr for the benefit of the Mo. Botanical Garden.

Edith Mason was the overall landscape architect. Our Club planted the Tower of Flowers 15 feet high with a fountain up the center. 2,000 plants were used and later sold at a profit. We made numerous saleable articles, grew rare roses and geraniums, and staffed booths. A large sum was netted for the Garden. The Founders' Fund Award of the Garden Club of America was given to the Climatron for the Misty Ridge Area. This project was proposed by our Club and seconded by the Ladue Garden Club.


The Garden Club of America presented its Founder's Fund award to the Garden Club of St. Louis for the "climatron mist forest" at Missouri Botanical Gardens, which consisted of a wide variety of tropical plants in natural settings.  The award amounted to $3,000 to complete the forest.  Click here to view an article documenting the award.


 In May Edith S. Mason won the Garden Club of America Horticulture Achievement Award.  In November our Club was responsible for a flower arranging show, "English Manor", held at Lammert Furniture Co. It consisted of 32 individual exhibits featuring fruits and flowers with antiques. A centerpiece by one of our members won a Blue Ribbon at the Federated Garden Clubs Zone Meeting. A House and Garden Tour featured particular rooms or exhibits. Proceeds went to the Mo. Botanical Garden On March 10, 11 and 12 of 1965 the Garden Club held a Garden Symposium using the facilities of the City Art Museum and Shaw's Garden. Nationally known speakers who had lectured at Colonial Williamsburg on various phases of gardening, plant material, garden design and flower arranging spoke at the sessions. Guests came from all over the states of Missouri and Illinois to attend. The funds raised by the Symposium were divided equally between Shaw's Garden and the City Art Museum. The Club was awarded the Blue Ribbon of Civic Achievement by the Federated Garden Clubs of America for our Garden Symposium.


In May  Mr. and Mrs. Garneau Weld were awarded the Horticultural Certificate from the Garden Club of America as a result of their efforts in gardening and their generosity in sharing with others. In October Club members were asked to make flower arrangements for a special exhibit "Glackens in Retrospect" and also designed planting and flowers around the fountain in Sculpture Hall for the

Degas exhibition at the St. Louis Art Museum. April 29, 1967 the Club sponsored a Station Wagon Sale on the parking lot of Westroads Shopping Center. Thirty-one specialty shops participated, each having a gaily decorated station wagon filled with merchandise to sell. The station wagons, parked parallel to each other, formed an oblong, with open tail gates facing the center, and a space 10 feet by 10 feet also to use. The Garden Club had a tent in the center of the area filled with flowering plants, hanging baskets, espalier ivy trees, herbs and garden accessories. A committee worked all winter painting baskets that were filled with tools, decorating file boxes which contained garden hints, compiled by the men members of the Club.' There were pressed flower pictures, hand painted bird houses and numerous other delightful articles all pertaining to gardening or the great outdoors. All proceeds of the project were given to Shaw's Garden.


In October, 1967 members of the Garden Club were hosts and hostesses at Shaw's Garden during the Annual Meeting of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Members made flower arrangements in the Art Museum Period Rooms, and Edith Mason was in charge of decorations for the banquet at the Chase Hotel. In November, Mr. George Pettus was elected President of the Hemerocallis Society, and the following June, Mr. and Mrs. George Pettus ran the National Meeting of the Hemerocallis Society in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Garden Club has raised monies for the support of Shaw's  Garden through other media, such as auctions, plant sales, and invitations from specialty shops for flower arrangements. We have always been proud that three or more of our men members have, through the years, been on the Board of Trustees of Shaw's Garden.

the Station Wagon Bazaar was organized at Westroads Shopping Center, now the Galleria. It consisted of 36 decorated station wagons with open tail gates facing the center, each displaying wares for sale from various St. Louis stores. Wippy Bascom hosted Polke’s, Stevie Werner ...Andres, Eleanor Hitchcock...The Record Bar, Dudie Lamy...Schirmers, Gertrude Bernoudy...Jon Thomas, Frannie Desloge...the Post Horn, Mickey Potter...Papagallo. As quoted in the Post Dispatch “The ladies from the Garden Club will be recognizable by their gaily colored hats.”

We have also had at least five men who were Presidents of the Board. Mr. John S. Lehmann was acting Director of the Garden for a number of years, and it was partly through his great generosity that the National Council of State Garden Clubs moved their headquarters to St. Louis in May of 1958. They have a beautiful building on Magnolia Avenue which is the southern boundary of Shaw's Garden.


A  joint meeting with the Ladue Garden Club was held in January. Miss Edna Pennell, dried flower arranger from Williamsburg was the featured speaker. In the spring of  1968 Mr. and Mrs. Leicester B. Faust, members of the Club, gave to St. Louis County a gift of 98.5 acres of land along the Missouri River in Chesterfield, Mo. This farm is part of a 1,000 acre parcel of land purchased as one of the first

land grants by Frederick Bates, who served as Governor of Missouri from 1824 until his death in 1825. At that time St. Charles was the Capitol of Missouri and Governor Bates commuted across the Missouri River from his farm to St, Charles. The Bates home was constructed in 1807 and is still in excellent condition, with only minor changes made during the passing years. Mr. Bates named his farm Thornhill, which is still used. Also on the property are two slave dwellings, a barn dating from Mr. Bates' time, and the family burial ground in which Mr. Bates, his wife, two sons and a family friend are buried. Fortunately the historical buildings are in one area, so will not be destroyed but will become landmarks when St. Louis County develops the land as a recreational park.

The Garden Club of St. Louis is rather unique in that the greater part of the membership are couples, as when the Club was originally founded. Thus most of the monthly meetings are held in the evenings. Lectures and discussions over all phases of gardening, conservation, and related topics. Without the men membership of the Club, their support and help, the Club could not have undertaken ,any of the larger projects it has in the past and hopes to do in the future.


1969 was a year of planning and reorganization. The by-laws were revised and a new Affiliate Membership category was started. The Club worked on the planning and maintenance of the old fashioned garden behind the Henry Shaw House at the Mo. Botanical Garden. Mrs. Henry Hitchcock was elected Zone VIII Chairman of the Garden Club of America.

Garneau Weld designed the table decorations for the St. Louis University sesquicentennial celebration with the help of various members.