THE HISTORY OF THE WEEDERS
The Weeders was founded May 6,1907, by five young women who wanted to belong to a garden club of their own–not the one of their mothers. Their purpose was “to form a club for the study of any subject connected with Gardens.” Future members were to be admitted, “on condition that they owned gardens in which they were active workers.” In 1913, now grown to 20 members, The Weeders accepted the invitation from the Garden Club of Philadelphia to join eleven other clubs to form The Garden Club of America.
Early Weeders were expected to present papers on garden subjects at club meetings, and 100 such papers had been presented by 1914, with titles ranging from seeds, to soils, and from garden costume (really) to “how to get the best of weeds.”
Weeders came out of their backyards often. In 1917 they trained and led a unit of the Land Army Farmerettes, and in the 1940’s they raised victory gardens. Later, The Weeders provided years of work in the Philadelphia Neighborhood Garden Project, and they were also prominent in establishing the Philadelphia Committee of the GCA, now a model for inner-city GCA projects.
The young Weeders of 1907 laid a path for our subsequent activities. Like them, we are still learning and are active workers in our own and public gardens (such as the entry garden at Cliveden); we strive to protect native flowers; we do community planting (such as the Strafford Train Station); we fund conservation scholarships and projects; and we attempt to follow our motto, taken from a poem by Longfellow and adopted by us in 1915: “Learn to labor and to wait.”