The Museum Garden Club was founded in the fall of 2004 by Roberta Shaw and Christine Williams. Both women were part of the landscaping committee for the Moving Vietnam Wall in which the township hosted as part of its bicentennial celebration.
When the Wall was dismantled and moved onto its next location, the flowers and trees that had been donated were left behind as were benches. Some were sold; but many of the perennials were not suitable for sale. Shaw and Williams decided to take those half dead flowers and plant them at the township Museum and hope for the best in the next spring.
With no real plan in mind to start with, Shaw, a Master Gardener, started developing one as they looked over what was already planted around the 1870’s building. Most of what was there was large overgrown shrubbery. There was one large area filled with poison ivy.
Members of the historical society had planted tulip bulbs and annual through out the years and even terraced one area. There was a border of hosta across the front. Realizing the scope of redoing the gardens around the building the two went looking for help. Williams was able to obtain a grant from the bicentennial committee to hire professional, Bill’s Scenic Landscaping from Lake Hopatcong.
The transformation had begun. Four of the benches and a pear tree from the Wall were given to the Museum. It was too late in the season to plant the tree so it was stored at the township DPW for the winter. The workers removed all of the old scrubs and prepared areas for planting.
Specific flowers were chosen for authenticity to the period. Again Shaw and Williams knew that they could not care for these gardens themselves. The idea to begin a garden club whose sole purpose was to develop and maintain the Museum gardens. The Museum Garden Club of Jefferson was born.
The focus of the Museum Garden Club is to develop and maintain the gardens surrounding the George Chamberlain House, also known as the Jefferson Township Museum. The gardens are a representation of the style and structure of the period. "Miss Elizabeth’s Garden" is affectionately named after the first lady of house, Miss Ruth Elizabeth Speaker.
The members of the Museum Garden Club are a group of volunteers whose main focus is to develop and maintain the Gardens surrounding the Township Museum. Other activities include an annual plants sale and decorating the Museum, both inside and outside, for the Museum Christmas weekend event.
Our annual meeting is held in March in the Riker Room of the Jefferson Township Public Library. Additional meetings are held on an as needed basis throughout the year. Our planning meetings are held in the evening and our group work sessions in the garden are typically held on a Saturday morning or an early weekday evening.