Flotsam and Jetsam Garden Club History
By Barbara Neff -- October 9, 2007
I'm amazed and delighted to be here for the 40th anniversary meeting of Flotsam and Jetsam Garden Club.
Amazed because it doesn't seem possible that it's been 40 years since a dozen or so women gathered in
my living room for the first meeting. And delighted to see what a vital, vibrant organization the club has
In order to give you a little background on the group's early days, I have to go back further than its beginning.
In the late '50's a group of women met occasionally. They called themselves the Darn It and Blab Society.
That is, until my father re-christened the group Stitch 'n Bitch. It was a very loosely organized group. No
dues, no rules, no guilt if you didn't show up. Their purpose was to visit, work on their current personal
projects, share skills they owned and learn new techniques. They mended, they knit, they tooled leather,
poured candles and etched aluminum. One day my mother, Mabel Wallis and Lynn Peterson's mother,
Margit Fredericks, expressed an interest in learning how to do silk screening. Enter Bertha Hoovan who
knew how to do that, and she taught a workshop on it.
For some reason which I don't remember now, a need arose to raise money for a community project. The
women in that group decided to stage a driftwood show. They enlisted Bertha's help because she'd been
involved with flower shows. She shepherded them through a successful show (with silk screened
programs) called "Driftwood Daze." Members of the community, summer people and anyone with an
interesting piece of driftwood that "looked like something" or was just pretty was invited to enter. Prizes
were awarded in the form of colored ribbons attached to sand dollars backed with felt. I think those were
Patty Evans-Endresen's mother's idea. Bernice Endresen was a "goin' concern" and was involved in
making a success of whatever project the community was currently working on.
|A Name Filled With
Tradition, Humor and
“When the Flotsam and
Jetsam Garden Club was
formed, it evolved from a
group of young mothers who
had already been meeting as
a crafts club. These
approximately twelve women
had presented a crafts show
and one or two driftwood
shows, for which they
achieved some acclaim.
Looking for more, they
decided to become a garden
club. Bertha Hooven was
asked for advice. Due to
commitments she had, she
asked they wait until spring
and she would join them.
Bertha was the guiding light of
the endeavor, and it was her
suggestion (according to
Barbara Neff) that the fledgling
club be called the Flotsam
and Jetsam Garden Club. It
was a whimsy that grew out of
all the members living on or
near the beach, their success
with driftwood, and their belief
that the name appropriately
described the area.
Flotsam and Jetsam Garden
Club is a name with years of
tradition. It still has a lovely
sense of whimsy. Everyone
smiles when they hear it. It
lets everyone know that we
garden in a coastal
(excerpt from a letter written
by Susan E. Claeys, Sept.,
|1967-68 Marilyn Jones
1987-88 Lois Eakin
1988-89 Lois Eakin
1989-90 Edith Grimshaw
1990-91 Rosie Farnsworth
1991-92 Carol Meredith
1992-93 Frances Baker
1993-94 Bobby Pedersen
1994-95 Bobby Pedersen
1995-96 Mary Booth
1996-97 Sue Claeys
1997-98 Gretchen Lee
1998-99 Karen Miller
1999-00 Sara Nawrot
2000-01 EmmaJean Hemingway
2001-02 Shirlee Jelcick &
2002-03 Pat Fredericks
2003-04 Ann Terry
2004-05 Nancy Garing
2005-06 Nancy Garing
2006-07 Mary Booth
2007-08 Dody Solaas
2008-09 Cathy Stemen
2009-10 Paulette Cziske
2010-11 Glee Palmer-Davis
2011-12 Artie Flohr
2012-13 Celia Grether
2013-14 Laureen Davis
2014-15 Martha Pendergast
2015-16 Susan Harrington
2016-17 Nancy Peregrine
|Flotsam & Jetsam Garden Club
P A S T P R E S I D E N T S
Go a few years forward - not a whole generation - to a
group of young women whose children were just entering
school and who wanted something new to do with their
time - something that would give them a social outlet as
well as an opportunity to do something that would "matter."
Enter Bertha Hoovan again. She had been elected
President of the Washington State Federation of Garden
Clubs and one of the responsibilities of her term was to
assist in the formation of a new Garden Club. "We" of
course were impatient and wanted to do something
"now". But Bertha's term didn't begin until 1968. So while
we started meeting in the fall of '67, we did not get our
charter until the spring of '68. I remember the installation
of officers ceremony. It was held at The Last Resort,
which was Verby Ereth's home. There were candles and
scarves and it was very sweet, Orange, which was
Bertha's favorite color, figured prominently in the activities.
Did you ever wonder why your meetings occur at nine in
the morning? It's because several of the charter
members - Janet Meitzner, Carolyn Parnell and I - had
little boys in morning kindergarten. We put those kids on
the school bus, attended the meeting and were home by
noon when the bus brought them back. Three hours of
Bertha guided us through our first year. One of our
important actions was to choose a name for the group.
The suggestions I remember both came from Bertha.
One, which I think she favored, was The Toredos. She
told us it was the name for worms which bored into
driftwood, but I haven't been able to find it in the
dictionary. Her other suggestion was Flotsam and
The former means floating debris and the latter is material thrown overboard from a ship to lighten its load.
Those terms seemed appropriate to those of us who beachcombed and used material we gathered there
in our decorating. The group favored Flotsam and Jetsam over Toredos, I think to Bertha's disappointment.
The Federation was far more involved with flower arranging than with horticulture then. Usually at flower
shows, the tables displaying arrangements outnumbered the tables displaying blossoms by about 20 to 1.
Federation requirements mandated certain accomplishments during a year, according to the size of the
group. We decided to keep our membership under 25 or 35 - I don't remember which now - so that we could
get by with staging a flower show every two years rather than annually.
Over the years the membership became more interested in "growing" than in "arranging" and the decision to
drop out of the Federation came in the late '80's.
I loved the time I spent in garden club prior to going to work full time, and I look forward to participating again
now that I'm retired and back in the community.