The Hudson Garden Club has been celebrating Arbor Day since the club was founded in 1933 and will do so again this year.
Planting trees and caring for them were one of the club’s earliest civic projects and it continues to this day.
Garden club member Sherry Beam reviewed the club’s archives and found that initially single trees and small groups of trees were planted around town and on school property to celebrate Arbor Day. In the 1950s the club began to give young tree seedlings to schoolchildren to take home and plant in their yards. Many Hudson residents remember their Arbor Day tree from the garden club and have a story about it.
Mary Griffiths received a pin oak seedling when she was a Hudson elementary school student 67 years ago. She planted the tree in her backyard and tended it as it grew into a magnificent specimen. Griffiths has recently passed on, but her tree continues to thrive, a memorial to her.
April Walton’s son, Ben, received an evergreen seedling from the club. He planted it in their yard and it was always "his" tree. When they moved, he wanted the tree to come to the new house, too.
"We dug it up and planted it on the property. It has matured into a beautiful tree in its new location," Walton said. "There are many memories associated with it."
Nancy Sheperd says that more than 20 years ago her fourth grade daughter, Lindsey, came home from school with an Arbor Day tree. She insisted on naming it and planted "her tree" in a garden bed. It took off and grew and grew.
"Now it is more than 20 feet tall, totally blocks our back yard view, and is too large to even put Christmas lights on it, and I love it," Sheperd said. "We will never cut it down as it is a growing reminder of days gone by and how time is moving way too fast."
Anne Klein says her son, James Mau, now 19, received a seedling 16 years ago when he was a student at the United Methodist Preschool.
"We planted the seedling in our backyard and he took care of it himself, watering it daily and making sure no weeds took it over," Klein says. "When we moved to another home in Hudson seven years ago, we dug up the tree and took it with us. It is still thriving. Now the tree stands taller than James.
"We decorated his special tree with Christmas lights this past season to surprise him when he came home from college on his holiday break. Before he left for school this fall, I snapped a picture."
In addition to purchasing trees for the city and Hudson Parks, the club still gives tree seedlings to children on Arbor Day. This year, on April 26, Hudson Garden Club member Kathy Harrison will give a presentation about trees and proper planting to the fourth grade students at East Woods School. Each student will receive an information sheet and a live tree seedling to take home to plant. Nearly 400 white pine trees will be distributed.
For more information about Hudson Garden Club visit www.hudsongardenclub.org.