We are enthusiastic gardeners in clubs across the nation, united in sharing horticultural, environmental and sustainability education.
In 1927, engineer Leo W. Nack won an annual garden contest sponsored by a Chicago newspaper. The resulting publicity made his 45 x 60 foot garden a center of attraction and many gardeners came to see and admire his garden.
He observed that many of the admirers were men who seemed to have a keen interest in gardening. In response, on March 15, 1928, he led the formation of the Men's Garden Club. So far as we know, this was the first men's garden club. Nack was the first club President.
On September 25, 1932 a convention was called to organize the Men's Garden Clubs of America. Bill B. Lathrop of Aurora, a moving force for the formation of a national organization, was the temporary chairman. Harold J. Parnham of Des Moines was the temporary secretary. Also attending were John Gustafson, Arthur Brownwell, James K. Burdett and Oakley V. Morgan from Chicago. Ernest Koenemann and Don White came from Fort Wayne and Robert S. Gerrick and Alfred Hottes represented Des Moines, Iowa.
The next day, September 26, 1932, the Men's Garden Clubs of America was born. The first national president was Alfred C. Hottes. Bill Lathrop was the first secretary and James K. Burdett was the first treasurer. Gustafson, Koenemann, Morgan and Parnham were the first directors.
Annual conventions continued, with 27 clubs added by 1960. Interest continued to grow, with gardeners actively dedicated to increasing productivity of their home gardens, improving the beauty of their communities and enhancing their environment through gardening.
To reflect the growing diversity in gardening and its membership, the organization changed its name to The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America in 1992. Today, TGOA/MGCA welcomes and urges men and women – everyone who loves gardening – to join.
No other organization promotes home gardening on the scale of The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America. We propagate good gardeners and good gardening ideas.