The Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club based at the Old Mill in West Tisbury, announced in a press release that it started the season with much hope and enthusiasm after a year of struggling with the pandemic. They are actively planning to enhance the vision of the club, foster partnerships, and provide more services and events.
The club’s biggest fundraiser, Blooming Art, had been put on hold in 2020 due to COVID-19. Like many nonprofits, the garden club experienced a financial downturn, but the board and members continued to hold meetings and presentations via Zoom. Once the mandates were lifted earlier this year and more people were vaccinated, the club was able to hold the Blooming Art event once again. It gave the chance for locals and visitors to enjoy artwork paired with floral designs that were inspired by the art and created by one or more of the M.V. Garden Club members. The exhibit ended up more well-attended and profitable than expected, and thanks to the supporters and the community, according to the press release, the club took in more than $7,000. The proceeds will go toward the restoration of the Old Mill.
The historic mill that is home to the M.V. Garden Club is the oldest industrial building in West Tisbury. It is also the only remaining mill on the Island that dates back to 1845. There have been multiple owners since that time, and it has been used as a textile mill, a blacksmithery, an auction house, an art gallery, and even a tea room. In 1937, the building fell into disrepair and it was almost torn down, but Mrs. T.M. Randolph Meikleham, the first M.V. Garden Club president, saved it when she rented the mill along with two other members. Then in 1942, the club was able to buy the property.
In the past 80 years, the board and members have worked hard to maintain and preserve the Old Mill. Recent repairs include the installation of handrails, fixing leaks, painting, replacing rotten wood, cleaning and restaining the wooden gutters, replacing exterior doors, and making sure the electrical system is up to code.
Moving forward in 2021, the club is looking to foster partnerships with other nonprofits, and plan more garden-related fundraising events for both members and the general community. Their goal is to open the Old Mill year-round to the public for workshops, quilt shows, baby and bridal showers, art shows, intimate weddings, and maybe even to bring it back as a tea room again. For all of this to happen, continued support from the Island community would be needed. To join the M.V. Garden Club and enjoy the benefits, or to make a donation to the Old Mill fund, visit marthasvineyardgardenclub.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.