BRIDGEWATER — During its century-long existence, the Roxbury-Bridgewater Garden Club has worked to preserve and beautify the towns’ green spaces and has taught residents about plants and ecosystems.

On Saturday, the club will celebrate its upcoming 100th anniversary with a tour that will feature seven gardens in both towns.

“It’s fantastic,” said Sallie Smith, one of the group’s members. “I think it’s because people are interested and want to preserve the Earth.”

Ten charter members established the club, then called the Roxbury Garden Club, on Oct. 4, 1916. The U.S. entered World War I six months later, prompting the club to focus on growing vegetables to feed residents. In 1917, the club held its first fundraiser, collecting money at garden parties for the war effort. The club gathered steam throughout in the Roaring ’20s it started hosting flower shows.

It was hard for members to continue coming to meetings during the Great Depression and World War II because gas was expensive and scarce. However, the group created an Emergency War Fund in 1940.

In 1948, the group added Bridgewater to its name to reflect its growing membership, and in 1950, membership swelled to 91 people. The club thrived in the following decades, creating a junior club and offering countless workshops. Education is still one of the club’s priorities, Smith said. It works with youngsters, and the club offers two annual scholarships to students pursuing careers in botany.

“We’re all about promoting gardening, growing and botanicals,” Smith said.

For a while, the group also preserved open space before local land trusts took on the task more than a decade ago. Smith said that role is unique for a garden club.

Smith said the club’s current 41 members remain very active. They maintain eight gardens, plant memorial trees, decorate for Christmas, hold an annual plant sale and offer numerous educational workshops and programs.

“We’re basically going 24/7,” she said

One of the group’s most famous members was the late Rejean Metzler, who in the 1970s became a popular instructor and published a book on dried flowers.

“She was basically the one who started the whole dried-flower craze,” Smith said. “She was a really cool lady.”

Saturday’s event will range from a large meadow, to an old labyrinth garden, to a hillside garden with walls.

Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 the day of, and can be purchased at the libraries in both towns, the Bridgewater Village Store, Manny’s Restaurant, Maple Bank Farm, and Roxbury Market.

Smith said the group is always looking for members. Anyone interested in joining or who would like more information can contact the president, Marnee Straiton, at

“We’ve got a very bright future,” Smith said.; 203-731-3345; @kkoerting