The Memory Garden on the corner of Samford and Mell Streets at Auburn University, was established by the Garden Clubs of Alabama in 1957. Every year the garden clubs could donate money for this project and would receive points for doing so. They also offered to work in the garden gut were told the University would do the work. Jeannette Burdette, a member of the Tulip Garden Club, now deceased, was in charge of this project for twenty years.
Approximately four years ago, two huge trees in the garden died and the garden clubs were asked if they could replace the trees. Because of the size of the trees they decided it would take three trees to replace them. The Garden Clubs purchased two Overcup Oaks about 15 to 20 feet tall, which were supposed to be disease resistant, at a cost of $500 each, and the University bought one more and they planted them.
Ben Burmaster, Campus Planner, called Helen Edwards of the Tulip Garden Club and asked her to contact Jan Thomas, State President of Garden Clubs of Alabama and tell her that they would like to share the Memorial Garden. He told her the brick steps going down to the garden were deteriorating and needed to be replaced. The State President and several members of Garden Clubs met with Mr. Burmaster and he showed them several sets of blueprints of what they would like to do. They had approximately a million and a half dollars to work with. They had made so many drastic changes in the gardens, the garden club members did not approve the changes so the University decided to continue on their own.
They replaced the steps and held a dedication in November 2016. The State President of the Garden Clubs of Alabama attended the dedication. They changed the name to The Auburn Memory Garden and did not once mention the Garden Clubs of Alabama. You can imagine how hurt and unappreciated the Garden Club members must have felt.
The remaining money in the Memory Garden account will go to other projects.
Virginia D. Roe
Tulip Garden Club