Garden Club flourishing as it celebrates 60 years

  • Written by Joe Boyle


Lorraine Bujan, the president of the Oak Lawn Garden Club, provided a positive spin about a dreary and rainy Monday.

“We could always use the rain,” she laughed. “It’s good for the plants.”

Bujan, who is in her third year as president of the organization, has always loved plants and caring for them. She said this has been a great year for the Oak Lawn Garden Club, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, the Oak Lawn Garden Club approached the staff at the Oak Lawn Library and asked that if a display could be arranged to be set up at the library. Kevin Korst, the local history coordinator for the Oak Lawn Library, gave them an enthusiastic yes.

“They do so much for us,” said Korst, who has written books on the snowstorm and the tornado that hit Oak Lawn in 1967. “We wanted to work in that they are celebrating their 60th year.”

The Oak Lawn Garden Club was founded as the Iris Club in 1954. The Garden Club was officially chartered in 1956. Korst and Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury said that the Oak Lawn Garden Club has been an asset to the community, taking part in numerous beautification projects for not only the library but Advocate Christ Medical Center and local parks.

Pat Bugos, who handles publicity for the Garden Club, said that the Oak Lawn Library staff liked the idea of having the display put up.

“Kevin put it all together and we supplied him with all the materials,” said Bugos. “Kevin really loved the idea.”

Bujon said the display will be up until mid-January. The display is located on the second floor of the library, 9427 S. Raymond Ave., near the elevator. It is not as large as some other displays but it includes photos dating back to the 1950s that captures the early years of the club. The display has been up for about two weeks.

The garden club president said the members helped to plant and maintain the flowers that can be found planted around the library during the spring and summer months. Bujan added that library workers maintain the upkeep of the flowers and makes sure they are watered. But she admits to keeping involved in the maintenance of the plants.

Bujan said the major fundraisers for the Oak Lawn Garden Club are the annual plant sales and the garden walk. The garden walk includes a tour of local home gardens of winners of the organization’s Beautiful Yards Contest.

“The money raised from the plant sales and garden walk to many charitable organizations and churches,” said Bujan. “Our funds go to PADS to aid the homeless and organizations like Jackie Connelly’s Veterans Care organization.”

The Oak Lawn Garden Club also cares for and maintains the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker that can be seen at 95th Street and Cook Avenue. It currently shares the space with the Nativity scene. The plaque honors the memory of all veterans and especially those who died in the line of duty. The marker was at previous site before moving to its permanent home near the library. The project was spearheaded by club member Julie Barker.

The first dedication at the new site took place in 2009. A special observance was held this past Memorial Day as local dignitaries attended.

“I’m really happy where the marker is now,” said Bujan, an Oak Lawn resident since 1974 who has been an Oak Lawn Garden Club member for six years. “We have people who stop to look at the spot now. They did not do that at the old location.”

The club also oversees flower planting by local girl scouts and make Mason bee houses to encourage bees to pollinate flowers. As part of the 60th anniversary celebration, the Oak Lawn Garden Club members organized a blaze maple tree planting in September with the assistance of the Oak Lawn Park District. The tree planting took place at the Little Wolfe Wildlife playground area at 107th Street and Laramie Avenue. The tree should reach 90 feet in height when full grown.

Bujan said that activities recognizing the 60th anniversary will actually continue until June. The club plans to raise funds for different organizations like the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn.

While marking the 60th anniversary, Bujan said the future looks bright for the Oak Lawn Garden Club.

“When I first started we were in the 70s. Now we have over 90 members,” said Bujan, who added they added a male member this fall. “We also have a group that is taking care of the photos and we have formed a photography committee. We want to help the community and keep funding programs in the community.”