The Lake and Hills Garden Club Celebrates 30 Years
Keowee Key’s Lake and Hills Garden Club celebrated their 30-year anniversary this year, and it’s stories like this one that have helped hold it together.
Laura Havran has roots at Keowee Key; a fairly rare phenomenon for residents living in 20th century-born master-planned communities. Havran’s mother, Jeanette Dodge (known as “Parky”), and her father, J.T. Dodge, settled in at Keowee Key in 1989, 14 years after the community formed. Laura and Dick Havran and their three children spent summers on the Lake and fell in love with the lifestyle there. So much so, that when they started exploring retirement options, they consistently compared communities they visited to Keowee Key. And, nothing measured up.
“Finally, my husband said to me, ‘Remind me again why we’re not considering Keowee Key?'” Havran said with a chuckle. “It was then that we realized that this was where we really wanted to be.”
Not long after they moved to Keowee Key, Havran followed in her mother’s footsteps again when she joined the Lake and Hills Garden Club.
“My mother was a 27-year member and a former garden club president, so when I moved here it was sort of expected,” Havran said. Not to mention, Havran, one of eight children, grew up with vegetable gardens, freshly cut flowers from front yard gardens in vases on every table, and good weeding and harvesting skills.
“Gardening is sort of in our blood,” Havran said. “Both of my parents grew up on farms, so growing things was just a way of life for them.”
The Lake and Hills Garden Club, of which Havran is now president, was formed by seven women residents at Lake Keowee in 1988 and has since made a name for itself in the region. 2018 marks the club’s 30th anniversary.
“People come from all over the region to attend our annual October auction. We have several that come from Clemson every year,” Havran said. “The garden club is kind of known in the region for the work we do. So, supporting it at the auction has become a tradition that people really look forward to. Everyone gets all dressed up. It’s quite an affair.”
Due to the auction’s success, the Garden Club is able to host community programs and initiatives, such as seminars presented by Clemson professors and area authors, planting 100 dogwoods near the clubhouse, the nursing home project, and the National Wildlife Federation Certification program. The Club’s goal is for the entire community, including the clubhouse gardens, to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat®.
Members like Alice Guzick (head of the National Wildlife Federation project), Barbara Shaver, Irene Feber, and Edna Mallamed have been with the club since its inception.
“They’ve done what it takes through the years to rejuvenate membership and to keep the club alive and vibrant,” added Havran
Garden Club members take their skills and big hearts into nursing homes to work with residents. They allocate funds raised to support relative local and national initiatives. And, they spend time together at floral arranging and planning workshops, and working on planting and preservation projects.
Havran says that while she loves all the work that they do together, she loves the fellowship almost as much.
“We have such a great mix of ladies with so many different skills and backgrounds. It’s just a whole lot of fun, and we’re able to do a lot of good and learn so much in the process.”
And, as for her mother’s legacy, Havran carries it with her.
“I’ll just be going on about something, and one of the club members will say, ‘oh, that’s so something Parky would say,'” Havran said with a laugh. “And then, I realize that they’re right.’