The History of Chrysanthemums in the Pacific Northwest and the Evergreen Chrysanthemum Association

In 1934 Jack McGlashan staged an exhibition chrysanthemum display at the Vancouver, British Columbia horticultural Society fall show. This display was awarded the gold-medal certificate, and aroused a great deal of interest in growing chrysanthemums.

There was so much interest in growing ‘mums’ that a meeting was organized. Fifty men attended, all wanting to find out how to grow chrysanthemums. Each person in attendance was asked to commit to growing 6 plants. Then and there the Composite Amateur Chrysanthemum Association was formed. 

The club decided to meet monthly and designated Jack as the horticultural instructor.  Each month Jack provided information about Chrysanthemum cultivation.  At each meeting the materials – turf, leaf mold, manures and fertilizers – were mixed into a compost in the presence of all the members. Plants were potted and brought back to the next meeting and repotted, if ready. At each meeting instructions were provided for the next month.

The membership soon reach 75, all of these men had never grown exhibition Chrysanthemums before. As the plants developed Jack visited every member in the club and provided individualized instruction during the growing process.

The first show, held in Vancouver in October 1935, was a huge success. The blooms were impressive, the attendance was good, and the members were pleased with the quality and size of the large exhibition chrysanthemums.

The success of this first club led to the formation of other clubs in Burnaby, Point Gray, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Powell River and Seattle Washington.

In the 1930s some very prominent Seattleites took interest in growing exhibition chrysanthemums as a hobby and formed the Seattle Chrysanthemum Society. The Seattle group also followed Jack McGlashan’s growing methods. During this time there were many large exhibition chrysanthemums shows at the Seattle armory, and the Olympic Hotel as well as various historic meeting and exhibition halls throughout the greater Seattle area. 

The Women outnumbered the men in the Seattle organization. There was often much contention over the kind of blooms allowed in the show and who should govern this society. The men frequently lost in these issues. In 1947, the men decided to form their own group – The Evergreen Chrysanthemum Association.

A direct result of the disagreements with the ladies – The Evergreen Chrysanthemum Association mandated in its original constitution that women would not be allowed into the organization. In 1998 the ECA bylaws were changed and women were allowed into the organization.  This change revitalized the declining membership and facilitated increased flexibility in finding meeting locations. 

In the early years of the ECA, the monthly meetings were held in the president’s home and smaller meetings were held on weekends to teach each member how to grow chrysanthemums. Friendships and comradery grew through the shared resources, knowledge and interest in growing these beautiful flowers. 

Over the years ECA meetings have been held at a variety of locations throughout the greater Seattle area. Monthly meetings are currently held the 2nd Saturday of the month at 10 am at Volunteer Park Conservatory

At the end of October, the ECA holds its annual fall Chrysanthemum show. This annual event has been held at the Seattle Center Flag Pavilion, South Center shopping mall, the old Doces furniture building in Tukwila, Sky Nursery in Shoreline and in recent years at Furney’s nursery in south Seattle. Over its lifetime, the ECA has staged several smaller shows in exhibitions at Bellevue Square, Bellevue Botanical Gardens, Bellevue Community College and the Japanese Tea Garden at the Seattle’s arboretum.

Historically ECA members have participated as competitors and judges in regional, national and international chrysanthemum competitions.  You may have seen our blooms at the Puyallup fair!  The ECA patterns its classifications of blooms and judging after the National Chrysanthemum Society of England.  Our combined membership grows over 200 different cultivars. These varieties are seldom available at garden nurseries or in flower shops.  New plants are perpetuated from cuttings taken each year by our members or supplemented by specialty growers and other chrysanthemum associations.

This is only a partial history of the Evergreen Chrysanthemum Association. We continue to follow the growing methods of Jack McGlashan.

We invite you to join the Evergreen Chrysanthemum Association, to participate in our shared interest of growing and cultivating exhibition chrysanthemums, to cultivate new friendships and to continue the legacy. Just as with Jack McGlashan’s first group… start with 6 plants
The ECA welcomes your participation in cultivating exhibition chrysanthemums.

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