Martha McClellan was recently awarded the Katharine Thomas Cary Medal in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of floral design education. The Garden Club of America is a national leader in the fields of horticulture, conservation, and civic improvement. Founded in 1913, the GCA is a volunteer nonprofit organization made up of 200 member clubs with about 18,000 club members throughout the country. At the national level, the GCA annually recognizes prominent citizens for their outstanding contributions such as the one awarded to Martha.
Martha has been an inspirational leader since joining the Knoxville Garden Club. By 1988, she took on the leadership role as the Flower Show Chairman for the Knoxville Garden Club Flower Show. Many of us recall a time when she also co-chaired the Annual Flower Festival at St. John’s Cathedral, helping the many volunteers of the Cathedral to create beautiful floral arrangements all over the church, as well as teaching floral design seminars in the Undercroft. She has been Chairman of the Garden Club of America’s Flower Arranging Study Group, traveling across the country lecturing, demonstrating, and entering flower shows nationally and internationally. Her award winning floral designs and arranging tips appear regularly in the GCA’s By Design magazine. Martha has won numerous blue ribbons, Best in Shows and the Barbara Spaulding Cramer Award (the floral design award for this region of the GCA).
Martha is known as a gifted mentor and teacher across the U.S. She has taught many about the mechanics, the strategy and the beauty of arranging flowers for all occasions and settings, including church altars. She and Ann Bailey have helped numerous churches set up flower guilds, along with teaching altar flower arranging.
Humbled by the honor and recognition, Martha said in her acceptance address, “…I have always thought of myself as a student rather than a teacher, because everywhere I go…I learn…So this award belongs to all of you, too.” Among the most memorable of her experiences was when she was asked from the Flower Arranging Study Group to represent the United States as the US judge at the World Flower Show last June in Dublin. “There was much to learn from 600 exhibits and designers from 31 countries.”
Matthew and Martha McClellan are cradle Episcopalians. You’ll recognize Matthew as the bearded Verger, serving about every-other-week. Each of them has served on the Chapter as well. There is a full article about Martha and this prestigious national award on the web at: https://www.gcamerica.org/gca-awards-medalists.