Theme: “…Through Education, … a Greener and Brighter world…”
Dear Garden Club Members:
Welcome to the beginning of our 2015-2016 Garden Club Year. I hope and trust that you had a pleasant and relaxing summer and are looking forward to an informative, productive, and worthwhile garden club experience this year.
Our monthly programs, organized by our Vice President Andrea Hellman, are designed to provide information which we hope you find useful in your Garden Club experience, informative in planning native and natural landscapes and, perhaps disturbing, as they explore current and future water supply issues and rising sea water levels. One program, Garden Club 101, will provide background and operating information concerning the Club as well as opportunities for you to be more involved in our programs and projects. It should also provide a better understanding of our Youth Gardening program and what a “campership” to Camp Wekiva means to the participants.
This year we will again have a Standard Flower Show in which all Members should participate. Our monthly programs will include helpful information to make your Flower Show experience more productive and rewarding. During our last show, members won 21 National Garden Club awards for their entries. This year the show, “Tropical Paradise”, will be chaired by Becky Schuberth and she will be looking for numerous volunteers to help with registration of entries and to tally Judges’ decisions. We hope that you will lend a hand and we expect that you will be surprised at how much you learn in the process.
The six Circles are the backbone of the Garden Club and each of you are encouraged to fully participate in your Circle’s activities. Last year and under the leadership of our Membership Chairman, Maggie Dunn of Parkinsonia, each of the Circles added at least one new member, 17 in total. That effort to build membership will continue this year and we hope to exceed last year’s results. Each of you can assist the effort by bringing a non-member friend to your Circle or Garden Club meeting. We expect to expand our activities in the coming year and would hope that there will be more hands to lighten the load. Don’t forget, that in order to encourage new members, we must talk up the benefits of membership!
Fund raising remains an essential part of our activities and we need your participation to make it successful. The Holiday Luncheon under the leadership of Pat Baumer of Cordia Circle, will be held on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at the Coral Ridge Country Club. This is a great way to kick off the Holiday Season so please come and bring a friend to introduce them to the Garden Club. The Secret Garden Tour will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2016. This success of this event, under the Chairmanship of Sandy Lynch, is critical to the financial well being of the Garden Club and member participation in both of these events is essential. Please mark your calendar for both.
Another issue which confronts the Garden Club is the apparent unwillingness of many well qualified members to take responsibility as officers or members of the Board of Directors at the Circle or Club level. This year our particular thanks goes to Becky Schuberth and Tamara Pope, both of whom have already served an unprecedented third year term as President and yet agreed to serve again this year as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. The natural progression should be from Circle officer to Club officer and we should not have been forced to rely on those who have already “served their time”. We must find a way to encourage greater participation.
Internal communication is one of the “bright spots” in the Garden Club. The Circle Presidents have done a great job in forwarding on to individual members the various communications from the State and District XI Chairmen and Committees. Gene and Jillian Cain have also done an extraordinary job of developing and implementing our communications process. Gene edits and assembles the Yearbook and our bi-monthly “Green Thumb” which he distributes in both electronic and hard copy format. Jillian supplies the photography for the Yearbook and maintains our website, flgc.org. To make their participation in the Fort Lauderdale Garden Club even more outstanding, they usually sweep the horticulture categories at our Standard Flower Show and win more Blue ribbons than any other members. Not only “techies”, but true garden lovers as well. Our thanks to the Cains, Members-at-Large.
No discussion of our activities would be complete without mention of the accomplishments of our Youth Gardening program under the overall direction of Andrea Hellman and Sandy Lynch. The Intermediate Gardeners, the BFF group, whose activities are coordinated by Bonny Cole of Moringa Circle, has continued its winning streak of State, Deep South and National Garden Club awards. The youth program at the Boys and Girls Club has been revitalized by Maggie Dunn and her team of volunteers from Parkinsonia Circle. Rowena Gerber, also Parkinsonia, inspires the program at Harbordale and Beatriz Bofill, a Member at Large and teacher at Floranada directs its program. Most of these same people also participate in the program at Virginia Shuman Young. Jackie Schoettle also continues as an inspiration and mentor to the effort. Thanks to all who contribute to this most public of our programs.
Looking forward to an interesting and educational year.