Current & Recent Projects
The Plant City Garden Club held their Holiday Gathering and Pot Luck Luncheon this year at the lake house of Lisa Firm our Club President. Plants were exchanged and a pot luck lunch served. There was even a pontoon boat ride around Lake Nellie with Lisa’s husband Keith at the wheel of the boat narrating as we went along. It was a day of fun, laughter, and socializing.
Plant City Garden Club will again host the Horticulture Show at the Florida Strawberry Festival. We are in a new location in the NEW BUILDING NEXT TO THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL OFFICE ON LEMON STREET. Amateur growers in Hillsborough County can enter the prize plants on Tues., February 25th, 5-8 PM and Wed., February 26th, 9 AM- 2 PM There are restrictions so be sure to check the Florida Strawberry Festival Web Site.
A very excited committee started working on the idea of the passive park, what components should be included? How should it look? What plants and trees should be planted? A gazebo was planned, a flag pole, benches, walkways and of course a monument. It was decided that the gathering area should include bricks that can be engraved to honor our military men and women. Members of the Plant City Garden Club, Darcy Stottlemyer, landscape design consultant and then President Cassandra Banning were invited to join the committee and helped to design the gardens, walkways and make recommendations on trees and plants. A red, white and blue color scheme was planned, with something blooming throughout the year.
The Plant City Garden Club donated $20,000.00, making it the third largest donor. Southwest Florida Water Management donated the large grouping of rocks for the gardens. It wasn’t just money that was donated many hours of work and donated materials went into making the Veterans’ Monument a reality. Many of the plants and trees were donated, they were planted by volunteers from the Garden Club, Plant City High School students, Plant City Parks and Recreation Division, and members of the community who just wanted to help. It didn’t stop there as many volunteer hours and dollars were given freely in all aspects of the planning and execution in bringing the monument and park from an idea to reality. Over 1100 plants and 48 trees were planted by volunteers.
The Veterans’ Memorial Park at Courier Field, the only veteran’s memorial and monument in East Hillsborough County, is not just a beautiful park and memorial honoring our men and women who have served in all branches of the military but it is also a beautiful gateway to our City. The Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker was placed permanently in the Park along Wheeler St.
This beautiful park and memorial along with The Blue Star Memorial Marker was dedicated on July 1, 2010 with over 750 attending during a rain storm. No one minded getting wet we were all so proud of our Veterans’ Memorial Park at Courier Field and as we were appropriately reminded our military are out there no matter what the weather is, doing their job to protect us.
Our young people are our future and it is important to share with them our love of nature and gardening. We share our knowledge and encourage care for the environment and conservation. We interact with them in maintaining a butterfly garden at Jackson Elementary School. Our Junior Gardening Committee visits the school each month with various programs including Arbor and Earth Day. The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs hosts 6 weeks of camp at Wekiva State Park. Students in elementary and middle school spend a week making new friends, learning about nature and conservation, swimming and canoeing. In the words of one of our students, who has attended camp for seven years and is now a counselor “Throughout my years here, I have learned many things. How to make a fire, how to make friends ….even how to make a bed! More importantly I’ve learned how to love and respect nature. Seven years ago, I was a little third grader that really had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. Today, I am a first year counselor, looking at colleges for environmental law. Without Camp Wekiva I honestly believe that I would still be a little girl with no idea what she would do when she grew up.” Plant City Garden Club supports Camp Wekiva with funds and volunteers.
In addition to Camp Wekiva we also support SEEK with funds. SEEK (Save the Earth’s Environment through Knowledge) is an annual environmental conference for high school students sponsored by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs. Each summer, 70 students from across the state attend the outstanding 4-day conference. Students entering grades 10, 11, or 12 are eligible to attend.
Plant City Garden Club offers a college scholarship to Plant City Area High School Students. The scholarship is in the field of conservation, environment, horticulture, botany, landscape design.