The Pinecrest Garden Club commemorated the start of its ninth season at their first meeting of the year, held in Pinecrest Gardens’ Hibiscus Room on Sept. 13. The energy was high, much news was dispatched, and old and new members were warmly welcomed.
New president Germaine Butler presided and brought the group up to date on the club’s many plans for the upcoming season, and she introduced some speakers as well.
Alana Perez, the Garden’s director, outlined the vast array of activities and events that are coming up at the Garden in the next few months. These include 24 lectures by various horticultural speakers, a new art exhibit every month in the Hibiscus Room, eight jazz events beginning this month, cinema nights in the Banyan Bowl, a Halloween party with a flashlight tour of the Garden, a Latin Spice Festival on Dec. 3, a greatly expanded volunteer program with a job fair which will delineate volunteer opportunities, and new educational programs that will be led by Caroline Lewis of the CLEO Institute.
Paul Rolfe, a federal field associate from Environment Florida, an organization dedicated to stopping the polluted runoff into the Everglades, spoke about the work that he does in petitioning the EPA for stricter regulations of our vanishing “river of grass”. He gave the club’s members a chance to add their voices by filling out cards that will be sent to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.
Sue Di Ferrari, the director of Morningstar Renewal Center, presented the club with an opportunity to collaborate in exploring ideas for cultivating a three-acre parcel at the front of their facility into a possible community garden. The club has participated in creating edible gardens in the past, including funding one that was installed at Mandarin Lakes Elementary School last year, and many members would very much like to see a working public garden on this vast piece of neighborhood property.
Member Amy Goodhart presented a slide show highlighting the history of the Whilden-Carrier cottage, a historically designated building that was moved from its original location on Ludlam Road to its permanent residence at the Garden adjacent to the Community Center. It is a tiny four-room structure built of Dade County Pine that was formerly home to the Whilden family and is now the headquarters of the Community Garden Charitable Fund, a non-profit organization that raises funds for horticultural improvement projects in Pinecrest Gardens. Members will be touring the home in November.
The Pinecrest Farmers’ Market is up and running and Garden Club volunteers will once again be selling herbs and potted plants and dispensing advice on how to care for them each Sunday from October through April. The Market has proven to be the club’s most profitable fund raising effort, and the members’ participation has been instrumental in its success.
The Garden Club is an organization that has deep ties to the community, which it gives back to in many ways. Pinecrest Gardens has seen several improvements due to contributions from the club, including a refurbished waterfall at the Garden’s entrance, two Talipot palms that are planted behind Flamingo Lake, benches, pots, tools, tables and chairs for the Farmers’ Market, and much more. They have funded summer camp scholarships for deserving children, they have contributed to butterfly gardens, donated to the Garden Fund’s annual Soiree, several members participate in a docent program at Pinecrest Gardens, they oversee the Pioneer’s Luncheon which honors our older citizens, they help to decorate the Deering Estate every Christmas, and they are a presence at Earth Day and the Honeyshine Mothers’ Day brunch.
The club meets monthly, either in the Hibiscus Room where lunch is served by rotating committee members and guest speakers share pertinent information, or on field trips to many points of interest. This month, the club will meet at the home of vice president Pat Kyle Lawrence and she will speak about how to prepare our gardens for fall planting. In November, speakers Cindy David and Chris Rollins will teach us about poisonous and injurious plants. There will be a holiday party in December, a tour of a butterfly ranch in January, a lecture on natives for the garden in February, and one on landscape bromeliads in March, a tour of Fruit and Spice Park in April, and an end-of-the-year luncheon in May. In addition, there are a few day and overnight trips in the planning stage.
The Pinecrest Garden Club boasts members from all age groups and walks of life who blend well together and who are knowledgeable and giving of their time. Membership is open to men and women who are interested in expanding their circle, learning about local flora and how to preserve and care for it, or in contributing to the welfare of our community in general.
For information about the club, call 306-666-3421, or to join call 305-596-9448.