Pinecrest Garden Gard(i)en Angels

Pinecrest Garden Gard(i)en Angels

Nowhere in the world does there exist Botanical Garden without a support group of volunteers that look after the garden’s health and well-being. Pinecrest Gardens has two such groups that, throughout the years, have provided botanical support and tender loving care.

The Garden Fund
Since 2006, the Garden Fund has been working quietly behind the scenes enhancing areas of Pinecrest Gardens that are outside the scope of the Village’s budget. Working with Gardens’ staff, they seek out areas in need of a lift, raise funds, and redesign, replant, and open wide vistas into those spaces. To date, more than seventeen botanically focused projects have been completed, totaling over $170,000 including a magnificent rehab of Swan Lake, the Caribbean Garden, the Colonnade, the Patio Garden, the Grottos and the meadow after Irma. They maintain and periodically upgrade these sites, and they have funded several promotional videos of the Gardens as well.

But there is more. Over the years they have provided funding for many beautiful art benches and if you haven’t been to Pinecrest Gardens lately, there is a stunning new addition just west of the entrance that is a must see. A beautiful new mosaic bench designed and executed by local artist extraordinaire Trish Jesselli was donated by the Garden Fund, and it replaces a drab and tired one that had been there for years. Images of cascading flowers, colorful birds, and giant tropical leaves fill the space with movement and light, attracting all who pass by.

For decades Ms. Jesselli has been creating remarkable pet memorials, stepping stones, stone mandalas, paintings, murals, and metal works. She uses materials gleaned from stone quarries, glass distributers, and nature, meticulously incorporating them into outstanding works of art. This bench marks her second entry in the Gardens, and it is alive with depictions that reflect what is found throughout the property.

This spectacular bench is their latest undertaking, and it has already garnered a great deal of attention. Be sure to stop by and admire it the next time you visit the Gardens; it would be hard to miss!

Information about and donations to the Garden Fund, a 501(c) (3) organization, can be made through

The Garden Club
The Pinecrest Garden Club was founded February 25, 2003 at Pinecrest Gardens with 27 Founding members, including Co-Presidents Germaine Butler and Sharon Trbovich. The club was founded to fill a need for a garden club in the area and to bring attention to Pinecrest Gardens, the former Parrot Jungle. The majority of original members were residents of the Village of Pinecrest, as well as surrounding communities; membership swelled to 99 members within seven months. Meetings were held on the second Tuesday of the month, September through May.

Nettie Belle Robinson, a local botanical artist and honorary member of the Pinecrest Garden club, designed the logo. The contributions of funds raised the first year went to Pinecrest Gardens. Some of the projects started at the inception still exist, such as HAP (Helping at Pinecrest), a weekly work program, with volunteers grooming Pinecrest Gardens and Decorating at Deering, putting up Holiday Decorations at the Deering Estate. The Annual End-of-The-Year luncheon with Hats Contest was also started in this inaugural year.

In 2005, the Pinecrest Garden club hosted the Metropolitan Miami Flower show and joined with The Villagers to donate $1000 to Pinecrest Gardens. In the 2005-2006 year, the major fundraiser was a Garage Sale, as well as the Backyard Paradise Festival Plant and Bake Sale. In 2006 the Pinecrest Garden Club hosted a “conversation with the candidates” for local November elections and also hosted the Florida Garden Club District Xll Fall meeting.

In the 2009-10 year, members were busy planting a butterfly garden with Palmetto Middle School next to Pinecrest Library, docents gave weekly tours of the gardens during Farmer’s Market hours and Pinecrest Garden Club participated in the Earth Day celebration. It was also the first year our club co-hosted with the Village of Pinecrest for the Pioneer Luncheon, to celebrate the Pinecrest Senior Citizens.

Other donations made by the Pinecrest Garden Club over the years: The Wild Bird Center in Key Largo, three Pinecrest Elementary Schools for vegetable gardens and Healthy Heroes Garden Club, to bring healthy eating awareness to students and fight childhood obesity.

In May 2016, Pinecrest Garden club Co-President Laura Aiken applied for, and was granted 5013c status, which transformed the Pinecrest Garden Club into a non-profit club. In 2017 and 2018 the Pinecrest Garden Club members participated in the Fine Art Show at the gardens with a “Paint a Pot” project for children and also demonstrated floral arranging for Palace residents.

In November 2017, the Tropical Punch Fundraiser broke club records, raising a record $10,000 for the new Sensory and Learning Garden at Pinecrest Gardens. The following November, the inaugural SIP, a social event held in the Cypress Hall, took place. As of this writing, membership is strong, vital and the Pinecrest Garden Club continues to thrive, holding fast to their mission of excellence in horticulture, concern for the environment and fellowship among gardeners.

Calling All G.I.R.L.S.
At Girl Scouts, girls discover who they are, where their talents lie, and what they care the most about. They connect with people in their communities. And they take action to change the world. Through our program, the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, girls develop a strong sense of self, display positive values, and seek challenges. They learn from setbacks, form healthy relationships, and identify and solve problems in their communities—unleashing their inner G.I.R.L. every step of the way. On September 28, Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida will host our annual G.I.R.L. Fest and we would like to invite you to be a part of it. Hundreds of Girl Scouts, their families and local residents will enjoy activities, demonstrations and informational booths aimed at showcasing opportunities available to Girl Scouts in our community. This event is a wonderful way for program partners, vendors and community organizations to highlight their programs and resources for Girl Scouts at no cost to you. We would be honored if you would join us.

G.I.R.L. Fest will run on Saturday, September 28 from 10-2 (set up begins at 8 a.m.) at Pinecrest Gardens (11000 Red Rd, Pinecrest, FL 33156). If you would like to be a part of this event, please complete the attached form and return to me at Questions, please contact Lacey Bray at 305-669-6990. We look forward to seeing you at G.I.R.L. Fest.

Jazz up your Sunday Afternoon
Sunday, September 22 you can enjoy an afternoon jazz concert in the Banyan Bowl when talented singer, violinist and jazz educator Nicole Yarling presents a performance by the Jazz Educators Community Coalition at 2:00 p.m.

This performance is part of an ongoing workshop where Yarling coaches young jazz performers on the finer nuances of being performing artists. She is quick to point out that while the Miami area has many excellent programs in schools and outside teaching youngsters to play, there aren’t as many opportunities for them to learn how to be successful musicians and performers.

Aside from these workshops, Nicole Yarling is quite the “in demand” jazz artist herself. She is a seasoned performing jazz vocalist, a jazz violinist and a respected faculty member at Florida Memorial University. As a long-time educator, Yarling notes that aspiring musicians, while able to play, lack knowledge of “the etiquette of performance.” So with that in mind, her workshops focus on how to “work” as a musician, learning things like how to prepare for the auditions that get them into the elite music programs and schools, how to stand on stage, how to plan a music program for a given audience and so much more. Her workshops are called the Jazz Educators Community Coalition Boot Camp and we look forward to welcoming her group this Sunday to the Banyan Bowl Stage. The performance is free with the regular park admission of $5 for adults or $3 for seniors and full park amenities are included

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