Exploring Florida’s native trees with Chipley Garden Club

submitted by Gweneth Collins

The first meeting in 2017 of Chipley Garden Club was held Wednesday, January 4, at 1st Presbyterian Church of Chipley and hosted by Vice-President Ri McGlamery and Club member Betty Fairchild.

Vice President Ri McGlamery and guest speaker, Dara Dobson

The guest speaker for the meeting was Dara Dobson, owner of 7 Pines Native Plant Nursery in DeFuniak Springs, Walton Co. Master Gardener, and former Florida Federation of Garden Clubs District/State Wildflower Chair and Flower Show Judge.  Dara presented an energetic and informative program on Florida’s native trees including environmental advantages to planting natives and the importance of trees as pollinators.  She shared how she started gardening for “me – I want it pretty”, but now gardens for our environment using native plants, trees, bushes and wildflowers.  She showed a variety of live trees and provided the group with several handouts.

Wildflower Chair Glenda Wilson introduced African Blue Basil to club members

President Debbie Mitchell conducted the business portion of the meeting.  Veteran Affairs Chair Mary Carswell reported Christmas comfort items were delivered to Chester Sims VA Retirement Home.  Yard of the Month Chair Lillian Pittman announced the January Yard of the Month was awarded to the Cook Family at 604 Main Street.  Secretary Gweneth Collins shared how to recycle an aluminum can into a permanent plant ID marker.

Karen Roland, Charlotte Sapp and Ri McGlamery display home-grown-on-Orange-Hill lemons

Wildflower Chair Glenda Wilson provided information on the upcoming Panhandle Wildflower Alliance Meeting at Gulf Coast College in Panama City and introduced a new perennial herb – African Blue Basil – which is easy to grow and loved by pollinators.   Glenda also brought several bags of giant lemons her lemon tree produced this year.

In honor of January’s Florida Arbor Day, club members decided to replace the Tommy McDonald Memorial Tree which was planted at Shiver’s Park many years ago.   A re-dedication ceremony will be held after replacement.

The next meeting of Chipley Garden Club will be held on Wednesday, February 1, at 11 AM at Washington County Historical Society.    If you would like more information, please contact Debbie Mitchell at 638-0536.   New club members are welcome at any time during the year.