Garden Club observes Arbor Day

submitted by Gweneth Collins

Club President Debbie Mitchell speaks to group

Club President Debbie Mitchell with Honoree Vonceil Coggin

Friday, January 19, was Florida Arbor Day – an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. In observance of the day, to honor a long-time club member, and remember a lost member, Chipley Garden Club added two “Natchez” Crepe Myrtles alongside the railroad tracks at Washington County Historical Society Museum.

The Crepe Mrytles –  Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’ – are small, deciduous trees that grow to around twenty-five feet tall. The dark cinnamon brown bark, orange-red Fall leaves, and panicles of white flowers have been a beautiful addition to the landscape of the Museum lawn. This addition completes the lawn’s row of flowering trees.

Lyndal Plea’s family attends reception – Greg Rogers, Patsy Whitfield, and Steve Rogers

A morning reception was also held to the honor Vonceil Coggin and the late Lyndal Pleas. Special guests included Vonceil’s daughter and son-in-law, Lucy & Wink Carmichael, and Lyndal’s sons, Greg & Steve Rogers, and her sister and brother-in-law, Patsy & Al Whitfield from Wewahitchka.

Club Treasurer Mary Carswell adjusts bow on new Crepe Myrtle

Club President Debbie Mitchell remarked, “Today we are honoring two very different women with a common sensibility. Miss Vonceil is a quiet, reserved lady who brightens the day with her smile and sweet voice. We lost Lyndal in 2015 – she was a live wire personality who made every garden club meeting seem like a party. Both of these Southern ladies loved garden club.”

Lucy Carmichael with Honoree Vonceil Coggin

Although not as active as she once was, Vonceil’s willingness to lend a hand wherever she can is always appreciated. Her hands in the youth projects, especially her skill of sharing floral design with KMS students, have been hard to replace.

Lyndal was creative, fun-loving and up-beat. Club members shared memories – Lyndal’s love of pressed flowers, her wonderful sense of humor, and her adventurous spirit.

The late Lyndal Pleas at the garden club tea in 2014

After refreshments were served, guests braved the cold weather to view the newly planted trees. Both the historical collections and Creek Indian museum were also open for viewing.

Special thanks to the City of Chipley, Piney Grove Landscaping & Irrigation and Washington County Historical Society for their assistance with our project.

Vonceil Coggin with students at KMS in 2015

If you would like to learn more about Chipley Garden Club’s programs or projects, please contact Club President Debbie Mitchell at 638-0536. The next meeting will be at Oakie Ridge Baptist Church at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, February 7th.