Garden Club sweeps up

submitted by Gweneth Collins

Buford Williams of Brooms of Straw was the guest presenter at the February meeting of Chipley Garden Club.  The meeting was held Wednesday, February 7th at Oakie Ridge Baptist Church.

Buford Williams thinning the broom sage bundle to make the handle.

Mr. Williams shared stories, bits of local history while skillfully turning a handful of naturally dried broom sage into a simple tool – a straw broom that can be very useful around the home and quite decorative.  After thinning the end section, he demonstrated how to tightly wrap that section into a strong handle using just a rubber bands and rug yarn.   Mr. Williams is often seen at heritage festivals in the area.

Hostesses Catherine Nelson and Genie Comegys admire camellias from the garden.

Prior to the program, Chipley Garden Club President Debbie Mitchell conducted the monthly business meeting.  Reports were given on the Florida Arbor Day Reception & Tree Planting and donating native azaleas to Falling Waters State Park.  Wildflower Co-Chair Edwina Showers reported on a visit to Landmark Park in Dothan where she learned about hummingbirds in our area.

Youth Chair Linda Pigott reported Dish Gardens at KMS was a success with 107 children making dish gardens.   Club members will return to KMS twice more in February – to make dried floral designs and fresh arrangements.   On February 26, club members will judge horticulture at the Washington County 4-H Youth Fair.

Coontie Cycad – Wildflower of the Month

Gweneth Collins introduced Arrow-Root aka Coontie aka Zamia integrifolia as the monthly wildflower.   Coontie is a native evergreen cycad and is known for its historical use as a primary source of starch for the Seminole Indians.  The plant is low-growing with a large turnip-like root and a tuft of palm-like leaves.  The plant is used in landscaping although some parts are poisonous.

Butterfly Co-Chair Ri McGlamery reminded members of the 21st Annual Great Backyard Bird Count on Feb. 16th through 19th.   Specific information is available on-line at

Plans were also finalized for two field trips – one to Valley Traditions and another to visit The Amaryllis Man.

The next meeting of Chipley Garden Club will be held on Wednesday, March 7th at 10:30AM at the Washington County Library in Chipley.  If you would like information about our club or any of our activities, please contact President Debbie Mitchell at 638-0536.

Catherine Nelson, Linda Pigott and Buford Williams examine completed brooms.