Friday, October 15, 2021

Calusa Garden Club a Bond of Gardening & Friendship

“Out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships.”

                                    ~ Beverly Rose Hopper.

The first garden club in America was founded in January 1891 with just 12 women who wanted to share plants and plant cuttings. Similarly, on Marco Island, in 1979, Eva Schliesser, a transplant to Marco Island placed an ad in the local paper to see if anyone was interested in forming a garden club. A group of men and women responded, and thus the seedlings of the Calusa Garden Club were sown.

Calusa Garden Club has now grown to over 65 members. Susan LaGrotta joined in 2012, and being a transplant from New York, she wanted to know more about the unique sub-tropical environment. Donna Kay joined in 2012 to meet people who shared her passion for horticulture and wanted to learn what grows in Marco’s sandy soil.

Linda Colombo became a member in 2007 after attending her first flower show. Our legacy members, such as Virginia Read (1989), Barbara Messner (1993) and Lori Fredericks (1995) are still active and provide our members a historical perspective of the club. Some members joined to give back to the community. CGC’s President Sara Wolf, from Ohio, joined in 2016 to get involved in the community.

Belonging to a garden club goes beyond the “greening your thumb” or learning about floral design. You form lasting friendships in a garden club. Dale DeFeo has been a member since 2008 and for Dale, “Garden club friends are the very best.” Building a friendship is like gardening. It requires patience and devotion; frustrations and hardships are part of the process.

You meet a member and a seed is planted. A plant wilts, but you decide to nurse it back to health. Surprise – the bloom is back! Such is the charm and beauty of friendship and gardening.

As in gardening, one of the rare gems in CGC’s garden was lost to the club forever. The club is saddened by the loss of Peggy Grass, a member since 2009. Members celebrated Peggy’s life during their annual end of summer dinner on August 22nd.

Linda Turner, a very close friend of Peggy read the following tribute: “To anyone who knew Peggy Grass, her passing was a shock and created a big hole in our hearts. Peggy was thoughtful, kind and very generous. She was happy, bubbly and funny. She could skillfully talk you into something by telling you, ‘It’ll be fun.’ She had a keen sense of fashion and loved to dress elegantly. She would arrive at an event looking as elegant and proper as Audrey Hepburn in ‘My Fair Lady.’ She always made everybody laugh. Peggy enjoyed her wine and a glass of bubbly. Let’s raise a glass of bubbly to remember a lovely and loving lady who brought so much happiness and kindness. We thank you Peggy for the joy you brought us.”

“Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.” Peggy was that kind of a friend – according to the writer.

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