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Fort Myers-Lee County Garden Council Program 2019-2020

Friday, Sept. 13: Good Bug or Bad Bug – Barbara Meyer, Master Gardener

Friday November 8: Landscaping to protect the Watershed – Dr. Serge Thomas, Aquatic Ecologist and Assistant Professor, Gulf Coast University

Friday, January 10: Mixing and Matching Edibles and Flowers – Adrienne Diaz of “Miss Potter’s Place”, Master Gardener

Friday, March 13: Plant this, Not that – Vanessa Hazelton, Master Gardener

Friday, May 8: Floral Design using Fruits and Vegetables – Suzy Valentine, Master Gardener and Master Flower Show Judge

Flower Show March 6-7, 2020

A Flower Show is so much more than the words “flower” and “show” suggest.  It is an opportunity to celebrate and share what we have, what we grow, and what we love to do.  If you– or your children– were in the school band, on a sports team, in a dance class or maybe the church choir, you know about all the hours practicing, rehearsing, and practicing some more before THE BIG DAY.  The parade, the game, the Recital, the Sunday Service—the time to shine!  However much practice went into it, there were always some fumbles, mis-steps, false notes and tears amid the clapping, cheering, bows and curtsies.  But mostly we remember the applause—and the fun we had working together as a club to put on the show.

Our 2020 Show is titled “On Your Mark….Ready….Set….Go!!!!  The theme is a continuation of last year’s “You Are Here—And You Can Do It!”.  We have added two new Divisions to allow those of you who are only here in Florida a few months, or who have limited gardening space, to participate and show what you CAN do.  Photography is now a part of shows, so take pictures of your own gardens, trees, shrubs and flowers.  Botanical Arts is the other new opportunity to show what blooms or grows at another time or place.  Dried and/or pressed flowers and leaves from your garden anywhere may be exhibited in a variety of ways. Watch for details in our Newsletters.  The complete Schedule with all the info will be available on our website and in print at meetings beginning November.

Horticulture must be in your possession for at least 90 days, so December 13 of 2019 is the last day for adding new plants to your garden or lanai. The show will be judged March 6, 2020.

The Design classes are planned to be fun and ‘doable’ for all levels of experience.

Click here for the 12 Design Classes You can also download and print the page that appears.

Read them over and email Entries Chair Pat Townsend with your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices.  (Or just 1 or 2 choices).  Classes 4 & 5 are for Novices Only—meaning of  Novice in this case is one who has not won a Blue/First Prize in a Standard Flower Show. Everyone is receiving this information at the same time, and entries will be accepted beginning August 1.  If you have questions about specific details, email Pat Townsend  at

Botanical Arts and Photography are detailed on another attachment.  No excuses now!!!  All of you can do something to make this show truly a Gulf Coast Garden Club Spectacular!  Committees will be formed in the coming weeks and we welcome volunteers.  At the end of each of our regular monthly meetings, for about 30 minutes, those interested may participate in “Fun Flower Show Facts” or “Show Girls”.  This will be a time to ask questions, see demonstrations, and learn all you need to know to be a winner!  And you’ll still be on your way by noon!

Click here for Botanical Arts and Photography information

proposed changes to GCGC BYLAWS

message from the President:

Dear Gulf Coast Members,

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and we wish you all a Happy New Year.

Attached is a copy of the proposed by-law changes suggested by the current by-laws committee.  Please take the time to review these changes as they are important to the club. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any one of us: Anina Bachrach, Claire Flynn, Anne Marie Dooley or Diane Schmidt.

In the attached document, changes are marked in red.

However, there are large sections of our current bylaws that the committee feels should be moved to either the standing rules or to position job descriptions. These areas are designated with green.

Areas underlined in black are sections that were moved to/from another part of the document.

The bylaws committee has worked very hard to make these changes easily understandable. To further simplify the intention of the committee, the by-laws committee also developed the document below to explain our thoughts and actions:
December 2018 – Explanation of proposed bylaws changes
Members: The purpose of the first meeting of the bylaws committee was to simplify and streamline the bylaws, moving a lot of information from the February 2017 revision to a yet-to-be determined document.
The few changes were needed in order to have elections in March for a fewer number of officers than what is currently described in the February 2017 version of the bylaws. There are other areas that still need to be reviewed and changes proposed, but the committee wanted to focus on only a few at this time.

Article IV Finances,
Section 2. Changed dues due date from May 15 to May 1.

Article V Officers,
Section 1. Added the word “Audit” to 1st VP title.

Section 3. Changed the officers to be elected in odd and even
years, reverting back to pre-Feb. 2017 changes. Those
changes had President, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd VPS all elected in
the even years. The other officers: Treasure, recording and
corresponding secretaries in the odd years.

Section 4. Added the words “beginning June 1st” for the start
of a new officers’ term.

Article VI Duties of Officers,
Section 1. Added the words “standing rules” and “current

Section 2. Duties
1.  President – moved most of the description for this office to
be included in another document, such as Position

2.  1st Vice President – deleted responsibilities of “appointing
yearbook committee and community outreach.” Those
tasks will be assigned to other club members.

4.  3rd Vice President – deleted “responsible for internal
communications” as the corresponding secretary has
that task.

5.  Treasurer – moved information pertaining to audit and
budget to a yet-to-be determined document.

7.  Corresponding secretary – limited duties to internal
communications only.

8 and 9 – moved Parlimentarian and Advisors to Article VII.

Section 3. Vacancies – moved to Article VII.

Article VII Board of Directors – added description of those members who comprise the BoD.
Section 3. Quorum – Added “in person or via

Article IX Standing Committees – Removed sections 2 – 22. These areas required review and discussion to determine if applicable. If they are, that information will be part of another yet-to-be determined document.

Article X Special Committees – removed sections 2-3 for same reason as stated above.

Article XI Amendments – inserted “in the months of October through April” to specify when amendments can be changed.

To see the attachment, please click  BYLAWS 

Longwood Gardens History

Originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by fellow Quaker George Peirce, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA is one of the premiere botanical gardens in the United States. With over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows, visitors can experience exotic plants and native flora, indoor and outdoor displays and a full schedule of events, performances, seasonal attractions as well as educational lectures, courses and workshops.
Longwood’s ‘roots’ can be traced to the native Lenni Lenape tribe that fished local streams, hunted and planted fields. In fact, many quartz spear points have been discovered around the property. In 1730, George Peirce’s son, Joshua built a brick farmhouse on the property that still stands today. In 1798, the great-grandsons of George began planting an arboretum that soon covered 15 acres. Originally called ‘Peirce’s Park’, it has been open off and on to the public since the late 1700’s and by 1850 had amassed one of the finest collections of trees in the nation. The park became a grand venue to hold family reunions and picnics through the mid to late 19th century.


Peirce’s Park, 1884 Photo:
Early in the 20th century, the park fell out of favor and the arboretum deteriorated due to lack of attention. Passing through several owners, a lumber mill operator was contracted to clear cut trees from a 41 acre parcel in 1906. This threat prompted one resident of the Delaware Valley to take action to prevent the decimation of such an historical landmark.
July 1906 Pierre duPont purchased the farm to save the trees – but his vision extended far beyond just saving the 41 acre tract. The expansive enhancements and improvements that visitors enjoy today can be traced back to the vision and actions of Mr. duPont. Certainly influenced by his family’s long-standing tradition of gardening and funded through his success within corporate America, Pierre DuPont would become one of the country’s most premiere and influential gardeners.
duPont laid out the first garden in 1907 – a 600’ long Flower Garden Walk, which is still in existence today and continues to be one of Longwood Gardens most popular gardens.


Flower Garden Walk with cornfield beyond 1909. Photo:

Buoyed by the recent successes of the Flower Garden Walk and the subsequent open Air Theatre, duPont was searching for a way to combat the oftentimes dreary winter. A project to extend the original Peirce house, which connected the new and old wings with a conservatory, was devised – Longwood’s first winter garden. Presented to his new bride, Alice as a wedding gift in 1915, the conservatory featured a courtyard with exotic plants and a small marble fountain.

Architect’s rendering of addition to the Peirce-duPont House. Photo:

A much larger, grand conservatory was under construction by 1916. The stunning conservatory was opened in 1921 and filled not with the usual choice of exotic species that was all the rage, instead fruits and flowers were used in a decorative manner that emphasized their horticultural importance.
Construction of the Conservatory, 1919 Photo:

Eastern Guernsey Breeder’s Association luncheon in Exhibition Hall, 1925

The technology utilized was state-of-the-art for that time period and all systems (heating, water, power) were hidden in tunnels so as not to distract from the views of the glass-covered conservatory. The conservatory is a 4 ½ acre greenhouse housing 20 indoor gardens and over 5,500 types of plants. The conservatory’s Exhibition Hall, with its original sunken marble floors, has been used over the years for special exhibits and events. The floors are typically filled with water to reflect the foliage, but when used for events, the floors are drained.
Photo by Tanglewood Conservatories
Photo by Tanglewood Conservatories
Over many succeeding years, duPont’s vision and execution of gardens, fountains and musical venues flourished. By the mid 1930’s Longwood had grown from the original 202 acres to 926. After duPont’s death in 1954, the trustees of the Foundation assumed the helm and focused on transforming the private estate into one for the public. New gardens, along with a plant nursery, an experimental greenhouse and a newly created Department of Education were created.
In addition to the public-display cultivation, Longwood Gardens has had a prolific history of propagation and experimental gardening. None of these histories are more interesting than that of the V. amazonica, a freakishly large water lily that inspired and forever changed architecture!lw8

More photos of Longwood Gardenslw9

Living Wall

Posted February 15th, 2013 by Alan Stein and filed in General, Greenhouses, Steel Structures
Tags: East Conservatory Plaza, Green Wall, Living Wall, Longwood Gardens
Comments Off on Living Wall
Two and a half years ago, Longwood Gardens near Kennett Square in southeastern Pennsylvania, built and opened a new entrance to their East Conservatory Plaza. This “green wall” was made from almost 3,600 modular panels that are mounted on a steel framework. Each panel holds a variety of plants. There are 17 restroom pods, threaded together, and housed behind these panels. The conservatory handles close to one million visitors each year and the need for more restrooms and a desire to add a new grand entrance to welcome those visitors was the driving force behind the new entrance.

These walls, containing over 47,000 ferns, foliage and other plants, start at the floor and go all the way to the ceiling, just below the skylights. The walls contain an irrigation channel running through each panel that makes the system completely self-watering. There are some sections that are up to thirteen feet tall, which made the selection of plants a challenge since the lighting conditions change during the year. The design team conducted light studies to determine what the lighting and shadow conditions would be and selected plants that would thrive in those changing conditions.

Longwood Garden’s conservatory houses 5, 500 plant varieties in its 20 indoor gardens. It was built in 1919 and has been expanded and renovated over the years. Currently, there are 195,668 square feet of greenhouses, that are used for display, production, and research. The East Conservatory was originally built in 1927-28 by Pierre du Pont and renovated during 2002 – 2005. The original greenhouse was used for non-hardy azaleas and rhododendrons that were late-winter bloomers. The current greenhouse is home to fragrant shrubs and flowering trees. This is notable because Pierre du Pont originally purchased the land in 1906 to save the trees. This purchase turned into a life-long project for du Pont, who created many different gardens, that eventually became Longwood Gardens.