2018 - 2020 President's Report - Lou Flowers
The Virginia Beach Garden Club
President’s Report Lou Flowers
The Virginia Beach Garden Club has continued its history of encouraging the love of gardening; the work of protecting our native flora and fauna; the conservation of our natural resources; the promotion of civic planting and the restoration of historic gardens. The last two years, as president, has allowed me the privilege of working with a team of dedicated and intelligent women in our local club as well as many members of The Garden Club of Virginia and the Garden Club of America.
Both Active and Associate members worked together at the annual Fall Flower Festival, 2018 and 2019. This continues to serve as our primary fundraiser, enabling us to give to a wide variety of community projects. Our largest contribution, of this period, has gone to the new Educational Classroom Building at The Brock Center where we are contributing to the construction of a living green wall. This wall will enhance the innovative and award winning center with a natural air purification system and serve as a constant reminder of the importance of green and sustainable living. Another substantial gift has been to Norfolk Botanical Garden and the construction of a new conservatory. We have repeated our sponsorship of a camper to an academically based conservation summer camp and we have given again to regional endeavors such as Scenic Virginia and Lynnhaven River Now.
Members of The Virginia Beach Garden Club have attended national meetings of the Garden Club of America in New York, San Francisco and Boston as well as regional meetings. VBGC was also represented at the Annual Meetings and Board of Governors of The Garden Club of Virginia. Our members have served on GCA and GCV committees the past two years. Conservation forums were attended and advocacy letters were sent to our legislature. Several members are in GCA judging programs of floral design, horticulture and photography.
The Virginia Beach Garden Club continues its supportive relationship with The Junior Virginia Beach Garden Club enjoying a joint annual meeting and lunch in February. The Junior Club assists with Historic Garden Week as we partner with The Princess Anne Garden Club to mount one of the most successful tours in the state. The 2019 tour was a memorable one in the neighborhood of the newly restored Cavalier Hotel.
The club enjoyed a trip to Camp Grom, where we donated a healing garden to this respite for returning American veterans and their families. We also traveled to Norfolk for our joint GCA and GCV meetings with our Tidewater garden club friends. Other membership programs included speakers such as David Pippin, a fabulous arranger from Richmond; Gina Forresta, a
local gardener and horticulturist; Laura Klingel from Eyre Hall; and Leslie Harris, a garden designer from Charlottesville.
Additional activities of The Virginia Beach Garden Club included workshops on seed and propagation in members’ gardens and an herb challenge conducted by Jane Booth. Jane also led a garage class on planting bulbs for the holidays and Demaris Yearick conducted a hypertufa workshop in her driveway. Alice Koziol coordinated a series of fabulous, fun floral design workshops taught by Molly Trapiani, Mary Carpenter from Baltimore, and our own Pam Pruden - all were sold out.
Our social events of these seasons were as enjoyable as ever with our evening holiday party held at the home of Nancy Freeman, our afternoon holiday social at the home of Alice Koziol, and our holiday coffee at the home of Jodie Berndt. End of the year luncheons were scheduled in the gardens of Karen Woodard and PJ Barton. We were thrilled to be joined by seven new members.
The Virginia Beach Garden Club was fortunate to enjoy so many educational opportunities, hands on workshops and social gatherings over the 2018-2020 term. Sadly though, it came to a rather abrupt and unforeseen close in the late winter of 2020. The Covid 19 virus has confined us to our homes for the duration of this business year, at least. Virginia Beach, the state, the nation and the worldover discontinued schools, group events, business operations and gatherings of any sort. I write this President’s Letter, today, quarantined at home.
The March, April and May meetings of this year have been cancelled. The GCA Annual Meeting - where we were designated to run the boutique, has been cancelled; so too was the 100 year Centennial Celebration of The Garden Club of Virginia. Historic Garden Week, scheduled for this very week, has also been cancelled for the second time in its history. These events were years in the making and future plans are not yet able to be made. While this is all terribly disappointing, the loss of life and health to so many is tragic and mind boggling. The economic repercussions are monumental and nearly impossible to grasp at the time being.
I am immensely grateful for my time as President of the Virginia Beach Garden Club and will remember these years with a deep heart. I pray that the many many people affected by this pandemic will be able to pick up the pieces, even though they will be rearranged, and move forward productively. I am sure that The Virginia Beach Garden Club will carry on.