Gardening for the seasons

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Posted September 10, 2021 | Tricia Evans
Special to the Ocala Gazette

Members of the Pioneer Garden Club plant grasses at the Tuscawilla Art Park. [Submitted]

At the Pioneer Garden Club, we believe in “Gardening and Growing, Together” to improve our community.

To promote this theme, we will be writing articles throughout the year – the October article from Camelia Circle will focus on Fall Gardening; the December article from Gloriosa Circle will focus on Holiday Gardening; the March article from Daffodil Circle will focus on Spring Gardening and the June article from Morning Glory Circle will focus on Summer Gardening.

In this column, we take the time to introduce ourselves and give you some history about our organization.

Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala was organized in 1927 and federated in 1930. Our circle plan was adopted in 1931 and we are still structured as circles today – 90 years later. We have four circles – Camelia, Daffodil, Gloriosa and Morning Glory. We also have a membership option for those who only want to be involved in Pioneer Garden Club seasonal events.

There have been many changes over those 90-plus years – two different clubhouses have been utilized, circles have started and ended, special projects have varied but our focus has never changed. As stated in our bylaws, our purpose is to engage in activities which are charitable, educational and scientific – to aid in the protection and conservation of natural resources; to promote civic and roadside beautification; to advance the fine art of gardening, the study of horticulture and the artistic use of plant material; to work with other agencies in the furtherance of the interests of horticulture and conservation.

Pioneer Garden Club Inc. is part of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs Inc., Deep South Garden Clubs Inc., and National Garden Clubs Inc. Each of these has a theme – Pioneer Garden Club’s is “Gardening and Growing, Together”; Florida Federation’s is “Worlds of Wonder”; Deep South’s is “Plant Deep South with a Rainbow of Colors”; and National Garden Club’s is “Plant America – Play Outdoors.” The President of Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Marge Hendon, is a treasured member of Pioneer Garden Club.

We have had an active Adopt-a-Park partnership with Silver Springs State Park since 2014 and with Tuscawilla Art Park since 2015. We participate in the care, maintenance and improvement of both parks and plan to continue those efforts through seasonal events and civic beautification activities. We offer local youth summer camp experiences at the Ocala Discovery Center and the FFGC Camp Wekiva. We have established a dedicated scholarship at the College of Central Florida – the Pioneer Garden Club Marge Hendon Scholarship Trust – for students studying horticulture, landscape design, biology or agribusiness.

We work with the Daylily Society, the Marion Native Plant Society, the Marion Audubon Society, Silver Springs park rangers, the Friends of Silver Springs and the City of Ocala throughout the year to support their efforts as they support our efforts. For the 2021 Florida Arbor Day event at Tuscawilla Art Park, members from these groups were joined by local high school students to plant trees, weed gardens and work toward completion of a National Garden Club grant Pioneer Garden Club had received.

We promote our community involvement projects through articles in local newspapers, speaking to local service organizations and participation in activities at public libraries, Silver Springs State Park and Tuscawilla Art Park. Our main fundraising project each year is selling poinsettias for the holiday season – members take orders from individuals and businesses, and we have a booth at the Downtown Market the first Saturday in December to sell these beautiful plants and hanging baskets.

Visit our website for more information:

Tricia Evans, President, Pioneer Garden Club and member of Daffodil Circle

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