The Port St. Joe Garden last month hosted the 11 garden clubs in the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs District II for its spring meeting.

The Port St. Joe Garden last month hosted the 11 garden clubs in the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs District II for its spring meeting.

The meeting was held at the Centennial Building and more than 80 club members from around Northwest Florida attended.

District II is comprised of clubs from Port St. Joe, Chipley, Bonifay, Vernon, Wausau, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Graceville, Lynn Haven, Marianna Friendship and Marianna.

The theme was “Party at the Beach” and club president Barbara Conway and club members did an excellent job of working together the showcase into a “shell’y”_ day for attendees.

“We may be a small club, but garden clubbers know how to get things done,” Conway said.

She thanked the Panama City Garden Club- Amaryllis Circle for its assistance and Sylvia Holley of Gulf Beach Garden Club for beautiful floral designs made for the event.

The group was welcomed to the city by Mayor Mel Magidson and invited to tour historic Port St. Joe by County Commissioner Tan Smiley.

After spring reports, Linda and Jim Brunner of the Gulf Coast Shell Club presented an entertaining and educational program on shells that can be found on local beaches and waters. They also displayed their collection of shells.

 Chipley Garden Club was named the 2013 Garden Club of the Year during the FFGC Spring Convention in Fort Myers.

“This is the number one award in FFGC,” said Jane Brewer, past district director. “The award recognizes the Florida garden club that best excels in all of the following categories: membership increase, service to membership, club programs and projects, members attending club, district and state meetings and/or sponsored programs.

“Chipley Garden Club truly shares the joys of gardening with their community and each other. This is an awesome accomplishment not only for Chipley, but for District II because when one wins, we all win.”

The Chipley club also claimed the 2013 Nell Coe (Grow) Ward, the Civic Beautification Award and National Garden Club/Deep South Region third-place Youth Horticulture Award.

Other FFGC awards included Wausau Garden Club members Judy Solger’s two Digital Photography awards, Marianna Garden Club’s Garden Therapy (Geriatric) Award and District II’s Best Newsletter (District) Award.

Pam Cates, President of Vernon Garden Club, discussed a $100,000 highway beautification grant from the Florida Department of Transportation her club was granted in March and the extensive application process involved.

“We are the first garden club to ever apply for this kind of grant,” Cates said. “And we got it – now the fun begins.”

The club received a Certificate of Excellence for 2011-2013 from district President Jan Sillik and a President’s FFGC Award for its efforts.

Louise Michaels from Chipley, the chairperson for District II Wetlands and Waterways, discussed clean water shortage, desalination technology, water conservation and the lack of concern for maintaining the fresh water supply.

She also discussed the “disheartening” condition of “Little Blue” in Washington County.

“We are working towards rescuing and reclaiming the spring,” Michaels said. “Due to pollution, abuse by recreational vehicles and dumping, the spring has receded over 15 feet and is polluted.

“It was once beautiful, pristine and able to supply an abundance of clean water. We want it to be that way again.

Following the meetings, plants made by the Port St. Joe Garden Club were available for purchase.

If you are interested in joining the Port St. Joe Garden Club or would like more information, please contact the Port St. Joe Garden Club on its Facebook page.