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Block helping Garden Club continue its ‘mission’

By DEBORAH HAGGETT - Garden Club of Cape Coral | Aug 27, 2020

The Garden Club of Cape Coral was established in 1997 with 23 founding members. It is affiliated with the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and the National Garden Clubs Inc. It is currently led by President Ann Block.

Ann and I recently had a chance to chat about her gardening experiences and her work with the Garden Club. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Originally from Bristol, Connecticut, “home of ESPN,” Ann has lived in Cape Coral for the last three years. She describes Cape Coral as a “paradise” where she is “lucky to have Sanibel Island beaches and Fort Myers Beach” in her backyard. Ann loves planting both annual and perennial flowers and has recently planted milkweed to bring Monarch butterflies into her “garden oasis.” Like most of us, weeding is her least favorite gardening activity, however, she gets “so much pleasure once it’s done.”

Ann enjoys many tropical plants and has written about some as part of her role as a Garden Club contributor to this column in the Breeze. Of all of her favorite plants, Ann describes palms as her “joy” and has planted several varieties. In particular, she prefers foxtail, Christmas tree and bottle palms.

Ann also enjoys her work as president of the Garden Club. The club is very active with its mission “to promote civic beautification, focus on environmental awareness, and give back to our Community.” In fact, it is the charitable aspects of the club that Ann values the most.

Two club fundraisers highlight this for her. The first is March in the Park, the clubs annual plant sale held at Jaycee Park on the second Saturday of March. This is the club’s largest fundraiser which supports scholarship awards to local high school students who have an interest in environmental sciences and horticulture. Proceeds also contribute to horticultural and environmental school projects, as well as, Florida Federation of Garden Club projects like SEEK and Camp Wekiva. In addition, March in the Park funds support the club’s work with Habitat for Humanity’s annual Woman Build project in Cape Coral.

Another fundraiser close to Ann’s heart was the club’s Fashion Show. The goal of this event was to raise funds for a Blue Star Memorial Marker, which celebrates the Armed Services. These markers have been a National Garden Club tribute dating back to 1945 when the first “living memorial” of 8,000 dogwood trees were planted along a highway in New Jersey. The blue star, a symbol of World War II, was used to mark the site. Today, there are over 3,000 Blue Star Memorials in the U.S. The Cape Coral Blue Star Memorial will be located at Veterans Memorial Park in Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve. It is scheduled to be dedicated in November, 2020, with limited fanfare due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are just two of the many outreach projects that Ann is proud to participate in with the rest of the members of the Garden Club. Ultimately, she believes it’s the “love of gardening” that is at the heart of all those who are involved with the club. She eagerly awaits the end of the pandemic so that members can once again enjoy the fun and camaraderie of in-person meetings and special events. For more information, Ann invites you to visit the club’s website at https://www.gardenclubofcapecoral.com.

Lastly, Ann would like to share this quote from Alfred Austin, English poet, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

Happy gardening and Stay Florida Friendly!

Deborah Haggett is a member of the Garden Club of Cape Coral and a Lee County Master Gardener Volunteer