The Cayman Islands Garden club celebrated its 50th anniversary in style 30 April at the residence of Garden Club patron Mrs. Mariko Jack, wife of the Governor, and an enthusiastic garden club member.
‘Our club has an important history and I think it may be the oldest club in the Cayman Islands. Founders include Ardeth Smith, Corrine Thompson, Ena Watler, Dim Bush, Joyce Hylton, Dorothy Roulstone, Stanley Panton, Dickie Black and so many other memorable and outstanding women and men of our islands,’ said President Lois Blumenthal.
‘These wonderful people gave us a legacy that must be carried into the future, so the feeling of family that is always present among Garden Club has a concrete, as well as a philosophical aspect,’ she said.
A surprise highlight of the evening came when club member Rob Bennett was acknowledged with a special President’s Award for his hard work and dedication.
‘A past president who can always be counted on to be there with shovels, dirt, manpower, fertilizer, hoses, buckets and a wealth of experience and knowledge, indeed, our landscaping projects would be very different altogether without his involvement,’ said Ms Blumenthal.
The evening reception marking the historic occasion featured a contingent of family members of the club’s original members in attendance including Berna Thompson Cummins, Beth Roulstone and Fay Black and daughter Sheila.
The club was formed with the intent to promote interest in and knowledge of gardening and of all things related to the natural beauty of the Cayman Islands, to undertake project to beautify the community and to promote friendship and understanding among people of all nationalities.
Ms Blumenthal says that while the Island has changed, the club’s spirit has not waned. Evidence of that continued commitment is reflected in its latest project: contributing to the landscaping of the new National Gallery.
Within the club, opportunities arise to suit every taste and talent. Garden club members participate in both horticultural activities like learning how to grow and revive native species, while artistic interests are also catered to, with a large following of dedicated floral designers interested in bringing beauty to the islands through fabulous and creative arrangements.
Through the years, projects have included landscaping the National Museum, the airport, the National Trust headquarters as well as the Pines retirement home. The group also provides displays at the Home and Garden show, the Agricultural Show, and [email protected] Governors, and puts on a yearly Hat Parade.
The group is also partners in the Darwin Initiative to save Cayman’s rare plant species and acts as a sponsor to the newest edition of the Flora of the Cayman Islands by Dr. George R. Proctor.
This year the Garden Club has landscaped the Seafarers’ Hall grounds using native trees of historic and cultural significance and taken part in projects at St. George’s Anglican Church, George Hicks High School, West Bay Fire Station, the Mission House in Bodden Town, Heritage Beach and Fort George.
It all comes down to 50 years of friendship, fun and flowers, said Ms Blumenthal.
‘The meetings are a happy, light-hearted respite from the daily grind. The Garden Club has been a shining example of all that is best in human nature. These are very simply put, nice people.’