A Special Project
In 2010, the Garden Club completed the George Merrick bronze monument project by providing professional quality lighting of the statue. The installation of lighting will provide residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy a quality nighttime view of our City Founder.
Our current project to initiate, plan, fund, create and install a life size bronze monument of George Merrick’s mother, Mrs. Althea Merrick, will culminate this year at the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Merrick house. The bronze monument will portray Mrs. Merrick seated on a bronze bench with a bronze basket of flowers positioned by her side. The monument will be located in the garden area of the historic home.
An annual Arbor Day ceremony is co-sponsored with the City of Coral Gables for the Coral Gables Garden Club membership together with the community to plant a tree within the City. The purpose of the celebration is to learn more about the importance of planting trees for our future generations. Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April. 2010 marked the 100th anniversary of Merrick House, so the tree for this anniversary year (a fruit tree) was planted on the Merrick House grounds. Thanks to all these efforts, the City of Coral Gables has been named a Tree City USA for the last 25 years. This year, the children of First United Methodist Church’s The Growing Place Preschool, stand outside Merrick House after receiving a tree to take home.
Artistic Design Workshops
Educational and fun workshops are organized to familiarize our members with the basic components and principles of floral design. Well-known experts in the field will be giving demonstrations and hints on design techniques. Attendees construct creative designs during this hands-on course.
Coral Gables Merrick House
When The Merrick House (George Merrick’s family home at 907 Coral Way) became an historic site for the City in 1977, the Garden Club stepped forward to do the landscaping and received the District XII HANDS Award for doing so. When the House was officially opened in 1979, the Club received a bronze plaque of appreciation from the City. Our relationship with the Merrick House from then on has been constant. Every Christmas Garden Club members decorate this lovely home, inside and out, for the holidays, and place lovely red poinsettias on the broad front steps. The Club also contribute funds for redecorating and refurbishing. Plant identification plaques were placed in the Merrick House garden as The Garden Club planted and re-planted many landscaped areas—an ongoing project. Club members dedicate themselves each year to ensuring the Merrick House remains a worthy tribute to George Merrick.
2010 marked the 100th anniversary of Merrick House. Special festivities such as the September Pie On The Porch event, a pie baking contest and tour of the home kicked off the celebrations. The Junior Gardener project, The Heritage Garden with vegetables and flowers originally grown at Merrick House was featured at this event. In October 2010, a statue of George Merrick’s mother, Althea, was placed in the garden.
With the opening of the Coral Gables Museum on October 10th 010, we anticipate that a close, mutually beneficial relationship with the Museum will continue to develop. In the year prior to the opening, we participated in the Museum’s holiday “native and found objects floral design workshop” and the Museum’s “City Trekker” children’s summer camp. We look forward to an exciting year.
Coral Gables Public Library and Butterfly Garden
The welded steel sculpture of a Monarch Butterfly has been installed at the Coral Gables Library in the protective case. A plaque, naming artist Fred Caravetta and recognizing the donation by the Coral Gables Garden Club, is being prepared for inclusion with the sculpture.
Each year we look forward to a new and exciting garden to visit during February. In recent years we have visited Bonsai Garden & Nursery, Palm Hammock Orchid Nursery, the Montgomery Botanical Center, and soon The Kampong.
Garden Club Library
Our library, in the Garden Center, is opened on the fourth Monday of each month during our General Meeting for the convenience of our members. We have an outstanding collection of over 400 books focusing on tropical gardening and floral design. Our members-only Library is run on the honor system.
Holiday Home and Garden Tour
The annual Home and Garden Tour, held on the first Sunday afternoon in December, is our major fundraiser for the Club. Members take pleasure in creating floral designs and decorating the homes, which are visited by friends and family. Baskets filled with plants and home-baked goods are offered for sale.
Of special interest to many of our members is our association with the Junior Gardeners of our community, which began in 1964. Since then, we have worked with students at several schools to stimulate their interest in gardening and the environment. The latest project in partnership with Slow Food Miami is the Heritage Garden at Merrick House. This garden will showcase the vegetables and flowers that would have been grown by Althea Merrick for her family. The garden will be used as an education project to interest young people in becoming Junior Gardeners.
Metropolitan Miami Flower Show
Our members participate in the annual Horticulture and Artistic Divisions and the Educational Displays of the MMFS. Competitive floral designs and exhibits are judged by a panel of accredited judges. Ribbons are awarded to winning entries. The public is invited to view the many distinctive arrangements and plants on the closing day. For design, we won three first class blue medals, one second class red, four third class yellow, and five white (honorable mention). For education we won a third place yellow and for the club competition we won a third. For horticulture we won 12 blue, 5 red, and 1 yellow.
Monthly Flower Shows
To encourage our members to practice and develop confidence in the art of floral design, monthly flower shows are held at several of our General Meetings. Entries are judged by qualified Flower Show Judges.
The 2010 scholarship was given to Florida Southern College in honor of Miss Lamar Louise Curry. The recipient, Kelsey Trujeque, is a junior, studying landscape design. This was a significant tribute to our member, Miss Curry, who is celebrating her 103rd year of life and service. Many thanks to Audrey Ross for her dedication to this special project. We will continue to promote scholarship and the education of deserving young people.
Projecting a positive face to the world, the Coral Gables Garden Club will begin building a website that will present information about our club and about gardening in South Florida.