he Garden Club of Fleming Island was originally the inspiration of a wonderful local gardener and garden club member, Mary Miller. Her small advertisement to form a new garden circle, in a neighborhood newspaper, caught the eye of four friends who had just graduated from the local Master Gardener program. With a passion for flowers and getting their hands dirty, they soon met with Mary. The new Circle of the Garden Club of Orange Park was formed in late 2008. Since all of the Circles in the Club were identified by a type of bird, Sally McGraw suggested we be called the Flamingos!
As the months rolled by, the membership grew to the minimum-required number of 10. Through Mary’s mentorship, the new circle grew, developed, and became official in May of 2009. Officers President Nina Bielawski, Vice President Anne Johnson, Secretary Cathy Schmitz, and Treasurer Alice Wais were installed.
Meetings were held (and continue to this day) at the Fleming Island Branch of the Clay County Library. The Library Staff was amazingly hospitable to this new, small club. Interesting speakers, unique field trips, plant sales, and delicious treats filled the Circle calendar each month. Membership continued to increase by meeting people at sidewalk sales, the county fair, word of mouth, and other garden functions. One of our members, Kathy Buzzell joined when she met us working at the Library Butterfly Garden.
By early 2011, the Flamingo Circle had doubled its membership and felt accomplished with projects and fund-raisers. It had established the Butterfly Garden at the entrance to the Fleming Island Library (with subsequent annual festivities and butterfly releases), held sidewalk and plant sale fund-raisers, and county fair prize-winning entries.
The membership wanted to spread its wings and become its own Garden Club. And thus, the Garden Club of Fleming Island was formed in the fall of 2011.
The latest project was a partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and creation of a beautiful front yard landscape for a deserving serviceman and his family.
We wish to thank Mary Miller for vision, leadership, tenacity, and guidance.