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Surry Garden Club celebrating golden anniversary

By Kristi Hendricks

This year of 2020 is a year of celebration for the Surry Garden Club as the club celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The club is 22 members strong and still recruiting new members with an interest in horticultural activities, whether educating, learning or both.

Over the last half a century, the club has continued its focus on civic gardening projects in the local area, including maintaining flower beds in Oaks Park in the Town of Surry, creating pollinator and wildlife habitats in celebration of the ferry Capt. John Smith Deckhouse Restoration Project at the Surry County Historical Society, and holding an annual floral arranging event at the Waverly Health Care and Rehabilitation Center.

The club takes great pride in its activities focusing on educating members and guests on the latest home gardening techniques and helping the community with beautification and eco-friendly activities. Each Christmas holiday season, the club also decorates Preservation Virginia’s Smith Fort manor house with traditional and natural decorations using local agricultural and native plant materials.

Of special note this year, the club is the initiator of the designation of Gray’s Creek in the Virginia Scenic Rivers Program. Virginia’s governor recently signed legislation approving this designation, which will become effective July 1. The club partnered with numerous local and state entities, private citizens and small businesses to launch this designation. (See Department of Conservation & Recreation’s Gray’s Scenic River Report found at dcr.virginia.gov/recreational-planning/document/srreportgrayssurry.pdf for a wealth of horticultural and historical tidbits about this scenic waterway.)

For the last several years, the club has hosted a refreshment and education table for the Peninsula Bicycling Association’s annual Surry Century Ride. Not only has the club ensured that the cyclists have a rest stop for essential breaks in their ride around the rural, agricultural county, but also answered horticultural questions that the riders may pose.

Each month, September through May, the club has a learning activity prior to the business meeting. Topics have ranged from winemaking at the Hampton Roads Winery, modern farming techniques with Drewry Farms, floral artwork from the Ed Hatch Art Studio and maintaining historical plantations with Claremont Manor. The club has also explored project restoration at the Norge Train Depot, native plant protection at the Hog Island Wildlife Management Area and historic garden maintenance at Colonial Williamsburg’s Bassett Hall.

The club is a member of the Piedmont District of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs. If you are interested in joining or just want to volunteer with one of the club’s numerous civic projects, please leave your contact information with Farmer Joe’s Greenhouse & Florist, 757-294-3151, a longtime plant nursery advisor for the club.