Circles meet 1st Tuesday --> September to May (Daffodil Circle meets 1st Wednesday)
Pioneer Garden Club is busy in the Ocala community.
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The world has changed. Families no longer consist of ten children to work the family farm. Most families don’t live on farms. What’s a kid to do all day? Watch TV, video games, text message friends? Maybe. But, there are thousands of kids in Florida who don’t. They have a sense of wonder past our materialistic society.
The world depends on our kids to understand that we need them. We need them to feed us into the future, clothe us, create new bio-inventions, medicines, forests, erosion control, animal habitats . . . We need them to dig it, to get their hands dirty and create new life.
All they have to do is look around their own community. There are many opportunities for teens to volunteer their time to outdoor endeavors, “greening” and environmental practices. Are there recently burned areas that need more trees or plants for erosion control? Can we help feed a community with healthy veggies by getting involved in a community garden? Are there non-native plants invading a nearby waterway? Is there a local wildlife sanctuary that needs a habitat built? Do we need to plant more colorful plants to attract the declining population of bees?
Kids can be activists, but they’re also competitive. So how can they combine they’re connection with the earth and their competitive natures? Luckily, here in Florida, we have many creative outlets for our teens to shine (and blossom!).
Future Farmers of America (FFA), 4-H Sciences programs, the Southeastern Youth Fair, the State Fair and high school Agriculture classes are a few programs that are shaping our horticultural stars of the future. These programs encourage leadership, involvement, social interaction and creating something.
4-H is a national club that was started over 100 years ago to give agricultural education to youth. Today the program serves almost 250,000 youth in Florida. Kids can learn about and compete in events from dogs, hogs, horses, plants, ants, mares and marine life! Our local UF/IFAS Extension County Office can give more information on Beginning Gardening and even about Junior Master Gardener programs.
Though the Florida FFA was started less than 100 years ago, it still offers an impressive outlet for youth to participate in and strengthen American agriculture. With over 17,000 members in the state, the youth can compete in diverse leadership, agriculture, forestry, livestock and horticulture events to name a few.
The Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala is an organization that promotes horticulture and civic beauty in Marion County, so we love hearing about our youth who compete in these areas. According to the Southeastern Youth Fair website, the winner for the Junior level at the Horticulture Show is a part of the Romeo Roundup 4-H. The Intermediate and Senior levels competed through their FFA associations and were from Ft. McCoy FFA and Vanguard FFA. Another great event at the Southeastern Youth Fair is Plant ID. The contestants in this event can then be better able to select, buy, use, grow, sell, and appreciate the offerings of plants. That’s exciting news for our future as this is the start of feeding the world.
Our youth aren’t just competing in identifying, growing and showing plants and animals. At the Southeastern Youth Fair and the Florida State Fair, kids are competing in other fun endeavors like BBQ and cooking shows.
Though the Southeastern Youth Fair is specifically for FFA and 4-H competitors, the State Fair has many competitive opportunities open to any youth who has an interest in agriculture, horticulture and cooking. Besides getting a cool ribbon, there are cash and scholarship prizes for many of the events.
Florida Federation of Garden Clubs (FFGC) has many events to include growing, showing and landscaping through Wekiva Youth Camp, SEEK and Youth Gardeners. Pioneer Garden Club is a member of the FFGC and is actively seeking youth to create new gardening circles. You see, we need the youth. We need them for the future of our food, our air, our environment. We need those kids who dig it.
Respectfully submitted by Donna Paget, MEd.
Ocala Star Banner, March 1, 2020 - Real Estate Section pg 2
Trees provide beauty, wildlife habitat, flood and erosion control, and promote health and the well-being of our community. They are also living air conditioners which clean and cool the air.
The Clean Air Act of 1970 identified chemicals and particulates in the air which harm human health, wildlife, and plants. Although these regulations have significantly improved air quality in the U.S., human activity continues to release unhealthy amounts of these harmful substances into the air.
Trees remove pollutants in two ways. First, leaves take up sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide directly through their stomata and retain them inside the leaves in various forms. Second, leaf surfaces and bark can trap airborne particulates, which cause lung damage, asthma, and other conditions. It has been shown that a significant increase in tree cover in areas with high airborne particulates reduces childhood asthma by as much as 29%.
Trees are an important cost-effective tool in moderating pollution. Preservation of older trees has significant benefits as larger trees contribute far more to pollution reduction than smaller, new trees. A 30-inch diameter tree removes about 70 times more air pollution than a smaller (less than 3-inch diameter) tree.
It also became apparent in the 1970’s that carbon dioxide levels were increasing in the air due to the burning of fossil fuels, causing an overall incremental increase in earth’s average temperature. This warming trend increases the need for energy to cool homes, offices, and other places where people gather. Trees help to cool the air, and they do so in two ways. First, trees transpire water through their leaves, creating a cooling of the air within the branches and areas beneath the trees. Air in the shade of trees can be several degrees lower than temperatures in unshaded areas due to transpiration. The denser the canopy, the greater this effect. In addition, shading of heat-absorbing impervious surfaces such as pavement and buildings by trees can significantly lower urban ambient temperatures, reducing the urban heat island effect. This cooling reduces energy use and indirectly, the pollution resulting from energy production. Trees also sequester carbon, pulling in atmospheric carbon dioxide and fixing it in the tree structure through the process of photosynthesis. Adding tree cover helps to slow the rate of global warming by increasing the amount of carbon captured in this manner.
The trend in the U.S., however, has been a reduction in tree cover and an increase in heat-retaining impervious surfaces. Florida ranked in the top 3 states for annual average loss of tree cover, and in the top 3 for annual average increase in impervious surfaces for the years 2009-2014. A campaign initiated by National Garden Clubs Inc., a not-for-profit educational organization, hopes to fight climate change with its “Plant America with Trees: Each ONE Plant ONE” campaign. Each of its 165,000 clubs are asked to plant one tree. The Pioneer Garden Club is the local chapter. For more information on the club’s activities, visit the club’s website www.pioneergardenclub.org .
Consider increasing the tree cover in your yard and encourage others to do the same. Keep existing tree cover, especially large, healthy trees, and add new, long-lived native trees with lower maintenance requirements. Winter is a great time for planting trees in Florida.
Submitted by Kristine Switt, M.S. Env. Sci, Member-at-Large, Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala
Ocala Star Banner - Feb 2, 2020 Real Estate section- pg 2
A campaign initiated by National Garden Clubs Inc., a not-for-profit educational organization, hopes to fight climate change with its “Plant America with Trees: Each ONE Plant ONE” campaign. Each of its 165,000 clubs are asked to plant one tree. The Pioneer Garden Club is the local chapter.
October is Florida Native Plant month. Fall is a wonderful time to stroll through a garden and reflect on the creative nature of our existence on earth. In March I wrote about time spent in the garden with granddaughter, Havens Ann and my friend, Deborah Curry, President of the Marion Big Scrub Native Plant Society. Wandering beneath the live oaks we identified flowers that thrive in the moist, rich, acidic soil; requiring no special attention or care. The Viola sororia and the Oxalis corniculata L. a member of the Woodsorrel family were both in bloom at that time. I learned from Deborah that the flower of the Viola sororia is edible, so let’s explore edible Florida Natives just a bit as we approach the Thanksgiving time.
Now that Fall has arrived, Florida Native plants in the garden offer a different array of interest than in the spring. The ripening of Florida native persimmons during the fall and early winter brings the color orange to the garden. The plum sized fruit is sweet and slightly tangy. Visit your local farmer’s market this month to explore locally grown varieties that can be used in jams, chutneys, sorbets, baked goods and other dishes. This Florida Native is an excellent addition to any garden.
Deborah enjoys sharing her research almost as much as being outdoors doing the fieldwork. She routinely shares her findings at the Marion Big Scrub 4th Monday monthly meeting at the Belleview Library. Carefully foraging her own yard and those of friends she has found a variety of Florida Natives that might be edible. How can one know if something from your natural garden is edible?
A few simple rules to follow:
1. Never eat a plant in the wild before checking with a local expert. The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is a perfect place to find an expert.
2. After proper identification of a wild plant by an expert, try only a little the first time you partake. What agrees with one person might not be agreeable to another. Such is life.
3. Foraging is very seasonal. Make sure it is the right time of year to consume a particular wild plant.
4. Check out the growing environment of the wild plant. Is it growing in the right place; are the soil and water source free of pollutants? These are the same criteria we look for in our food choices that come from the market.
5. Be knowledgeable about how to prepare the wild edible.
Bon appetite is the essence of our existence on earth. Deborah suggests a simple salad as a good starting point for enjoying what you have foraged after following the five simple rules.
Simple Salad Recipe:
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbl chopped fresh sage leaves (Salvia coccinea flowers are edible but may cause stomach ache)
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
3 qt mixed tender salad leaves
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Judy and Deborah hope you find the wild garden of Florida engaging and nourishing.
Visit the Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala Website for information about getting involved with a Gardening Circle and current club activities and programs. www.pioneergardenclub.org
Reference Materials for the Article include: FNPS Website and Marion Big Scrub Presentation “ Edible Florida Plants” by Deborah Curry, Persimmons in Florida, Edible Northeast Florida by Camille Cassella, You Can Learn to Forage for Wild Edibles, Eat the Weeds and other things, too Blog by Deane.
Judy Greenberg and Deborah Curry are members of the Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala and the Florida Native Plant Society. Deborah currently serves as President of the Marion Big Scrub Chapter of the FNPS.
Ocala Star Banner - Nov 3, 2019 Real Estate section- pg 2
Pioneer Garden Club Florida Natives. Viola sororia is an edible flower.
Join gardening enthusiasts in celebrating National Garden Week during June 2-8, 2019. This is an opportunity for citizens to support the National Garden Week objectives of beautification, education of environmental efforts, and gardening. Tens of millions of Americans grow a garden of some size. This week is a great opportunity to tend your garden, start a garden project, or just enjoy a garden’s peacefulness and beauty.
National Garden Week is sponsored by the National Garden Clubs, Inc, a not-for-profit educational organization comprised of 50 state garden clubs and the District of Columbia with approximately 165,000 members. The history of National Garden Clubs dates to January 1891, when it was founded by the Ladies Garden Club of Athens, Georgia.
Gardening has some surprising benefits to your health. It provides a fun physical activity to keep you moving and increases hand coordination and strength. Gardening is good for your mental health. It nourishes your spirit, provides stress relief, and increases your cognitive functions. It also helps people enjoy eating more fruits and vegetables.
Here are some ways you can celebrate National Garden Week:
· Plant a garden at your home. You can use containers to grow a large variety of herbs and flowering plants. There are beautiful examples of container gardens in the downtown area of Ocala planted by the City of Ocala horticulturist, Suzanne Shuffitt.
· Share a bouquet of flowers from your garden with a friend.
· Volunteer to help in a community garden.
· Visit the Belleview Library to see a native plant garden maintained by the Big Scrub Native Plant Society.
· Visit public libraries to learn more about all kinds of gardening. Pioneer Garden Club will have a display at the Marion County Headquarters Library during National Garden Week.
· Visit the National Garden Club website to learn about these types of gardens: pollinator gardens, wildlife gardens, xeriscape gardens, and container gardens.
· Enjoy a local garden. Some suggestions are the gardens at Silver Springs State Park, Rainbow Springs State Park, Fort King Historical Park, Mom’s park at Jervy-Gant Park, Shalom Park, Veteran’s Park, and the Fallen Soldiers Garden at the Marion County Government Complex.
· Pioneer Garden Club will be planting daylilies at Tuscawilla Art Park later this summer. Get some hands-on experience with planting. Look for more information in the July Pioneering advice column in the newspaper.
Please enjoy a garden activity during National Garden Week. You might just discover a true love of gardening and a new hobby for yourself.
In honor of National Garden Week, Pioneer Garden Club is hosting a Garden Appreciation Event for local community organizations that support the gardens at Silver Springs State Park on Friday, June 7, 2019 from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon.
Jacqua Ballas, 2nd Vice-President of Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala and member of the Daffodil Gardening Circle. Visit the club’s website for more information: www.pioneergardenclub.org
National Garden Clubs: www.gardenclub.org/projects/national-garden-week.aspx
Reader’s Digest article, “10 Surprising Ways Gardening is one of the Heathiest Things You Can Do”. https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/health-benefits-of-gardening/
Mayor Guinn presents Pioneer Garden Club's Judy Greenburg with the Proclamation of Trees for Florida's Arbor Day 2019
Planting of Redbud tree at Tuscawilla Art Park Ocala as part of Pioneer Garden Club's President's project.
President of Florida's Native Plants (Deborah), President Pioneer Garden Club Judy Greenburg), President Morning Glory circle (Mary)
Discussion of the history of the property of Tuscawilla Park
Morning Glory Circle
Tuscawilla Art Park - The old train station
Pioneer Garden Club of Ocala
Contact: Judy Greenberg, 352-871-1094
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