Darlington Garden Club cultivates success

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

It takes more than a green thumb to achieve the kind of results the Darlington Garden Club has produced over the past year, and all their dedication and hard work has earned the club a number of awards at recent district and state competitions.

At the East Sandhills District Meeting, held March 13 in Sumter, the Darlington Garden Club won several distinctions, including Overall President’s Report (1st Place), Increase in Club Membership (1st Place), Represented at Meetings (1st Place), Best Program (1st Place – Seasonal Floral Design Workshop), Best Project (2nd Place – “Welcome to Darlington” city entranceways), and Backyard Wildlife Habitat (3rd Place).

At the South Carolina Garden Clubs, Inc., State Meeting, held April 26 in Columbia, the Darlington Garden Club won Honorable Mention for the Claudia Wright Lea Phelps Award (a community engagement award named for the first president of the SC Garden Club). The club also won 2nd Place honors for their annual efforts to decorate and beautify historic buildings during the Christmas season. The “Clean Up Darlington Day” project earned an Honorable Mention in the Civic Achievement category.

“We’ve done well,” says Lou Kirchen, Darlington Garden Club president, noting that she is particularly pleased that the club continues to have strong rates of participation and actually grew a bit over the past year. “Getting people to commit to a club is not as easy as it used to be… but when I moved back here, I decided I wanted to dig in the dirt, so I joined the Garden Club. What I found was an extraordinary group of women who are hard-working and committed to the well-being and improvement of Darlington.”

Though the Darlington Garden Club is small, with about 20 members at present, their rates of involvement and participation are fairly high. Recently, 14 members participated in Celebrate National Garden Week. Ten members distributed plants and flowers to businesses around the Public Square (including Tenampa, Wells Fargo, Jeweler’s Bench, Bella Domani, Dedicated Community Bank, Carolina Bank, Merle Norman, Jewel’s, the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce, and Fahrenheit 225. Also, special National Garden Week Flags were placed by the benches around the Public Square and on the grounds of the Darlington County Courthouse.

The Darlington Garden Club is always looking for new members, so if you’d like to find out more about upcoming projects or learn how to join in, please call Lou Kirchen at 843-610-0959.

Author: Rachel Howell

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