Darlington Garden Club garners state awards

Darlington Garden Club members (left to right) Laura Burns, Carolyn Abbott, Delette Jordan, Cathy Bailey, Marie Ross, Ronda Duke Brown, and Lou Kirchen at the Rose Garden on Pearl Street.

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

Members of the Darlington Garden Club are celebrating more than just the arrival of spring. Club members recently returned from a meeting of the National Garden Clubs organization and brought home five awards recognizing various beautification and improvement projects around the city.

Awards included Honorable Mention for the National Garden Week Project (project chaired by Delette Jordan); State Certificate of Merit for the planters placed around downtown Darlington; Third Place for the Youth Award, for money donated to help fund a Children’s Garden at the Darlington Library (project chaired by Marie Ross); First Place for the Sarah Porter Smith Boylston Memorial Garden Award for work done during the October Cleanup Day at Wells Park (project chaired by Laura Burns).

Most impressively, the Darlington Garden Club took top honors for the South Atlantic Region of National Garden Clubs, Inc. for Outstanding Service (defined as promoting the aims and objectives of gardening) in the Public Relations category.

Darlington Garden Club members also placed massive planters around Darlington’s Public Square.

“We were the only club to receive this award,” says Ronda Duke Brown, who is finishing up her two-year term as Darlington Garden Club president. “To be recognized at the state level for projects within our community is truly an honor. We are a small club and we have to compete with many clubs within South Carolina and the South Atlantic Region, so you can imagine our surprise at winning a regional award.”

Other ongoing projects include placing benches on the Public Square. The first of these has already been installed (in front of Tenampa Mexican Restaurant), and is dedicated to the memory of late club member Jean Donald.

“Jean worked hard at the Rose Garden (on Pearl Street). I can’t tell you how many hours she and Cathy Bailey spent down at the garden taking care of it,” says Brown.
Brown says the club couldn’t have accomplished so much over the past year without generous financial support from local businesses and individuals, and numerous hours of hard work from volunteers who spent their Saturdays helping clean up and maintain the city’s parks and green spaces.

“This couldn’t happen without a partnership between the Garden Club and the City of Darlington and the Beautification Board,” says Brown.

She says the Darlington Garden Club extends special thanks to Darlington city manager Howard Garland, City of Darlington Beautification Board, Fire Department and Streets & Sanitation Department employees, and the Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association for their consistent backing and assistance with everything from grants to daily watering.

“The Darlington Garden Club would also like to welcome our new president, Lou Kirchen, and we hope members of the community will continue to support the club at our next fundraiser,” said Brown, referring to the auction and breakfast/luncheon event known as “Card Day,” scheduled for August 8.

To learn more about how you can join the Darlington Garden Club or help support their projects, contact Ronda Duke Brown at (561) 234-9411

Author: Duane Childers

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