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FFGC HISTORY 1924-2024



1925 - 1927      President - Mrs. Joseph R. Ellicott

Significant Events: Constitution and Bylaws adopted January 7. First governing Board (later Board of Directors) meeting held April 25, First FFGC Convention held at Jacksonville on January 14, 1926

1927 - 1929 President - Mrs. Arthur G. Cummer
Significant Events: Roadside beautification launched FFGC sponsored forestry bill enacted into law. First FFGC Yearbook (later Book of Information) published, 1928.

1929 - 1931 President - Mrs. Edwin H. Riggs
Significant Events: FFGC became a Charter member of the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. First Visiting Garden Tour 

1931 - 1933  President - 2nd Lt. Mary N. TenEick
Significant Events: Junior garden clubs initiated. Official state flower, orange blossom, adopted. FFGC seal embodying orange blossom with colors white, yellow and green adopted, 1932.

1933 - 1935 President - Mrs. William W. Fielder
Significant Events: FFGC hosted its first NCSGC meeting. State re-districted (Six districts instead of the original four)

1935 - 1937 President - Mrs. M. M. Parish
Significant Events: First Short Course for Garden Clubs held at University of Florida.

1937 - 1939 President - Mrs. Porter 

Significant Events: Lending library established 

1939 - 1941 President - Mrs. Harry Griffin
Significant Events: Hume Fellowship awarded for the first time. 

1941 - 1945 President - Mrs. W. H. Covington 

Significant Events: First Book of Information (directory) published

1945 - 1947 President - Mrs. Merle B. Mann

Significant Events:  Blanche Covington Nature Study Course established

1947 - 1949 President - Mrs. Karl A. Bickel

Significant Events: First Blue Star Memorial Highway bill designating U.S. 1 passed

1949 - 1951 President - Miss Mary Compton
Significant Events: First FFGC Newsletter issued. First Blue Star Memorial Highway marker dedicatory ceremony held in Key West, May 30. Highway Beautification incorporated into to the FFGC program, 1950.

1951 - 1953 President - Mrs. Halle Cohen
Significant Events: Life Membership established ($50). First publication of the official FFGC magazine, The Florida Gardener. FFGC incorporated May 29, 1952. First Florida Flower Arrangement Calendar published. 

1953 - 1955 President - Mrs. Eugene A. Smith
Significant Events: FFGC sponsored bill naming the sabal palm Florida's official tree was passed. $5,000 contributed toward purchase of Big Cypress Rookery. 1954 Re-districted state (11 districts instead of 6). 

1955 - 1957 President - Mrs. John R. Parkinson
Significant Events: First advanced refresher course held at University of Florida. 1956 First Landscape Design Short Course held at University of Florida. 

1957 - 1959 President - Mrs. Vernon Conner
Significant Events: Tropical Short Course initiated at University of Miami. First FFGC-sponsored European Garden Tour. 1958 State re-districted (12 districts instead of 11). George Morrison Scholarship in Landscape Architecture established.

1959 - 1961 President - Mrs. C. R. Mayes, Jr.

Significant Events: Program Patterns, Fun with Birds, and the Florida Garden Club Manual published. First FFGC-sponsored landscape design school held. Junior nature camp established. Headquarters ground breaking ceremony, January 6, 1961. Taylor R. Alexander scholarship established. 

1961 - 1963 President - Mrs. Jack Dunlap
Significant Events: Headquarters building dedicated February 2. Library moved from University of Florida to FFGC Headquarters, 1962. 

1963 - 1965 President - Louise Hewlett
FFGC received national recognition for planting 1,325,708 trees. 

1965 - 1967 President - Van Blanchard  

Significant Events: Crafty Therapy and Learning Can Be Fun, a manual for juniors, published. FFGC emblem jewelry introduced. First Flower Show Judges symposium held. 

1967 - 1969 President - Ellen Griffin
Significant Events: More than $7,000 donated to help save Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. District VII's Garden for The Blind at headquarters dedicated. Published Florida's Finest Gourmet Cooks 

1969 - 1971 President - Hazel Dillingham
Significant Events: Largest enrollment of High School Gardeners in the world (500) in Winter Park. Members supported act creating position of Environmental Education consultant

1971 - 1973 President - Anne Gurke
Significant Events: Primer published by the FFGC Landscape Critics' Council.  Installations booklet published. 

1973 - 1975 President - Berne Davis
Significant Events: Members supported act establishing Bureau of Environmental Education. Establishment of Elizabeth McCullagh Scholarship for High School Gardeners. Official opening of Camp Wekiva, July 21. Adopted Youth Manual compiled by Federated Garden Circles of Ft. Lauderdale

1975 - 1977 President - Velma Gwinn
Significant Events: Fifty Year History published. Operation Wildflower adopted. Members supported an act creating Office of Environmental Education. FFGC constructed flowers sent to decorate the Blue Room's Christmas tree at the White House.

1977 - 1979 President - Jean Bates Villareal
Significant Events: Affiliate membership established. 

1979 - 1981 President - Ella P. Wood
Significant Events: Butterfly, Arboreta, Botanical Gardens, and Floral Design Study Programs adopted. First Environmental Education Workshop School. First William Bartram Trail Marker in all of NCSGC. President's Pin/Pendant given by Henry Chillas in memory of Frances Chillas.

1981 - 1983 President - Virginia Gini Jordan
Significant Events: First Energy Awareness Conferences held. Nature building added at Camp Wekiva. Adopted Florida House, Washington D.C. as an on-going project. Initiated 'World Gardens Grow' program in cooperation with Cypress Gardens. 

1983 - 1985 President - Hazel Simmons
Significant Events: Buildings added at Camp Wekiva and pool completed in 1984. 1st Landscape Design Symposium. Published The Miracle of Butterflies and Florida Wildflowers and Roadside Plants. Sears' Leadership Development program initiated. Penal Therapy/Roadside Development Operation Wildflower/seed propagation program begun. 

1985 - 1987 President - Betty Williams
Significant Events: Adopted "Paths of Sunshine" as designation for FFGC roadside beautification. Heritage Oak planted in Tallahassee commemorating FFGC's 60th Anniversary. Published Bee a Winner, Florida's Finest Gourmet Collection, Taking a Closer Look, Let Us Pray, Guidelines for Publicity Chairmen and a revision of the Florida Garden Club Manual. Native plants and Wildflower Seed Bank established. FFGC Headquarters grounds declared Backyard Habitat by National Wildlife Federation. 

1987 - 1989 President - Wini Ekman
Significant Events: FFGC Scholarship in Garden Club Objectives in memory of Velma Bernecker Gwinn. The Ella P. Wood Paths of Sunshine Endowment Fund established. Adopted the Coreopsis as the designated FFGC wildflower. Paths of Sunshine Cookbook published. 

1989 - 1991 President - Elise Haymans
Significant Events: Each District adopted a wildflower. Desert Storm Memorial Garden featuring crepe myrtles planted at Naval Air Station, Pensacola. 

1991 - 1993 President - Addie Lou Harris
Significant Events: Established Hurricane Andrew Tree Fund.  Established "Hall of Fame". Scholarships established honoring James and Edna Crowl and W. Reese Harris. Conservascaping, Installations Workbook and Shall We Pray published. Headquarters building additions.

1993 - 1995 President - Beth Wilson

Significant Events: First series of Environmental Studies Schools;13 Environmental Consultants accredited. First FFGC sponsored Wildflower Conference. ECHO and Hurricane Andrew Tree Project added to World Gardening projects. Floral designs exhibited at EPCOT International Flower/Garden Festival 1994, and at Cypress Gardens in 1995. Monarch butterfly chosen official FFGC butterfly.

1995 - 1997 President Marion B. Hilliard

Theme: Caring for Creation Thru Service, Stewardship and Sunshine. 

Significant Events: Headquarters Color Our Garden program initiated. First Edition Florida Series Ornament design approved. Jess Connor's Kruggerrand, with bezel and chain, presented to President Hilliard, September 1995 as official property of FFGC. Scenic Highways, Greenways, Rails to Trails, Youth School and Backyard Gardening chairmanships added to FFGC Board. 

1997 - 1999    President Jo Williams

Theme: "Now is the Time To Touch Tomorrow."  

Significant Events: Guidelines for a proposed official FFGC certified Butterfly Sanctuary were adopted. 

1999 - 2001    President Carolyn Schaag  

Theme: "Centuries in Blossom"   

Significant Events: 75th anniversary of the organization of FFGC Florida Flower Arrangement Calendar, 50th edition in 2001. The new century and millennium were commemorated with a time capsule placed at headquarters to be opened in 2100. FFGC Legislative Day: March 28, 2000, declared FFGC Day. President Schaag addressed the Governor and Florida Cabinet at State Capitol in Tallahassee and planted a Heritage Tree on Capitol grounds. Florida Special License Plate: a wildflower license plate featuring coreopsis 1999. New programs and chairmanship established with emphasis on Children's Gardens.

2001 - 2003   President Gloria R. Blake
Theme: 'Joy in Gardening' 

Significant Events: New wildflower poster featuring Coreopsis lanceolata distributed to all district directors for 2001-2003. Scholarships: New endowed scholarship given in memory of former FFGC president Ella Wood.  

2003 - 2005    President B Joan W. Pryor   

Theme: 'Keep Growing' 

Significant Events:  A Disaster Fund for Tree Replacement established in 2004. Fun with Flowers was established as a statewide program. Pillar of Pride honor established. Precious Metals award was created to recognize club aniversaries. 

2005-2007      President Joan Ochs
Theme: 'Keys to Harmony' 

Significant Events: Central Florida Home and Garden Show and the Silver Springs Coleus Festival. The course Digging It! along with companion manuals were developed by Tina Tuttle. Mens Membership chairmanship was established. 

2007 - 2009      President Margaret O'Donnell
Theme: 'Focus on Florida' 

Significant Events: The Gifts Today for Tomorrow Endowment Fund was established at the 2008 Convention. Calendar pin introduced. Mr. John Wood donated the butterfly bench in honor of his wife Ella P. Wood, to headquarters. 

2009 - 2011      President - Carol L. Hall

Theme: 'Reach out—Be a Mentor

Significant Events: FFGC Mission Statement Adopted. Florida Springs Rally on February 16, 2010, to support springs protection legislation. The 60th edition of the FFGC Flower Arrangement Calendar was published in memory of Wilma Paulauskas for 2011. 

2011 - 2013     President - Jan W. Sillik
Theme - 'A Time to Know, Sow and Grow’

Significant Events: Gala in the Garden celebrating the 50th anniversary of the headquarters building Sept 16, 2011

2013 - 2015    President - Sue Angle

Theme: 'Through the Garden Gate...Our Legacy and Our Future'

2015-2017      President - Arlene Rand

Theme: 'The Garden of Inspiration'

2017-2019       President - Claudia Bates

Theme: 'Plant, Bloom and Grow with Us'

2019-2021       President - Al Latina

Theme: 'Diversity in the Garden'

2021-2023      President - Marge Hendon

Theme: 'Worlds of Wonder' 


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