When the Boca Grande Garden Club was formed in 1997, there were eight dues-paying founding members. The original inspiration for the club came from Karen DeMaine and Diane Proffitt, who had both belonged to the same federated club in North Carolina. Founding members listed with the Florida Federation in the spring of 1997 included, besides Karen and Diane, Dorothy Cullers, Carolann George, Betty Fisher, Nancy Pais, Sharon Rankin and Nora Lea Reefe.
View More images >>By the time the first full meeting was held in November, 1997, 21 additional members were added, and this core group became known as charter members of the club. The original officers of the club were elected Nov. 4, 1997: President Karen DeMaine, 1st Vice President Diane Proffitt, 2nd Vice President Sharon Rankin, Treasurer Nora Lea Reefe and Recording Secretary Carolann George. The past president of the National Council of Garden Clubs came to Boca Grande to install these new officers.
By the end of the 1998 season, the membership had grown to 54 members. By the end of 2002, there were 162. In the fall of 2007, when the club began a year-long ten-year celebration, there were 240 members, including residents of Placida, Cape Haze, Englewood and Nokomis, as well as Boca Grande. Today the club boasts a membership of 300, and by the first meeting of each season, there is usually a waitlist.
The club is no longer associated with the Florida Federation, and is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to practicing conservation of our environment, and learning as much as possible about the best principles and practices of gardening, landscaping and the art of flower arranging. It is committed to bringing well-known experts in all these fields from across the country who can best educate, entertain and challenge the club’s members and guests.
There are several founding members who are still active: Carolann George, Betty Fisher, Nancy Pais and Sharon Rankin.
Past Presidents include Karen DeMaine, Diane Proffitt, Carolann George, Jean Meanwell, Jackie Nicholson, Nora Lea Reefe and Sharon Rankin. Diane Johnson is the current acting president.
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