Garden Club announced season calendar, new tax status

January 11, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

The Boca Grande Garden Club has plotted a jam-packed season of presentations, workshops and field trips for 2019. The calendar looks like this:
January 11 (Today)
Lemon Grass and Tree of Life workshop by Chartrina White
Boca Grande Art Center, 9 – 11:30 a.m.
This program is created for participants to learn about the power of lemon grass and Moringa tree to be part of a life lived more naturally, enhancing your diet, your health and even your beauty routines.
January 24  (time TBD)
Warm Mineral Springs, North Port
This field trip to the most important mineral waters in the United States showcases the dual significance of this site, both the archeological finds (saber-tooth tigers, anyone?) and the healing properties of the 87 degree water and its 67 different minerals.
Tea to follow at the K&K Cafe, known for deeply authentic European, Eastern European, Ukrainian and Russian pastries.
February 6 – 7 Flower Week with J Schwanke: Creating a Life in Bloom
Boca Grande Community Center       Auditorium, 2 p.m.
Straight from PBS, nationally known flower designer J Schwanke will give one of his hugely popular talks on flowers and the home. The next day, Mr. Schwanke will offer a distinctive hands-on floral design workshop for a select number of Club members.
March 6
Japanese Tea Gardens with Diane Durston
Boca Grande Community Center       Auditorium, 2 p.m.
Ms. Durston is the Arlene Schnitzer curator of culture, art & education at the Portland Japanese Garden and one of the world’s experts on the Japanese garden culture. Deeply rooted in the Japanese historical and aesthetic traditions, the gardens strive to link the beauty of the natural landscape with the story of Japan, particularly the Edo period.
March 21
Art in Bloom Opening Reception and Exhibit
Boca Grande Art Center, 5 – 7 p.m.
Drop in to see how 12 local flower arrangers and Club members interpret visual art objects with their own take, using flowers and other natural elements from sea and shore. Previous arrangements have included everything from live fish to an underwater view of a mangrove swamp. What’s unique about this show is that entrants range from internationally recognized floral arrangers to first-timers
Show continues Friday, March 22 – Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, March 24, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
April 3
Garden Tour
Starts at the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium at 1 p.m.
You’re invited! Enjoy the most interesting, prettiest and rarely seen private gardens on Boca Grande. One of the biggest yearly all-island events, the tour is open only to members and their house guests.
Community activities
Spearheaded by Club President Peggy Saewart and the board of directors, the Garden Club is seeking out chances to lend a hand to other Boca Grande organizations. Currently there are two groups with which the Club is partnering this winter and spring.
The Barrier Island Protection Society has invited the Club to provide flower arrangements for their February 9 “Relighting of the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse” event.
Also, the Gasparilla Island Conservation Association is looking for a select team of four to seven volunteers to be trained as expert guides at Mercabo Preserve. Training will be approximately 10 hours. Once training is completed, volunteers will give one or two tours a month, with each tour lasting roughly two hours.
Garden Club granted 501(c)3   status
On the business side of the house, the Club has successfully changed its tax status. In order to operate most usefully as an organization and within the community, this winter, the board of directors pursued a 501(c)3 status for the Club. What this means, according to the board, is the creation of “… a Florida not-for-profit corporation, with the objective of obtaining tax-exempt status for the corporation, known as The Boca Grande Garden Club, Inc.” The purposes of The Boca Grande Garden Club, Inc. will continue to be to educate and foster horticulture, conservation and beautification. Following receipt of a new tax Identification number (for which a specific category is specified for garden clubs), the next step will be obtaining tax-exempt status pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)3, a step commonly taken by garden clubs across the country.
“Once 501(c)3 status is obtained, the next step is to obtain from the Florida Department of Revenue an exemption from consumer’s payment of Florida sales and use tax.”
This translates into tax exemptions which can mean big savings and allow the Club to do more with its dues and any monies raised. Also, donations, such as a recent memorial for deceased prominent island resident Lolo Weir, will be tax-deductible.
Said  the board in an email to the Leadership Committee, “This marks an additional step in recognizing the tremendous contribution the existing Boca Grande Garden Club has made to the community over the past 20 years.”