Garden Club project honors years of our history

300-GardClub-photo-3aHistoric City News readers will notice a recent beautification to Gibbs Park on the western approach to the Bridge of Lions, thanks to work by the City and the Garden Club of St. Augustine.

The new floral display, “1565” north of the approach and “2015” south, celebrates St Augustine’s 450th birthday celebration coming in September.

“Gibbs Park is one of the city’s most photographed areas,” Paul Williamson, director of public affairs told local reporters. “The displays are new planter boxes designed by the Garden Club and built by the Streets and Grounds Division of the City.”

Terry Nelson, the Garden Club’s ex-officio president and project manager for the Gibbs Park project, said the idea for the planters came up during meeting between the club and Chris Anderson, foreman in the Streets and Ground Division.

“We discussed ways the Garden Club could be involved as a 450th Alliance Partner; something meaningful, sustainable, but still within our limited budget,” said Nelson. “I formed a committee, met with Chris, and outlined the design. Within two weeks, he informed me that he had constructed a model, would like me to see it, and let him know if it was I had in mind.”

Nelson said the model was perfect. The planters are made from salvaged curbing from the city’s older, brick streets. As streets have been refurbished over the years, the granite slabs used for curbing were saved; and now, they are being repurposed as walls for the planter boxes.

The dates are spelled out using Red-Bronze Leaf and White Baby Wing begonias. Large clay urns with flowers, seemingly spilling from them, accent the plantings.

The St. Augustine Garden Club, boasts over 300 members. But, when they had trouble reaching their financing goal, hotelier Kanti Patel made up the shortage. The construction was completed in a single morning in mid-March with two teams made up of about 15 volunteers.

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