MILTON — In 1948 about 25 ladies met on the first Friday of May in order to form a new garden club of Milton. This past May was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the club. There are now 37 regular members and 13 associate members.

In September the club had a fascinating talk by an ECUA member about how the county is composting, thereby reusing natural vegetation, which is then used in city and county gardening. In October we learned about Gopher Tortoises. These live on land and should not be helped along to the water by people who find them crossing roads as they will drown in water. Leave them alone once they have crossed the road. They will find their own way from there. In November, club President Jenny Weber taught us how to make beautiful Christmas arrangements by using natural materials from our yards done up in thrift shop containers.

On Dec.  1 and 2 of 2018 the club completed its seventh annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Despite the torrential rains on that Saturday, quite a number of diehard tour followers came out to enjoy the four beautiful homes and historic church on the tour. The Mount Pilgrim African Baptist Church on the corner of Alice Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milton was designed by Wallace Rayfield in 1916. He was only the second black architect in the U.S. to be formally trained. After completing his education in Georgia, he went on to Columbia and the Pratt Institute. From there he designed buildings all over the eastern half of the U.S. Today there are only 8 of his buildings left and we are blessed to have one of them in Milton.

At our Christmas party in December, an amazing potluck luncheon was put on by the members. A dirty Santa gift exchange was cause for much merriment and stealing of gifts from each other. On New Year’s eve, a "Night in Paris" was planned to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the club and to ring in the new year with the people of Paris, midnight their time, 5 p.m. our time. Everyone had a wonderful time.

The Milton Garden Club is planning to celebrate National Arbor Day on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to noon. National Arbor Day is held in April, but in Florida we celebrate in January. Many organizations will be here including the Fish and Wildlife Commission, the U.S. Dept of Forestry, the Master Gardeners, the Junior Garden Club and Smokey the bear. People can learn about trees and how to care for them. The Forestry Service will give out a free flowering tree to everyone who comes for as long as the trees last. Milton has received the distinction of being named Tree City USA for the past twenty two years. The first Arbor Day was back in 1872. Since then a million trees have been planted! So join the Milton Garden Club on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Milton Event Center, 10 a.m. to noon at 5256 Alabama St.