The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time is now — or on Florida Arbor Day, celebrated on Friday, Jan. 19.
Carole Valcik, officer of the Cherry Laurel Garden Club of Ormond Beach and life member of the Ormond Beach Historical Society, quoted the Chinese proverb during the Florida Arbor Day celebration held at the Anderson-Price Memorial Building, one of several events held in Ormond Beach in recognition of both the state holiday and the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.
"When Cherry Laurel first heard about FFGC's anniversary day of tree planting project, it was an easy choice for us to decide to whom we wanted to donate trees or shrubs, and where they should be planted," Valcik said.
The CLGC donated two native mullberry shrubs to the Anderson-Price Memorial Building.
"They are small but mighty," Valcik said.
The shrubs can grow to approximately 20 feet tall and forms part of the Anderson-Price native plant landscaping project. Pattie Gertenbach, OBHS board member and buildings and grounds chairperson, said they were inspired to install a native plant garden at Anderson-Price by the Regrow the Loop initiative, launched by Volusia County last year to promote native species, sustainable gardening practices and the removal of invasive plants along the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail.
"This has inspired us to begin planning another major native plant landscaping project in the front yard of the [Anderson-Price] later this year, in honor of beloved OBHS co-founder Lupe Burt, who passed away last year," Gertenbach said.
'Trees make us happy'
Three tree planting ceremonies were held in Ormond Beach on Friday, Jan. 19, two of which planted live oak trees.
The first one took place at the Environmental Discovery Center and was hosted by the city's Department of Leisure Services. The tree was donated by Yellowstone Landscape.
EDC volunteer Joan Tague was the guest speaker at the ceremony. When she's not at the beach looking for birds, she's looking for them in trees, she said.
"If you've walked the park here, people are always smiling," Tague said. "... Trees make us happy."
The second tree planting ceremony was held at The Casements by the Ormond Beach Garden Club. The tree was donated to The Casements with the help of Duke Energy.
"This oak tree will be resilient and stunning," said Susan McLane-Maxwell, president of the Ormond Beach Garden Club. "Oak trees have come to symbolize wisdom, courage and endurance, much like The Casements, that has endured a lot over its history."
The OBGC has been vital in helping enhance the grounds of John D. Rockefeller's former winter home, said Siobhan Daly, cultural center coordinator at The Casements.
Mayor Bill Partington said The Casements was a perfect place to celebrate Arbor Day due to its numerous trees.
"Garden clubs add an elegance and a charm to a city that really make it attractive for, not only the people who live there, but the people who visit," Partington said.
According to the mayor's proclamation, Ormond Beach has been named a Tree City for the past 33 years and has been awarded the Tree City Growth Award for seven years in a row.
The third tree planting was done by the Garden Club in Tomoka State Park. Two mulberry trees were planted.
A push for native trees
CLGC member Andrea Finn said over 115 garden clubs across the state of Florida planted 400 trees on Florida Arbor Day thanks to a $200,000 grant from Duke Energy.
In addition, 26 more garden clubs will be planting a total of 25,000 native tree seedlings, funded thanks to a $5,000 grant from the National Wildlife Federation, according to Finn, who is a member of the board of directors of the FFGC and a member of the OBHS.
Partington said this year's Florida Arbor Day celebrations in the city of Ormond Beach brought the most participation he'd witnessed in recent years for the holiday.
"I think it shows an interest, a keen interest, by our residents in making sure that we beautify our city, that we continue to plant trees and protect trees," Partington said.
City Commissioner Lori Tolland, who spoke at the Anderson-Price ceremony, said that on Florida Arbor Day, people are reminded of the countless benefits trees provide.
"The city appreciates what the Ormond Beach Historical Society, Cherry Laurel Garden Club and other nonprofit organizations and businesses in our community are doing to invest their time and resources in protecting and maintaining our ecosystem, and continuing to make Ormond Beach an extraordinary place to live," Tolland said.