Glad Garden Club returns to Sudie A. Fulford Center


The Glad Garden Club held its regular meeting on February 8, 2021 and is very proud to be able to return to the Sudie A. Fulford Community Learning Center located just inside the main gate on the beautiful campus of the East Georgia State College. The Learning Center has been closed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is now open with current COVID-19 guidelines in place.  Each room is set up to make sure that visitors are socially distanced and face masks are to be worn at all times while in the building.  The club is very thankful that the center is once again available as the accommodations are peaceful and picturesque. Members were also greeted by a new director. Founding Director Jean Schwabe retired in December but has left the center well cared for. Harley Smith is the new coordinator of communications and the Fulford Center. Smith started her education at EGSC and later finished her degree at Georgia Southern University, majoring in journalism and public relations. She was also Miss EGSC in 2013.  Smith has worked at WTOC as their multimedia journalist but came back to her roots at EGSC in 2019 as communications coordinator, then easily moved into her new role after Schwabe retired.

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m. by President Sylvia Durden. She was happy to announce and introduce new member BeeBee Connell of Swainsboro. Old friends are precious and priceless but new members are important and dear. 

Inspirational message was given by Carolyn Brown referring to Matthew 25:25,  “and I was afraid and went and hid my talent in the ground”.  Words of encouragement: Don’t let the circumstances of what is happening cause you to lose your talent and gifting to others.  

Margaret Sweet shared an interesting presentation about the Franklin Tree. Franklinia alatamaha, commonly called the Franklin Tree, is indigenous to Georgia. Genus name honors Benjamin Franklin. It is America’s first rare tree. John Bartram was appointed Royal Botanist for North America by King George III in 1765.   In that same year John Bartram and his son William discovered this tree growing in a 2–3-acre tract along the banks of the Altamaha River.  The Franklin Tree has never been observed growing in any other place than along the Altamaha River. In a return trip in 1773, Bartram collected seed from this site and brought it back to Bartram’s garden in Philadelphia where the tree was successfully grown.  This tree has been extinct in the wild since 1803.  It isn’t even known precisely why this tree disappeared in the wild.  It has been perpetuated only by cultivation by (all plants derive from the seed collected by Bartram) not only because of its rarity but also because of its attractive flowers and foliage.  Its genetic base is quite narrow because all plants/trees currently in existence in the world come from the seeds collected by the Bartrams.      

Correspondence was reviewed as thank you notes were received. Among them was a thank you from Kristin Hall for the club’s donation to the Barbara and Tobe Karrh Community Arts Center home of the Historic Dixie Theatre. The theatre first opened in 1934 and not only ran contemporary films but a variety of vaudeville acts. Its doors closed in the late ‘60s and generally remained empty until the proprietor W.M.Karrh’s grandsons, Bill and Jim, donated the property to the City of Swainsboro for redevelopment into a community arts center. For further information go to  

Due to COVID-19, October District Meeting was cancelled this past year, so awards were given to presidents at district board meeting. Glad Garden Club is proud to have won several awards, as a designated small club of under 29 members, at the National Garden Club, the Deep South Region, and the Garden Club of Georgia level. Club members are in hopes and pray to be able to have more real meetings to celebrate and have fellowship with dear friends that they have been unable to meet with this past year due to COVID-19.

Plans are in the works to plant a tree as an Arbor Day celebration in April.  Discussion was also had on what the club may do as a fundraiser this year. This will probably involve the community.  Future trips and programs were discussed as there are many COVID-19 guidelines to be followed.   

Glad Garden Club follows strict CDC guidelines and protocols but if you would like to have some great fun with a great group of sassy seniors, Glad Garden Club members are your type.  Glad Garden Club attempts to meet every second Monday of the month September through May at 10 a.m. at the Sudie A. Fulford Community Learning Center unless otherwise notified.    

The Glad Garden Club is a member of the National Garden Clubs Inc., Deep South Region, the Garden Club of Georgia Inc., of the Oleander District.


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