The purpose of the Marathon Garden Club, Inc. shall be to further the education of its members and the public in the fields of gardening, horticulture, botany, floral design, landscape design, environmental awareness, conservation of natural resources, civic beautification, nature studies, and instilling in our youth the love of gardening and respect for the environment.
(Bylaws; amended 10/8/08)
The Marathon Garden Club (MGC) has been an integral part of Middle Keys culture since its inception. The focal points of its long standing history are highlighted here:
- 1955 Initiated in response to a request by the local Chamber of Commerce to help beautify Marathon. Landscaped the Chamber of Commerce.
- 1957 By-laws were written & first Flower Show was held.
- 1960 Became a member of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs (FFGC).
- 1962 Published first cookbook as a fundraiser.
- 1964 Participated in Sears “Hands Program” which resulted in beautification of the airport strip along US1 which was then designated as a park by Monroe County.
- 1968 Established the Lula Hall memorial garden at Fisherman’s Hospital, erected Blue Star Marker on US 1 & aided in the establishment of Sombrero Beach.
- 1970 Published “Fabulous Trees of the Florida Keys” as a fundraiser.
- Mid 70s Participated in several beautification projects in Marathon, including planting tress at the Animal Shelter, along US1 & Sombrero Beach Road, and the creation of bike paths & picnic areas.
- 1978 Became incorporated.
- Mid 80s Initiated “Welcome to Marathon” signs & the “White Heron Award” which is presented to local businesses to encourage property beautification & provide “curb appeal” to tourists. This award remains active today & was most recently presented to Tranquility Bay Resort.
- 1985 Received 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status.
- Late 80s Worked with a committee at Crane Point Hammock to establish the Florida Keys Land & Sea Trust and assisted them in obtaining the property on US1 where Crane Point Hammock & Museum are today.
- Early 90s Planted trees at Marathon High School & sponsored the landscaping at the entrance to Key Colony Beach.
- 1992 Awarded the Governor’s Environmental Education Award for “Save the Queen Conch” project.
- 1992 Purchased property at its present location in the heart of Marathon.
- 1993 Recipient of “Garden Club of the Year” award presented by FFGC.
1996 Completed construction of an addition to existing building.
- 1997 “Christmas Around the World” exhibit was initiated & was an annual event until 2007.
- 2000 Began sponsoring Flower Show School Courses which added accredited Flower Show judges to the membership roster.
- 2002 Hosted the District XII Spring meeting in Marathon. Published the 6th edition of the MGC Cookbook.
- 2003 Sponsored a Caribbean/Panama Canal cruise as a fundraiser. Began offering Floral Design courses open to the public.
- 2004 Awarded first place in the state of Florida & second place in the FFGC (Deep South Region) for an environmental education program “Wonder Garden”.
- 2004 Received our first grant monies from Monroe County Tourist Development Council to advertise seasonal events.
- 2005 Began offering “Wonder Garden”, Keys Friendly Gardening workshops to the public; continued through 2009.
- 2005 Two club members received University of Florida Master Gardener Award for “Demonstration Garden”.
- 2005 Awarded first place in the state by FFGC and first place in the U.S. by National Garden Clubs Inc. for standard patriotic flower show “America the Beautiful”.
- 2005 Hosted a small standard flower show entitled “Celebrating 50 Years of Marathon Memories”.
- 2005 Hosted District XII Spring meeting.
- 2005 Repainted exterior of building to give it a more tropical look & enhance curb appeal.
- 2005 Hurricane Wilma destroyed much of the gardens canopy & devastated the grounds. Over 3 feet of salt water flooded the property.
- 2006 Offered Basic & Advanced Floral Design courses.
- 2006 Scored 95+ for standard flower show “Art in Bloom”.
- 2006 Initiated “February Festival” in response to aftermath of Hurricane Wilma in 10/05.
- 2006 Received Environmental Education Award & the Eloise Sniffen Conservation Award from District XII of the FFGC for “Wonder Garden” program.
- 2007 Planted a “patriotic tree” at Stanley Switlik Elementary School & created a garden at the Crane Point Wild Bird Refuge.
- 2007 Became a charter member of the City Of Marathon’s Beautification Board & designated as a representative on the local Scenic Highway committee whose mission is to apply for US1 to become a National Scenic Byway
- 2007 Developed club logo “Come Grow With Us!” & erected new lighted sign in front of garden center.
- 2007 Received “Brick & Mortar” grant monies for replacement of new metal mansard roof.
- 2007 Final year for Christmas Exhibit…”Keys Fantasy Christmas”.
- 2008 Hosted largest House & Garden Tour featuring “Bait Shack” by D’Asign Source.
- 2008 Hosted standard flower show “Blossoms, Butterflies & Brushstrokes”.
- 2008 Two members won blue ribbons at the World Orchid Conference in Miami.
- 2008 Replanted the “Blue Star Marker” in the median of US1 located at the entrance to Key Vaca.
- 2008 Hosted Monroe County Cooperative Extension’s (MCCE) “Tropical Fruit Festival” & also hosts monthly plant clinics sponsored by MCCE Master Gardener’s.
- 2008 Initiated “Fall Festival” to promote plant propagation & planting of native trees & shrubs.
- 2009 Offered Basic & Advanced Floral Design courses.
- 2009 Redecorated the interior of the club house to promote its use as venue for special occasion parties, showers & wedding receptions.
- 2009 Developed new website http://www.marathongardenclub.org/