Yvonne Morris, 2015-2017

It is one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as your forty-second President  of the Garden Club of South Carolina! It is indeed a privilege to work with some  of the finest people in this beautiful state for the love of gardening! I am honored to know you, and I appreciate each one of you for what you do for your clubs and  for this organization! We are a force for good! Together, we will accomplish our  National and State goals!

The next two years will be a busy, blooming time for GCSC! Our focus on native plants will impact our state. We will achieve, beautify, conserve, educate, promote and preserve in garden club service through our efforts with native plants. We must sustain our wildlife habitats from our own back yards to our botanical gardens. We must educate our members and the public of the importance of native plants in our ecosystems and their restoration to our gardens. We must increase the popularity of growing native plants. And, we must create awareness of the impact of individual gardeners on sustaining our wildlife habitats.

My theme is, “Let’s Bloom and Grow Together!” As a non-profit organization, the Garden Club of South Carolina must develop and cultivate partnerships with other plant societies and organizations. We must increase youth participation and find new ways to increase our membership. It is absolutely essential that we have a really good time doing this!

I have spent the last year eagerly anticipating and preparing for this term! I am most happy to report that we are off to a great start! The 85th Anniversary Celebration of the Garden Club of South Carolina will be on May 7th at Rose Hill Estate, former home of Claudia Phelps, the first President and Founder of the Garden Club of South Carolina. The Garden Club of Aiken is celebrating their 90th Anniversary and is hosting the event!

Dr. Harold Shealy, Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina in Aiken and a botanist will serve as our GCSC Botanical Advisor. In order to serve on the GCSC Board, one must belong to a federated garden club. Dr. Shealy chose to become a member of my home garden club, the McCormick Garden Club. We are so fortunate to have Dr. Shealy join us!

The South Carolina Native Plant Society (SCNPS) is our very first affiliate member of GCSC.

GCSC will host a Native Plant Symposium at our State Botanical Garden in October 2016 in partnership with the SCNPS and SCBG. We are also going to name a SC Native Plant of the Year in 2016 and 2017. All garden clubs are encouraged to complete an awards application to nominate a native plant of the year. The criteria for selection of the SC Native Plant of the Year Award will be given at our July 11 Summer Expo at the State Farmers’ Market.

GCSC Headquarters is at Riverbanks Botanical Garden Building in Columbia. My President’s Project will also include the contribution of the GCSC Native Plant Garden in the Interactive Youth Garden which is currently under construction at Riverbanks Botanical Garden. Our April 2016 and 2017 Youth Symposiums will be at Riverbanks Zoo and will, of course, feature a tour of the Interactive Youth Garden.

GCSC will also sponsor a juried wildflowers and art and photography contest in 2016 and 2017. This has been popular in the past and the winner will receive a $250 award. In closing, I will work to establish distinguished honorary memberships so the Garden Club of South Carolina can show good will and pride to recognize and associate with notable SC botanists, naturalists, writers, artists, and philanthropists in support of our love of gardening. We have so many notable plantsmen in our communities. I look for great things for GCSC! Let’s bloom and grow together!

Yvonne Anna Morris, Ed.D., President
The Garden Club of South Carolina, Inc.