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Calusa Garden Club plants two native trees for Florida Arbor Day

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On Jan. 15, in honor of Florida Arbor Day, Calusa Garden Club members gathered at Leigh Plummer Memorial Park to plant two native trees.

On Jan. 15, in honor of Florida Arbor Day, Calusa Garden Club members gathered at Leigh Plummer Memorial Park to plant two native trees.

Calusa Garden Club President Sara Wolf gave the assembled guests, including Marco Island City Manager Michael McNees, a brief history of Leigh Plummer Memorial Park prior to the tree planting. Wolf also stated that the trees were being planted in memory of five Calusa Garden Club members who had passed away in the last two years, and the group took a moment of silence to remember these members: Eva Schliesser, one of the founding members of Calusa Garden Club, Cherry McCurn, Jacquelyn Pierce, Doris Wentland, and Peggy Grass.

Calusa Garden Club has a history with Leigh Plummer Memorial Park. In 1982, Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island contacted Collier County to propose establishing the park as a native plant educational area.

The area located at 400 North Barfield Drive, and surrounded by Piedmont Circle, had been set aside by the Deltona Corporation developers as a park, and the Garden Club members wanted it to display plants native to South Florida.

Under these joint efforts, Leigh Plummer Memorial Park was established in 1984 and named for Mr. Leigh Plummer, a Marco Island resident and longtime board member and president of Marco Island Civic Association. Plummer’s wife, Nell, was a Calusa Garden Club member. At the 1984 dedication of Leigh Plummer Memorial Park, the county announced that the pond would be named Calusa Lake, after the first Native American settlers of Marco Island.

Friday’s planting of two native trees, a paradise tree and a Jamaican dogwood tree, continued the tradition revived in 2019 by Linda Colombo, then president of Calusa Garden Club, to plant native trees in Leigh Plummer Park. This is the third year the Club has donated and planted trees in the park, with the assistance of Marco Island Parks and Recreation supervisor Martha Montgomery and Marco Island Landscape Maintenance supervisor Steve Pawlawski. Without the City of Marco Island’s work to move irrigation drip lines to new trees, the trees would not survive. 

Calusa Garden Club meets October through April. Contact the Garden Club at calusagardenclub@aol.com, or visit the Garden Club’s website calusa.org, or its Facebook page Calusa Garden Club.