Federated Garden        Clubs of          Minnesota, Inc.

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                             Message From The President


By Bonnie Schwichtenberg

‘New Ways to Grow’

Hello. It is quite possible that you have seen me at the quarterly meetings or judging at one of the clubs’ flower shows. However, it is also possible that many of you have never met or heard of me. So here is the short story.

 I moved from Southern California to Minnesota in 1969 with my Minnesota guy. We have lived in St. Cloud since. I belong to Floralia Arrangers, a floral design club. We will soon move to New Richmond where I hope to join one of the Stillwater Clubs. As we wait for our St. Cloud home to sell, we will be back and forth between the two cities.

 I worked for American Airlines in Los Angeles, and a local travel agency in St. Cloud. After returning to St. Cloud State University for an Elementary Teaching degree in 1979, I taught in the Sauk Rapids – Rice District until retiring in 1999. During a trip to Great Britain in ’93, the gardening bug bit me hard, sending me into a serious compulsive attempt to replicate the ‘cottage garden’. When I recovered from a near fatal case of zone envy, I settled into learning about the Anoka Sand Plane and what would actually survive in zones 3 and 4a. Certainly not the Himalayan Poppy! It was a shock to say the least. But, as I recovered, I entered a wonderful 13-year period of flower gardening.

Until I discovered SCUBA and ‘dove’ into underwater photography that is! However, the years caught up to me, forcing me to look for a less strenuous/risky adventure. Here I am now with all of you. I still garden from containers, paint with watercolor AND realize what a large job the FGCM Presidency is. I can promise you that I will take the responsibility very seriously, ask for lots of help often, and make the journey with you as we spread the love for our environment to our friends, neighbors, and communities.

 My first focus will be on connecting with each and every club personally at an activity or meeting, listening to your ideas, and looking for new ways we can embrace younger members of our communities so they can experience the love of plants and nature. It is clear that we will have to fight with finesse to win the battle on behalf of the earth. However, I feel confident we will prevail through education, cooperation, knowledge, and understanding.

 My President’s Project, ‘New Ways to Grow’, will start with learning about you. I look forward to meeting each one of you and listening to ideas. Look for sunshine in every day – even if it rains.                        Bonnie



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