GCA President’s Message

Message From our President

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Alabama Garden Club President for the next two years. I will try my best to continue the tradition of promoting gardening and serving our communities during my tenure.

My theme for these next two years is “Gardening is an Investment in the Future.” Just as we invest our money for a good return, we need to invest our time and energy into things which will be beneficial. Gardening is one of the best investments you can make—whether it is geting that first tomato in June or seeing a forest where there was once just a barren field. When we plant a tree, our children and grandchildren benefit. They will cherish the memories that we make with them while teaching them the art of gardening.

My theme blends well with the new National Garden Club President, Brenda Moore’s theme of Go Green – Plant America. She is the author of the National Garden Club children’s books series, The Frightened Frog, The Saved Seed, and Network with Nature and her new book is My Green is Gone. While reading the new book, it reminded me that everyone can do their part, no matter how small. As stewards of this great land, we need to remember to do all we can to promote planting and to preserve the wild areas we have in America.

Native plants are very important to saving our natural areas, we have many new plants that are being promoted but some are very invasive.
We need to be very careful what we plant in our yards and forest. Go native whenyou can! Native plants help wildlife and pollinators in your area more than that new cultivar that the big box store is promoting. One can find a lot of native plants at local
greenhouses and nurseries. Try to shop local when you can.

After reading Douglas Tallamy’s book, Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, I better understand that the small things we do havean impact on our surroundings. If one can only plant in a small area, plant that area for the wildlife and pollinators that live in your area. One oak tree in your yard will do amazing things for the wildlife and you. Just sitting and listening to the birds that will make that tree home is a great way to start the day. I planted a six-foot oak tree in my yard 10 years ago, the first year a bird made a nest in it and raised two sets of babies in that small tree. Now that tree is about 20 feet tall and has several nests in it.

We can each do our part to make our planet more “Green”.
I would like to see the Garden Club of Alabama to promote the National Garden Club schools. These schools are a good learning experience. Most of these courses can now be taken online: Garden Studies, Environmental, and Landscape Design. Flower
Show Judging Courses are taught in many nearby states. The National Club will be coming out with a new Floral Design Class that will teach floral design for those that just want to learn design and not be a Flower Show Judge. We will keep you updated on this.

It is time for you to get your clubs motivated for growth and inspiration. The old saying “Each One, Reach One” is the best way to grow our clubs. If each member brought in one new member in this next year, we would double in size in one year. Would that not be a great achievement for the Garden Club of Alabama! You are the spokesperson for your clubs. Only you can tell someone what we do and invite them to come visit your club.

I grew up in Shelby County Alabama, attended the University of Alabama where I met my husband, Darrell, we both graduated with engineering degrees in 1981. We have lived in Spanish Fort since 1993 on a small farm. We raise Texas Longhorns and collect antique John Deere tractors for entertainment. We also own property in North Tuscaloosa County that has been in my husband’s family since the early 1900’s. We love to spend time there in the woods. I got my love of gardening from my mother and grandmother.

My grandmother was the wife of a sharecropper and moved quite frequently but no matter where she lived, she always had her flower garden. I grew up with an appreciation for flower and vegetable gardening. We always had a big vegetable garden and preserved most of those vegetables. To this day, I can my own green beans and tomatoes, which my husband grows in our small garden. There is nothing better than a pot of green beans in the winter that you have grown the summer before.

We have two boys, Wesley, and Taylor. Wesley is married to Caitlin, and they are the parents of my two grandsons, Claiburn and Henry. I hope to instill in them a love for gardening, they are already very proud of the small garden that they grow every year. I have always been a volunteer in various community-based organizations. In 2011 I was asked if I would like to be in the Spanish Fort Garden Club. My “of course” was the beginning of this journey to being the President of The Garden Club of Alabama.
Never did I think that “yes” would bring me such joy and make so many lasting friendships. The founding members of the Spanish Fort Garden Club have been my inspirations though the years. They have encouraged and helped more than they will ever realize. I may not know the botanical name for the plants in my yard, but I love them anyway! To me gardening should be fun. I want to help the generations that will follow us to learn about the plants that surround them and what they can do to keep our
world “Green”.
I look forward to meeting you during these next two years. Let’s all go out and Invest in our future by gardening.

Kathy Sudduth
GCA President 2003-2005