Fifty years ago this month, nine women living in the small community of Seagrove came together to form a garden club. They named it the Seagrove Garden Club, which was chartered Oct. 31, 1963.

Those nine charter members were Louise Andrews, Ms. S.M. Carroll, Ms. Meta Eckmann, Mrs. Russell Haden, Mabel Lehman, Babe McGee, Molly McGee, Ms. W.B. Ward, and Mrs. George Wilson. Molly McGee's husband, Cube, founded Seagrove.

They chose the sandpiper as the club's bird; blue and silver as the club's colors; and the blue lupine as its flower.

The women recorded the club's purpose as being to "enjoy fellowship among the members, the culture of flowers and shrubs, and the exchange of experiences that will mutually benefit all."

Now with more than 125 members, the membership celebrated its 50 years at its monthly meeting Wednesday at Cafe Thirty-A with a cake, a look back and forward, in addition to carrying out its regular meeting.

Member Patsy Powell baked the celebratory cake using her grandmother's pound cake recipe.

The club has had 35 presidents since its beginning in 1963, with Babe McGee being the first. Three former presidents were recognized at the meeting: Jan Stanko, Sharon Jenkins, and Jackie Letang. Caroline Wallace is their oldest living president, but she was not present Wednesday.

The club recognized seven lifetime honorary members on Wednesday: Dot Adams, Patty Cluff, Margaret Kennell, Joan Schaeffer, Cobb Sheriff, Jan Stanko, and Caroline Wallace. Cobb Sheriff holds the honor of being the longest-standing member of the club at 33 years.

Nine honorary members for the coming year were recognized: Russ Barley, Bruce Collier, Melanie Jordan, Tim Ryan, Charles Wilson, Wanda Young, Lynn and Randy Pike, and myself.

Last year, Seagrove Garden Club members raised more than 5,000 for families in need.

The club meets the second Wednesday of each month September through May at various restaurants in South Walton. Members represent a large diversity of age, jobs, talents, and place of residence, with members living anywhere from Destin, Sandestin, DeFuniak Springs, Freeport, up and down 30A, and on the Bay.

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On Oct. 25 the club is hosting a holiday decor program and fundraiser presented by Tim Ryan, who will share tips and tricks of holiday decorating. This program will highlight fall, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and winter designs along with some of Ryan's favorite holiday recipes. The event includes the design program, raffle, a complimentary mimosa and light hors d'oeuvres from his holiday recipe box. This will be at Christ the King Episcopal Church on County Road 393N from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $25.