A Spring Walk in the Pinelands! 

Photos by Donna Erhard & Claire Hening (click on images to enlarge)

Submitted by Andrea Apruzzese

Nothing could “dampen” the spirits of the twenty-five Garden Club members who attended the Spring Walk in the Pinelands on Friday, May 10, 2024. Thankfully, the rain ended about an hour before the group gathered for hot coffee and donuts.  After receiving their fabulous Panama Jack hats, graciously donated by Jacqi Lahm, the group headed out from the Country Lane Trailhead in Waretown accompanied by Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation, Chief Park Naturalist Jason Hoger.

The walk was incredible as Jason pointed out various animal homes (holes), vinca ground cover, sassafras, many different types of moss, huckleberry and star flower, just to name a few.  His extensive knowledge of the area truly helped to make the walk that much more special.  The highlight, however, was the sighting of the beautiful, yet elusive pink Lady Slipper.  The trail was filled with sound of squeals and pure delight from the club members who had been so anxious to see the beautiful lady in full bloom.

At the conclusion of the trip, Jacqi gave each member a Cosmos plant, a natural pollinator!


Garden Tour and Tea – Liberty Hall Museum                                  Kean University 

Photos by Donna Erhard (click on images to enlarge)

Submitted by Andrea Apruzzese

On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, twelve members of the Garden Club of LBI attended a lovely Garden Tour and Tea at Liberty Hall Museum on the grounds of Kean University in Union, NJ.

Liberty Hall is one of New Jersey’s most treasured homes.  It stands at the center of the American Revolution and was home to governors, including New Jersey’s first Governor William Livingston, congressmen, senators, assembly persons, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs.

While touring the perfectly manicured and well-tended blooming gardens, club members learned that it was Governor Livingston who was instrumental in creating some of the same gardens that exist today, including the herb garden and the apple orchard.  The exquisite gardens and the serpentine path highlight an artistic array of historical horticulture, including some of the state’s oldest and largest trees.  Members enjoyed forming a circle around a beautiful European Beech Tree, the 4th largest tree in Union County.

After posing for a group photo at the historic Horse Chestnut Tree in front of Liberty Hall and then visiting the greenhouse, the members were escorted onto the glass porch of the house for a formal and sumptuous tea service which included scones, fresh fruit, tea sandwiches and delicious desserts as well as Mulberry Tea and Vanilla Tea.

The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed a delightful time walking in the steps of New Jersey history.

Garden Club Visits NJ Pinelands Commission

Photos by Andrea Apruzzese (click on images to enlarge)

Submitted by Andrea Apruzzese

On Thursday, October 5, 2023, in the first of series of three planned trips to the NJ Pinelands, Garden Club members and some guests, 18 in all, visited the Richard J. Sullivan Center for Environmental Policy and Education of the NJ Pinelands Commission.

The group was treated to an excellent program on the Flora and Fauna of the Pinelands, presented by Joel Mott, Principal Public Programs Specialist, State of NJ Pineland’s Commission. Joel provided historical background on the 1.1 million acre Pinelands which in 1978 received the nation’s first such designation, as a national reserve. The following year, the Pinelands Protection Act became law, the Pinelands Commission was formed and it was set forth how to preserve the lands.  An integral part of the Pinelands’ history is how natural resources gave rise to important industries, such as bog iron, glass, shipbuilding, and charcoal, not to mention blueberry and cranberry production.

Joel pointed out that the key to the Pinelands is water as they sit atop a 17.7 trillion gallon aquifer. Public lands include parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wetlands, streams, and military installations.  There are also private lands within the 1.1 acres. He shared that the Pinelands, often called the Pine Barrens, are a botanical treasure and an animal oasis.

Following Joel’s presentation, members were directed outside where Paul Leaken, Communications Officer, guided them to both the Rain Garden, made up of 100% native Pinelands plants,  and the Bog Garden, where members got to see many of the Carnivorous Plants of the Pinelands.  Both he and Joel directed members to where there is extensive information on cultivating Jersey friendly yards. Joel then brought those who could stay on over to the Brendan Byrne Forest for a hike on the Wetlands Loop of the Cranberry Trail.

As a token of the Garden Club’s appreciation, Mr. Mott was presented with a donation to the Kathleen M. Lynch-van de Sande Fund for the Reforestation of the New Jersey Pinelands.  Ms. Lynch was a Pinelands Commission Environmental Specialist who passed away in 1989.