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News: GCA Grant Helps Combat Widespread Damage at Beaumont Botanical Gardens

 

September 08, 2020

Restoration Funds Go to Magnolia Garden Club

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey brought 52 inches of rain to Beaumont Botanical Gardens (BBG), resulting in widespread damage, soil erosion, and havoc from displaced feral hogs. To help restore the flood-ravaged gardens, The Garden Club of America awarded a $10,000 Restoration Initiative grant to Magnolia Garden Club (MGC), whose involvement with BBG spans 25 years. Before the restoration could be completed however, Mother Nature dealt yet another devastating blow in September 2019 with Tropical Storm Imelda.

“Harvey’s relentless rain had eroded much of the vegetation and what remained had been trampled, dug up, and eaten by a horde of wild hogs,” said a former MGC president. While waiting for the city of Beaumont to add permanent fencing to keep out the destructive hogs, MGC members began the work of replanting and restoring the garden. Then Tropical Storm Imelda struck, bringing 30 inches of rain and flooding the gardens once again.

MGC knew it was time to start a dialogue about the future direction of the botanical garden. The club is presently seeking to work with the local council of garden clubs and the City of Beaumont to reinvigorate the purpose and mission of the BBG, including redesigning the gardens to make them less flood-prone, adding native, weather-hardy plants, and adding a strong educational component to combat plant blindness.

Although the one-two punch from Mother Nature may have slowed the MGC’s restoration efforts, the club remains committed to the botanical gardens and will use remaining Restorative Initiative funds for plantings and signage once the hog-proof fencing is installed.

The GCA established the Restoration Initiative in 2017 in response to the urgent needs caused by catastrophic storms, hurricanes, floods, fires, and mudslides to assist member clubs involved in public landscape restoration and conservation projects. Eight grants, totaling $80,000, have been awarded to clubs in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas.

 

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