VERO BEACH – McKee Botanical Garden was host to 101 current and former members of the Garden Club of America clubs. The ladies gathered on March 7 to enjoy a special presentation, to engage with one another over a delicious lunch in the Hall of Giants, and to stroll through McKee’s garden with its extraordinary horticulture collection and its current exhibit of Seward Johnson’s unique collection of 20 bronze trompe l’oeil life-size statues. The depict-moments of ordinary life, including one of his fabulous 25-foot-high renditions of “Embracing Peace”, inspired by Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a U.S. Navy Sailor kissing a nurse in Time Square in 1945. The exhibition – “Celebrating the Familiar” – has been enjoyed by a record number of visitors since its installation in January.

The main focus of the day was a presentation by Lee LaPointe, a former resident of Vero Beach, and a member of the Garden Club of Nashville, itself a member of the Garden Club of America. Her topic was Fleurific! Fanciful and Fun Floral Design!. Lee demonstrated design magic to delight and inspire those lucky enough to witness her creative efforts. She, with the competent assistance of her long-time friend, Susan Schuyler Smith, produced nine arrangements from materials and containers that she keeps in her “storage shed”. That, she explained, is a treasure trove of mechanics that surprise even her when she goes to find things to incorporate into her creations. Design by design, Lee’s mechanics were manipulated, twisted, and coaxed into shapes and swirls that were then enhanced by fabulous flowers that came from Hawaii as well as local flower markets. Some of the floral materials were fresh and some were dried, with all materials perfectly combined to capture the imagination of the audience who were enthralled by Lee’s humor, creative eye for shape and color with both her unusual containers and beautiful plant material. Her works reflected her long-time interest in art and design which she honed during college and graduate studies.

Lee’s history with the Garden Club of America was evident in her good humor, astute judgment, and vast knowledge which made her an ideal GCA Floral Design Judge. In 2006, having risen through the ranks of GCA, garnered many awards and kudos, and lectured to GCA clubs nation-wide, Lee became the National Chair of GCA’s Flower Show Committee.

The lecture was followed by a delicious luncheon, prepared by Elizabeth Kennedy, in the historic Hall of Giants, featuring the spectacular arrangements designed by Lee LaPointe, and her entourage of helpers, all members of the GCA Day Committee. Lee’s whimsical creations displayed on the historic 38-foot long mahogany table and the centerpieces on the dining tables were inspired by McKee’s current work in progress, the soon to be completed, Children’s Garden. The delightful GCA Day raised nearly $7,000 for the benefit of the campaign for McKee’s Children’s Garden.

GCA members can request an invitation to GCA Day 2020 by contacting McKee Botanical Garden at 772.794.0601.

About McKee Botanical Garden
McKee Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture and enhance a historic garden in a unique tropical setting for the education, enjoyment and enrichment of all. McKee Botanical Garden is located at 350 US Highway 1 in Vero Beach. General admission rates are $12 Adults, $11 Seniors, and $10 Children ages 3-12. Admission is free for members and children under 3. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 5 pm. The Garden is closed on Monday. The last admission ticket is sold at 4 pm. For additional information, please visit

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