Magnolia Garden Club: Where is the ‘Great American Chestnut?’
Apr 20, 2014 | 337 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Magnolia Garden Club 4-20
Cecile Broz, left, who was voted into the Magnolia Garden Club by the  members at the March meeting, is with MGC member Ginger Cloud.
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The March meeting of Magnolia Garden Club was held at the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library and hosted by Fredricka Lawson, who conducted the business meeting. Linda Cross gave a devotion reading a poem, “The Little Things” by Mary Dawson. Sue Taylor gave the treasurer’s report. Members received a copy of the February minutes.

The Spring Membership Meeting was held March 13 at the Mountain City Club in Chattanooga. MGC members Annette Stanbery, Elsie Yates, Ginger Cloud and Lawson attended. District awards for 2013 club projects were given at the meeting. Magnolia members received first-place awards for National Garden Week, Garden Therapy, the 2013 Yearbook and the club scrapbook received the second-place award. Three Smokey Bear posters drawn by students from George R. Stuart Elementary School received first place in the district and were sent to the state competition.

A new member, Cecile Broz, was voted into the club by MGC members.

The March program was titled, “The Late, Great American Chestnut.” When settlers came to America, they discovered this great tree growing from Maine to Alabama. Its greatest development was in the Great Smoky Mountains, where specimens reached 13 feet in diameter and 120 feet in height. It was top quality wood which was considered hardwood, but easy to work with.

Settlers used chestnut wood to build fences and frame houses and barns. They used the nut of the chestnut to feed the animals. During the industrialization of America in the 1800s, chestnut wood was used for telephone poles, to fire large furnaces in brickyards and in charcoal production. The American chestnut grew faster than the oak tree, and because of its abundance, it was called the bread-and-butter tree of the Eastern hardwood forest.

In the late 1800s, a fungal disease was accidentally brought to New York on Chinese or Japanese chestnut seedlings. It was discovered in the New York Zoo in 1904. It rapidly spread killing 99.9 percent of the chestnut trees in America. Today, through scientific breeding and research, the American chesnut may be saved. Someday singing “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire ...” may not sound so strange.

After the program, members toured the area outside the children’s reading room. Others attending were Sheila Webb, Bess Neil and Erma Brewer.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Master Gardeners and Magnolia Garden Club members will be at Ace Hardware April 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to answer questions about what and how to plant flowers and vegetables or about projects the groups are involved in. The public is invited to stop by to visit with the Ace Hardware personnel, club members and gardeners and take advantage of the large variety of special plants. Nursery manager Jason Rymer will be available to explain the different varieties of plants available and give advice on planing and growing.