On the rare occasion that there seems to be nothing going on in White Springs, you don’t have to travel far to have new adventures. There are plenty of them nearby if you’re willing to look. We discovered a wonderful place of the type that people normally associate with more urban/metropolitan areas. It happened when we had a friend from Washington D.C. visiting us. She is a garden writer, lecturer, tour guide and tourist of beautiful gardens all over the world and she says that garden walks are strolls in paradise. We wondered if we would be able to appease her appetite for gardens with anything beyond what our own beautiful but small yard had to offer, without having to travel a considerable distance to find a suitable garden. How far did we have to go to offer our guest a truly beautiful garden tour? All it took was a 15-minute drive! Tucked away in the Wellborn countryside is beautiful Hearthstone Gardens, a 35-acre paradise that was established in 2018 by Master Gardener Judee Mundy. I don’t have a very green thumb but I do know beauty when I see it, and I saw plenty of it at Hearthstone Gardens, which has a lot to offer the happy wanderers who discover this little patch of Eden in North Florida. The gardens currently include many separate areas and I’ll mention just a few. I saw a butterfly mound, a children’s garden, a learning center, a midway tropical garden, a rose garden and I walked on the garden’s Mirror Lake Trail. I enjoyed seeing Florida-friendly and native plants including azaleas, gardenias, viburnums firebush, hibiscus, anise and sand cordgrasses, just to name a very few of the thousands of plants on the beautiful well-manicured grounds. Hearthstone Gardens is located at 3300 134th place near Wellborn, and is open daily from dawn to dusk. Surprisingly, there is no admission charge to visit this beautiful botanical gem, but donations are gratefully accepted. Go and see for yourself how much our area is enriched by this beautiful garden! For more info call 386-438-3102.

Patricia Harrington and Bernice Robinson recently attended a celebration of their birthdays, a well-organized and beautifully decorated gathering, attended by many of their family and friends. Now I’m not going to reveal their ages, but the party was referred to as a 60/80 party, whatever that may mean! Close to one hundred people traveled to Valdosta to attend their party, most from the White Springs area, but many traveling considerably longer distances to honor these two ladies. Speeches and testimonials were made by many of those in the room and I’ll reveal nothing other than to say the room was full of love and celebration, and more Newsomes than I’ve ever seen before in one place. This well-deserved gathering was to honor Patricia and Bernice, but for me it was also a celebration and a shining example of the special importance of family, community, inclusiveness, friendship and love. You could feel it the moment you walked into the room! Merri and I felt privileged to be a small part of this great gathering. So Happy 60/80 day Patricia and Bernice! Thank you for bringing us together and thank you for all that you have done to enrich the lives of your family and community. White Springs is better off because of you!

There is more to being on a town council than just going to council meetings. As previously reported in the Suwannee Democrat and Jasper News, this column also wishes to acknowledge the Florida League of Cities’ recent recognition of White Springs Mayor Helen Miller, presenting her with a 2019 Home Rule Hero Award. She has been a tireless advocate for home rule and has traveled many miles and worked tirelessly to represent and protect the Town of White Springs’ interests on her many trips to the capitol in Tallahassee and other places throughout Florida. FLC Legislative Director Scott Dudley said “Mayor Miller is one of our biggest advocates for municipal issues, and she’s a shining example of local advocacy in action.”

Well, once again I’ve said enough but, as always, I do want to remind you that if you have news you want to share, you should let “Life in White Springs” help. We’re always glad to hear about goings on in the community and will be glad to share anything that is appropriate for this column. I am thankful that we can depend on each other, and I hope that we can continue to feel proud of who we are and where we’re headed, and that we all appreciate how White Springs and its surrounding region is a very special place, to be honored and protected. As always, I look forward to seeing you out and about, enjoying your community and your life in White Springs.

Walter McKenzie



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