dog_gin_turtleWhat would dogs, turtles and gin have in common with the Naples Garden Club House &  Garden Tour? They are all part of the lore, past and present, of our famous annual event, scheduled this year for February 1, 2014.

As part of the research for the 60th Anniversary history gathering, Carol Conant and Isabelle Staffeldt interviewed four longtime members of the Naples Garden Club. Lorna Craig, Anne Levi Knox, Dolly Ross and Jane Shelley were the honorees. Amidst the nostalgia, two funny occurrences were reported about the House and Garden Tour.

In one incident, the faithful husband was carrying his wife’s floral design into a home on the tour. The owner’s dog charged and bit the poor husband. To his credit, he did not drop the floral arrangement.

The bus driver was the hero in the second memory. Seems a turtle was, in his own slow way, trying to cross the road. The bus had to come to a complete stop. Not wanting to disrupt the schedule, the bus driver got out of the bus and moved the turtle to safer ground. When he returned to his seat, everyone applauded.

But, what about the gin?

The secret to our favorable weather forecasts in the last several years has been largely due to a recent NGC president’s actions. During her tenure as H&GT chair, she resorted to a bit of superstition learned on a vacation island. As the story goes, if one hides an opened bottle of gin on the grounds of one of the homes, the spirit of gin rises from the bottle and provides good weather. Since that first hiding of the gin, every House Tour chair has followed that custom and has had favorable weather. It has been reported that one year the chair forgot to retrieve the gin bottle. A beloved friend of the NGC found it and took it home and enjoyed it. We since have a new bottle and hide it from said beloved friend. So, don’t look for the bottle after the tour. It is reclaimed from its hiding place, recapped and put away until the next year!

Members, spouses, bus drivers, volunteers–they are what make the House and Garden Tour successful every year. This year, volunteers are needed as house hostesses, in hospitality, in site locations to prepare the homes, as tote bag stuffers and as raffle assistants. All Chairs will be at the November meeting to answer questions and to sign up volunteers for the many volunteer opportunities. Put your name on a list or two, enjoy the fun and create some more memories for the Naples Garden Club House and Garden Tour.

~ Polly Galliker