Guilbeau, 82, first joined the Plaquemine Garden Club in 1972 but had to leave due to work obligations. But she returned in 1979 and has been an active member since. She owes her love of gardening to her mother.

The Plaquemine Garden Club met Tuesday afternoon for their annual May Hat Luncheon at the Bayou Waterfront Park to honor Mrs. Verlee Guilbeau as the club’s Circle of Roses recipient.

Guilbeau was inducted into the Circle of Roses as a longtime contributor to floral designs for Plaquemine Garden Club, St. John the Evangelist Church, and the Catholic Daughters Court St. John. The Circle of Roses is awarded to outstanding garden club members.

“I had not the least idea it was me,” Guilbeau said. “I was very honored.”

Guilbeau, 82, first joined the Plaquemine Garden Club in 1972 but had to leave due to work obligations. But she returned in 1979 and has been an active member since. She owes her love of gardening to her mother.

“My mother had a green thumb,” Guilbeau said. “Whatever she put in the ground it came up.”

“It’s a special honor to ladies in their senior years,” Donna Carville, the incoming president of the club said of the award. “It’s given in recognition of their time and talent over many years.”

The Garden Club is a service organization. The women comprising the club perform multiple projects in and around Plaquemine. They plant flowers and maintain flowerbeds in schools, the new Plaquemine Courthouse, and the Iberville Museum. Women like Guilbeau epitomize what the club stands for.

“The Plaquemine Garden Club’s recipient this year for the Louisiana Garden Club Federation’s Circle of Roses is an extremely worthy and talented lady,” Sheryl Ramirez, the club’s acting president said. “She served as Vice Regent of the Catholic Daughters Court St. John as well as having served as Vice President of the garden club. She has been a very active and very well-respected lady in our community.”

Every year the club has a Christmas Tea where members decorate part of a member’s home. Guilbeau would always tackle the home’s dining room table and she would always produce masterful centerpieces.

“The Plaquemine Garden Club has benefitted greatly over the years from her floral expertise as demonstrated at the annual Garden Club Christmas Tea with festive floral masterpieces and also by taking her turn at monthly meetings creating unique floral designs to share,” Ramirez said. “It was not uncommon for the parish priest or organizations to ask this lady to create floral arrangements for any event hosted at the rectory or parish hall. She willingly responded with beautiful creations.”

At the luncheon, there was tea to be served and door prizes to be won. Even Mayor Reeves and Sheriff Stassi walked away with a prize. Each table was adorned with floral centerpieces and the women all wore hats with freshly picked flowers decorating them. But the focus of the day’s outing, was Mrs. Guilbeau.

“She is the epitome of womanhood in all that she has done and continues to do at age 82,” Ramirez said. “She has not let health issues stop her. Her family of four children now have their own children and grandchildren and all have enjoyed her excellent cooking and warm hospitality for their extended families.”

The only thing that may rival Guilbeau’s love of gardening is cooking. Being of French descent, Guilbeau is known to make crawfish etouffee, smothered chicken, and casseroles. But whether she’s in the kitchen or the garden, the newest Circle of Roses recipient loves what she does.

“It’s a prestigious award as far as I’m concerned,” Guilbeau said. “I’m still on cloud nine, I haven’t come down yet.”