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Step #1: Find Members
This is easier than you might think. Because you're a gardener, you already know where your fellow gardeners are likely to hang out-nurseries, garden centers, botanical gardens, libraries and book stores (the garden section, of course), parks, and coffee shops. Many of these places will be happy to let you post flyers and information on how to join for free. Don't forget organic restaurants, food co-ops, and environmental stores, feed centers, community gardens, and community centers. If you live in a community that publishes weekly shoppers or alternative newspapers, consider taking out a small classified ad to solicit members.
Step #2: Set Up a Place & Time to Meet
Try and be as flexible as possible when setting up a time for your new club to meet. You can set the date and time for the first meeting, but after that, it's up to the club to determine what day and time works best. People are busy, so try to keep the group flexible and alternate meeting dates and times if necessary.
Free meeting rooms are usually available at libraries or community centers with advance reservations. Local nurseries might be willing to donate space in exchange for free advertising to club members. You may even approach them about offering discounts to members.
If you or someone in your group turns out to be computer savvy, consider setting up a simple website or blog to make communicating between meetings easier. This is also a great place to post announcements, photos, event reminders and can help your club attract new members. At the very least, be sure to that everyone is given member contact information.
Step #3: Define Club Goals Your club will need to decide if it wants to consist of formal format or a more casual format. Formal clubs usually charge dues, elect officers, draw up by-laws and may affiliate themselves with larger, established groups like the National Garden Club or the Federated Garden Club of America. These affiliations bring benefits like invitations to conferences and specially arranged tours and access to well-known speakers and mentors.
Maybe you just want to get together with other gardeners in your neighborhood to exchange seeds or plants. Clubs don't have to have a rigid format to be successful. Maybe you want to help educate the community about specific gardening practices (organic) or participate in charitable work (beautifying a community park). Whatever your club defines as goals, remember to have fun!
Step #4: Network with Local Resources
After your club forms, make sure you introduce yourself to the community. Network with local resources like country extension agencies, colleges and universities and local nurseries and garden centers. Let others know what your club is all about and who can be contacted to answer questions or respond to inquiries. Find out what resources may be of benefit to the members of your club, and what your club can offer to others in the community.
Joining An Existing Club
If joining an existing club sounds more appealing than starting one from scratch, try doing a quick web search for gardening clubs on the web. Garden forums and chat rooms are also good ways to find gardeners from your area-at least from your same zone. Nurseries, garden centers and extension agencies are usually also tuned in to what is going on in your area.
Whether starting your own club, or joining one that is already established, you'll enjoy the encouragement you receive from others, learn better ways to beautify your environment and get acquainted with like-minded folks in your community.
Your timing to post this is right on! I was asked just last week to help organize a new garden club in our city. We've had our organizational meeting a few days ago and the first club meeting is planned. Now, advertizing is being done and then in a few weeks we'll see how many can come to the first club meeting. It will be exciting to see how we grow.
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Our garden club needs a boost. Can anyone suggest a few interesting programs?
Hardiness Zone: 10b
In my community, the local garden clubs take care of the flower beds at our library, as well as inside planters at our public schools. Perhaps your group could do something like that in your community.
I started a garden club in my little town. We exchange plants and seeds. I have many types of bubble machines. We bring potluck foods and blow bubbles, exchange seedlings, plants and unusual pots. We hold them at a different persons yard each month. We check out their gardens. We did tie die this last summer. We also make plantings for hospitals... One year we revamped the Senior center yard. planting veggies with flowers and angel statues in between. We have had botanists from state parks and kids studying horticulture give talks. I also think showing little kids how to plant might be a good thing, starting a garden at the school, for kids who have to go to summer school.
I work in a nursing home and I would strongly suggest you contact some in your area. Nursing homes desperately need the services your club can provide. Your club could be in charge of planters that you change each season. You could do small plants for patients rooms and be in charge of re-potting them as needed. You could do an herb garden, a vegetable garden, a succulent garden, bird houses and bird feeders. All these things would bring joy to a nursing home and require time and attention that your garden club could provide.
I do not belong to a garden club but something I have always looked for and is difficult to find summarized is a fruit, vegetable, herb "calendar class" that would give me specific (within a week or so) planting and harvesting dates for a wide variety of foods that could grow in our hardiness zone. Yes, I've been able to piece together these bits of information to become successful in home growing foods, but nothing was ever easy to figure out and as far as I know, no local garden club offers such help.
As well, I've searched high and low for flower bed garden plants and mapped garden plots in my hardiness zone that will bloom from early spring to late fall successively. Again, I can piece together this information from various research, but can't find a single source for an ever blooming patch that works specifically for my hardiness zone.
Just a thought, but maybe simplifying this often baffling dilemma with a printed calendar, planting guide and monthly meetings for consultation for new members in a local garden club might help grow the club membership. Honestly, the few landscapes I do see grow so successfully (in my area) are either horticulture professionals or individuals and businesses able to pay for horticultural services. Can't speak for everyone, of course, but never found a local garden club to offer such practical advice to the do it yourself home owner.
I think it's great to plant a community square according to the direction of a local garden club, but I'd be more apt to participate if the garden club would give me the specific information to do the same in my own back yard. Just sayin' 'cuz you asked! :-)
I am considering starting a garden club in my area. Can you give me some idea of what a typical meeting agenda would look like?