Walking around in your neighborhood, you may have noticed the other beautiful yards surrounding you. The neighbors a block over have planted rose bushes, and the folks next door are planting a vegetable garden. Even the houses with small yards have beautiful window box flower planters. You are surrounded by garden-minded people but haven’t connected with any of them. In a community full of plant-loving people, a gardening club is the perfect way to unite the horticulturists.
Why miss such an excellent opportunity to reach out? Fellow gardeners can unite through garden clubs to cultivate their practice. Whether you are a seasoned expert or a bit green when it comes to gardening, community gardening enriches your life. Gardening does not always have to be a solitary and quiet activity. It can be a great way to bond with your community and make connections with people you may not have talked to otherwise.
Even if you’re not so great at gardening, and your thumb is more brown than green, it’s ok! A garden club might be the perfect place for you. After all, it is a community of people for the purpose of learning and growing together. If you’re interested in learning from your peers or helping make the community a greener, more beautiful place, then joining or starting a local garden club may be the next step for you.
What is a gardening club?
Gardening clubs are community groups of like-minded plant enthusiasts. From young and old, members all come together with the common interest of gardening. Clubs host events, promote horticulture in the community, and advocate for environmental issues.
There are national garden club organizations that you can join a local chapter of, like the National Garden Clubs Inc. Each state has garden club organizations that you can join but look into your smaller neighborhood communities also. Ask around at the yard supplies store or local plant nursery for any information on a neighborhood garden club.
What do I need?
To join a garden club, you don’t need to have the best yard in town or an uncanny knack for growing pumpkins. You just need to have a love for gardening and a willingness to work within your community. Joining means you will be learning from the more seasoned gardeners, and even becoming a mentor yourself to other members.
Although you don’t need years of experience or best garden awards, you may need a few tools.
Your club may be willing to share tools as needed, but it will be easier to attend group events when you have a couple of means of your own.
Some garden club essentials:
Gloves: A pair of sturdy and breathable gardening gloves is helpful working in both the garden bed and in overgrown shrubbery. Protect your skin from briers or sap with a pair that extends up to the wrist.
Pruning Shears: Keep a pair of pruning shears on you at all times, I promise, you’ll need them at some point. Whether it’s cutting a hidden root in the soil where you want to plant, or just the packaging around something, pruning shears are very helpful in gardening club.
Watering Can: If you are working in someone else’s yard or a public space, you may not have an easily accessible hose. A watering can is a perfect way to transport water to thirsty plants. The nozzle stream pours just the right amount so that you won’t be wasting any water on bare soil.
Kneeling Pad: Working for hours bent over or kneeling can put some wear and tear on your body, so a kneeling pad can help alleviate any aches and pains. I recommend a combination kneeling pad and bench that allows you to sit at the plant level without straining your body. As a bonus, some models come with storage spots for your other tools. This helps consolidate your work process so you can focus on the joy of gardening rather than the pain of it.
Trowel: Whether you choose a handheld or a more substantial shovel, a digging device is a necessity. Find a sturdy but lightweight tool. You’ll be using this for digging up old plants, shoveling soil, or patting down newly planted seedlings.
Learn From the Best:
A garden club gives the opportunity to gain advice from older or more experienced member that has passed down through the years. Each group accumulates its own unique set of knowledge, with tips and tricks that may not be posted on the internet or in a magazine. Learning from club members’ personal experience offers you hands-on help from well-seasoned folks.
A gardening club will usually host weekly or monthly meetings to discuss topics like the best way to keep weeds from popping up, how to get the most vibrant blooms, or the season’s best vegetables. Members trade tips and tricks and may even offer their assistance. Gardening as a community will support you in your enjoyment, so you don’t feel alone when a plant is wilting and drying up.
Beautify the Community:
Garden club groups work together to improve their neighborhoods through community service projects like public gardens and beautification efforts.
Groups are often involved in youth engagement programs. The outreach to the community to teach the value of gardening and help make it more accessible to kids who may not know how to care for plants. Understanding the basics of botany is an essential part of education, so children can understand the value of protecting the environment and where they exist in the ecosystem.
Some clubs start community gardens, spaces where any member of the community may participate in gardening and harvest the vegetables grown there for meals. Community gardens are especially neat for urban neighborhoods with little access to green space or backyards.
Flower shows are another popular event hosted by garden clubs. Members of the club and community bring their best blooms to show off the fruits of their labor. Participants can even win prizes for best in show or the most unique blossoms.
Garden Club Conservation:
Groups often meet to discuss environmental issues that are affecting their community or the world at large. Clubs undertake community projects that both beautiful the neighborhood, but also protect the environment.
Clubs gather for volunteer projects to clean up litter and reduce pollution. Issues of conservation, like protecting pollinators and sustainable practices, are essential topics for garden clubs. If there is a particular problem in your neighborhood, whether it is chemical pollution or a lack of flowering plants for pollinators, garden clubs can help conquer the issue. Coming together as a community of plant people, your club is sure to come up with an environmentally-friendly solution.
If you are looking for a way to support the environment, make sure your club is gardening sustainably with an eye on conservation. As people who love plants, it is important to care for all the earth’s flora and fauna, not just the flowers that grow in your garden. That’s the great part of joining a club, you learn to water others gardens, so they grow too. A gardening club community grows and nurtures together.
Frequently Asked Questions: Gardening Clubs.
How do I get started?
Join a national club or a local chapter. I recommend starting by looking on the National Garden Club Inc website, to get an idea of the clubs in your area. You even might want to start your own garden club, so ask your green-thumb neighbors if it would be something they might be interested in.
Do I need to have my own garden to join a club?
It depends. Since clubs focus on different activities, it may or may not matter. Ask around to find out if the clubs in your area are more focused on community work or personal garden shows. Reach out to the clubs in your area to find the one that suits your needs best.
Is there a membership fee for gardening clubs?
Sometimes there is a fee, especially if the club will be crowd-funding their supplies for projects. Often, garden clubs will hold fundraisers for donations, rather than requiring members to pay a membership fee.