I have two close friends who didn’t know each other a year ago. I’ve known one of these ladies since we were in high school, and the other one I’ve only known for a couple of years. I spoke to both of them separately about gardening on different levels. Last winter, I invited them both over for lunch, with the intent of planning our spring gardens. And so, our impromptu garden club was born.
Eventually we recruited a couple of additional members. One is the daughter of my newer friend, and the other is a childhood friend of my stepson. So now we have five ladies total, all with age gaps from mid-20’s to early 50’s. Everyone has a different level of experience growing things, different gifts, and different personalities. I couldn’t be more happy with our little group, and I’m not sure what I’d do without them. So today I’d like to give you some tips on how to start a garden club of your own.
What are the Benefits of Starting a Garden Club?
Starting a garden club offers a myriad of benefits. It not only creates a close-knit community of like-minded individuals but also provides a platform to share knowledge, nurture gardening skills, and promote environmental awareness. Garden clubs facilitate the exchange of gardening tips, foster a sense of stewardship for the environment, and offer an opportunity for members to develop beautiful, sustainable outdoor spaces collectively. Through shared experiences, garden club members forge lasting friendships while contributing to the beauty and ecological health of their local communities.
Define Your Purpose and Vision
We fell into our little rag-tag garden club, but if I needed to go back in time and do it over, I would’ve been more intentional. Getting the purpose and vision right for your garden club is like planting the seeds of a great adventure. Your purpose is the “why” that keeps your club thriving, be it learning, eco-friendliness, or simply the love of greenery. Your vision is like a garden dream – it paints a picture of where you all want to go. So, take your time, let your ideas bloom, and watch your garden club grow into something truly special.
Gather Your Group
Start by spreading the word among friends and neighbors who share your passion for gardening. Host a casual get-together in your backyard to chat about the idea and watch the excitement grow. Use social media and local community boards to reach out to potential members, and don’t forget to tap into existing gardening networks. As your group takes root, you’ll find that nurturing this initial interest is the first step towards a flourishing garden club.
How to Host Meetings
There are no hard and fast rules about when or where to have your meetings, and ultimately it needs to be at the discretion of your group. My garden club hosts monthly meetings and we rotate homes. We normally hold our meetings on Tuesday evenings, because that’s what works best for our group. Whoever is hosting is normally responsible for the main part of the meal, and everyone chips in and brings food or drink to share.
Alternately, you could make meetings on a weekend morning or afternoon, and the meeting doesn’t need to be centered around a meal. We’ve had successful Saturday morning meetings, but Tuesday evenings seem to work best for everyone.
Garden Club Meeting Topics
Again, this needs to be customized to what is best for your group. Here are some topics my garden club has done during past meetings:
- Homestead planning and layout.
- Spring garden planning and seed sorting. This can be done in the winter in preparation for spring seed starting. It is also a great time to learn last frost date for your local micro-climates. This website is a wealth of information on first and last frost dates, and when to plant specific vegetables.
- Houseplant tour of our host’s home and harvesting aloe juice from a live plant.
- Homestead tour of our host’s home and demo of how to sprout seeds and grow microgreens.
- How to can pickles.
- Dinner and a documentary night with a seed exchange after. We watched “The Biggest Little Farm,” which is fantastic.
Here is a list of some other potential meeting agendas:
- How to propagate houseplants.
- How to propagate trees or tomato plants.
- How to grow a fruit tree from seed.
- How to macrame a hanging onion holder. Plant hangers are also a solid choice.
- Planting workshops.
- Seed saving workshops.
- Learn to compost. (This post is a great resource!)
- Pest and disease management.
- Seasonal planting guides.
- Container gardening.
- Long term food preservation.
- Native plants.
- Herb gardening.
- Butterfly and pollinator gardens.
- Garden photography.
- Organic gardening practices.
- Garden photography.
- Guest speakers to speak on topics outside the knowledge base of your members. These can also be done remotely.
- Vertical gardening. (This post is a great resource!)
- Plant swaps.
- Community service projects.
- How to arrange flowers.
- A recipe swap for your favorite garden harvest foods.
My garden club is not what you’d picture when you think of our grandmothers’ generation garden clubs. We are a loud, lively, sometimes wildly inappropriate group. We serve adult beverages and laugh constantly. The energy these ladies bring helps keep me motivated, and we are constantly sending each other inspiring and helpful videos and articles in our group texts. I love how we all cheer each other’s wins and help problem solve challenges as a group. These ladies are all such a blessing to me and I can’t imagine doing what I do without them. If you have the opportunity to start a garden club, whether it’s two people or fifty people, start today!
Are you following me on Instagram? You can follow along with my projects and ideas @the_bluegrass_blacksheep. I can’t wait to see you there.