Author Frank is a keen social gardener and belongs to the national vegetable society.
Why You Should Join a Gardening Club
Gardening doesn’t have to be something you do on your own; in fact joining a club is a great way to combine your love of gardening with your social life. Here are a few reasons you should consider joining a gardening society.
Taking Part in Shows
I remember the feeling of satisfaction that I had when my NVS branch invited me to take part in the Tatton Show. I was newly joined and lacked confidence that they would let me participate. I just did what jobs they asked me to do, grateful to be there. Imagine my delight when a friend phoned to say that we had won a gold medal! I cannot promise you a gold medal, but I can say that even taking part in a minor show (and Tatton is a major one) is a delight.
The pleasure that I get from being a participant is something that you might have if you join a gardening club or society. When manning the stall at a show, you meet so many people who appreciate the display. It is very rewarding, so I look forward to showtimes every year.
Don’t feel deterred if you think that you lack of the talent to do a show. Your club/society will use the talents you have. For example, the NVS don’t use me for craftwork, such as building stalls and/or visual displays, but they use me to communicate with the general public by explaining the display.
A well-known UK politician once classed gardening as a low skilled job. How wrong he was, for there is always something new to learn. On the allotment, my neighbour is a very experienced flower show judge, and he can teach us all a lesson or two. Here is where your garden club steps in. When in the club, you are in the company of some very experienced people, some of whom have many years of gardening under their belts.
There will be talks by experts. Every month we meet, and normally there is a visiting speaker. We have had an expert herbalist and a self-reliant vegetable gardener who maintains a large and productive urban garden. There have been several medal winners and one man who owns a seed company, to mention but a few. These people know their stuff. If you are into flowers, you will get talks from experts who have sometimes bred their own varieties, and you may meet competition winners.
Yet your friends can also help you. You can talk to them about problems that you are facing, and they can share knowledge with you about how to solve the problem. They can even come along and give a helping hand.
All people benefit from belonging to social networks. We like to gather with like-minded people who share our interests, and this is what a gardening club does for gardening enthusiasts. When you attend club meetings, you are with people who like to talk about gardening. You can speak about gardening and know that the person to whom you are talking will be interested in what you are saying.
Moreover, clubs arrange trips for their members. For example, my NVS branch has arranged for us to take a trip to Anglesey in the coming year to visit Medwyn’s of Anglesey, the seed company owned by our president whom I mentioned earlier. I have been on trips to plant nurseries and I am booked to go on one to Bridgewater Gardens, the Royal Horticultural Society’s new garden being constructed in Greater Manchester.
If you join a gardening club, you will be able to attend its social gatherings. At the NVS we have a social gathering after the annual general meeting. It is a gathering of friendly people who all enjoy each other’s company.
So, all in all, belonging to a gardening club has greatly enriched my social life. I would definitely recommend it to you.
Franks Personal Experience with Societies
I belong to the National Vegetable Society, which has given me a really positive experience. I joined this gardening group because some of my friends were members, and I made new friends among the people whom I met at meetings.
We are a group of people spread across Britain and Ireland who share a common interest in growing vegetables. Members have differing talents and levels of gardening skill, and even health, but they are bonded by a common passion for vegetable growing.
Meetings are warm and friendly. At our meetings we have talks by expert growers, and on one occasion I was privileged to meet our president, a man who has twelve gold medals from the Chelsea Flower Show, Britain’s top flower show, to his credit. The NVS is just one of the many gardening clubs and societies that offer richly satisfying experiences to members. There will be a gardening society to suit your needs.
Examples of Clubs and Societies.
When I do the Tatton Show with the NVS our stall is in the Plant Societies’ Tent near to the Cottage Garden Society’s stall and opposite the National Chrysanthemum Society. On my breaks I stroll over to the Sweet Pea Society stall, hoping to catch up with an old friend.
This year I went and asked at the the Cactus and Succulent Society Stall for advice on an article that I had been commissioned to write, and I checked some facts with the Manchester Bonsai society. The Cactus people were excellent in their advice. At the Southport Show, where I give advice for the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, we were near the Begonia Society stand, and there are plenty more clubs and societies to choose from. These are but a few.
Some societies are local to an area, such as the Poynton Horticultural and Agricultural Society, who run the lovely Poynton Show in Cheshire. At the Tatton Show we worked with a real food group from a Manchester council estate, who were dedicated vegetable gardeners. You will not need to go far to find a society that deals with gardening in your area, and it is worth searching for one.
So, as you can see from Franks experience, joining a club or a society is a great way to meet new people and expand your gardening skills. We hope this guide has given you some new insight and the urge to get out there and join a club!