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Friday, September 28, 2012

Our neighborhood garden club

Our neighborhood has a garden club, started by a couple of women in the neighborhood, about 15 years ago. The membership has swelled to about 20 at times, and been as cozy as about 8, at other times. Currently, it's somewhere in between.

We meet once a month and share duties developing the program for the evening. We have no dues and anyone in our neighborhood is welcome. I was invited by a neighbor out walking her dog, almost 10 years ago. She was hosting a meeting the next week on making cement hosta leaves for garden decor. Several years ago, Martha Stewart did these on her show. We all chipped in for the supplies, and we each got to take our leaf home. (Mine still resides amongst the real hostas.)

Other programs have included garden tours, both within the neighborhood, and at local horticultural venues, potting flowers both in spring and fall (we each bring a pot and some flowers/plants to share, and the hostess provides the soil), autumn decor projects (many of which have nothing to do with gardening, but just a fun thing to make), gifts made with our garden herbs (like vinegars and bath bombs), and informative sessions about topics which one of our members may specialize in, such as dyeing textiles with native plant materials, or attracting songbirds to the garden. In the spring, we typically have a plant swap. We all dig up and divide some perennials to swap. I've filled my garden with interesting plants that I might not have bought myself. My turn, this past summer, was a walking tour of a nearby historic district. We admired the architecture of the homes as well as their front gardens.

After our "meeting" we sit and chat for a while over tea and treats. This is where I hear all the neighborhood latest on local break-ins and car prowls. Informative, but in a different way.

This past Wednesday evening, we were potting fall plants. We each brought flowers or plants and a pot. I have scads of filled pots already and thought I wanted something different this time. I found a nice hanging basket on clearance at Home Depot and some orange pansies to share. (Not the spectacular bargain that Frugal Girl got at Aldi's on a flowering basket this week, but still a good deal.) I also robbed a couple of my deck pots for additional plants that I thought would look good in my basket, and then added a few more from the club meeting.

We've had a very mild September. Early fall looks good. Our area has about 5 more weeks of decent weather, then nights will become quite chilly, and my plants will give it up somewhere around Hallowe'en to mid-November. (But pansies come back in our area, so that's something to look forward to in spring.) My basket will hang up against the house on the south side, over the deck. It will get plenty of warmth, and may make it longer than 5 weeks. I'm hoping it will have plenty of time to fill in.

I've learned a great deal from these ladies in our group. Many of them have phenomenal knowledge of plants and their requirements. When we moved into our house, I really didn't know beans about gardening. Oh, I had tried my hand at vegetable gardens. Sometimes they were successful, other times I was totally mystified why my veggies couldn't grow in the shade. It was all sheer luck if the garden produced.

In addition to being a source of gardening knowledge, our little garden club is part of what makes this neighborhood more than just a tract of houses, but a real community. As the saying goes, "out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships" (Beverly Rose Harper). 


  1. That sounds like a wonderful community :) I have been thinking about volunteering at our local community garden (to supplement our container garden), and reading this has nudged me in the direction or actually contacting them and getting involved. I only hope it will be as friendly as your garden club :)

    1. I think volunteering at your community garden would be great. You'll definitely find some friendly people there -- gardeners like to share. And there's always someone around who has amazing knowledge. Plus it's just a great way to be involved in your community.

  2. What a great way to meet and get to know your neighbors.

    1. It has been wonderful for meeting people in our neighborhood. Some of these people live in the far corners of the development and I likely wouldn't have met them otherwise.

  3. I like that hanging basket. How much did you spend for it (you said it was clearance)? I'm just wondering what you think is a good deal.

    1. The basket with coco liner was $5. So, not the huge deal that the Frugal Girl mentioned this week (I think 50 cents for a basket full of flowering plants. But still I think a good deal. I should be able to reuse it for many years. And I've already got it hung where I can see it from the kitchen, which makes my work cheery! Anyways, this is a great time of year to pick up clearance garden pots, baskets, ornaments, trees and perennials.

  4. Now you have me wishing I had a community group like that here. I would love to see your hosta leaf and learn how you made it.

    1. Hi Lois,
      I saved the instructions. So I will take a photo of it and post the directions in the future sometime. I've meant to make more, just never gotten to it. I think they'd look lovely, a group of 3 or 4 as a cascading fountain.

  5. We have two garden clubs in our area but they both meet when I'm at work. Yours sounds great.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      That's too bad that the ones in your area don't meet at a time that would better suit working people. Yes, I do like ours, especially since it's fairly small and loosely organized. We can do just about anything we care with the club.


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