Reinvigorating garden clubs, was Plagiarized Images

Jane McGary
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 12:08:09 PST
Dylan commented that online plant society presence may "help to 
establish and reinvigorate local clubs that are the heart
>of horticultural activity."

I hope this is true, since I've been very active for more than a 
quarter-century in our local NARGS chapter, the membership of which 
has declined like that of almost all garden groups. We do have a core 
of about 25 members who show up at almost every meeting, bring plants 
to show and exchange, give lectures, organize hikes and tours, and 
dutifully shoulder officers' responsibilities in an endless rotation. 
An enthusiastic new member is welcomed like an addition to a family! 
(And we don't even ask her to be an officer for a grace period of say 
three years.) This struggle takes place in one of the most 
garden-intensive places in North America, where almost every front 
yard has at least one choice plant (however neglected), and where one 
of our counties has more nurseries than any other US county. I'm 
happy to report that a number of our members are also in the PBS, and 
our annual pot show features many well-grown bulbs in flower.

So why don't we have 50 or 75 people showing up for meetings? It may 
have been partly because we lacked an online presence, but that has 
just been provided thanks to PBS and NARGS member and specialty 
nursery grower Emma Elliott, who set our group up at 
, which I hope any of you in the Portland Metro area will visit. 
Non-members of NARGS are always welcome at our meetings. Local 
gardens featuring bulb collections as well as rock gardens are on our 
spring tours.

NARGS activities also can be coordinated with more specialized plant 
groups, such as the Primula Society, Rhododendron Society, or 
American Conifer Society. Several years ago I wrote a proposal for 
more official kinds of collaboration among plant societies, almost 
all of which are seeing their membership decline, but administrative 
factors led to the proposal sinking like a stone. I hope someday such 
an initiative will be possible, and it had better be soon.

I'm the Membership Coordinator for PBS, and if any of our members 
want to organize actual meetings, I can supply a list of contacts 
from those in a specific area who have expressed willingness to be in 
the Membership Directory, including their e-mail addresses. 
Dues-paying members will receive the new directory later this winter. 
So you can see that joining the PBS, in addition to participating in 
this free discussion list, may give you an opportunity to visit with 
fellow enthusiasts face to face. The BX already helps us exchange 
plants worldwide, but nothing really compares to seeing them growing.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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