Requirements for Memberships in OAGC
To become a garden club affiliated with OAGC, a club is encouraged to have an active membership of at least 10 members, a set of bylaws and pay current OAGC dues annually for each club member. The club is encouraged to be sponsored for one year by at least one OAGC garden club in good standing, if possible.
So…. you think you want to start a garden club
by past State President, Mary Lee Minor
Be brave, bold and enthusiastic. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Talk without ceasing until your friends begin to wonder about you. Take action with the dream. Look at your life and make it bloom where you are planted. Friends, neighbors, parents of juniors or 4-H club advisors, mothers of scouts, the county’s Master Gardeners, a club that exists to overflowing, the YMCA exercise class; all are places with potential.
Select a date and time with one or two others who share this vision. Days can work, but so can evenings. Spread the word: use the newspaper, phone calls and emails. Make up flyers and mail or tuck under each ‘Welcome’ mat at targeted homes. Invite people you know; invite those you do not know. Gather the experienced and the novices with energy. Show no regard for those naysayers.
At the first meeting, set up a small display of old issues of The Garden Path and items secured through OAGC. These can serve as a great focal point: gardening gloves, the Exhibitors’ and Judges’ Handbook, a handy tool, a soil knife…anything. A vase of flowers may help the spirit.
Keep up the enthusiasm. Greet each person with a grateful smile. Be happy if five or six come. (You can build on that later.) As an ice breaker, ask them to each share what they think a garden club might do. Why form a club? Wait for their answers, as if wisdom will flow. It will. Share; perhaps asking them to share a gardening anecdote, success or disaster. If anyone says, “I don’t know a daffodil from a dusty miller’ or ‘I don’t know a frog from a needlepoint,” look them right in the eye and tell them they are needed. A garden club is designed to get them “knowing, growing, showing and sharing.”
You have now achieved initial fellowship. Ask them to raise their right hand and repeat after you: “I do solemnly promise to call one friend this week and talk to them about this garden club-to-be.” Give them something to take home like a perennial start, a bouquet of freshly cut parsley or lavender, excess bulbs, and, of course set a date for the next meeting.
After starting the group, organization can follow at the next meeting. Consider club names which can reflect this new association. It may be a geographic thought using the names of the streets. It could come from a common interest. Submit the Club Registration Form and applicable OAGC dues to the OAGC State Secretary. You have set in motion a dream by sharing it with others.
Types of Garden Clubs to consider
- Established clubs with a limited membership or a growing membership might form two clubs of manageable size
- A new housing development might create a nucleus for a garden club comprised of new home owners
- Women’s clubs or federations may include gardening as one of its special interest groups
- A community might challenge its citizens to organize a garden club
- Church groups may find that a garden club created within its membership could fill the floral needs for church functions or even maintenance and beautification needs of the church grounds
- Consider a Men’s club or couple’s club. Such clubs might be built around specialty gardening such as roses or water gardening.
- Clubs of condominium owners might focus on houseplants, container gardening, roof gardens and flower arranging
- Mobile home parks can carry out all the aspects of garden club participation on a scale applicable to their needs.