Garden clubs are alive and well in my part of the country. There’s a heather society, a rose society, a rhododendron society, and each small town has its own garden club. I don’t belong to any myself, but I’ve dropped in on a few of them, usually after driving around the block three or four times looking for the church or rec hall that I should probably be familiar with after living here all this time. There’s cake and coffee, we all rise and place our hands over our hearts and say the Pledge of Allegiance, minutes of the last meeting are read, members stand up and introduce any guests they have brought, and a "program" is presented, perhaps by a local bug expert, plant breeder, or garden columnist.
Are garden clubs like this a thing of the past? They’re certainly geared for retirees; they’re usually held in the middle of the day on a weekday, and there’s not a drop of alcohol to be found. (Not that retirees don’t drink, or shouldn’t drink. Lord, yes, they should have a drink.) And while membership in garden clubs and other civic organizations has been in decline since the 60s, it does seem to me that there is always a fresh crop of retirees, or self-employed people, or anyone else who has a little free time during the day, joining our local garden clubs.
What other social opportunities are there for gardeners? Master Gardener groups, community garden volunteers, neighborhood beautification associations?
Or does it even make sense to join a club based on a shared interest in gardening? Would you rather be part of a social circle that shares your political beliefs, has kids the same age as yours, works in the same profession, enjoys the same vices, etc.?
It’s been a while since we’ve had a poll, so I ask you: