Start A New Club
Building a new club in your community is a great idea! One of the most rewarding aspects of gardening is sharing your experiences with others. If you’re interested in meeting others in your area with a passion for plants, start a garden club.
Here are some suggestions for starting a successful club.
1. Find Members
You may already have a number of members in mind:
- Local library
- Community center
- Neighborhood coffee shop
- Local nurseries
- Post flyers
- Local paper
2. Determine the 1st meeting date, time & location
You can set the specifics for the 1st meeting, but plan to have the club determine what day & time works best for everyone to meet.
3. Determine the ongoing meeting date, time & location
Depending on the size of the group, you may initially rotate meeting at each other’s homes. Your local library, community center or church are also options. Choose the specific weekday and time to meet each month. Stick to a single day if possible, such as the second Thursday of each month.
List your meeting information in your local paper, post in public spaces with an invitation for people to attend the meeting. Be sure to list contact information in case they have questions.
4. Define purpose and goals of club
Decide if your group wants a casual or formal format. Formal clubs usually elect officers, charge dues, draw up by-laws and affiliate themselves with their state horticultural society or other national clubs. These affiliations bring many benefits such as gardening publications, speakers, classes, flower shows and discounts on plant purchases. The group may choose to have a casual format especially if the club is quiet small. The group does need to determine if the members will take turns running the meetings and sharing gardening information or scheduling speaker’s to present at your meetings.
It can be helpful to attend an existing garden club meeting in your area and to talk with the officers for helpful information and suggestions.
Some additional items that will need to be discussed
- Name of club
- Does your club want to take care of community gardening space (space / containers at a nursing home, community center, hospital, park, library)
- Will the club have a plant swap or a plant sale
- Should the club open a bank account
- Will you visit each others gardens and/or visit public gardens during the year (listing of public gardens on MSHS website.)
5. Start your club’s member roster
Name, address, telephone & email
6. If you decide to schedule speakers for your club, you have many resources to choose from
- MSHS Speaker’s Roster
- Master Gardeners
- Specialty Plant Societies (listed on MSHS website)
- Schools with Horticulture Programs
- Nature Centers
- Conservation & Environmental Groups
- Suggestions from other garden clubs
- MSHS Video Tapes & Slide Shows
7. Increasing Your Clubs Membership
Over time, many garden clubs wrestle with the issue of membership. Here are some proven techniques for increasing club membership, no matter how small or how large the club is.
People have to know that your club exists, and they have to be invited to come to a meeting. This requires publicity in local newspapers and members talking about the club to their friends, family & acquaintances.
Have enthusiasm for your club and what it does for its members and your communities. Be willing to share that excitement & enthusiasm with people.
Show You Care
Take genuine interest in the guests that attend your meetings. Have name tags made up for them & greet them warmly. Find out what their gardening interest are.
Make Them Feel Wanted
Be sure to ask for the guests address, phone number & email and have your clubs membership form available for them to join.
Good luck with your new garden club!