There is an under recognised and underutilized font of gardening knowledge in every State that deserves to be better utilised. Garden Clubs and Plant Societies, once thought of as a meeting place for aging gardeners/retirees with nothing better to do, are one of the best ways to improve your knowledge and understanding of plants and gardening. There are over 80 Garden Clubs and Plant Societies in SA alone with thousands of members. They contain a wealth of knowledge and experience within their area of interest and are more than willing to offer practical help to anyone who asks. They can also play a very important part in providing a community focus for gardeners. Within these clubs there are individuals who are renowned across Australia and even the world as experts in their field.
Here are a few examples of growing vibrant garden clubs or plant societies in South Australia:
The Rose Society of South Australia aims to encourage, improve, foster and extend the cultivation and appreciation of the Rose. The Society holds monthly meetings, shows, demonstrations and other activities both in Adelaide and in the country. Their spring show and autumn shows are spectacular, with an amazing display of roses, flower arranging with roses, and experts on hand to answer all your rose growing questions. www.sarose.org.au
The Mediterranean Garden Society – South Australia Branch is a vibrant growing group with many members opening their own gardens as part of Open Gardens South Australia. They meet regularly and send out a newsletter with great articles written by members. http://www.mediterraneangardensociety.org/branches-au-south.html
The Rare Fruit Society of South Australia is a large group of people passionate about growing all sorts of fruits, from the common place to heirloom and rare varieties, from those which are climate compatible to those which are outside of their usual comfort one. This group also teaches grafting and budding to empower their members to grow even more varieties of fruit affordably. http://rarefruit-sa.org.au/
The South Australian Bonsai Society meet monthly and promote and educate about the ancient art of bonsai. Their shows feature stunning displays, as well as bonsai and ikebana demonstrations. www.bonsaisa.org.au
The Cymbidium Club of South Australia promotes interest in Cymbidium Orchids by holding regular functions to showcase the outstanding features of these amazing plants, and to provide practical information on their culture. Visit www.cymorchids.com.au
Garden Clubs are a great place to go to get good practical advice from passionate gardeners and plant enthusiasts, and visitors are welcome to all garden club meetings. To find a garden club near you or one that relates to a plant group that you are interested in visit www.gardenclubs.org.au
Whether you become a member of a Garden Club or Plant Society, whether you go along as a casual visitor or whether you just frequent their annual display and events, (garden) clubbing is fun!