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How Espoma Can Help Your Garden Club Grow

Garden clubs are a great way to share your horticulture hobby with other like-minded individuals. It’s a space where you can learn all about plant life and share your gardening ideas. They can be as small as a group of friends or as large as a neighborhood! Many of them take an interest in preservation of local natural habitats and general community service.

Members of garden clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone can start or join one! You don’t even have to be experienced because the clubs provide a safe space for novices to learn and grow their own hobby.

Still, it’s understandable if you’re on the fence about joining one. Or maybe you are a part of a garden club, but you don’t know about the full benefits you can be taking advantage of. Luckily for us, we were able to sit down with Gay Austin, the 46th president of the National Garden Clubs (NGC), to get all the details!

“Our partnership with Espoma has been great since the start,” Gay says. “We both had a goal in mind for garden clubs. Espoma had the products, and the NGC had the programs. So we just meshed together.” One great outcome of this partnership has been our grant program. Every year we select 20 clubs to give $250 grants to, and then we get to watch their ideas flourish!

These grants help your club receive funding to complete different types of projects. Whether it’s needed for tools, disaster relief management, or education—your chosen project can be almost anything. “It can be as simple as a flowerbed in a public space,” Gay tells us, “as long as it’s providing knowledge for what plants are needed.”

Want to show hospital patients how colorful flowers can brighten their rooms? How about beautifying a local school? Whether you’re focusing on wildlife conservation or want to give back to your community with a public garden renovation, the possibilities of eligible projects are endless! Gay told us she hopes to see future projects where clubs get together to replant native plants that were destroyed from natural disasters.

If you’re interested in becoming one of our grant winners, all you need to do is complete the application. Attach some photos and explain your project. Then, wait and see if you’ve been selected. If you have, be sure you send us photos of your completed project and local press information so we can spread the word about your great work! Don’t forget to check out our recent grant winners above the application.

Gay looks back fondly on past winners who have brought wonderful projects to life using the grants. “Many clubs focus on beautifying their cities,” She says. “Some clubs bring projects to senior citizens in assisted living facilities. Those citizens go from living in a home with a garden to only being able to have potted plants. So bringing the joy of horticulture back to them is really beneficial.” These projects can affect people as old as these senior citizens to children in school.

Whether or not you’re interested in an Espoma grant, we still want to hear about your garden club! Tell us via Twitter using the hashtag #EspomaGardenClub for a chance to be featured on our social media. We’ll be spreading the word about other garden clubs in the meantime, so stay tuned for some inspiration.

 

Should You Join a Garden Club?

Over 100 years ago in Athens, Georgia, 12 friends came together to share their plants and cuttings with each other. Soon enough, these meetings snowballed into a movement for women to share their plants and also advocate for the conservation of natural habitats in their areas.

A garden club is simply a group of people who enjoy all things pertaining to plants, flowers, and horticulture. Many clubs give back to their communities and some may have an emphasis on certain topics like landscaping or wildlife. Overall, garden clubs simply offer a space for individuals with common gardening interests to gather and share tips, ideas, and resources for projects.

A bit removed from its origins, garden clubs now come in all shapes and sizes. Your age and gender are no longer defining factors when you join! These clubs are a great resource for anyone and everyone to unwind and become even more enthusiastic about gardening.

It isn’t difficult to find local garden clubs, and many are affiliated with the National Garden Clubs (NGC) — which is the largest volunteer organization of its type in the world that works to connect communities, teach individuals about horticulture, and promote environmental causes. When your local club is part of your state Garden Club Federation, you’re automatically a member of the NGC! 

Whether you’re only just discovering your green thumb, or you’re a self-proclaimed plant parent, garden clubs can introduce you to new gardening techniques, others in your community with similar interests, and even opportunities to apply for grants. Even if you feel your green space can’t possibly get any better, sharing your expertise with others who are looking for help may be the type of growth you didn’t know you needed!

Among educational opportunities and the social aspect, there are plenty of other benefits to joining your local garden club. Using NGC’s given resources can help you expand on your creative design skills, and you can even become nationally certified as a flower show judge or a landscape, gardening, or environmental consultant.

Many clubs are also heavily involved in their communities. There are often large-scale projects that focus on beautifying town streets, schools, or hospitals. For example, NGC clubs often organize projects like educational garden tours for youth groups and nursery workshops at local libraries. Projects like these easily give you a sense of community, satisfaction, and fulfillment. 

No matter your level of gardening experience, joining a club and befriending new people is always a great way to destress — which we all know is incredibly important right now. Joining is simple and will open endless resources for you and all your budding flowers. If you’re raring to join after reading this, roll up your sleeves, find your local garden club, and get ready to expand your gardening world!