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Re: was Cyclamen / now Master Gardeners

In a message dated 11/09/2003 8:46:33 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
genebush@otherside.com writes:

> Any theories on why Master Gardener chapter would have more active males
> than the usual garden club or organization? Come to think of it Alpine
> Gardening seems to be made up of a very strong male component. Does not seem
> to be just a local thing here as I read from your guys.

Not Zem or Bonnie, but I have given the matter a lot of thought.  In our area 
at least garden clubs still suffer from a "Helen Hokinson" image and lots of 
men who are quite interested in and helpful with garden club activities 
wouldn't be caught dead belonging to one.  And there are women affected by the same 
image who don't believe men belong in garden clubs.  The vice-president of my 
club is a noted orchid specialist.  He was giving a  lecture to a garden club 
in the region, and introduced himself as belonging to the New Horizons Garden 
Club.  He said a couple of the women looked as if they needed smelling salts - 
they demanded to know how that could be.  He took great delight in telling 
them that the president was also male.  (What he didn't tell them was that there 
are only 14 members, only 2 of which are men.)  But early on there was 
another man who wanted to join.  We invited him to a meeting and he kept 
interrupting every few minutes to tell us what the "proper" way to conduct the meeting 
was.  He didn't get invited back.  Of course we knew  the proper way to conduct 
a meeting - at that time five of us had been District Directors and  four more 
were presidents, past or present, of other clubs.  In our small group we 
didn't need to follow his rigid protocols.
I really think garden clubs in general suffer from an image problem.  Of 
course there are all sorts of garden clubs, and some of them are responsible for 
the problem.  I have belonged to one like that, too.  But many garden clubs do 
much valuable and interesting work, and many are like mine, active groups of 
close friends who enjoy each other's company.  What bugs me most is that in 
this area Master Gardeners think we are the devil incarnate.  They actively hate 
us!  Some have refused to speak to the Horticulture School I run just because 
it is garden club sponsored.  One of our members was refused entry to the 
program because of her garden club membership, and she is an impressive 
horticulturist.  I know this situation doesn't exist everywhere - I have garden club 
friends throughout the state who are also Master Gardeners, and who don't share 
these feelings, but in this area our name is mud.  It makes one wonder if at 
some point along the way one of them wasn't asked to belong to some club she 
wanted to join...

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