Sorry, I'm coming in on this a bit late.....
I totally agree. Here in Houston there are many different plant
societies. For years I heard about the snooty reputation, some more than
attended the shows to see the various plants that I had only seen in
books, make a wish list and buy the plants at the sales, since back then
was no internet, so you had to purchase locally. Garden club or society
plant sales were and still are for the most part, the best place to
the more unusual and hard to find plants (at a cheaper price than online)
that actually do well in the area...and get first hand info from
growers. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the people were not
snooty at all. I found them to be very eager to share their passion and
knowledge. I joined those groups that I had the most interest in that
plant group. I avoided even trying to join the orchid society because I
had heard they were the worst. I have now been a member for 3 years and
upset that I hadn't joined sooner.
Times have changed, membership to a society is no longer considered as
prestigious as it once was 25+ years ago. From what I was told, there
waiting lists to join the various plant societies, and one had to have a
recommendation to join. Plants were much harder to obtain and therefore
much more, so membership was pretty limitted to those that could afford
plants to begin with. But all this has changed, and those members that
tried to maintain these standards are no longer around. Nowadays, I
that the society members are just extremely generous and passionate about
their plants, and eager to pass on excess plants and information to
that shows a legitimate interest in learning......not just obtaining free
plants. They are especially accepting of members that participate as
Unfortunately there are those that are just out for what they can get.
societies have a newcomers group (I laughingly call it a probationary
period) that is required before becoming a member.......but in actuality
is the best thing. Newbies learn the basics by going to members houses
once a month to learn about certain genera, growing methods, etc. and
starter plants to try. By the time the two year period is up, they have a
pretty good collection and knowledge about the plant group and know if
want to join or not. Many drop out after a couple months finding out
they aren't as into the particular plant as they thought........... but
stay and become active productive members. These groups are social as
well as educational, and highly rewarding, but mostly to those that show
interest or share their passion.
Texas Gulf Coast
In a message dated 7/29/2010 9:25:30 PM Central Daylight Time,
You should at least look at their shows. I admit some clubs are
"snooty," though less and less these days, but Federated clubs,
as opposed to Garden of America clubs, are real meritocracies.
You are appreciated for the work you do, and status is gained
by achievement. Aside from that, I just feel that the pleasure you
would get from a well-organized show is something you should
experience. I admit I'm a bit nuts, but a flower show is a special
event. Everyone involved is trying to make the best effort possible.
You demonstrate what you have accomplished both artistically
by flower arrangements, and horticulturally by exhibiting the very
best specimens you can grow. It's a real ego trip, I know, but
I really think you would enjoy a good flower show.
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