Gardening clubs in Hertfordshire to join
PUBLISHED: 11:31 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:31 14 November 2017
Make new friends, get gardening tips, expand your horticultural knowledge and visit inspirational gardens, these are just some of the benefits of joining a local horticultural club
The group meets monthly at Wheathampstead Memorial Hall from October to April for talks, events and workshops. Events are followed by tea, homemade cakes and a plant stall where members bring plants in to swap with others – a great opportunity to pick up something unusual or new for your garden. During the summer months, meetings transform into outings and the chance to look at gardens and nurseries in the county or further afield, plus there’s a seedling swap and grand plant sale. The Herts group is one of 50 regional and specialist groups of the Hardy Plant Society. The aim of the society, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is to cultivate interest in growing hardy herbaceous perennials.
If you fancy volunteering your gardening skills (no matter what level) for a community project or want to find a gardening club or society near you, the Royal Horticultural Society website has lots of information on opportunities available. Research by the society has shown that one of the best ways to make new friends, share a common interest and expand your horizons is by joining a local gardening group. A poll of 550 clubs affiliated to the RHS found that 68 per cent of members joined to make new friends, 73 per cent to share gardening information and 70 per cent to widen their horticultural knowledge.
With regular meetings at Sandridge Village Hall, this heritage group has a thriving programme of talks, garden visits and plant sales throughout the year. Previously known as the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, Plant Heritage helps to preserve and conserve our cultivated garden plants. Its National Plant Collection scheme is a living plant library with hundreds of different collections in Britain and abroad, each one dedicated to a specific genus and each one very different. Plant collections held in Hertfordshire include Salix at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Rosa at the Royal National Rose Society in Chiswell Green, Akebia in a private garden, Chrysanthemums at a London Colney allotment and Taxodium and Hornbeam at the Beale Arboretum in Hadley Wood.
The society was formed 40 years ago by a group of orchid lovers in Ware and today membership is drawn from a wide area including Hertfordshire, Essex, North London and Bedfordshire. The group hosts meetings for 11 months of the year with an interesting programme of topics from general orchid culture to in-depth lectures on specialist genus. The variety and fascination of orchid flowers is unsurpassed in horticulture, some are like dancing butterflies, others resemble hovering moths or delicate spiders and many gardeners find that once they start collecting and finding out about them, it’s difficult not to be gripped by orchid fever.
Members have a wide range of experience from those just starting to grow orchids on a windowsill to others who are acknowledged experts with international reputations. This is definitely the gardening group if you are interested in these fascinating plants.
The Cottage Garden Society is an informal and friendly society of about 3,000 members in many countries, though most are based in the UK. It brings together amateurs and professionals who share an enthusiasm for the traditional cottage garden style. The Herts, Cambs and Beds club is one of 35 regional groups and meets six times a year, mostly in the spring and summer months for garden visits. Its autumn AGM is held in Ashwell and includes a pub lunch and a talk.
Dedicated to promoting the art of bonsai, this club has people of all skill levels who meet and share expertise in growing dwarf trees. Bonsai is a translation from the Japanese word for ‘planted in a container’ and the practice originated in China centuries ago. The club meets monthly at Mead Hall in Wheathampstead for workshops, demonstrations, speakers and social evenings. Members are encouraged to bring along their trees to workshops where advice and guidance is readily available. The club also runs a table show at most meetings where members can display their trees in all stages of bonsai development. Here the trees are judged, and their growers given advice and awarded points which go towards winning the club’s Rose Bowl Trophy and the RHS Banksian Medal.
The club has a library of bonsai books and magazines that are available on free loan to members. Throughout the year the club holds occasional weekend workshops, displays at public events and licenced tree collecting expeditions.