Reluctant Membership: A Gardening Oops

I’m a reluctant joiner… a characteristic that prevents me from jumping onto some fly-by-night bandwagon. But my hesitancy to join groups – I have many excuses: too chummy, too cliquey, no time – kept me from sending membership dues to a valuable organization. This is my December 2011 GOOPs, my Gardening Oops, when I confess/share a  mistake, an oversight, or a general faux pas I’ve made in my gardening life. There are many. This link to previous GOOPs posts proves it.

I share my GOOPs to prevent you from walking in my mis-steps or … to offer some camaraderie if you’ve already muddied your gardening shoes on the same path. Then I offer you a chance to share a GOOPs you’ve made, if you are willing and comfortable enough in your gardening skin to confess a blunder.

First, my GOOPs.

What’s the valuable organization that took me too long to join? The Connecticut Horticultural Society (CHS). After being a member for just a few months I wonder why I waited to join.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The mission of the Connecticut Horticultural Society is education. CHS’s goal is to encourage enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of plants and the art and science of growing and living with plants and their/our environment. They do so through newsletters, presentations and programs during regular meetings (open to the public for a small donation), and separate educational events, garden tours and an annual symposium.

At the first regular meeting I attended, Margaret Roach (learn more about Margaret through her wonderful blog, A Way to Garden) humorously and thoughtfully discussed and shared photos of her 365-day garden. If you get a chance to see Margaret speak, don’t pass it up. I even purchased her book, and I shall have some peace there,  at the meeting. Love the book and super enjoyed listening to Margaret describe her gardening life. There are many days, Margaret, I would love to walk in your boots.

Subsequent and future speaker presentations include shade gardening (Judith and Dick Tyler who created a wonderful garden on their wooded Virginia land), soil science (Thomas Rathier), sustainable lawns (Tom Christopher), planting natives (Larry Weaner), water gardening (Tim Jennings), sustainable solutions for garden pests (Nancy DuBrule-Clemente) and autumn plants (Stephanie Cohen).

But meetings may also include unexpected presentations. For instance, November meeting attendees learned tactics to save storm damaged trees from immediate demise and when storm damage is tree-fatal … a timely subject following the massive, state-wide tree and shrub damage caused by tropical storm Irene and the snow of the October Nor’easter.

The program meetings alone make membership worthwhile. But, in my best cheesy TV infomercial imitation, ‘wait, there’s more!’ CHS sponsors garden-related trips, holds a plant auction, displays at the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, P9040313 Thumbsponsors scholarships and maintains a lending library.

It only took attending a couple of meetings for CHS to turn my reluctance into enthusiasm. I’m already signed up for the CHS-sponsored movie night showing of A Chemical Reaction (December 6 at the Portland Library, pre-registration through CHS) and I look forward to seeing the line-up of gardening gurus at CHS’s spring symposium (Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery, Kerry Ann Mendez of Perennially Yours, and horticultural educator and landscape designer Nan Sinton).

Why did I wait? This is my GOOPs.

No chiding needed, I’ve done ample self-scolding.

Are you, too, a reluctant joiner? Tell your tale in a comment below, or share a link to your GOOPs post – on this topic or any other – on your blog. Just be sure to leave a teaser in a comment below so we know how to find your GOOPs.

Garden thoughtfully and may my GOOPs not be yours.

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5 comments for “Reluctant Membership: A Gardening Oops

  1. December 1, 2011 at 7:49 am

    This is so familiar! I would not join, convinced CHS was another little old ladies’ garden club with little to offer. A friend dragged me to a meeting a year ago, and I was so surprised to learn how much they do, (including scholarships to hort students), to hear the great speakers, etc. And membership gets you discounts at most garden centers!! Like you, why did I wait? I have to say the quality of the speakers has gone way up since Steve Silk became president.

    My mistake this month was a beginner’s planting and design error. It’s on my blog.

    • joenesgarden
      December 1, 2011 at 8:15 am

      Laurrie, I’m glad I have ‘reluctant joiner’ company. Perhaps we are mellowing a bit as we age?! I, too, am quite impressed with the quality of the speakers. See you at the next program?

  2. December 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Joene, Wow, it sounds like they have a great list of speakers lined up. I just wish they rotated meeting locations instead of always having them in Hartford. For gardeners down in Fairfield county that can be quite a hike. I have to say CT Hort Society isn’t really on my watch list because of the distance but I guess I’ll have to pay attention to their schedule after our great post.

    • joenesgarden
      December 5, 2011 at 8:55 am

      Debbie, it’s frustrating that it takes so long to travel to certain places in our small state. There have been many events in your part of CT that I’ve opted to miss simply because of travel time. Sigh.

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