Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Join a local plant society!

In these days of instant online access to virtually anything we need to know within a few keystrokes, it's easy to believe there is no need for human contact with our fellow gardeners. Wrong! There are many nuances to growing plants that can only be learned from direct contact with those who've “ been there, done that”. For example, it's one thing to read the correct steps to graft your favorite plant, but that is a completely different experience than watching an old-time gardener do it in person and explain it in detail.

Virtually every community of any size has some sort of plant-minded gathering. Most cities have plant societies devoted to very specific plant groupings where people with similar obsessions can meet and share the joys and disappointments of their unique plant type.

Whether your obsession is cacti, orchids, bromeliads, palms, bulbs, oriental vegetables, fruit trees, container gardening, or anything else, chances are there is a plant society nearby that will welcome you with open arms.

Not only are plant societies the ideal place to learn and to make new gardening friends, they are also just about the only place you can go to get the rarest of plants that are not commercially grown. Anybody can go to the nearest big box store and buy a tissue-cultured, cookie cutter plant that looks like all the others on your block. But where can you go to get that rare thing that can only be propagated by seed and takes 20 years before it's old enough to flower? A plant society of course!

The plant fanatics in these clubs have the rarest, most beautiful, best-tasting, thorniest, ugliest, slowest-growing, most spectacular, and all-around most fascinating plants you can find. If a superlative can be attached to a plant, these people will have it or know where you can get it. And best of all, they are willing to SHARE! Go to any plant meeting place and you will see people exchanging cuttings, seeds, or divisions in the parking lot before the meeting even gets started. Inside, they'll be talking about their latest acquisition and getting growing tips from others. If you're into plants you'll fit right in. Join a plant society today!

OK, maybe there are a few of you who live in a very isolated area, or maybe the meetings are on a day you can't attend, or maybe one or two plant meetings a month just isn't enough for you. Maybe you already belong to several plant societies but you have an urgent question and don't know where to turn. Maybe you just like to garden vicariously by looking at photos of gardens. For all of you there is the giant online plant society, Blotanical.com. It's a collection of the best gardeners from all over the world who somehow find time to write about their gardens in between planting, pulling weeds, and picking the crops. Yes, gardeners are AMAZING people! Check it out and you'll see what I mean.


Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

It is often difficult to get to meetings, time or travel being issues.
But Blotanical is my daily morning meeting with like-minded garden buddies. And considering how diverse and wide-spread, it's one doozy of a get-together!
All best

Noelle said...

Great advice and hopefully if people cannot join a society near them they will join Blotanical. I have enjoyed meeting so many fellow gardeners and learned a lot about growing plants in different regions.

Ian Percy said...

Great thoughts Jim. I belong to a few plant societies and the meetings and friendships have been very rewarding.
cheers Ian

Kelly@LifeOutOfDoors said...

I love the reminder about human contact in the quest for knowledge about plants. Sometimes the internet is so easy though! When the sun finally comes out again, I'll stop being such a hermit. Thanks for the message on Blotanical - I appreciate the welcome! Kelly


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