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Greatest garden group get togethers

Posted by camellia (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 28, 06 at 1:19

What do you think makes for a great garden group meeting? Had any memorable ones? A few of us are now organizing our meetings for about 2 dozen local people for next fall and want to think outside the box.


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

Gatherings of happy people who share the thrill of plant talk are memorable events. Perfect planning makes everything run smoothly.
I have participated in about 5 such events. All have involved traveling to exciting locations: a sod roofed house and private garden, a donkey sanctuary with gardens, a clematis garden, parks and arboretums, etc. I personally enjoy the private gardens most if they are carefully selected. (I was once on a tour of 5 private gardens that were all ho-hum.)

In each case the food was extraordinary. One event had lunch at our place, between events. We had a picnic outdoors on quilts. The food was prepared by talented friends. Wine was an important ingredient for some. I invited a friend who makes frost tolerant clay garden pottery. Another friend brought his gorgeous clematis to sell. People love to buy special out of the ordinary items.

Transportation, meals, etc must run smoothly. I find the events with speakers are generally less exciting. Outings to amazing nurseries are always a thrill for the addicts! :-) Evenings afterwards are fabulous as we chat about the finds and events, and sing and laugh together.

Come to think of it, it really is all about who is invited.


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

Ah, Camellia, you've come to the right place. A good sized group of us who participate regularly in this forum have had many successful get-togethers. We're actually having our third annual full weekend event in Chicago this year in July. Last year it was here, in New England. I've been to all of them and every one has been memorable and just loads of fun. You should get a variety of opinions and responses.

Usually we split our time between visiting group member's private gardens, visiting local specialty nurseries, and touring public gardens. The biggest problem I had when trying to plan an itinerary last year was narrowing the list of what we wanted to do down to fit the amount of time we had. Some of the best times we've had though, IMO are the meals and parties in our own group member gardens. We're all pretty extreme on the gardening scale so with that in common just being together in a garden setting with good food, drink and conversation seems to work for everyone. Even at the first gathering when we all had never met, there was never a lag in the conversation. It was like everyone had known each other for ever.

What are some of the activities you're considering?

Sue


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

Sue, some of the considerations have been visiting a grower and plant exchange. Activities of the past year have been either of two formats, always on a set day of the month so schedule juggling isn't required, and through fall, winter and spring (not summer). One is a morning coffee meeting at one of our houses with general discussion or somone leading a discussion on a plant, a challenge or other matter. Once every 2 or 3 sessions we have morning visits to public gardens followed by great restaurant lunches. Not everyone shows up for each meeting so the number fluctuates. For next year - to work within the format would mean more public gardens further afield with greater travel logistics.


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

Camellia:

Started doing group garden stuff with a bunch of Herbies about 15 years ago and haven't stopped since. It's the best times I have -- meeting "serious" gardeners, appreciating everyone's different styles and talents, and learning, learning, learning.

After hosting national, regional and very local garden group stuff, the best advice I can give is Have A Theme for each gathering. This keeps everything fresh, especially on the local level, and there is always someone who has a particular knowledge about something.

For example: June is Rose Season around here, and my local garden club will be meeting for a "rose colored breakfast", learning how to dry roses for crafts, learning how to propogate, and then heading to a nationally renowned rose garden to volunteer. Public gardens always are happy to have knowledgeable folks want to work with them, even for a morning.

On a more regional or national level, hosting a gathering is a great deal of work, but ALWAYS worth it. When people come in to Connecticut for the first time, it's obligatory to do the White Flower Farm to Logee's trip across the state with a few stops here and there. These are well-known places for serious plant people, and it's a thrill for folks to see the place "for real."

Also remember budget, and the fact that plants don't always travel as well as we'd like. A friend just drove up from Florida with a bunch of tropicals and literally threw a tarp over his SUV when he stopped to avoid sun scald.

Food is a must and has been covered well. So is an easy place to talk where everyone can "be with" everyone else.

A lot of common sense, but it's worked tried and true.

Martie


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

Sue, can you tell me a little bit more about the Chicago meeting in July?


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

Anitamo, check out the message thread on this forum called "Idyllunion 2006". I put a link to it below. Most of the actual details are now being discussed privately through e-mail. Contact Veronicastrum through her member page if you would like to be included in the festivities.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Idyllunion 2006


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

  • Posted by taryn S Ontario Z6B (My Page) on
    Sat, May 6, 06 at 22:10

Here are pics from last year's Idyll-union weekend. It was so much fun! Great gardens, great food and beverages, great conversation! Looking forward to IU3...

Idyll-union 2005 Friday

Idyll-union 2005 Saturday

Idyll-union 2005 Sunday

Enjoy, and good luck!

Taryn


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RE: Greatest garden group get togethers

Thanks for all the info Sue. It sounds wonderful.


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