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Anyone else suffering from.....?


By AndrewR


….a shrinking Garden Club.

It was our AGM last night. Traditionally, AGMs do not attract a big attendance (is everyone afraid they will be asked to do something?)
Over the past two years, our membership has shrunk from 75 to 45 and last night, there were only 18 bums on seats. What has caused this decline?
We had a run of bad speakers the year before last that certainly put a lot of people off. Most of our members are elderly, several do not drive and do not like coming out of an evening. We have also lost one or two to anno domini, having gone to that great compost heap in the sky. With reduced membership comes reduced income – less membership fees, less raffle tickets sold, fewer purchases at the Bring and Buy stall. But the cost of the hall does not drop and speakers’ travel expenses continue to rise as fuel prices increase. We shall be bankrupt by this time next year unless we can reverse the trend.
The one piece of good news from last night was that we managed to recruit another person on to the committee but that still only makes six out of a full compliment of ten. As well as Chairman, I am currently handling the Club publicity (Publicity Officer is one of the vacant positions at present). Despite pieces in the local newspaper and on Radio Berkshire, a flier to all allotment holders in the town, posters at libraries and Garden Centres, a plant sale in the town centre (it rained all day!) and other promotion pushes, we have failed to gain a single new member in the last twelve months.
The meeting agreed to hold membership fees at the same level as last year; putting them up would be like shooting ourselves in the foot. We increased the visitors’ fee from £2 to £3 and encouraged everyone to drag their family, friends, neighbours and anyone off the street to come along. We will try to increase our links with other local Clubs but so far, no-one from them has come to our meetings (are all Clubs in the same position?)
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has been in a Garden Club with the same problems. How did you turn it round? Or did the Club just fade away (like some of the more mature specimens in the garden)?
I don’t know what else we can try to reverse this downward spiral.

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??? My neighbour used2go to a gardening club early last year, it had been running for 5years i believe but the old Gentleman who was in charge of it sadly Died& it didnt contiune after that Andrewr :( But there is talk that someone new is starting it up again shortly so fingers Xd, My neighbour(ANN) has invited me along2next meeting & im going as i want 2 do some seed/plant swapping& meet new friends :) I think therel be TEA&CAKE 2 ; )

12 Mar, 2008


Ive never been to a garden club but I have identified my nearest which is on every 1st and 3rd monday. My first visit will be this coming monday and I hope that it will match my excpectations. I am aware that an awful lot of clubs of all sorts face difficult times when members move leave or sorry to say pass away. I also know from previous organisations know one likes price increases etc.
I hope Andrew your club has ressurgence in numbers with people wanting to be more involved and active.
Good luck.

12 Mar, 2008


I have only been involved in so much as showing at some of the local shows put on by some local gardening clubs. I have only joined one which you had to be a member of to show. That club has now folded, i think mainly because the people who ran it were not prepared to change anything to improve things. Myself, being in care work and working shifts i never know when/if i can attend a meeting. The Begonia Society i am a member of, but the people writing the booklet keep writing as if they are telling people off for not attending, which makes me all the more determined not to attend. It's too far away really, anyway. I hope some of the local groups will join forces and cooperate a bit to survive, not like the the one i was a member of that folded.

12 Mar, 2008


i cant understand why,As i thought gardening was on the up,all our local garden centres have got larger,and sell so much more...................

12 Mar, 2008


Sounds as if you have your work cut out, Andrew! It's a shame when a group who have so much in common can't attract new blood.

12 Mar, 2008


Wow! was this just topical for me to read today! I visited a neighbour this afternoon to pay for a ticket for next week's local "Gardeners' Question Time", staged to bring in funds for the local village "In Bloom". I explained that, due to work commitments, it was unlikely that I could actually attend, and got the reply that this was the response to all tickets sold thus far! They have several very eminent panellists lined up,. but, as yet, too small an audience. .
My neighbour had her scrapbooks out, filled with great pics of community planting schemes and work from the 1950s till 90s -a truly awesome archive! It resulted in a "who's dead now" scan of the pics - i.e.everyone except us! But, I still feel guilty, despite the fact that I do plant up and maintain all the planters in our street. I also try to involve our local primary school, but modern curriculii and laws, are so complicated! What are we to do?

13 Mar, 2008


Dek is the newly elected chairman of our Horticultural Society, Andrew, which I'm glad to say thrives reasonably well. This may be something to do with the fact that we are a relatively small community, everyone is very friendly, and most folk support the numerous organised events. Everyone who moves into the area is immediately approached to join the various clubs and societies and seem more than willing to do so. I suppose our Horticultural Society is not only about gardening but it also has an active social side to it with a "Summer Social", "Harvest Supper", annual holiday, etc.etc. I think this social side is vital. By the way, you may be interested to know that our Society was started by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin who lived in our area.

13 Mar, 2008


Firstly, many congrats to you for the article in Gardeners' World mag - I remember the TV broadcast now! Our problem, I think, is, that, despite being in a village, there are so many various groups, but none intertwine or arrange events, so that there is either a feast or a famine of events. Also, older residents may forget that others have to combine work with leisure - not an easy juggle!

13 Mar, 2008


Hi David, in our village we usually have a feast of events and sometimes there are so many organised it's difficult to know which to say 'no' to. As for juggling work with pleasure - I suppose we're fortunate as a lot of our community are retired and so find it easier to fit things in. Thanks for your comments on the magazine article, we've had a great response. The other day we received a phone call from someone who belongs to a classic/vintage car club who had also seen the mag. They asked if it would be possible to come along on one of our NGS days with a number of their cars, have a walk round the garden and have a cuppa. It'll be great to see what kind of cars they come in, they're bound to attract a lot of attention!

13 Mar, 2008

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