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April 2008

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Making contact with new members. Sandra O'Hagan rattles those pots and pans - for a while!

At the start of spring, I turned my back on gardening. The weather was so cold and wet that even the beauty of the awakening snowflakes, could not induce me to think about my garden. I wanted to warn a patch of miniature daffodils, poking their heads up from the ground, and tell them to hibernate for a bit longer. Flicking though seed catalogues and garden design books didn't appear to have their usual alluring effect either. Fellow club members seemed in the same frame of mind, doing other things and trying to ignore their outdoor wilderness.

I took refuge in the kitchen and put my chef's hat on. And as I am the queen of kitchen gadgetry, I had a good few culinary Christmas presents to play with. As new recipes were fired almost daily at the family, they struggled to survive the onslaught. Puddings were fine, even disasters tasted okay but as for the ‘mains' it was more misses than hits. It was time to return to what I know best and with the ‘teens' visibly relieved, my focus was back on the garden and Barryroe Garden Club.

Unsure whether my clubbers were ready for a group text deluge, I decided to go solo in drumming up new members. At the very least, I would ensure that all gardening enthusiasts in the area, would know exactly how to find us. It is easy to assume that everyone, everywhere, knows that your club exists, but a new arrival in the parish may not. There are plenty of ways to spread the word - local radio, a notice at your local garden centre, newspaper gardening columns, advertising papers and, of course, the Irish Garden magazine. Most of this type of advertising is absolutely free, so we may as well all make use of it.

At the very least, I would ensure that all gardening enthusiasts in the area, would know exactly how to find us.

In recent months, several people have contacted the magazine looking for a club in their area. First up is someone living in Straffan, Co. Kildare, which although renowned for all things equestrian, I'm sure is also home to a few green fingered folk. Hopefully a garden alliance has already been formed, if so let me know and I can pass on details to our reader. Someone else I would love to find a club for is a keen gardener who lives in Cobh, Co. Cork. He recently moved over from England and would love to start a club himself, except that he is now in his seventies. I bet there are quite a lot of keen plants people in and around this historic town, if you're one of them please get in touch. If you belong to a club, well that's even better.

So who would have thought that I would become a garden matchmaker, introducing vegetable growers to share seeds, initiating fair-weather gardeners to go on outings and instigating plant collectors to get out there and forage. Bringing horticultural happiness by linking passionate people with each other for an intellectual exchange of ideas or for a bit of fun and all because, deep down, I know that a chat about perennials over a cup of tea is hard to beat. Oh and if anyone's interested I have this great lemon tiramisu recipe!

 

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