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September 2007

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Cheese - grins all round!

Sandra O'Hagan has received a useful tip on how to make club AGM more appealing.

Being part of a small gardening club means that a lot of members disappear to sunnier shores at the beginning of summer. The remaining diehards battled through the horrible days of June and yes we did have one sultry week but it just wasn't enough to redeem the month. Thankfully, growing perennials means you have stubborn plants that are determined to battle the elements, and bloom in spite of the weather.

Talking of bloom, I'm sure a lot of clubs attended the Bloom garden festival held in the Phoenix Park, hopefully you were lucky and went on one of the drier days. Personally I had a great day, relaxing on the ‘Bloom Express' from Cork, then following a pair of very organised ladies who knew about the free bus ride on offer from Heuston Station. As a newcomer to the Phoenix Park, I was bowled over by its stateliness and joined the throng of people making their way to the show. Later on I met up with the two Johns from Barryroe who had explored all the show gardens and proceeded to give me a grand tour. As the inaugural show it was all good; well organised facilities and stewarding, tasty food and good entertainment, interesting gardens and plant stalls. The only criticism I could give was the lack of garden gifts and accessories to buy. My hundred euro pocket money stayed in my purse and for a shopper like me that is very rare occurrence indeed.

 

Stuff in the plants and snuff out the weeds!

 

Back home I've been hearing about the Waterford Garden Society, over two decades old and with a massive membership of one hundred and eighty three. Club veterans share a love of herbaceous borders and, like me, are less than enthusiastic about the craze for low maintenance gardens. You all know the sort I mean. Evergreen shrubs poking through soil covered in weed-suppressant fabric, topped off with gravel or bark mulch. Practical maybe but very clinical and incredibly boring. Now, I have a bed full of hardy perennials that takes hardly any upkeep at all. I dead-head if I get time but only because I enjoy it. Left to their own devices the plants will do it for themselves, eventually. Stuff in the plants and snuff out the weeds!

The other thing that I have found out from the Sunny South-east is a novel idea to make garden club AGMs more enticing. Every club, be it a group of bungee jumpers or a circle of friends knitting jumpers, should take pictures, especially of outings and particular events. If you don't do so already, immediately nominate someone to be the club photographer, or encourage members to take lots of snaps. And not just posed group photos, or plant studies, think action!

Store them all up and when the annual event is on the horizon gather them ready for a grand slide show. If a member is computer-minded, it is quite straightforward to set up. The whole idea is to make AGM fun and, dare I say it, - enjoyable. Surely members won't risk missing themselves in all their glory up on the big screen. Say cheese please, or is it sausages?

 

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