By now I am sure you have heard that there is a great increase in the number of people gardening. People are turning to nature because they have more time, they are interested in growing their own food, and/or they would like to beautify their immediate surroundings. Many people find that plants, nature, and gardens help to ease anxiety and stress. Others are getting involved in gardening to help the environment by planting to support pollinators and fight climate change. Whatever the reason, I hope this increase in gardening continues as the pandemic wanes. Personally, I believe that if the new gardeners join a local gardening club, they may be more inclined to continue to garden. By joining, they can learn more about plants, feel more confident as they continue to garden, make new friends who have similar interest and may possibly serve as gardening mentors, and get more involved in the local gardening world.
However, people new to gardening may not be aware of these clubs. Gardening clubs serve as a support system to help them learn how to garden. Plant societies exist to help them learn to grow the particular plant in which they are interested. In addition to the master gardener program (another article entirely), there are many gardening clubs, societies, and organizations to join in the DC metro area. Some of the organizations have pivoted very well during the pandemic and have kept up their programming through online meetings. Others are beginning to have more in person meetings now that people are getting vaccinated and mask mandates are being lifted.
Here are many local garden clubs, societies, and organizations in the DC metro area. Check out their websites to learn more and contact them to find out about membership, activities, and meetings. This is not all inclusive, if I missed an organization, please contact me so I can list it.
The American Horticultural Society
The American Horticultural Society is a national membership organization and its physical location is River Farm, 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, VA. The property was part of George Washington’s tract along the Potomac River. The American Horticultural Society has put this property up for sale but you can still join the organization, which has numerous benefits, a magazine, and virtual workshops and events.
National Garden Clubs, Inc.
The National Garden Clubs, Inc., has 50 state garden clubs that are further broken down into regional clubs and local clubs. The National Garden Clubs is headquartered at 4401 Magnolia Avenue, St. Louis, MO. In this area, the state level clubs are: Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, headquartered at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA; and Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, Inc., at 4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore, MD. The local regional unit is the National Capital Area Garden Clubs. Within the National Capital Area Garden Clubs are many “neighborhood” clubs with differing meeting times so it is best to contact them for a local unit near you.
Garden Club of America
The Garden Club of America is headquartered at 14 East 60th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY. There are only a few local clubs in this area which is Zone VI according to their map. There is the Garden Club of Chevy Chase, MD; and the Trowel Club and the Georgetown Garden Club in DC.
Garden Club of Virginia
The Garden Club of Virginia is headquartered at the Kent-Valentine House, 12 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA. There are many local units across the Commonwealth so contact headquarters for one near you. The Garden Club of Virginia is famous for its annual Historic Garden Week in April when private and public gardens are open to the public and the local units’ volunteers not only help to put on this event but make floral arrangements for the homes.
Local Chapters of Plant Societies
There probably is an association for every type of plant and most have local chapters. These are the local chapters in order of the boldfaced plant name.
American Gourd Society. There is a Virginia Lover’s Gourd Society
Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America
And Potomac Chapter
Local Chapters of Native Plant Societies
Private Garden Clubs
Friends of Organizations
There are opportunities to volunteer at public gardens, which is like being a member of a garden club. For example, there is a Friends of Green Spring in Alexandria, VA; Friends of Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD; and the Friends of the National Arboretum. There is a similar organization called the All Hallows Guild of the Washington National Cathedral, which has extensive grounds and a garden at Massachusetts & Wisconsin Avenues, NW, Washington, DC.