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Posted on Tue, Apr 3, 2012 : 6 a.m.

Local clubs provide opportunities to make new gardening friends

By Jim and Janice Leach


Janice Leach | Contributor

One of the unexpected benefits of participating in the Master Gardener course last year was that I have acquired some gardening friends. We met regularly over the course of the last summer to work on community projects together, repeatedly proving the adage that many hands make light work — or at least lighter work and more fun.

I now have more friends to attend events and carpool with, which makes meetings and workshops even more enjoyable. Sometimes our work sessions have become plant or seed exchanges, and we pool our experiences and share our knowledge about plants and pests; those are great bonuses too.

In the article I wrote last year on the annual Master Gardener Recognition Dinner, I mentioned that the Master Gardener course would not be offered in Washtenaw County during this winter. That put the kibosh out of my plan to write about and promote the Master Gardener program and its unexpected benefit as a way to make gardening friends.

We in the Master Gardener Alumni Association have been told that the Master Gardener Volunteer Program will be offered again in Washtenaw County, and for the sake of gardeners and general gardening knowledge shared with our community, I sincerely hope so. Participating in the program has greatly enriched my life, and I hear the same sentiment from the gardeners I have met.

Meanwhile, here are some local gardening groups and organizations where gardeners of all levels of experience can make new connections now.

Ann Arbor Garden Club
This club was founded in 1929. The group meets monthly from September through May with guest speakers, workshops, flower shows and plant exchanges.

The Herb Study Group
This group meets on the first Monday of the Month from March through November (except December, January & February) from 7- 8:30 p.m. at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Ypsilanti Garden Club
The group hosts monthly meetings and speakers, a plant sale on June 2 at 9 a.m., and a garden tour on Aug. 18 from noon until 5 p.m.

Ann Arbor Farm and Garden
This group of women gardeners sponsors an annual garden walk, which is fundraising event that supports local gardening programs through grants. The 22nd annual Ann Arbor Garden Walk will be held on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monthly meetings feature both a social time and a guest speaker or presentation.

Chelsea Area Garden Club
This group hosts regular meetings and is involved in city beautification. Their annual plant sale will be held on Saturday, May 12 from 8:30 a.m.-noon. Their biennial garden walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Dexter Garden Club
This club holds monthly meetings. Their annual plant sale is scheduled for May 12.

The information presented here has been gathered from various websites. Please follow the links and use the contact information provided to verify dates of events, meetings, and membership fees.

If you have more current information or additional garden groups to add to the list, please leave a message in the comments.

Janice and Jim Leach tend a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor, where they try to grow as many vegetables and other plants as possible. For the last four years, they've published gardening tips, photos and stories at their 20 Minute Garden website.