Its name may technically be “The Dartmouth Horticultural Society“, but Debbie Symonds wants people to know that it really just means “garden club”.
“Our name can be a little intimidating to some people. It sounds like you have to be some sort of botanist or horticulturalist to belong,” acknowledges Symonds, who is Past-President and a long-time member of the society. “But it’s actually a really friendly club where people get together to share their love of gardening. It’s a place where brand-new gardeners can get help and advice from people who have been gardening for years and years. There are lots of members who have knowledge to share.”
The group, which has around 100 members, meets at the East Dartmouth Community Centre on the second Monday of each month. Meetings involve a short formal business portion, an informal mix-and-mingle with refreshments, plus a guest speaker.
Throughout the year, the club hosts plant and seed exchanges, social events and field trips to gardening centres across the province. Members also have access to a free lending library that has the latest gardening publications.
“Everything we do is with the view to making it affordable and accessible for everyone,” says Symonds. “People share plants and ideas. Really, I’d have to say that gardeners are a very generous bunch, and very social, too.”
Horticultural Society members are also active in the wider community, volunteering their time at the Moir Garden at Sullivan’s Pond and the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm garden.
Symonds describes the club as a close-knit-but-welcoming group that’s always open to new members, and she’d love to see more people join.
“I think there’s a real benefit to working in a garden. Sometimes in life you’re not quite sure you’re doing things right, like when your raising your children for example. But a garden is a place that allows you to make mistakes. You can lose yourself in it. Gardens are very forgiving.”
For more information, contact Susan Hazelwood (President) at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Dartmouth Horticultural Society Facebook page.