Sharing joy of plants

GARDEN GURUS: Gisborne garden club presidents Dot McCulloch and Barbara Clarke are keen to build up garden club membership and pass on skills, tips and share the joys of gardening. They are pictured in Dot McCulloch’s garden. Picture by Paul Rickard
FLORAL ART:
Tina McGimpsey of the Wairoa Floral Art Group with Rural Scene, an art installation of the humble New Zealand sheep, made from hydrangea flowers. The piece was one of 50 displayed in outdoor floral art exhibition Art in the Garden at the Bushmere Arms in October to celebrate the Gisborne East Coast Area Floral Art Society’s 50th anniversary. Thousands of people attended. Floral Art clubs are side shoots of garden clubs. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
Some of the benefits of growing your own. Picture supplied
Ornamental and edible planting in a frame. Picture supplied

FIVE thriving garden clubs in this region in the 1970s and ’80s are now down to three, and dwindling numbers are threatening the oldest of the clubs.

Poverty Bay Garden Circle former president Val Needam said the club was losing members left, right and centre and was now down to 42 members. In its 88th year, she was not sure it would make 90 years.

“It is the new generation. They are all working and people have now got small gardens.”

She said the floral art side of gardening was going down as well as membership in garden clubs.

The other two clubs left here are the 65-year-old Te Hapara Garden and Floral Art Club with 18 members and the 36-year-old Country Garden Club with 45 members, a long way from its heyday of 120 members.

But despite the diminishing numbers two garden club presidents, Dot McCulloch from Te Hapara club and Barbara Clarke from the country club, want to turn the situation around.

“Gardening is a hobby involving the biggest numbers of people in New Zealand and the world. There are so many benefits and to join a club of like-minded people you can get friendship, knowledge as well as actual plant material to grow in your garden,” Mrs McCulloch said.

The virtues of gardening are endless, Mrs Clarke said.

“It saves money, homegrown vegetables taste better and it is great exercise,” she said.

Many benefits

The benefits of being in a club are also many.

“If you have any problems, someone will know what to do, and we have guest speakers, sometimes from out of the district, so there is always something new to learn.”

Every garden club runs to much the same structure and rules.

They sometimes run fieldtrips to look at other gardens, have sales tables of cuttings or preserves or other garden related items, share seeds and run monthly competitions.

“Depending on the time of the year, the vase of the month will be seasonally related. People bring their best three samples and they are judged,” Mrs McCulloch said.

Floral art is a big part for some people and sometimes club members make posies for the old people in retirement villages.

“Sometimes we go to the old folks’ homes and make posies with the residents. It is good for them to get involved and you can strike up friendships in all sorts of ways.”

Mrs Clarke said an interest table usually generated discussion.

“People might bring along a peculiar plant or some preserving or some baking.”

Also with a lot of plant material left over at the end of a meeting, often someone will bundle it up into a bouquet for someone who has lost a loved one or needs a lift.

Changing lifestyles

The presidents all agree the decline in club members was related to changing lifestyles, time poor younger people with smaller spaces to create gardens and increasingly, a lack of knowledge.

“At garden clubs there is so much that can be learned. Which plants grow from cuttings, how to take those cuttings, how to store seeds, when to do things in the garden, we cover it all,” Mrs Clarke said.

“Also information specific to this region, about the seasons and the soils best suited for different plants.”

Daily gardening chores like watering, weeding, trellising, mulching and harvesting are great ways to augment an exercise regimen.

It’s a given that growing your own vegetables improves diet; but access to fresh, unprocessed food right in your backyard isn’t the only reason gardening is good for you.

A recently published analysis of scientific studies on how gardening affects health has some fascinating insights into how digging in the dirt benefits your mind, body, and soul, not just your soil.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect to reap when you sow some seeds.

  • Getting out in the garden at the end of a busy day reduces stress levels and mental fatigue. In one study, participants performed a stressful activity and then were assigned 30 minutes of gardening or 30 minutes of indoor reading afterwards. Both reduced stress, but gardening had a significantly bigger impact.
  • Gardening keeps you active and reduces your stress levels, and that means it can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other associated lifestyle diseases. And eating the nutritious whole foods that you grow is great for heart health too.
  • Mounting evidence shows a number of health and behaviour problems, including anxiety and depression, are directly linked to the amount of time spent outside. For children, especially, this can constitute a “nature-deficit disorder”. Gardening staves off blues, provides an outlet for creativity, and nurtures a sense of pride and accomplishment when you harvest those juicy red tomatoes.
  • A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that various physical activities — gardening among them — can cut your risk of Alzheimer’s by 50 percent. Other research finds that horticulture therapy is engaging for dementia patients and has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
  • Spending time in the dirt can improve your sleep quality. The physical activity tires you out, but more importantly, tending to your garden reduces stress and anxiety levels, meaning you’ll be able to fall asleep easier and experience sweeter dreams.

All Gisborne garden clubs meet on Tuesdays. The Poverty Bay Club meets on the afternoon of every second Tuesday of every month at the Showgrounds Events Centre, Country Garden club meets also on the second Tuesday of every month, but in the evening at 7.30pm at the Waerenga a Hika hall.

Te Hapara meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month in the evening at St Mark’s Hall.

To find out more contact Dot McCulloch at wolight829@gmail.com or Barbara Clarke at bawjclarke@gmail.com

FIVE thriving garden clubs in this region in the 1970s and ’80s are now down to three, and dwindling numbers are threatening the oldest of the clubs.

Poverty Bay Garden Circle former president Val Needam said the club was losing members left, right and centre and was now down to 42 members. In its 88th year, she was not sure it would make 90 years.

“It is the new generation. They are all working and people have now got small gardens.”

She said the floral art side of gardening was going down as well as membership in garden clubs.

The other two clubs left here are the 65-year-old Te Hapara Garden and Floral Art Club with 18 members and the 36-year-old Country Garden Club with 45 members, a long way from its heyday of 120 members.

But despite the diminishing numbers two garden club presidents, Dot McCulloch from Te Hapara club and Barbara Clarke from the country club, want to turn the situation around.

“Gardening is a hobby involving the biggest numbers of people in New Zealand and the world. There are so many benefits and to join a club of like-minded people you can get friendship, knowledge as well as actual plant material to grow in your garden,” Mrs McCulloch said.

The virtues of gardening are endless, Mrs Clarke said.

“It saves money, homegrown vegetables taste better and it is great exercise,” she said.

Many benefits

The benefits of being in a club are also many.

“If you have any problems, someone will know what to do, and we have guest speakers, sometimes from out of the district, so there is always something new to learn.”

Every garden club runs to much the same structure and rules.

They sometimes run fieldtrips to look at other gardens, have sales tables of cuttings or preserves or other garden related items, share seeds and run monthly competitions.

“Depending on the time of the year, the vase of the month will be seasonally related. People bring their best three samples and they are judged,” Mrs McCulloch said.

Floral art is a big part for some people and sometimes club members make posies for the old people in retirement villages.

“Sometimes we go to the old folks’ homes and make posies with the residents. It is good for them to get involved and you can strike up friendships in all sorts of ways.”

Mrs Clarke said an interest table usually generated discussion.

“People might bring along a peculiar plant or some preserving or some baking.”

Also with a lot of plant material left over at the end of a meeting, often someone will bundle it up into a bouquet for someone who has lost a loved one or needs a lift.

Changing lifestyles

The presidents all agree the decline in club members was related to changing lifestyles, time poor younger people with smaller spaces to create gardens and increasingly, a lack of knowledge.

“At garden clubs there is so much that can be learned. Which plants grow from cuttings, how to take those cuttings, how to store seeds, when to do things in the garden, we cover it all,” Mrs Clarke said.

“Also information specific to this region, about the seasons and the soils best suited for different plants.”

Daily gardening chores like watering, weeding, trellising, mulching and harvesting are great ways to augment an exercise regimen.

It’s a given that growing your own vegetables improves diet; but access to fresh, unprocessed food right in your backyard isn’t the only reason gardening is good for you.

A recently published analysis of scientific studies on how gardening affects health has some fascinating insights into how digging in the dirt benefits your mind, body, and soul, not just your soil.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect to reap when you sow some seeds.

  • Getting out in the garden at the end of a busy day reduces stress levels and mental fatigue. In one study, participants performed a stressful activity and then were assigned 30 minutes of gardening or 30 minutes of indoor reading afterwards. Both reduced stress, but gardening had a significantly bigger impact.
  • Gardening keeps you active and reduces your stress levels, and that means it can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other associated lifestyle diseases. And eating the nutritious whole foods that you grow is great for heart health too.
  • Mounting evidence shows a number of health and behaviour problems, including anxiety and depression, are directly linked to the amount of time spent outside. For children, especially, this can constitute a “nature-deficit disorder”. Gardening staves off blues, provides an outlet for creativity, and nurtures a sense of pride and accomplishment when you harvest those juicy red tomatoes.
  • A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that various physical activities — gardening among them — can cut your risk of Alzheimer’s by 50 percent. Other research finds that horticulture therapy is engaging for dementia patients and has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
  • Spending time in the dirt can improve your sleep quality. The physical activity tires you out, but more importantly, tending to your garden reduces stress and anxiety levels, meaning you’ll be able to fall asleep easier and experience sweeter dreams.

All Gisborne garden clubs meet on Tuesdays. The Poverty Bay Club meets on the afternoon of every second Tuesday of every month at the Showgrounds Events Centre, Country Garden club meets also on the second Tuesday of every month, but in the evening at 7.30pm at the Waerenga a Hika hall.

Te Hapara meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month in the evening at St Mark’s Hall.

To find out more contact Dot McCulloch at wolight829@gmail.com or Barbara Clarke at bawjclarke@gmail.com

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