Guest Author - Charity Armstrong
Many rose gardeners, even if they have a bit of gardening experience feel they can benefit from additional knowledge. Perhaps you would just enjoy getting together with other fellow gardeners like yourself to talk mulch and spray treatments. No matter where you live there is usually a rose organization you’ll be able to volunteer with or a club you can join.
If you want a very structured experience that involves all aspects of gardening, consider the Master Gardener program in your area. Most towns have a Master Gardener program available. Typically you get started by filling out a form with your local extension office and attending an interview. Then you’ll be required to participate in so many hours of weekly class work. This period usually lasts for three or four months. Once you’re finished with the class work you’re ready to volunteer. Many groups have a display garden that needs maintenance; you can participate in school programs, beautification of public areas and special town projects. There is usually a communal side to the Master Gardener group as well. They often have pot luck socials and you can even attend national and state meetings. In order to stay certified as a Master Gardener you’ll be required to perform a certain number of volunteer hours each year.
If Master Gardener is a bit more involved than you’d like, but you still want to participate in hands on learning. Consider whether you have a community or public garden you can volunteer with. Typically you can volunteer as little as once a month or up to once a week. You can often request to volunteer with a horticultural worker in a specific area of the garden such as roses or shade gardening. This can be a great way to gain knowledge in a focused area without having to make a large commitment. Since you normally learn as you go, you could continue to volunteer for years or stop after a few months. Depending on the size of your local garden you could get started with roses, and then after several months decide you want to explore topiary or conifers.
If you’re mainly looking to get together with other rose gardeners to share tips and ideas, then a Rose Club, Rose Gardening Group or Rose Society might be more for you. Many cities have one you can join for a small monthly dues payment. These groups get together to discuss gardening, often have group speakers at meetings, participate in rose competitions and generally just make it possible for rose gardeners to get together with one another in an educational, social and relaxed manner. I’ve also seen them hold events to educate the public about rose gardening as well. The range of a Rose Society’s involvement can be endless. There is frequently something to peak the interest of every rose gardener in this type of organization.
If you desire additional rose knowledge, rose gardening discussion or you simply want to help others along the rose gardening path, there is a local opportunity for you. A little bit of on-line research can show you all the prospects in your area. Often you can volunteer for only a day or sit in on a Rose Society meeting once to see if it’s the right fit for you. What have you got to loose?