Maitland and District Garden Club celebrates 50 years

GARDEN TIME: Maitland Garden Club president Geoff Hicks in the garden of his East Maitland home. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

GARDEN TIME: Maitland Garden Club president Geoff Hicks in the garden of his East Maitland home. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

When nurseries were scarce, and money was tight, gardeners relied on their friends and family to expand their flora empires. 

The demand for knowledge led a group of enthusiastic gardeners to create Maitland and District Garden Club and this weekend it will celebrate 50 years. 

Maitland and District Garden Club president Geoff Hicks said the club gave members a chance to share plants, ask questions, gain knowledge, and develop friendships with like-minded people.

In the beginning members wanted to create beautiful cottage gardens with lots of colour and they used the club as a way to prune the secrets to success.

Mr Hicks said it was the club to join if you had a green thumb – or wanted to craft one – and it still had a lot to offer after half a century. 

He joined 41 years ago and celebrated the club’s milestone with past and present members, and distinguished guests, in East Maitland on March 25. 

“We come for the friendship and sharing knowledge about our gardens, and we enjoy being with other gardeners,” Mr Hicks said. 

“They don’t mind getting their hands dirty and pulling out weeds – it’s therapeutic and relaxing.”

The club put gardening on the map with its annual competition and flower show.

Households vied for a prize in the annual garden quest, which continued until 1984, and then the flower show took over until 1996 when Pender Place was renovated. 

Mr Hicks said gardeners would spend hours in their garden to prepare for the quest. Winning one of the awards was a real treat, but if you took out the best garden you were considered flora royalty.

“It was the precursor to the garden ramble, it was a pretty big club back then,” he said.

The club meets each month and members bring cuttings to share at a trading table.

There’s not as many members as there used to be, but they still have a good time. 

“It’s an opportunity to share plants from our own garden,” Mr Hicks said. 

“We didn’t have places like Bunnings back then – there weren’t many nurseries.”

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