TAMPA – Many Tampa garden clubs take a break during the summer when it’s too hot or their members head for the beach or the mountains.
They start a new club year as soon as Labor Day is over and usually actively recruit members.
Some clubs have geographic zones for membership; others focus on specific plants. But they can be a source of information and a place to exchange plants and growing tips. Many also work to improve communities or provide scholarship money for students in the horticultural fields.
Some clubs are:
*Beach Park Garden Club, which formed in 1965, and is an unaffiliated organization open to anyone who promotes an interest in gardens and cooperate in the beautification of the Beach Park neighborhood.
President Linda Switalski and club members will kick off its 57th season with its annual Membership Coffee at the home of Georgienne Kraemer, 4417 Swann Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 11. Members will bring covered dishes. Guests are welcome but should RSVP to Sharon Stoll, membership chair, at (813) 258-8725.
The club’s regular meeting schedule is 10 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month at the Beach Park Women’s Club, 801 S. West Shore Blvd. The October meeting will feature flower designer J. Craig Unsworth. The Dec. 4 meeting will be the annual holiday auction. For information, see www.beachparkgardenclub.com.
* Sunset Park Garden Club, which is open to residents of Hillsborough County, not just Sunset Park.
The club meets at its clubhouse, 4624 W. Browning Ave., at 10 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month.
It will kick off its club year with a membership coffee 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 18 at its clubhouse. Other activities planned include a plant sale and flea market Nov. 16; a card party and luncheon March 19; and a flower show March 26. For information about the club, call (813) 837-9105.
* Tampa Garden Club, meets at the Tampa Garden, 2629 Bayshore Blvd.
The year’s kick off will be a “combined circle meeting” at the Tampa Garden Club at 10 a.m. Oct. 2. Open to the public, it will feature a speaker from the Florida Water and Land Legacy.
Highlights of the year include a holiday market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 9 with various vendors and a presentation by Greg Kramer, director of horticulture, Bok Tower Gardens, at a combined circle meeting at 10 a.m. Jan. 8. It is open to the public at no charge. For information, see www.tampagardenclub.com
* Davis Islands Garden Club, which is committed to community beautification, conservation of the natural environment and support for related educational activities.
The club was organized in 1936 as Circle of Tampa Federation and, in 1953, was chartered as Davis Islands Garden Club. The club now has more than 100 members.
It meets at 10 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month from September through May at its garden club, 81 Columbia Drive.
Members participate in beautification activities, such as the donation of plants, trees and benches to parks and public places on Davis Islands. Occasional fundraising events, such as card and game parties, bridal shows, concerts and others are held.
The public is invited to programs and luncheons. For information, call (813) 251-3123 or see www.digclub.org
* The Tampa Bay Orchid Society, which includes a bloom table and experts discussing the plants at each meeting.
The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Christ The King Church, McLaughlin Center, 821 S. Dale Mabry Highway. Ruben Sauleda of Ruben in Orchids from Redlands will speak. An internationally renowned orchid grower and hybridizer, he is the author of several books.
For information, see www.tampabayorchidsociety.shutterfly.com or call (813) 839-4959.
* The Tampa African Violet Society, which includes growing tips at its meeting.
The club will meet at 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at Common Ground Christian Church, 4207 N. Boulevard.
Award winning grower Mary Lou Harden will discuss “Growing Episcias, Columneas & Primulinas.” The meeting is free and open to the public. For information, call (813) 681-1910.