Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cobram garden club marks 20 years

Past executive members of the Cobram and District Garden Club reflect on years of 'caring and sharing', ahead of a July celebration.

ROB HENSON May 27, 2014 3:04am

Rosy: Cobram and District Garden Club's Kath and Fred Gregory with their roses.

Cobram and District Garden Club is certainly a hardy and colourful variety to be celebrating 20 years of continuous operation.

Begun out of the shared love of gardening, former secretary Kath Gregory joined the group in 1998 and says there were about 30 to 50 members.

While meetings now only get about 20 to 30, the passion for all things gardening is alive and well.

The group goes on trips to regional gardening attractions, such as nurseries, orchards and botanical gardens.

The group was also responsible for establishing the rose garden at the Cobram town entrance in November 1997.

‘‘There were yellow roses, blue agapanthus, and green — Cobram’s colours.’’

But their stock and trade is organising the flower section of the Cobram Agricultural Show.

‘‘We’re so busy organising it... we take entries, organise the judge, accredited by the Horticulture association.’’

Up to 300 entries are usually received, with about 35 different people taking prizes in the final staging.

Ms Gregory said she initially decided to join ‘‘to meet people’’.

‘‘It’s a friendly atmosphere, you find people with like gardens, we share a common interest.

‘‘Show and Tell is really nice and say if someone is having flowering problems you discuss it. Someone might bring along something that’s not doing so well.

‘‘It’s very sharing and caring. And you get great ideas from other gardens.

‘‘Gardeners are usually pretty sharing. You’ll see something and say, ‘can I have a cutting of that?’.’’

Among the group are avid rose growers, orchid enthusiasts and voracious vegetable cultivators.

But all lovers of gardening have got, as Club president Anne Walsh puts it, ‘‘the disease’’.

‘‘You go along to something and you say, oh I wouldn’t mind one of those, but you’ve got to find a place for it first.’’

During the years the drought was a major challenge for some, but Ms Gregory said it forced some to get creative.

‘‘Succulents are popular, with the drought they don’t use a lot of water,’’ she said.

In 2004 the group celebrated its 10th anniversary in style, with 100 people turning up to celebrate, including those in other garden clubs in surrounding towns.

On the group’s longevity, Ms Gregory said the group had had ‘‘good leaders’’ and a variety of interests to keep things interesting.

‘‘We had a group speak about fruit fly and supplied us with traps and other devices,’’ she said. ‘‘We’re very aware of the orchardists, that’s why we were happy to help.’’

Another project was propagation and transport of trees for Steels Creek, devastated in the 2009 bushfires.

But with an ageing membership — ‘‘we have one younger member’’ Ms Gregory said — there are concerns gardening is losing favour with the young.

‘‘It can be a time-consuming thing, as get older get more time to spend in your garden it let’s you relax,’’ she said.

‘‘I do all watering by hand, so I’m still a bit of a child I guess.’’

An official celebration is to be held in July.

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