Garden club marking 71 years
Pa¯pa¯moa Garden Circle has a proud history as the oldest gardening club in the Tauranga district, and next month celebrates its 71st birthday.
President Fern Twidle said the club was formed on October 18, 1947 by a group of 14 young pioneering women who, along with their children, used to travel from farm to farm in Pa¯pa¯moa Hills.
Fern says in the early postWorld War II days, the gardening circlewas a great opportunity for isolated women to get together to foster friendships and exchange plants.
“Some members used to catch the train from Tauranga down to the Kairua station for meetings, and it was how you were able to get to know your neighbours better.”
Fast forward 71 years, and the gardening circlewith its 80-strong membership, which included up to four men, was a flourishing and active group, says Fern, who has been club president for two years and a member for 11 years.
She says fostering friendships was still key to the club’s activities.
“Some of those friendships have lasted decades.”
Members get together at the Gordon Spratt Reserve off Parton Rd on the second Wednesday of each month, excluding December and January, to exchange cuttings, gardening tips and enjoy lots of “great Green-thumbed Fern Twidle, the president of the Pa¯pa¯moa Garden Circle, says being part of such a friendly and inclusive group of people helps to lift the spirits.
There were also sales tables and monthly competitions for the best vegetables, flowers, and decorative arrangements, and guest speakers— often from garden centres.
“Each Januarywe have a garden ramble visiting each other’s gardens and that was something themembers always look forward to.”
Members came from diverse
backgrounds, Fern says.
Some live in retirement villages, including the oldest member, Joan Gorringe, who had turned 100 this year.
Each year the club also takes a bus trip to visit gardens which are out of the district and next month, 45 of the circle’s members will head to the hope region.
Fern says new members from anywhere in thewider Tauranga district were always welcome to
join, nomatter a person’s gardening experience.
“We’re only too happy to share our knowledge with newcomers who will find we’re a fun, friendly social bunch of people,” she said. “Gardening is a very therapeutic activity, and you know, if you’re having a bad day there is nothing better for the soul than getting out in the garden and pulling out a few weeds.”