Hobby Greenhouse Club New Member Information
The Hobby Greenhouse Club was founded in 1971 by, amongst others, the late George Ross. George conducted an evening class called “Hobby Greenhouse” through Cape Fear Technical Institute (now known as Cape Fear Community College) in his greenhouse at 2318 Metts Avenue. After the class ended, the students continued to meet and soon formed the “Hobby Greenhouse Club.” Meetings were held once a month in one of George’s greenhouses on Metts Avenue.
The Hobby Greenhouse Club continues today much as it was when founded. We meet once a month as noted on our website calendar at 7:00 pm where we can have a guest speaker on a horticulture topic. Refreshments are served following the speaker, providing people a chance to be social. Meetings are usually held at the New Hanover County Arboretum; however, the club occasionally meets at Metts Avenue or takes a field trip to someone’s garden. In addition to our monthly meetings, we occasionally have a field trip to visit a place of interest. Guests are always welcome to all of our meetings.
Having a greenhouse is not necessary for membership in the club – just a passion for plants and a love of your garden. Currently, less than half of our members have a greenhouse. We are a very social group of people covering a wide range of age, interests, and abilities, with plants and gardens being our common interest. A copy of our constitution is available upon request, and we are considered a non-profit organization. Yearly membership for the Hobby Greenhouse club is $12 for an individual or $15 for a family and dues are due in January of each year. For new members who join after July 1, membership is halved to $6 for an individual and $7.50 for a family.
As with any club, Hobby Greenhouse Club lives or dies by participation of its members. You are encouraged to volunteer and help wherever you can, including volunteering, helping at plant sales, bringing refreshments to meetings, helping clean up the Metts location before sales and potluck dinners, etc.
Refreshments following our meeting are brought by members, who sign up in groups of two and coordinate with each other as to what they want to bring to that month’s meeting. A volunteer sign-up sheet is routinely circulated at our meetings. Refreshments consist of various snack foods and drinks. Typically, there are around five different snacks, ranging from sweet to salty to savory depending on what each volunteer group wants to bring (i.e.), cookies, brownies, cake, chips and dip, veggie tray, etc.). Drinks can include various sodas, water, and tea or lemonade.
Please be advised that the Arboretum does not allow the club to maintain a supply of utensils, plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths, etc. on site; members bringing refreshments should also bring those items as well. There is an ice machine available. We also ask that you kindly label what you have brought with any known allergens as we have members with severe peanut/tree nut, seafood, and gluten allergies. You do not need to cater the food you bring to them; just label them as a courtesy.
The Sharing Table
Members often bring items to “share” with other people, such as extra plants or seeds they think someone might want. Sharing is not restricted to plants – members often bring books, magazines, pots, or other garden-related items. Items placed on the sharing table are available on a first come, first-serve basis and are free to members. Please note that if you bring items that no one takes, you are responsible for removing them after the meeting is over.
The first Saturday in March, the club sponsors a greenhouse tour to pass out maps as well to facilitate the raffle that spans the Wilmington area and occasionally greenhouses in Brunswick and Pender counties. Club members can volunteer to open their greenhouses for a free public tour, though being a club member is not a requirement. We often solicit professional and non- profit greenhouses, such as Shelton Herb Farm or UNCW’s Kresge Greenhouse.
The tour is held from 9 am – 5 pm. Maps and descriptions of each greenhouse can be found on our website, but printed copies are available the day of the tour at the Arboretum. Club members are asked to volunteer in shifts to work at the Arboretum the day of the tour to pass out maps as well as raffle off prizes.
The Club has two plant sales each year: spring and fall. There were three plant sales each year, but the club voted in 2016 to eliminate the Summer Sale (which was held around the first weekend in June. The Spring Sale is the same weekend as the Azalea Festival in April and is the only sale that spans three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with reduced hours for Sunday’s sale (noon – 5 pm). The Fall sale is Friday and Saturday only, from 9 am – 6 pm, and is on the weekend after Labor Day in September. Plant sales are held at the property owned by George Ross’s family, 2318 Metts Avenue, in the backyard.
Only plants that club members have grown and propagated themselves may be sold as our NC state permit for these sales do not allow us to “resale” plants. What plants are sold is strictly up to the individual member. Not all club members choose to sell plants; currently about 1/3 of our members sell plants but many more help with the sales. Club volunteers are needed throughout each shift to work the cash register, greet visitors, carry plants out for customers, and advise customers on plant selection. Help from members who are not selling plants is crucial to the success of our plant sales. More detailed information on each volunteer position is attached.
Each member who wants to sell must contact the Plant Sale Chairperson to obtain a club unique seller number so that the club can keep track of what they sell. Details on the labeling of plants is attached. These sales raise more than 80% of our yearly budget, with money going to a variety of community support activities including scholarships for horticulture students at CFCC and Brunswick Community College. Each seller gets 80% of the sale price for the plants they sell, with 15% going to the club and 5% to the estate of George Ross (the property owners). Checks are distributed at the monthly meeting after the sale or at the potluck dinner the weekend after the sale, whichever comes first. Checks may also be mailed as necessary if a member cannot attend one of these events; contact the treasurer directly.
Yard Cleanup of Sales Location
As our sales are held on private property, it is imperative that prior to each sale, the property (2318 Metts Avenue) is cleaned up of debris and yard waste, such as leaves and fallen limbs shrubbery should be cut back to maintain a clear pathway for not only the sellers to be able to display their plants but also so that customers may pass freely. Volunteers are needed the Saturday before each sale to spruce up the yard as well as make sure there are no tripping hazards or other potential threats to anyone’s safety.
Volunteers are asked to bring their own tools, such as gloves, pruners, clippers, weed eater, rake – whatever you would use in your own yard. If you have trash bags for yard debris that would also be helpful. Typical clean-up time is about 2 hours.
Previously, the club had a potluck dinner at 2318 Metts Avenue (the location of the sale) the Saturday the weekend following each plant sale. Effective November 2016, the club voted to combine the potluck dinner with the meeting that falls in the same month as the plant sale (April and September). The club provides non-alcoholic beverages and utensils, with members bringing a covered dish, dessert, appetizer, or other potluck-appropriate dish. The club also has a Christmas potluck dinner in lieu of the December meeting, which is held at the Arboretum. The club provides ham and turkey at the Christmas dinner.
Website and Facebook
The Hobby Greenhouse Club has a website (hobbygreenhouseclub.org) as well as two Facebook pages – one public (www.facebook.com/hobbygreenhouseclub) and one private one for members only (www.facebook.com/groups/hobbygreenhouseclub). All members are strongly encouraged to view the website for up-to-date information regarding meetings and as an informative resource. The Facebook pages have been especially helpful when members have questions in between meetings or just want to share pictures or other fun memes with their fellow gardeners. Please contact the club’s IT Administrator if you need any assistance with the Facebook page or website.
Items for Sale to Members
Tags for labeling plants for the plant sales are also for sale to club members at cost, with the current price at $2.00/bundle. Please see the instructions regarding plant labeling for sales.
Club Officers / Committees
New officers are generally elected at the November meeting for the upcoming year. Nominal term of office is one year but the officers often serve at least two years. Over the years, certain duties have been spun off into other positions (committees) so as not to overwhelm the officers. HGC is always interested in volunteers; please let a current officer know if you might be interested in being nominated. More detailed information can be found in the club’s bylaws, but the following are the volunteer positions and a brief synopsis of what is involved in each position:
- President – Runs meetings; oversees all club activities, checking in with chairpersons of each committee; works with Arboretum to ensure meeting space is scheduled, finding alternative locations if necessary; signs out Arboretum key prior to monthly meeting; arrives at 6 pm (or earlier as needed for specific meetings) to unlock venue and stays late to ensure venue is clean and locked up; creates monthly newsletter and emails to members prior to upcoming meetings/events, including past meeting minutes and upcoming speaker; responsible for club activities not delegated to other officers or committee members.
- Vice President – Fills in for president as needed; temporarily assumes the responsibilities of the secretary or treasurer when she/he is absent
- Secretary – takes notes at each meeting; provides typed minutes to president to include in monthly meeting reminder email; maintains notebook of minutes to be passed to next secretary; deals with club correspondence not handled by another officer.
- Treasurer – Collects dues, raffle money, and money for goods sold at meetings; pays bills including reimbursing members for supplies as needed; provides petty cash for greenhouse tour and plant sales; reconciles money and tags after sales, providing itemized reports; deposits money; maintains bank account and QuickBooks online account.
- Membership – Actively recruits new members; maintains up-to-date database of member information including phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses; creates and maintains name tags for members, bringing them to each meeting.
- Refreshment Coordinator– Maintains a list of volunteers to provide refreshments at monthly meetings; calls members a few days in advance to remind them of their scheduled date; ensures potluck dinners and Christmas party have adequate utensils, plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths, etc.
- Programs – Arranges guest speakers for each monthly meetings and notifies president (for newsletter) and website admin (for website); calls speaker a few days prior to meeting to confirm; arrives to meetings early to set up for presenter, ensuring that audio/visual equipment is set up; introduces speaker and presents with thank you card and appropriate gift.
- Publicity/PR – Advertises through various media for the annual greenhouse tour and plant sales.
- IT and Website Maintenance – Cape Fear Design created the club’s website. The club’s webmaster helps to keep information on the site up-to-date, as necessary. Please submit feedback on the website and share photos for use on the website. Members are encouraged to post to our Facebook pages to share interesting articles and photos.
- Nominating Committee – Appointed by the president; recruits’ candidates for officers and committees; presents candidates for office at November meeting
- Plant Sale Chairperson – Recruits volunteers for Metts cleanup; recruits volunteers for sales; trains volunteers how to work the cash register; provides HGC informative fliers (upcoming meetings, upcoming sales) at the sale; sets up on the first day and cleans up the last day; brings cash register daily to sale and takes home nightly; provides snacks, drinks, and ice for volunteers working the sale; obtains box flats (500 for spring sale, 250 for others) and plastic grocery bags for customers to carry out plants; cleans and fills water cooler on a daily basis during the sale. A more complete checklist is available upon request.
- Greenhouse Tour Chairperson – In charge of greenhouse tour, including but not limited to actively lining up people with greenhouses to be on the tour, arranging for volunteers at the Arboretum, seeking out raffle donations, and generating and distributing literature associated with the tour (such as fliers, maps, and descriptions of greenhouses). Sends thank you letters or thank you emails to greenhouse owners after the tour.