“We are an organization of doers.”
–Joyce Moses, president, Raleigh Garden Club
by Jessie Ammons
photograph by Travis Long
Raleigh Garden Club members take their mission seriously. You can find them planting wildflowers along roads and public greenways, volunteering at the JC Raulston Arboretum, providing trees for City of Raleigh parks in honor of members who have passed away at the annual Arbor Day memorial ceremony (pictured above), decorating the L.L. Polk House during the holidays, or teaching young girls to plant vegetables and eat well.
“We are all over the place,” says president Joyce Moses.
Since 1925, the club, which is open to interested gardeners, has been sowing seeds literally and figuratively. “We have activities and committees for all levels of gardening. We really make sure that everyone feels welcome, and there’s a camaraderie with all of our members,” Moses says. She joined a few years ago as an amateur gardener – she’d always been interested, she says, but with a corporate career and kids, never had the time. Now she’s halfway through a two-year term as president, overseeing the club’s many moving parts. The club motto under her term? “ ‘Celebrating gardening pleasures and treasures.’ We talk about what we love about gardening, and then as a result, the treasures we receive from the hard work put into our gardening efforts.”
During monthly lunch meetings – June is when they hold an annual potluck gathering – members plan how they’ll share their treasures with the greater community. Philanthropic efforts include a garden therapy program that has members gardening alongside inmates at prisons, at rehab facilities alongside residents, and at job training and life skills program centers.
Raleigh Garden Club also teaches its own membership. “We have master gardeners in our group. They’re fun to learn from. … We have a plant sale every year, and garden tours.” Moses says it’s the best of all worlds, a community pursuing a hobby and civic engagement alike. “We are philanthropic and educational. It’s an encouraging group.”