The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America
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31 Member Clubs in 14 States (2018)
|Motto||"Gardening Education and Excellence in Horticulture Since 1932"|
|Formation||September 26, 1932|
|Legal status||501(c)(3) Nonprofit|
|Purpose||Gardening education and community beautification.|
|Headquarters||P.O. Box 241|
5560 Merle Hay Road
Johnston, IA 50131-0241
|Men and women with an interest in gardening and horticulture.|
|A national board of directors.|
|Affiliations||American Horticultural Soc.|
|Remarks||Also known as TGOA, MGCA, TGOA/MGCA, The Gardeners of America, and Men's Garden Clubs of America.|
The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America (TGOA/MGCA) is a national organization with 31 affiliated garden clubs located in 14 states (2018) across the United States. The organization is also known as Gardeners of America (TGOA) or Men’s Garden Clubs of America (MGCA). It has its headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, a business suburb of Des Moines. It is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Illinois, and registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3 non-profit group. Most clubs include men and women members, and concentrate on gardening education (for members and nonmembers), and community beautification and enhancement. At one time the organization had about 10,000 members.
The Men's Garden Clubs of America organization was founded in 1932, and grew rapidly as a unique organization of male gardeners. By 1993 the organization had grown greatly, and the bylaws were changed. The organization became The Gardeners of America with two divisions: The Gardeners of America and Men’s Garden Clubs of America.[note 1] While local clubs may feel more closely affiliated with one division, all are members of TGOA/MGCA. Today many clubs include both men and women, although some all-male clubs still exist.
The mission statement of TGOA/MGCA as stated on the organization website is
The mission of TGOA/MGCA is to promote gardening education and related environmental issues to its membership and the gardening public through charitable, educational and scientific means.[note 2]
It works towards this objective by providing activities that help member clubs develop and publicize new or improved gardening techniques. People living in a location without local garden clubs can become a member-at-large[note 3] and participate in TGOA/MGCA programs.[note 4] TGOA/MGCA operates in partnership with the American Horticultural Society, and optional membership in AHS includes the publication The American Gardener, which cites TGOA/MGCA activities.
In addition to the programs and projects of local garden clubs, TGOA/MGCA sponsors the following national programs.
- Gardening From The Heart[note 5] provides community services for projects that benefit disadvantaged and aging gardeners.
- Big Pumpkin, Giant Sunflower, and Container Garden Contests encourages kids to grow plants.
- Youth Gardening provides national funding for gardening projects that engage youth.
- Scholarships[note 6] of $1,000 are awarded annually to horticulture students based on local club applications.
- Photography Contest[note 7] rewards members by publishing their photographs in the Gardener's Calendar, and by displaying them on the Internet. They are shown during presentations at each year’s national convention.[note 8]
- Gardener's Calendar is published annually using photographs from the Photography Contest. Many clubs use the calendar for fundraising, or present it as a speaker gift or other award.
- Website www.TGOA-MGCA.org provides up-to-date information for members and officers. Although there is a members-only section of the website, much useful information about gardening and club activities is available to the general public as part of the organization's education mission. For example, Gardening and Horticulture Publications is a wide-ranging collection of articles that are posted online, and available to anyone.[note 9]
Affiliated clubs are located across the United States, with most located in mid-America. Specific details about each club (such as club name, location, and contact information) are available at the TGOA/MGCA website.[note 10] Many garden club websites specifically cite their club's current or past affiliation with TGOA/MGCA.
Sometimes affiliation with TGOA/MGCA leads to the formation of a more narrowly focused garden club, as is the case with the Corvallis Rose Society.
Club members engage in a wide range of activities.[note 11] The table that follows shows conservative estimates of total annual contributions made by all TGOA/MGCA clubs to their communities. This information is based on a 2007 survey where 45% of member clubs responded.
|Club Activity||Per Year|
|Garden Spots Maintained||1,000|
|Shrubs and Flowers Planted||85,000|
|Trees and Shrubs Sold||3,400|
|Horticultural Surveys of Homes and Businesses||300|
|Miles of Litter Picked Up||40|
|People Involved With Horticultural Tours||2,800|
|Contributions to Student Scholarships||$34,000|
|Other Club Contributions||$33,000|
Meetings and conventions
There are several occasions when members gather into groups on a regular basis: local club meetings, regional meetings, national planning and business meetings, and national conventions.
Arrangements for local club meetings vary based on the needs of individual clubs and their communities, but they generally are held monthly, and include an educational program on gardening techniques, community enhancement, or other topics. They also review current and future club projects and present awards to club members, Time is included for sharing gardening or project problems and solutions, and socializing.
The 36 clubs in 14 states are grouped into 11 geographic regions (2016), as shown in the following table. If a state has more than one club, then that number is shown in parenthesis after the state name. Missouri has clubs in two regions.
|Region Name||States (Clubs)|
|1. Central Great Lakes Gardeners||Indiana|
|3. Illinois-Wisconsin||Illinois (4)|
|4. Mid-America||Iowa (3)|
|6. Missouri-Kansas||Kansas (2) |
|9. Rocky Mountain||Colorado|
|10. Southwest||Texas (4)|
|11. Upstate New York||New York (5)|
Each region is formally chartered by the national organization, adopts its own bylaws using the TGOA/MGCA bylaws as a guide, and assists in carrying out national programs. Each club elects a National Director to the TGOA/MGCA board, to represent the club at board and region meetings and to provide direct club communications with the National office and officers.
Other activities that take place by region include gardening workshops and seminars, tours of local gardens, business meetings, annual regional conferences, and the presentation of region awards to club members.
The board of directors meets at each national convention, and also holds an annual meeting in November of each year.
TGOA/MGCA holds annual national conventions that are hosted by local clubs in cities across the United States. The purpose of each convention is to learn from other gardeners, tour local gardens and horticultural sites, participate in educational workshops and seminars, share information on service projects and fundraisers, present national awards to club members, and conduct a business meeting of the organization.
All links are to pages on the TGOA/MGCA website that contain information not presented in this article.
- More on organization history.
- The mission statement and list of organization objectives.
- Member-at-large membership.
- A list of national programs.
- The Gardening From The Heart program.
- The Scholarship program.
- The Photography Contest program.
- Past winning plant and landscape photographs.
- Club gardening and horticulture publications.
- Information about each local club.
- Specific activities at local clubs.
- Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Men's Garden Clubs leader likes what she sees, November 4, 2003. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Pittman, E. Henry. And the Trees Remain. The Spartanburg Men's Garden Club, 2010, ISBN 978-0-615-38818-2, p. 111.
- American Horticultural Society. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- iVillage GardenWeb. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Kansas State University Horticulture Forestry and Recreation Resources. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- New York Times, Liberty H. Bailey, Botanist, Is Dead, December 27, 1954. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Spartanburg Men's Garden Club. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Gardeners of Greater Cleveland. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Men's Garden Club of Minneapolis. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Gardeners of Greater Akron. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Men's Garden Club of Omaha. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Corvallis Rose Society. Retrieved 4/15/2012.
- Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Garden clubs take root at national convention, April 21, 2006. Retrieved 4/15/2012.