There’s something special about real-world interactions among gardeners, speaker says

garden courtesy Schmith
Nikki Schmith will illustrate her talk with photos that she has taken. Photo courtesy Nikki Schmith.

by Connie Oswald Stofko

There’s something special about chatting face to face with other gardeners. It’s not the same experience if you just read another gardener’s tweet or Facebook post.

That’s why you should consider joining a gardening organization, or if you are already part of one, encourage others to join, says Nikki Schmith, incoming president of the national daylily group called the American Hemerocallis Society.

She will speak on “The Collective Experience” at the meeting of the Buffalo Area Daylily Society at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Aurora Senior Citizens Center, 101 King St., East Aurora. The doors open at 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Nikki Schmith
Nikki Schmith, incoming president of the American Hemerocallis Society. Photo courtesy Nikki Schmith

Membership in garden clubs and other gardening groups is declining nationally, said Schmith (pronounced Schmitt). She wants to reignite excitement about being a member of a gardening group, Schmith told me in a phone interview, and persuade those who are already members of a group to encourage others to become new members.

Schmith, who lives in Worden, Ill., is an advocate of in-person contact, but she is no foe of technology. She writes a blog called A Girl and her Garden. On her site, she says she sees technology as a gardening tool and likes to share new ways of enjoying the computer and daylilies together.

But technology has its limitations, and socializing only through a computer on Facebook or Twitter lacks the texture of face-to-face contact.

Schmith said that being part of a gardening group allows her to engage with like-minded people that she might not otherwise know. At age 44, she said, she’s right in the middle; not young and not old. Yet through gardening organizations she can socialize with people of all age groups.

“I have friends who are 80 years old,” Schmith said. “They don’t live in my neighborhood, they’re not on Facebook and they’re not in my kids’ PTO.”

Those people are two generations ahead of her. They have stories to share and add a richness to her life. And they love daylilies just as Schmith does.

Even though she’s the author of a blog, Schmith sees reading information on the Internet as passive learning, while a face-to-face discussion with a person in the same room provides active learning.

“When you’re soaking up information on the Internet, you’re only hearing your own voice as you’re reading,” Schmith said. “There’s only one side of the conversation happening.”

She encourages gardeners to join a gardening organization and discover the richness of “sharing a space with like-minded people.”

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