New ideas for plant clinics

coreopsis(z8 WA)February 27, 2005

Our MG unit holds plant problem clinics every Saturday during the growing season, inviting the community to bring in their plant and insect questions. For the past couple of years, we've enlisted local merchants--garden centers, hardware/garden shops, nurseries, etc.--to host the clnics at their locations, so we appear in a different location each weekend around the county. We publicize the clinics in the newspapers and on radio Attendance seems to have waned a bit over time (except at the annual fair) and we are looking for new ideas for next year. In years past, clinics have been held at single location, e.g., in front of the courthouse, and did well for a few years. The library is interested in having us staff a "plant doctor" desk, and we are exploring this option.

Does your group have a plant clinic committee? In what ways does it interact with the community? What projects is it considering? Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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I believe you are placing too much emphasis on the negative -- plant problems. There is a another whole side to horticuture that ventures into fun topics. Instead of concentrating on clinics, start giving demonstrations, presentations and new information. Of course, anyone with the typical clinic question is also encouraged to ask about that too. However, your focus has become stale.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 3:11PM
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coreopsis(z8 WA)

I think you may have misunderstood to some degree. Plant clinics are just one of many services that our MG unit provides. We have over a dozen committees doing all kinds of outreach projects including demonstrations, garden tours, youth activites, and much more--definitely all positive. We are privileged to have such a large, active group that makes this all possible (I believe we have near 100 members).

Bringing diagnostic services into the community is a valuable service, but perhaps you are right that we are having a PR issue by emphasizing the activity as focused on "problems." Some units do refer to these as "diagnostic" clinics, but maybe further tweaking is necessary so that the community sees our booths as information and education stations in addition to being a resource for diagnosis.

Thank you for your feedback.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 4:20PM
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wichywmn(z7 VA)

We have plant clnics in the spring and fall of the year. During the months of April and Sept they are every Saturday at Lowe's and in May and October they are on each Saturday at Home Depot.

We don't concentrate on problems - we answer questions of all types as well as hand out items necessary for soil samples, etc.

We also have information on our Smart Lawns program which helps the consumer diagnose and repair their lawn problems. This program is not under the plant clinic area, but part of the overall outreach we do.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 12:28PM
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Our MG group doesn't do plant clinics. We hold a Hot Line for plant problems and info that people need. It is usually 2 days a week for about 4 hours May through September. If I didn't have to work I would deffinately be there! Everyone who does says they have a lot of fun plus they have all their resource books righ there in the office.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 9:42AM
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The county library system has been very supportive of what we call Library Garden Workshops. We have them on Saturday mornings from 10 to noon on subjects keyed to the season. Rose pruning and Fruit tree pruning in season always fulls the room. We have a desk at the farmers markets during the summer where many people bring there sample pests or rusty foliage. Al

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 10:19AM
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botanybob(Northern Idaho)

We hold our plant clinics at the county extension office. There is a substantial library, weed ID software, internet access, and that's where the extension agent is to ask questions. The extension office is where people are accustomed to coming for help with garden and landscape questions. I think you would have better success if you stayed in one place so people would have an easier time finding you. Additional outreach could be done as you are doing now, but I think you need a home base.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 7:34PM
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