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THE GARDENER'S GUIDE TO PLANT SOCIETIES

Gardeners love to gab about their hobby.

That's why we offer our annual directory of plant societies in the Tampa Bay area _ to help you make contact with people who share your passion, whether it's organic vegetable growing or bonsai trees.

Most of these groups welcome visitors to their meetings; you do not have to pay membership dues until you decide to join.

The societies listed here are those that responded to our request for submissions. There may be more out there, but we've included every one we could find. Unfortunately we didn't have space to list the dozens of local garden clubs in the Tampa Bay area, but you'll find information about their activities in our weekly garden calendar.

We have listed the societies by category, so you can easily find a group that focuses on your subject of interest _ or try a whole new one.

AFRICAN VIOLETS/GESNERIADS

Fantasy African Violet Club _ 2:30 p.m. second Saturday, Spring Hill Regional Hospital Enrichment Center, 1244 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill. Dues: $30 yearly, plus $10 to join. Call (813) 863-0991 or (352) 799-0973.

Gulf Coast Gesneriad Society _ 7 p.m. third Thursday, home of Richard and Patty Dunn, 11510 124th Ter., Largo. Annual dues: $12. Call 585-9061.

Tampa African Violet Society _ 7:30 p.m. first Thursday and 10 a.m. third Friday, Seminole Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave., Tampa. Annual dues: $5. Call 681-1910.

Upper Pinellas African Violet Society _ 7 p.m. first Monday, Clearwater Library east branch, 2251 Drew St., Clearwater. Annual dues: $15 first year; $10 subsequent years. Call 539-7539.

BONSAI

Hukyu Bonsai Society of Tampa _ 7 p.m. second Tuesday, Tampa Electric assembly room, 22nd Street and Sligh Avenue, Tampa. Annual dues $14. Call 932-3714.

Laubsch Bonsai Club _ 7:30 p.m. third Tuesday, Rigsby Recreation Center, 605 Second St. N, Safety Harbor. Annual dues: $15 single; $25 couple. Call 725-1371.

Sho Fu Bonsai Society _ 7:30 p.m. first Thursday, Barnett Bank, 1237 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota. Annual dues $20 single, $25 couple. Call (941) 377-9918.

BROMELIADS

Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay _ 7:30 p.m. third Monday, Tampa Garden Center, 2629 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa. Annual dues: $22 ($25 after May 1) single; $24.50 ($30 after May 1) family. Call 885-6744 or 961-1475.

Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society _ 7 p.m. first Thursday, Hope Presbyterian Church, 1698 S Belcher Road, Clearwater. Annual dues: $10 single; $15 family. Call 531-9312.

BUTTERFLY GARDENING

Monarch Butterfly Garden Zoo _ 2 p.m. first Sunday, home of Dr. Robin Palmer, 432 11th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Charter membership $5. Call 894-7701.

CACTI/CARNIVOROUS PLANTS

Central Florida Cactus & Succulent Society _ 7:30 p.m. first Wednesday, Tampa Federation of Garden Clubs, 2629 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa. Annual dues: $15. Call 634-4727.

Tampa Bay Carnivorous Plant Club _ 7:30 p.m. second Wednesday, West Side Conference Center on USF campus, Tampa. Annual dues: $12 (includes newsletter). Call 961-8137 or 535-0187.

FLOWERING PLANTS/PERENNIALS

American Begonia Society, West Coast branch _ 7:30 p.m. third Tuesday, Church of Christ fellowship hall, 6045 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. Annual dues: $10. Call 527-2821.

Bay Area Daylily Society _ 2 p.m. third Sunday, International Academy of Merchandising and Design, room 201, 5225 Memorial Highway, Tampa. Annual dues: $5. Call 443-7848 or 536-9948.

Tampa Bay Area Camellia Society _ 7:30 p.m. second Thursday except June through August, Farm Bureau Insurance, 100 S Mulrennan Road, Valrico. Annual dues: $10 single; $15 family. Call 920-2987.

FRUITS/NUTS

Rare Fruit Council International, Manatee County chapter _ 7 p.m. second Monday, Manatee County Extension Service, 1303 17th St. W, Palmetto. Annual dues: $15. Call 392-8822 in Pinellas.

Rare Fruit Council International, Tampa Bay chapter _ 2 p.m. second Sunday, 313 Pruett Road, Seffner. Annual dues: $18. Call 654-1969.

Spring Hill Rare Fruit Council _ 7 p.m. second Thursday, Hernando County Cooperative Extension Service, 19490 Oliver St., Brooksville. Annual dues: $6. Call (352) 686-7848.

GREENERY/HERBS

Florida Herb Society _ 1:30 p.m. third Wednesday (except March and April 1997), Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service, 12175 125th St. N, Largo. Annual dues: $5. Call 393-9594 or 823-4272.

Tampa Bay Fern Club _ 7 p.m. fourth Thursday, Seminole Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave., Tampa. Annual dues: $10 single; $11 family. Call 839-2486.

HIBISCUS

American Hibiscus Society, Golby Reasoner chapter _ 2 p.m. second Sunday, Trinity United Methodist Church, 3200 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton. Annual dues: $22.50 single; $25 couple. Call (941) 751-2924.

American Hibiscus Society, Sunset chapter _ 1 p.m. fourth Saturday selected months (call for schedule), Largo Library, 351 East Bay Drive, Largo. Annual dues: $20 single, $25 family. Web site (all chapters): http//www.trop-hibiscus.com. Call 391-7503.

IKEBANA (Japanese flower arranging)

Ikebana International, Chapter 65 _ 10:30 a.m. third Monday, Clearwater Garden Club, 405 Seminole St., Clearwater. Annual dues: $50. Call 360-6907 or 442-0537.

Ikebana International, Chapter 115 _ second Monday morning except June through August, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S Palm Ave., Sarasota. Annual dues: $60. Call (941) 349-9584.

Sarasota Ikenobo Ikebana Society _ 10 a.m. first Monday at various locations, October through April. Annual dues: $25. Call (941) 346-2576.

Sogetsu Study Group _ 10 a.m. fourth Thursday, Southgate Shopping Mall community room, Bee Ridge Road and U.S. 41 S, Sarasota. Annual dues: $15. Call (941) 355-0459.

NATIVE PLANTS

Florida Native Plant Society, Nature Coast chapter _ 7 p.m. second Tuesday, Concourse Park Nature Center, Pottberg Road off State Road 52, Pasco County. Annual dues: $25 single; $30 family. Call (813) 996-2958.

Florida Native Plant Society, Pinellas chapter _ 7:30 p.m. first Wednesday, Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service, 12175 125th St. N, Largo. Annual dues: $30. Call 544-7341.

Suncoast Native Plant Society _ 7:30 p.m. third Wednesday, University Village Retirement Center auditorium, 12401 N 22nd St., Tampa. Annual dues: $20 single; $25 couple. Call 935-1312.

ORCHIDS

Florida West Coast Orchid Society _ 7:30 p.m. second Thursday, Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Road N, St. Petersburg. Annual dues: $15 single (includes monthly publication). Call 784-1985.

Manatee River Orchid Society _ 7 p.m. third Monday, Bradenton Herald conference room, 102 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton. Annual dues: $15 single; $20 couple. Call (813) 756-8547.

Orchid Conservation Committee _ 7:30 p.m. first Thursday at various locations. Annual dues: $25. Call 393-9801 or 869-3396.

Orchid Lover's Club of Spring Hill _ 2:30 p.m. third Saturday, Spring Hill Regional Hospital Enrichment Center, 1244 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill. Annual dues: $15 single, $25 family. Call: (352) 688-4599.

Orchid Society of West Pasco _ 7:30 p.m. first Wednesday except January, Elfers Senior Center annex, 4136 Barker Drive, New Port Richey. Annual dues: $12 single; $15 couple or two members of same family. Call (813) 765-3646.

Tampa Bay Orchid Society _ 7 p.m. third Thursday, Seminole Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave., Tampa. Annual dues: $10 single; $15 couple. Call 238-5620 or 968-3402.

Tampa Orchid Club _ 10 a.m. fourth Tuesday except December, Seminole Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave., Tampa. Annual dues: $10. Call 920-5292.

ORGANIC GARDENING

Organic Matters _ 7 p.m. third Tuesday, Moccasin Lake Nature Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane, Clearwater. Annual dues $15 household. Call 449-9803.

PLANT EXCHANGE

Rare Plant Network _ 7:30 p.m. fourth Tuesday, Church of Christ annex, 6045 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. No annual dues. Call 527-2821.

ROSES

Pinellas Rose Society _ 7 p.m. fourth Wednesday except June through August and December, Clearwater Library east branch, 2251 Drew St., Clearwater. Annual dues: $10 for American Rose Society members; $12.50 nonmembers. Call 546-4986 or 345-0907.

West Pasco Rose Society _ 7 p.m. fourth Monday except June through August, Regency Park Civic Center, 10240 Regency Park Blvd., Port Richey. Annual dues: $10 single; $15 family. Call (813) 376-6557 or (813) 863-4705.

TREES/GRASSES

Central Florida Palm and Cycad Society _ Meets at various locations around central Florida. Annual dues $30 single, $40 family (includes membership in International Palm Society). Call 595-2073.

COMPILED BY TIMES STAFF WRITERS PEGGY ANDERS AND JEANNE MALMGREN

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