Circle Programs

Many resources and programs are available to make your garden circle membership an educational and fun experience. Programs are a vital element to any garden circle. They should be varied, informative and current. Speakers, field trips, book reviews, workshops, and audio-visual materials on gardening related subjects are good standard ideas. Discover the talents of your own circle members, and remember that there are many talented members in other Circles, in the Federation, and our local District. Be alert to various community resources: the County agencies, plant societies, nurserymen, landscape professionals and local colleges. Included are the curriculum for the National Garden Club Courses, dates and explanations for Florida Federation programs.

Each year the program chair of each Garden Club/Circle is tasked with preparing the programs for their circle. Programs can be developed around a National, Florida or Federation objective. Regardless of objective or theme, emphasis should be placed on variety, educational value, and usefulness to the circle. The FFGC guidelines suggest an ideal program includes one from each of the five (5) areas.


If a theme is selected, it should prevail in the majority of meetings. A minimum of seven (7) programs makes for a successful year. A list of program ideas and a speakers list is available from the PFGC Program Chair (position open) to assist circles in preparing future programs.

Circle programs can be found on each circle web page.  Programs are given through out the year at District meetings, membership events, Fair Flower Show, Educational Series and other events as scheduled.

ffgc_logo1_2Florida Federation of Garden Club Schools and Programs

FFGC provides courses in Floral Design, “Digging It”, Symposiums, Tropical Short Course and, “Fun with Flowers”. Leadership training for those who wish to volunteer at Camp Wekiva is also available. They also have programs on CD/DVD which are available by mail. Each are explained below.

The Floral Design Study Series

The Floral Design Study Series is a unique series of lectures/demonstrations and critiqued, hands-on workshops that are offered under the sponsorship of FFGC. It is a series of six units in basic design and three units in advanced design with the objective of developing an understanding of the art of flower arranging. Each unit is held on one day, with three hours of lecture/demonstration in the morning, and a two-hour supervised and critiqued workshop held after a lunch break. The series should be completed within a time span of one year. The units are taught by accredited National Garden Clubs, Inc., Flower Show Judges. Certificates are presented to students after completion of the courses, one for the Basic Six, and one for the Advanced Units.

Unit I
What is flower arranging?
Basic tools and mechanics
Basic components of a design
Types of containers
Basic forms of plant materials
An overview, featuring demonstration of vertical, asymmetrical, crescent designs.

Unit II
Care, cutting and grooming of plant materials
Mechanics for different containers
Elements of Design
Demonstration of symmetrical, asymmetrical and diagonal designs.

Unit III
Compatibility of plant materials with containers

Selecting materials for curved
Geometrically-based line designs
Use of fruits and vegetables in designs
Demonstration of crescent and Hogarth designs.

Unit IV
Table settings
Coordination of floral designs with table components
Demonstrations of functional and exhibition tables for Flower Show

Unit V
Use of bases
Use of features and featured objects
Use of accessories
Demonstration of a Feature, Featured Object, Accessories and Bases
Demonstration of designs using wood, contrived flowers, vines

Unit VI
Conditioning and transporting plant materials to flower show
Discussion of Distinction, Tricolor, Designer’s Choice Award
Demonstration of Expressive Design and Interpretive Design

Unit VII
Study use of dried plant materials and decorative wood in designs
Award of Distinction, Designer’s Choice Award

Review Interpretive Design
Entering the Flower Show
Creative Line, Creative Line-Mass, Creative Mass, Creative Abstract Line Designs

Unit IX
Interpretive (Expressive) designs and Creative designs


Flower Show Symposia

Symposium is an in-depth course of design, horticulture and allied subjects pertaining to flower shows that is more advanced than presented in Flower Show Schools. These courses are primarily intended for Flower Show Judges to maintain their credentials, but all garden club members interested in learning more about flower shows, floral design and horticulture are encouraged to attend.

All NGC Accredited Flower Show Judges are required to attend NGC Symposiums in order to remain in Good Standing. Good Standing is necessary if a judge wishes to continue judging and evaluating flower shows. By attending and passing all Point Scoring Examinations, a judge advances from Accredited Judge to Accredited-Life Judge and finally Accredited-Master Judge.

FFGC/UF Short Horticulture Course

FFGC and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension along with the Department of Environmental Horticulture offer Short Course to all persons interested in 21st century horticultural practices, landscape and garden designs and floral designs.  Aug 2019 at the Santa Rosa County Extension Office (Registration Form Pending) Deadline August 1.

Tropical Short Course

This course is held annually with an emphasis on tropical species.

Fun with Flowers

This a hands-on, make-it-and-take-it-program that affords you and your club a wonderful opportunity for attracting new members, raising funds, endless creativity, community outreach and involvement, sharing your talents, appealing to both young and old (men, women, and the kiddies, too), combining arts and crafts with flowers, fellowship, and, most of all, FUN!

“Digging It”
The Florida Horticulture Study Series

Digging It is a new course for the diggers of garden clubs. It was created by our own Tina Tuttle. It is designed in units like the Floral Design Study Series. Each course focuses on a specific plant. Each unit is designed as a 4 hour session. Courses do not have to be taken consecutively. They can be taken independently. Approx $25 per member/ per course and $30 per non garden club member.

Course Outline

Course I. Horticulture Basics
Course II. Annual and Biennials
Course III. Herbaceous Perennials
Course IV. Woody Perennials/Arboreal Trees and Shrubs
Course V. Bulbs
Course VI. Container Grown Plants
Courses VII-X Choices from: Vines, Fruits, Nuts, and Vegetables, Herbs, Succulents, Orchids, Roses, Bromeliads, Begonia, Water Gardening, Tropical Plants, Xeriscaping, Butterfly and Bird Gardening, Youth Gardening, Collecting, Educational Exhibits

National Garden Club Schools and Programs

The National Garden Clubs, Inc. offers four schools for the enrichment and educational growth of its members. Upon completion of a school, members become flower show judges or consultants. In order to maintain accreditation, judges/consultants are required to attend optional events that enhance knowledge acquired, explore current trends, and promote interest in the school subject. Each is explained below. Although the courses are intended primarily for garden club members, they are open to the general public.

Flower Show Judges Schools

NGC through its Flower Show Schools program provides excellent opportunities for study of horticulture and floral design. Any interested person, garden club member or non-member, may attend these schools by registering and paying the nominal fee.

The horticulture curriculum consists of basic general information on proper gardening techniques from seed/plant selection to plant culture and control of problems. Information is also presented on cultural needs of specific perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs, as well as fruits, vegetables and nuts and how to grow superior container plants.

Design instruction covers traditional floral arrangements through contemporary styles and even designs incorporating lights and motors. Many attendees are particularly interested in table setting designs showing coordination of floral centerpiece, linens and dishes. Vignettes, small segments of rooms, also give ideas on interior decorating.

While the primary purpose of these courses is to train those wishing to become flower show judges, many people attend for information only and those people do not have to take the examinations!

Environmental Study Courses: The Living Earth

Mission statement: Teach environmental literacy to cherish, protect and conserve the living earth.
The Environmental Study Program is a series of four ten-hour courses each which includes a two-hour field trip. The course investigates Air, Land and Water. Members must complete the series, passing the examinations with grades of 70 or better. The required textbook for this course is “Living in the Environment” and a subscription to The National Gardener magazine.

The major objectives of environmental education are to help individuals acquire:
1. A clear understanding that man is an inseparable part of a system consisting of man, culture, and the biophysical environment, and that man has the ability to alter the interrelationships of this system.
2. A broad understanding of the biophysical environment, both natural and man-made, and its role in contemporary society.
3. A fundamental understanding of the biophysical environmental problems confronting man, how these problems can be solved, and the responsibility of citizens and government to work toward their solution.
4. Attitudes of concern for the quality of the biophysical environment which will motivate citizens to participate in biophysical environmental problem-solving.
To achieve its greatest impact environmental education must: provide factual information which will lead to an understanding of the total biophysical environment, develop a concern for environmental quality which will motivate citizens to work toward solutions to biophysical environmental problems and inform citizens as to how they can play and effective role in achieving the goals derived from their attitudes.

Gardening Study Schools

All gardeners can become worthy horticulturists. To assist its members in achieving this goal, NGC has created the Gardening Study Course series. The program consists of a series of four courses, held about six months apart, scheduled usually for two days of instruction, followed by a general examination on the morning of the third day. Topics include basic botany, soils, growing annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables, lawns, pests and diseases of plants, plant classification, pruning and selected topics of local interest.
These courses are designed to:
● stimulate interest in the growth of plant materials to their peak of perfections
● give the student an understanding of how and why a plant grows.
● teach soil structure and methods for making the soil more productive

● teach soil structure and methods for making the soil more productive
● Lend an understanding as to why plants react to certain weather conditions and how to modify these conditions to encourage optimum growth.
● Provide an understanding of commercial and natural fungicides and pesticides, growth regulators and other chemicals used in general horticultural procedures.
● Illustrate methods for rapid propagation
● Offer methods and instruction in plant identification
● Explore specialized styles of gardening.

After taking the four courses, passing the examination with a score of 70 or better and complying with all requirements, the student will become a Nationally Accredited Gardening Consultant. The required textbook is “Living with Plants” and a subscription to The National Gardener magazine.

Garden club members completing the series of four courses are awarded the designation of Gardening Consultant.

Landscape Design Schools

The Landscape Design Study Program is a series of four courses, optional programs, tours and the establishment of Landscape Design Councils. Members who complete the series, passing the examinations with grades of 70 or better, are eligible to receive the Consultants Certification Card, a NGC credential. Each course consists of ten hours of lectures, which may include visits to evaluate sites. “Stewards of the Land” is the required textbook as well as a subscription to The National Gardener magazine.

Course objectives include:
● Develop a greater sense of appreciation, pride, and knowledge about our private and public gardens
● Become better educated to make changes in our surroundings so that they will be more beautiful, useful, convenient, ecologically sound, and easily maintained.
● Stimulate interest in all phases of landscape design, including community planning, which will affect all of our lives.
● Develop a large number of qualified Landscape Design Consultants to serve in such decision-making areas of public life as providing leadership, educational programs, scholarships, awards, and promoting better landscape design.

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NGC Course Link:

Consultants of Environmental Studies, Gardening Study, and Landscape Design Schools are encouraged to refresh in optional events sponsored within the organization. A multiple refresher may be for two (Bi-Refresher) or three (Tri-Refresher) of these schools where subject matter usually overlaps to a large degree. Flower Show School symposia usually concentrate on flower shows, horticulture and design.

Four and Five Star Program

Garden Club Members are eligible to apply for Four Star Membership upon completions of the Four NGC Schools sponsored by FFGC.

Environmental Studies School
Flower Show Judges School
Gardening Study School
Landscape Design Study School

Being certified in these four schools is quite an achievement! NGC honors members who completed these schools and are currently certified. Four Star Members may apply for a Five Star Membership when the level of Master is obtained in all four schools. New Four and Five Star Members are recognized each year at the State Convention and their names appear in The Florida Gardener magazine.