All Sandra Robinson wanted to know was how to make the flowers outside of her house look more beautiful. But after joining a garden club on a trip to South America, she realized the organization's importance in the world.
After 30 years of membership, Robinson, a London, Ky., native who still lives in her hometown, will serve as the 2015-17 president of the National Garden Club Inc., a 180,000-member organization.
National Garden Club Inc. is a not-for-profit educational organization that "provides education, resources and national networking opportunities for its members to promote the love of gardening, floral design, civic beautification and environmental stewardship," according to a news release.
Robinson said the organization does a lot of behind the scenes work.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
"I feel that the National Garden Club is one of the best-kept secrets around," she said. "We do everything from coral restoration to working in prisons to provide food and meals to inmates."
Since 1985, Robinson has held offices the organization offers on state, regional, and national levels. Robinson is the second Kentuckian to hold the office of president. The first was Nannine Clay Wallis from 1939 to 1941.
During the 86th annual national convention in Louisville on May 17, Robinson's installation speech noted the increasing number of Americans interested in gardening. The number of households growing food at home or in community gardens grew by 17 percent in the last 5 years, pushing the total to 35 percent, she said.
Robinson instills the importance of nature to her three daughters and six grandchildren, she said.
"I think it's very important that we connect our children to nature," she said. "How can we expect them to protect and preserve what they don't know or understand?"
Robinson's two-year project while president of the national organization, "Service in Action" is a plan to increase awareness of the endangered pollinators and amphibians, such as bees, frogs and Monarch butterflies.
Also, during her two years of presidency, she will visit national and international affiliates.
"I will be travelling for the next two years, encouraging members and promoting our project and bringing awareness to the scope of our work," Robinson said.
As president, Robinson plans to emphasize the importance of getting involved.
"If you're an informed citizen and an involved citizen you are a better citizen," Robinson said. "I wanted everyone to realize no matter how old or in what stage of life you are in, you can make a difference."