The members of the Kemptville Horticultural Society are marking 120 years of activity and service to the community. On January 11, 1899, at a meeting held at the Town Hall, now the Courthouse on Water Street, the Society was officially established under the Ontario Agriculture and Arts Act. Reeve of Kemptville, Angus Buchanan, chaired the meeting and served as the Society’s first President. From the beginning, the Society enjoyed the contributions of men and women of the community. In March, 1899, new by-laws were drawn up, and in 1902 it was decided to purchase trees for planting in the village, and over 1,000 trees had been planted by the following year.
However, this seems to have been the extent of the Society’s activity in its first incarnation, and it was not until 1920 that it was reorganised, with G. Howard Ferguson as President. The renewed Society held a clean-up day for Kemptville, and a lawn competition and flower show, at which 61 exhibits were judged by A. J. Logsdail of the Kemptville Agricultural School. This marked the start of a very active period for the Society, with annual flower shows, and projects to beautify the public school grounds (where the B&H now stands), the tennis and lawn bowling areas in Riverside Park, and the river bank behind the Town Hall. Society membership in these years reached over 300.
But, once again, the Society fell into abeyance from 1929 but resumed in April, 1952, with Dr. W. Jackson Flay as President and has flourished well to the present.
Our Society, a registered Charity Organisation, is part of the Ontario Horticultural Association and share our wealth of experience with everyone and all other Horticultural Societies, including District 1 to which we belong. We carry our own Constitution and function under the “umbrella” of the Ontario Horticultural Association with ties to the Ontario Ministry of Food and Rural Affairs and the Canada Revenue Agency. There are more than 40,000 gardening members of the 268 Horticultural Societies throughout Ontario. Some Societies have been in existence for more than a century.
Today the Society owes its success to all past and current members who donate their time to activities such as Public planting, HeyDay, Plant sales, Garden Tours and Spring and Fall flower shows, and other worthwhile programs whilst enjoying guest speakers, interesting day trips, organised garden visits and discounts at local nurseries. We meet monthly, nine times a year, where a formal meeting takes place followed by a Guest Speaker.
We are gardeners of all ages, new and experienced, and membership is always open to anyone, to share our love of gardening.
For information, please e-mail: KHS_OHA@yahoo.ca.