Societys meeting celebrates success, community involvement

Since 1857, the Fergus Horticultural Society has been dedicated to preserving the horticultural heritage of the of Centre Wellington.

The society’s mandate is horticultural education.

At the Nov. 17 annual general meeting, president, Helen Lacroix welcomed 78 members and guests to the annual turkey and ham potluck dinner and award presentations.

The guests included Walt Visser, who representing the mayor’s office of Centre Wellington.

Dorelene Anderson and Don Matthews, represented the Ontario Horticultural Association District 7, Ken Elder and Les Davison (Public Works), Andy Goldie (Parks and Recreation) were among the guests.

Lacroix presented her President’s award. It is given to a member in recognition of outstanding service. This year’s recipient is Kathy Bouma.

She has a long and varied tradition with the society.

She, Raymond, and their children moved to Fergus in 1996.

“In 1997, I went to my first meeting,” reminisced Bouma.

She emphasized that she joined when she had young family. “I had two very young children, a two-year-old, and a four month old baby. I wanted to attend the monthly meetings. I managed to balance my family life and my interest in horticulture. It is possible.

“From that first meeting, I was warmly welcomed and since then I have never looked back. I have served on the board of directors for three terms, vice-president and then president,” she recalled.

When asked what her proudest achievement was during her association with the society, she said, “Starting the tradition of coffee in the park during July and August.

Members also cited Bouma’s spearheading of the commemorative tree planting in Templin Gardens to celebrate the society’s 150th and the Fergus’ 175th anniversary.

Other members mentioned that they enjoy gardening with her in the society’s 23 gardens. Bouma is a never ending promoter of the Society, whether it is the annual plant sale or just giving town folk advice on what they can do with their gardens.

Lacroix also made note of the work of Roberta Vlietstra.

She and her husband,  Rienk,  have lived in Fergus for 20 years. When asked what her proudest achievement was she remembers chairing the Community in Blooms events in 1998 and 1999.

“First time entering and we won provincially and nationally,” said Vlietstra.

Vlietstra proudly reminisced how the Society grew. “Certainly we did have some hard times over the years, but with all our dedicated volunteers we made it through to what the Society is today.

Other members made mention of her work with the board of directors, vice-president and president. She has filled numerous positions throughout her many years.

Vlietstra is the society’s archivist, keeping records, Newspaper reports and photographs.

She co-chaired the 150th anniversary celebration of the Society.

Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of the show and trophy awards for 2010. Those were presented by show chairmen Liz Redshaw and Betty Knight.

The winners are:

– Pioneer trophy, Colleen Pearse;

– Mabel Reid Memorial trophy, Julie Kron;

– Rose Bowl trophy, Julie Kron;

– Bristow trophy, Julie Kron;

– Royal Bank trophy, Colleen Pearse and Julie Kron;

– Bank of Nova Scotia trophy, Mary Reimer; and

– Colwyn trophy, Colleen Pearse

District 7 Director Dorelene Anderson installed the officers and directors for 2011:

– president, Lacroix;

– vice-president, Vlietstra;

– secretary, Doreen Telford;

– treasurer, Jennifer Johnson;

– past president, Bouma; and

– directors Alec Calder, Lloyd Lougheed, Randy McLean, Joan McWilliam, Ron Stevenson, Meg Walsh, Joanne Davis, and Verna Smith.

The Fergus and District Horticultural Society is dedicated to the constant expansion of shared horticultural knowledge, through community presentations by knowledgeable speakers and yearly get-togethers in the form of garden tours and presentations.

The society is always in pursuit of new gardeners who wish to assist in the beautification of Centre Wellington. Novice and experienced gardeners work together, share knowledge and ideas to create these annual, tranquil spaces.

To view the activities and photos of the society visit