Volunteers are perennial at local horticultural society

As another gardening season came to a close, the Fergus Horticultural Society held its annual general meeting to review the highlights of a rewarding year.

The festive event was prefaced with a turkey and ham potluck dinner. The 89 members and guests enjoyed the opportunity to review the gardening season and renew community friendships.

President Helen Lacroix extended a warm welcome. Guests included Centre Wellington Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj, Ken Elder (public works director), Trevor Ashbee and Matt Tucker (parks and recreation).

The agenda included presentation of the financial accounts, the appointment of officers and a chance to discuss issues of interest. Recognition was also given through the Ontario Horticultural Association and president’s awards.

Annual flower and vegetable shows award winners were recognized.

Ross-Zuj, spoke of the value of the work that the society performs for the town each and every year.

“I am very pleased to announce that it is your dedication that brought a prestigious Doors Open 2011 award, to our town,” she said. Templin Gardens was the winner in the Favourite Civic Space, Garden or Monument category,” Ross-Zuj said, adding that is an honour to have a local landmark recognized by a public forum province wide. A special thanks needs to go to the Fergus Horticultural Society for its dedication to the gardens year-after-year.

The mayor noted the society’s early risers she sees on way to her office. The “Diggin’ in the Dirt” group of gardeners looks after 25 local gardens, as well as Templin Gardens.

Jane McDonald, assistant district director for District 7 of the OHA, spoke about the personal value of volunteering.

It is considered an honourable activity, intended to promote and improve quality of life and to meet others while having fun.

Volunteering gives an opportunity to make a difference to other people’s lives in the community. People can use their skills and experience to help and enrich the local community. Volunteering is rewarding and fulfilling, allowing people to experience diverse opportunities not always available to elsewhere, while developing new friendships.

Lacroix spoke of long-term volunteering and the number of committed members of the society. The OHA recognizes those volunteers through a 10 year pin.

This year’s pins were presented to, Fran Binning, Arnetta Black, Kathy Bouma, John Carter, Ron Clark, Sheila Clark, Jean Collier, Marj Dow, Kathy Granger, Isobel Hotson, Joan Knapper, Julie Kron, Ken McManus, Mary Reimer, Vic Reimer, Jim Sparry, Vern Trask,  Gail Trask, Darlene Tremblay, Rienk Vlietstra, Roberta Vlietstra and Christine Whitehead.

The President’s award is presented at the discretion of the society’s president in recognition of outstanding contributions to the ongoing activities of the Society in the past year.

This year’s awards were presented to Alec Calder, Jennifer Johnson, Betty Knight, Ron Stevenson, Doreen Telford and Roberta Vlietstra.

The OHA Service award recognizes a member who makes an extraordinary commitment to the society. The board of directors honoured Kron. She is a member who has given over and above extraordinary service to the community.

Another point of interest was the presentation of the Flower and Vegetable Show and specific trophy awards for 2011. Those awards were presented by show chairman Betty Knight.

– Pioneer trophy, Mary Epoch;

– Mabel Reid memorial trophy,  Liz Redshaw;

– Rose Bowl Trophy, Roberta Vlietstra;

– President’s trophy, Vic Reimer;

– Bristow trophy, Verna Smith;

– Royal Bank trophy, Colleen Pearse;

– Bank of Nova Scotia trophy, Mary Reimer; and

– Colwyn trophy, Liz Redshaw

McDonald installed the officers and directors for 2012: 

– president, Roberta Vlietstra;

– past president, Helen Lacroix;

– secretary, Doreen Telford;

– treasurer, Fran Binning; ad

– directors Joanne Davis, Sharon Oughton, Matilda Parsons,  Bert Peel, Verna Smith, Ron Stevenson, Meg Walsh and Bruce Youngblood.

The Fergus Horticultural Society is dedicated to providing horticulture educational opportunities for all, preserving horticultural heritage and promoting good horticultural practices.

The society holds regular monthly meetings and flower shows to encourage the exchange of ideas and promote fellowship with like-minded people. To view the activities and photos of the society, visit http://www.gardenontario.org/site.php/fergushs.

Ron Stevenson is with the Fergus Horticultural Society