One view in Arnold and Wendy Rose’s breathtaking rural home grounds — no wonder they walked away with the trophy for best rural home grounds.
(ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
The Newdale Horticultural Society’s fall show was attractively staged. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
A lovely double gazania was just one of the many potted plants in the show.
(ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
The juniors exhibited the eggplants they had grown in large containers.
(ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
I was intrigued by these ever-bearing strawberries, loaded with fruit and pink blossoms, in Jean Bradley’s wonderful rural garden. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)
I have extolled the benefits of belonging to a garden club in previous columns but the events of the last couple of weeks have again brought vividly to my attention the many reasons that belonging to a gardening organization is such a great thing.
Your local club might be called a horticultural society, a garden club or the dirty diggers, but whatever the name, the folks who belong to the club will all be avid gardeners interested in promoting gardening and eager to share gardening knowledge.
I was immersed in gardening the last couple of weeks, culminating with our own local horticultural society’s annual fall show. The week before, I was involved with a neighbouring society as a judge and I would like to share with you the activities of this society — the Newdale Horticultural Society.
That such a small community can still maintain an active gardening club is amazing unto itself, but when the project list of this society is examined, my amazement turns to sheer wonder and admiration.
I was privileged to act as the judge for their home grounds competition — Newdale is one of the few societies in the province that still conducts a home grounds competition.
There were more than a dozen properties entered in the competition, almost equally split between rural and town. As we went from place to place, I met wonderful people, gardeners eager to walk me through their gardens and talk gardening — what a joy!
The amazing thing is that there was little sense of competition, just a feeling that these folks all loved to garden and to show their gardens to anyone who is interested. They allowed me to take pictures, answer questions that they posed and benefit from their vast knowledge when I asked about how they did things or what they were growing.
Less than a week later, I was honoured to be back to judge their fall flower show. They put on quite a show for such a small society, and one outstanding part of the show was the very prominent space devoted to their Junior Gardeners.
The Newdale hort society sponsors a junior garden club and at least a dozen of these juniors had exhibits in the show.
They always grow interesting things — the driving forces behind the junior program, Barb Petersen and Helen Caird, come up with unique and interesting things for them to try.
This year they grew both eggplants and artichokes in large containers — the eggplant fruits were entered in the show, as were the artichoke plants, which had not produced artichokes by show time.
There also were garden-related craft items and impressive terrariums entered in the show, testimony to all the hard work the juniors — and their leaders — had done during the year.
This small-town hort society also maintains town planters and a memory garden, and regularly brings in speakers to their monthly gathering to keep members interested and coming out for meetings.
Whenever I have had anything to do with the Newdale Horticultural Society, there is usually delicious food involved. My two recent visits were no exception as I joined some of the members at the Seniors for Seniors lunch at Harrison House after judging the home grounds, which was also the case when I judged at the show.
Not only that, but on the evening of their fall show, the society puts on a scrumptious roast beef supper — I don’t know of another garden club or hort society that goes this extra mile the day of their annual show.
A second trip to Newdale just to attend the supper was small price to pay for such a delicious meal — our friends who accompanied us agreed!
As you can see from my description of the activities of just one horticultural society, there are innumerable benefits to joining such an organization.
Some of them are sharing of gardening know-how, a chance to exhibit or participate in good-hearted competition, an opportunity to hear speakers talk on various gardening topics, the ability to offer public service through planting and maintaining public plantings, and providing children with the opportunity to learn about gardening in all its many aspects.
Of course, the social aspect of gardening organizations cannot be overlooked. These are wonderful organizations, providing social contact for their members and the camaraderie and friendships that develop are priceless.
Bravo! to the Newdale Horticultural Society, a great example of a vibrant garden club composed of wonderful, friendly people.
Maybe after hearing about how just one gardening group operates, you will become interested in joining a similar organization in your community.
Do it — you will not be disappointed.
Albert Parsons is a consultant for garden design and landscaping who lives in Minnedosa.
Want to be a Master Gardener?
If you are an enthusiastic gardener who loves to learn about all things plants and you like to volunteer with seniors, children or your peers on gardening projects, an information session next Wednesday is for you. Members of Manitoba Master Gardener Association board of directors will present an informative orientation session on the details of what being a Master Gardener is really all about. Assiniboine Community College will also have information and course schedules available for the Master Gardener courses here in Brandon and Winnipeg. "Everything you ever wanted to know about being a Master Gardener" will take place Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at The Green Spot, 1329 Rosser Ave East in Brandon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 22, 2013