Garden club celebrates 150 years

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MEMBERS of the IHS Garden Club gathered last month to celebrate its 150th year.

Committee member Anne Horrell said 34 people attended the event held at Argyle Cottage Garden in Waianiwa.

As well as a garden tour of the abbey and grounds, participants enjoyed afternoon tea while being entertained by a James Hargest College music group.

“It was a good get-together and a fun time,” she said.

Competitions on the day included a hat competition, won by Helen Andrews, and a Nose Gay (a small bouquet of flowers) competition, won by Bev Cooper.

Patron Joyce Jackson, who had been a club member since 1970, shared some of the club’s history.

“Since its founding 150 years ago, there had been about 18 chairmen/presidents, with Mr L Lennie who held office for a record 35 years.”

Ron Petrie, who became the (Invercargill City Council) parks superintendent, joined the society in 1936 and held office on two occasions in the 1950s and again in 1981.

“He and Geo Peterson, of the ICC parks and reserves department, were a great asset to the society, providing their gardening expertise and assisting the society greatly by making shrubs, and other plants, available to enhance our show and encouraging their apprentices of the day to attend meetings.”

Since its founding, the club had had several official names.

In 1886, it was Southland Horticulture Society.

It became the Invercargill Garden Club in 1920, before evolving into the Invercargill Horticultural Society in 1935.

In 1988 the word suggested to be changed to club’, because it gave the impression that it was “for professional gardeners only”.

The name was formalised as the IHS Garden Club in 2020.

Mrs Jackson said “in the beginning, the main focus of the society was the promotion of gardens and gardening in general, with annual shows, the daffodils in spring, rose, dahlia, gladioli and vegetables in autumn, and later on chrysanthemums.

“The 1990 New Zealand National Daffodil Show, held in Hansen Hall, in conjunction with our Spring Show, was the last national show to be hosted by the society.”

In 1996, it was decided, “with great reluctance” to discontinue the society’s four seasonal shows, she said.

During its Centennial Year in 1971, the society hosted the Festival of Flowers, which was held under canvas on the Gala St Reserve.

During the years, the society had donated to organisations including Southland Hospice, garden seats to Elm Court Residential Care Unity (formerly at Southland Hospital), Queens Park Aviary Complex and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust, as well as tree plantings in Queens Park to mark its 100th and 125th anniversaries, a float entry in the Invercargill Centennial Parade (1956) and the Cockroft Memorial Cycle Park.

Members meet
The club had 50 members, but more were welcome, Mrs Horrell said.

Members met on the first Wednesay of the month from February to December, at 7pm, at Age Concern Southland, Forth St, Invercargill.

As well as sharing information about gardening, plant knowledge and displays, members also held an in-house flower competition featuring blooms from members’ own gardens, and take part in outings and garden viewings throughout Southland.

To find out more about the club, phone Pat Lamb on 21 047 6078 or Anne Horrell on 027 634 7172 or 03 216 6907.

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