POWASSAN – Founded in 1956, Powassan’s horticultural society has seen many members come and go, and many events pulled off without a hitch.
“We learn so much from each other,” said society member Joanne Mathias. “Especially as we share our successes and failures.”
Mathis has held the position of president for seven years, though not consecutive, the first being in 1991 and the last in 2010. Her grandmother Mabel Whittaker held the position of president for six consecutive years beginning in 1970.
Other previous presidents include Mervin Cheany, Eddie Weiler, Gord Stewart, Marg Butler, Esther Giesler, Frances Trahan, Margaret Graff, Irene Fisher, Lois Farley, Marg Atkins, Larry Farley, Karen Giesler, Kathy Tester, Betty South, and June Keevil.
Over the years the Society has met in member’s homes, church basements, schools, the town office, and most recently in the Golden Sunshine Hall.
The Society has taken on many projects in the community over the years, including partnering with the Legion to put a drinking fountain in Memorial Park in 1959, and giving a fluorescent light garden to the residents of Eastholme.
“Our biggest hands-on project (is) keeping up the gardens in Memorial Park,” said Mathias. “It is hard work, but we always share a lot of laughs while we are working, and it is a great learning experience.”
The Society is under the umbrella of the Ontario Horticultural Association through which societies take turns hosting conventions.
The first for Powassan was in 1963. It was reported that the mayor of the day Fred Laver declared, “Don’t worry about parking regulations. The ruling is suspended for today.” The convention was held at the RIO theatre and along with visitors in cars, guests were also brought to town in three chartered buses.
“Over the years we have had speakers on landscaping, perennials, annuals, container gardening, water features, attracting birds and wildlife (and sometimes discouraging wildlife), trees, vegetables, herbs, weeds, photography... I could go on and on,” she said. “As new members come in and want to hear speakers on subjects we have already covered, the current members are more than happy to hear it all again.”
Mathias said the group not only learns from the experts, but from each other’s experiences as well.
“People should come out and join the Horticultural Society if they have any interest in gardening at all,” said Mathias. “It is not about being a great gardener, it is about wanting to learn and share.”
A main event for the Society was its flower shows. The group quite often had entertainment, like films, or performances by local piano students, or other musicians.
In July of 2001, the society decided to switch things up a bit and instead of a flower show, they held their first public garden tour, which was a big success, and was repeated for several more years until the membership was just too small to continue the event.
The Horticultural Society is always looking for new members and new ideas.
The next meeting is being held at the Golden Sunshine Hall on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. Prior to the meeting, beginning at 6 p.m., the club is hosting a potluck dinner. All are welcome to attend.