A Little Bit of History – 125+ Years
The Brampton Horticultural Society traces its roots to February 1895 when some sixty Brampton residents elected Dr. David Heggie as the first president. The Society has been dormant twice; the first in the late nineteen twenties and then from just before the Second World War until the early nineteen sixties. The last known meeting of the original Society was in March 1924, while April 1962 was the first public meeting to reorganize again. After both lapses, members of the previous group were founders of the reorganized group and thus continuity has been maintained for a century.
Since its inception it has been responsible for some significant endeavours within the Community. It was responsible for maintaining the beautification of both the CN and CPR railway stations in the early 1900’s It undertook the placement of trees on several streets in Brampton before the City and local developers took over the plantings. One of the projects in the 60’s was the planting of Mountain Ash trees on a median on McMurchy Street and trees on Northwood Park subdivision. In late 1933, the Society donated and installed name plates for all the trees in Gage Park, some of which still stand today. Other civic improvements included the planting of 2,200 bulbs in public places and selling and additional 4,000 to members of the Society. May 1970 saw the dedication of the J. A. Carroll Arboretum, a massive project which was located on the site of the town’s first sewage plant and quarry. Over 400 trees were planted and maintained by members of the Society and included a Presidents’ Walk. In the early 90’s, the City of Brampton staff began overplanting the area and the Society reluctantly relinquished its participation in 2004
We initiated a garden program with the Boys and Girls Club of Brampton which received commendations from the “Communities in Bloom” International judges in 2008. The Front Garden Recognition Program was started in 2004 to coincide with the City first year of participation in “Communities in Bloom”. This massive project recognized over 7,000 homes from 2004 to 2011 and was sponsored by Bramalea City Centre, Shoppers World and Asensio Realty. In 2004 we had our first, very successful Garden Tour and it was also the year we moved our Annual Flower Show to the Atrium in City Hall to coincide with downtown Brampton’s Flower Festival Parade in June.
Other successful ongoing events include our Annual Plant Sale, and we were proud to host the first Seedy Saturday event in District 15 in 2013. This will be our 8th year of a special working partnership with the City of Brampton, which brings 30 plus participants, over 700 visitors and many interesting presenters to encourage gardening, environment and conservation concerns together.
The Society and it’s many volunteers have always actively promoted an appreciation of gardening both in the public and private domain. Our participation in the community has expanded in the past few years to include outreach at community events, Adopt a Park, Pollinator Patch, wetlands plantings, and community garden maintenance. We offer workshops to encourage Millennials and new gardeners to learn to grow plants and vegetables. We are part of the “Adopt a Seed” program with Seeds of Diversity, deliver a Bursary to a local high school student and hold canned and fresh fruit drives during the year.
People come to the Society for many reasons. Some are looking for an answer to a specific problem or for the identity of a plant; others are seeking knowledge in a more general form. The company of others interested in gardening is another attraction.
It is not necessary either to be an expert or have a spectacular garden to be a member of the Society. In fact, many members live in apartments and very few members would miss an opportunity to learn more about gardening.
To obtain the most benefit, new members are invited to get involved with the Society rather than remain just passive observers.
Depending on individual interests and talents, a new member may be able to assist with public plantings, write for the newsletter, or join one of the many committees which are essential to the operation of the Society.
Annual memberships are available as follows: Adult Single $22.00; Adult Family $30.00; Senior Single $17.00; Senior Family $24.00; Youth $2.50.
General membership meetings are held at the Flower City Lawn Bowling Facility at the Flower City Community Campus, 8870 McLaughlin Road, Brampton, on the fourth Tuesday of the month, with the exceptions of July, August and December, when there are no meetings. Doors generally open at 7:30 P.M., with the formal meeting commencing at 8:00 P.M.
The evening consists of a brief review of the Society business and upcoming events, an invited speaker, and a social period.
Ordinary meetings are held seven times a year. Additionally, the Annual General Meeting is in November, and in June there is a strawberry social.
To help keep up to date with Society programs, members receive eight or nine newsletters per year.
Flower shows give members the opportunity to display the results of their gardening efforts and to see what others are able to produce.
Five of the General Meetings have an associated flower show with both cultural and decorative classes. Ribbons are awarded for each class and, at year’s end, trophies go to members with the most points.
The major event is the “June Flower Show.” This show is open to the general public and the exhibit standard is high. Exhibitors at the June show have gone on to win at both the provincial and national levels.
The Society has a long history of planting in public spaces.
Before the municipality and developers took responsibility, the Society was involved in street planting. Among the projects of the ‘sixties were the Mountain Ash trees on the median of McMurchy Avenue, and trees in the Northwood Park sub-division.
There has also been a long association with charitable institutions. Flowers are currently planted at a Salvation Army location.
A popular and long standing feature of the General Meetings is the sale of plants. Annuals, perennials and house plants are donated by members and are sold at very reasonable prices.
In May the Giant Plant Sale is held. This event is open to the public and is a major fund raising activity for the Society.