St. Catharines Horticultural Society changes name in hopes of attracting new members

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Trustees of the St. Catharines Horticultural Society hope the group can move on.

Now known as “Garden City Gardeners,” the organization is hosting an event on Saturday, March 26.

This event, which takes place at the Museum of St. Catharines and the Welland Canals Centre, will feature guest speakers James Graham and George Scott.

Graham is past president of the Ontario Horticultural Association and life member of the Waterloo Horticultural Society, and Scott is the founder of Niagara Beeway.

Participation is free, with no pre-registration required. It starts at 10 a.m.

Past presidents and trustees Jan Harte and Sandy Martin hope budding members will take over the organization, but the two will remain advisers.

In January 2020, the Horticultural Society had to take a break. At the time, they had about 100 members locally, Harte said, with many “aging” members.

Martin and Harte stayed on as administrators to take care of the relaunch.

Martin said they are looking to create committees on topics such as pollinator gardens, vegetable gardens and environmental concerns, with the possibility of doing more, such as container gardening and houseplants.

“We’re looking to totally revamp,” she said.

“We want to get more people gardening and learning from each other and the experts,” Harte added.

Previously, the group met often, and Harte said it was difficult for people to get together due to work commitments. Under their new format, they hope to meet three or four times a year, with smaller committees able to meet as they please.

“We’re really excited about this, and we’re hoping people will come on Saturday and want to take on leadership roles in this area,” Harte said.

Founded in 1857, the St. Catharines Horticultural Society has its roots in beautification projects with the city such as the renovation of the Merritton Cenotaph, the Alzheimer Society Gardens on Ontario Street and the gardens on the grounds of the Salem Chapel BME Church on Geneva Street.

Before the pandemic, they also held plant sales and garden tours.

“In 1914, at that time, there were over 1,000 people in the company,” Martin said.

“There were so many that they filled the arsenal,” added Harte. “It was a bragging right to see who was the best gardener and who grew the best vegetables, and it was mostly men. Now it’s mostly all women.

Anyone interested in getting involved can email him at [email protected]

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