History 35 Years Later

On June 7, 2014 Gilford & District Horticultural Society hosted their 35th Anniversary with a dinner at the Harbour House Grill at Lefroy Harbour Resort.

The Picture Gallery below shows you who attended. Photos by Jenni Murrell.

A big Thank You to the Organizing Committee: Marilyn Elliott, Betty Lou Flear, Debbie Ryan, Judith Rogers and Lucy Valente

Lucy Valente, 1st Vice President, came up with the idea of asking members to write down their memories and wrote the following Introduction:

35 years ago an eager and resourceful Lila Bell attended a Thornton Horticultural meeting and was so impressed with the information provided and the beautiful flowers that she decided to do the same here in Gilford, thus starting our Gilford & District Horticultural Society.
With the help of Luise Alle, Johanna Chudzinski, Ruth Bolt and Bill Markwick just to name a few we have seen many changes over the years, but the constant has always been – useful gardening tips and lovely flowers.
We have grown to over 100 members and have become a very respected and entertaining Society. Many of us have been members for as long as there has been a GDHS, a few have just joined, and their reasons for joining may all be different, but the underlying desire is the same – we all want to beautify our gardens and town and have fun doing it.
As you read the following memories of some  of the members take a moment to remember why you joined, and all the memories you have made for yourself in our Society.

01-35th AnniversaryUntitledLila Bell and Ruth Bolt, Charter Members and the backbone of our Society.

Ruth Bolt’s Memories:
Time in Society: From the inaugural meeting, May 31, 1979, I was IN. Thanks go to Lila Bell; hers  was the inspiration for a Society. I had a term of president in 1981 – and again in 2000.
Benefits you received: I was to learn so much – about growing things – their name and care. Experts shared their expertise at the meetings; and then there was group travel to specialized flower centres. Participation in the Society’s monthly shows – single flower entries and designs (arrangements) was a good challenge. (I once even won an award for my garden).
Fondest Memories: Memories focus on people – more particularly – and among many I bring to mind a few : Molly Laceby – such solid flower knowledge and great sense of humour; Norma Boddy, a talented artist, modest and generous; Evelyn Royce, a friend indeed; Ruth Sawyer, her vegetables a source of great pride  –  and still very active but out of the region Edith Fletcher – such basic knowledge. She and I took the Judges’ course – and for 2 years we co-judged the horticultural  aspects of the Barrie Fair.
Overall Experience: The 35 years reflect the dedication of many – and the hard-working EXECUTIVE, from year to year deserves great credit. The challenge of the transfer from the Gilford Hall to Churchill was met – more space, easy access to kitchen!!
I have looked back – now it’s time to consider the future – for more benefits and memories.
Best wishes – Ruth –

Sharon Wice’s Memories:
Time in Society: 
A Life Member at the very first meeting in 1979.
Benefits you received: The many benefits I have received beyond all the knowledge I have gained, shared by other members, is the many lasting friendships that I have made and kept over the years. Friends interested in the same pleasurable hobby. Such a peaceful and therapeutic past time working in the garden, not to mention the exercise you get without thinking about it and the joy of seeing flowers and fruits ripen and bloom. Many members have passed through our little Society but the old faithful are still the back bone of our meetings and how lovely it is to meet with like minded friends. For me, the Gilford and District Horticultural Society has richly blessed my life with many beautiful memories.
Fondest memories: The meetings were held at the Gilford hall and at the time, we didn’t have committees for certain jobs, we just all pitched in and did anything that needed doing. I remember rolling out the Library cupboard and opening the doors to entice members to take out the books, but Heaven help you if you were overdue getting them back. We helped put out chairs for meetings, then stack them at the end of the night and lunch was always served downstairs. Phoning was done for special occasions if someone reminded you to do so. Ruth Bolt and I brought bouquets of flowers for the little entrance as a little welcome. Flower Shows were on tables covered with plastic, at the side of the hall. I was in the Gilford Hall recently and I don’t remember the stairs being so rickety, as we used to fly up and down them and think nothing of it. Bill Markwick was the Auctioneer for our Plant Auctions and he always could squeeze an extra nickel out of you with that smile. He always looked so dapper dressed in a sports jacket  and tie. Oh how Molly Laceby loved her roses and night after night she would call about some virtue of her roses and hints on how to grow prize winning roses and here I was trying to get kids to bed while she was luxuriating in her bubble bath with all the time in the world. I would hear her splashing the water and think, when I get old I will be able to soak like that also. Ruth Bolt was always going for flower arranging courses and would come back and show us her artful creations and give us workshops. That was not only with flowers, she also used to have the most delectable afternoon luncheons all prepared by her hands. Many of us have enjoyed her mouth watering tea parties over the years.  Many an afternoon was had in our dining room where we put extra leaves in the table and cleared it off to play Dominoes. I remember it getting quite raucous at times with a bit of discrepancy over the scores and rules !!!! ha.
Flowers are words – Which even a babe may understand.  –  Arthur C. Coxe
Sharon Wice, Lefroy
As an aside, that was also the year there was snow in the Sahara Desert for the first time, Rod Stewart’s: ‘Do you Think I’m Sexy?’ went to number One and Joe Clark became the youngest and 16th Prime Minister of Canada.

02-35th AnniversaryUntitled1Earle and Helen Gilmore, Helen is a Charter Member, Earle joined in 1981. Johanna Chudzinski joined in 1987.

Helen and Earle Gilmore’s Memories:
Time in Society:
Approx. 33 years
Benefits you Received:
Knowledge received from speakers at meetings. New friendships.
Fondest memories:
Our many plant sales, flower shows at most meetings, competition among members. Proud of Arboretum at Luck property.

Johanna Chudzinski’s Memories:
Time in Society: 28 years
Benefits you received: Friendship
Fondest Memories: Entering flower shows
Overall Experience: Happy times

03-35th AnniversaryUntitled2Wynfred (Billie) Gill joined in 1990,  Joe Sawyer in 1987 and Verna Sawyer in 1980

04-35th AnniversaryUntitled3Art Harper joined in 1991, Ida Sorensen in 1992 and Phyllis Caulton in 1993

05-35th AnniversaryUntitled4Mona Rea joined in 1994 and so did Judith Matchett

Mona Rea’s Memories:
Time in Society:  I joined in Spring 1994
Benefits you received: I learned a lot about gardening, running the society and developed leadership skills. I found an outlet for my creative side and of course found many friends along the way. Being involved in beautification has taught me a lot and also creating the year books and newsletters has made me computer literate, at least more than I would have been otherwise.
Fondest Memories: Attending the various Ontario Horticulture Association Conventions with my friends. I remember Sharon Wise giving us facials in the residence at Nippising University, and  one incident when John Craw put crackers in Letty and Paul Barolet’s bed. I wonder if they ever got back at him?
Planting the public gardens, pitch-in-day teams, working at the South Innisfil Arboretum, and the Giant Lawn Sale fund raisers. There were too many fun workshops to pick just one, and other enjoyable social events.
I remember Molly Laceby had me on the Social Committee at the first meeting I attended. She should have been in vacuum cleaner sales!
Overall Experience: Being a member of Gilford & District Horticultural Society was one of the best things I ever did for myself. You get out of it what you put in, absolutely!

Judith Matchett’s Memories:
Time in Society: I first joined at a Euchre Party held at the Gilford Hall. Molly Laceby was a great saleslady. She talked me into joining the Society and the next thing I knew I was on the Executive as Joan Harper’s Secretary.
Benefits you Received: I met people I could never have reached at the Conventions and Seminars. We joined with other Societies to sponsor the Spring AGM and helped with the Ontario Conventions at Collingwood and Barrie.
A good lesson for planning family weddings and other Do’s.
Fondest Memories: The trip to Alaska with members and spouses in 2010.
Getting “down and dirty” (of course it rained) with Lyn Dinsmore and later Janet Mills to plant the garden at the Churchill Community Centre. They were both injured at the time! They sat, opened the plant packs and threw them at us crouched in the beds. What a great laugh.
Overall Experience: We have always felt welcome at the meetings. Sometimes, we’ve been greeted, away from Innisfil, with “The Gilford Group” are here.
Luncheon get togethers in the off season, more Outings for our busy Summers. Car Pools have taken Us out and about for Mid week excursions. Over the last 20 years we have not missed too much.

06-35th AnniversaryUntitled5Ruth Matchett joined in 1996, Judith Rogers and Debbie Ryan both joined in 1999.

Ruth Matchett’s Memories:
Time in Society: Approximately 18 years of being on time for the meetings.
Benefits you Received: Meeting lots of new people and making new friends. Having a good time at Conventions, AGM’s and Spring Meetings. Learning more about plants and flowers. Enjoying bus tours to St. George, Plant World, Canada Blooms and the International Mum Show with Ida Sorensen, Phyllis Caulton, Joan Harper, Billie Gill and Boo Major in Toronto.
Fondest Memories: The trip to Alaska with members in 2010. My first time on a cruise boat, I had such a good time, yeh!!! Meeting past Presidents of our Society like Lila Bell and Sharon Wice and all of the other members. Enjoying the Flower and Vegetable Shows and loving winning the Best in Show ribbon. Working in the kitchen with Betty Lou Flear is great – our food is worth coming to the meetings for!!!
Overall Experience: Winning door prizes, ticket draws and picking numbers for the draws.
P.S. We have a good time together both Summer and Winter, and our parties are great.
Thank You
Ruth Matchett

Judith Rogers’ Memories:
Time in Society: I joined GDHS in 1999, so I’m coming up to 15 years.
Benefits you Received:  Meeting others with the same passion for gardening, hearing speakers on interesting topics and attending the district events which are always a fun social day.
Fondest Memories: My first bus trip with the society in 2000 introduced me to Port Perry and the whole experience of lunch out and getting to know some of the members better was enjoyable.
Overall Experience: Joining GDHS has been a positive influence on my life. I went on to become a Master Gardener and District Director for Simcoe County with the support and encouragement of the society.

07-35th AnniversaryUntitled6Eveline Teras joined in 2000 and Michael Lepinski in 2004, Kathy Barraclough joined in 2001

08-2014-06-07Patrick Ryan joined in 2002, Pat Morley in 2007 and Joy Morley in 2001

09-35th AnniversaryUntitled7Lucy Valente joined in 2001 and Mario Rea in 2002

Lucy Valente’s Memories:
Time in society: 2004 to present
Benefits you Received: I got to try new challenges I would not have experienced before, such as computer skills from being Secretary, hosting and putting together events being in Social, and all around sharing of ideas and working with others.
Fondest memories: My first Social event I was in charge of – it was a Magical “Harry Potter” theme Boo (Margaret Major) inspired me to do. Also winning my first ribbon in Design, something I thought I could never accomplish.
Overall Experience: I have enjoyed my time in the Society, meeting and making new friends and all that I have learned about Horticulture and myself.

Esther Axelrod’ Memories:
Time in Society: Approx. 10 years (Esther joined in 2003)
Benefits you Received: Learning more about our “Good Earth”. Its natural beauty and the plants, trees, flowers and food it produces to sustain human beings and all living creatures.
Fondest memories: Meeting members who are interesting, creative, knowledgeable, gardening enthusiasts.
Overall Experience: Enjoyable!

10-35th AnniversaryUntitled8Victor Foster  and Virginia Foster both joined in 2004

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJenni Murrell and Bob Murrell both joined in 2004

Jenni Murrell’s Memories:
Time in Society: From March 8, 2004 – our 25th Anniversary celebration – 10 years ago.
Benefits you Received: I have always grown plants and vegetables on my window sills and my balconies in my apartments – but after I moved to Bell Ewart, had my first garden and joined the Society, I really got going. I found a wealth of information by listening to our speakers, getting to know other members and drawing on their information and not least finding a whole new world of friends.
I didn’t know the first thing about computers but by becoming first the Membership Director, then the Web-master, then the Tree Sponsorship and Tree List Director (with my husband Bob’s help we even put latitude/longitude co-ordinates for the trees on the list) and finally the Flower Show Chair. I needed these skills and have by now become fairly computer literate.
I have also learned to overcome my fear of public speaking.
Fondest Memories: Going to conventions, workshops, meetings, plant sales, bus trips and getting my first ribbon at a flower show.
Seeing the joy on other members’ faces when they receive their first flower show ribbon and the surprise on their faces when they win an award at the AGM.

Overall Experience: Joining the Gilford & District Horticultural Society has made a great impact on my life, I have made lifelong friendships with people who enjoy growing and making stuff as much as I do.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALaszlo More and Agnes More both joined in 2005

11-2014-06-071Glenn Rogers joined in 2005 and Marilyn Elliott in 2007

Marilyn Elliott’s Memories:
Time in Society: Joined April 2007
Benefits you Received: A much greater knowledge of plants, beneficial insects, and where to use both.
Fondest memories: The Niagara Convention, spending time with my fellow society members in a wonderful setting, acquiring new knowledge, seeing gardens in a different zone, but most of all a wonderful dinner at a local winery with good friends.
Overall Experience: Widening my aspects of all times of gardening and making everlasting friends. There is nothing more important than sharing with those you enjoy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARitva Heath joined in 2014 and Linda Crome in 2007

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKim O’Rourke joined in 2008 and Steven O’Rourke in 2013

12-35th AnniversaryUntitled9Diane Sykes joined in 2010 and Mary Brown in 2011

13-35th AnniversaryUntitled10Sue Sessford joined in 2013 as did Beryl Karmel