The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

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					The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society is a manuscript that was written around 1960 by Fred
Pain, a past president of the Ottawa Horticultural Society. The manuscript is valuable, since it was
written by a long time member who interviewed founding members of the Society it provides a unique
perspective. The opinions expressed are the author‘s and not necessarily those of the Ottawa
Horticultural Society or its present members. The OHS is indebted to Mr. Pain for preparing this
history of the Society.

Until 2005, the OHS had only 2 copies of the manuscript, the original and a photocopy, both of which
are difficult to read in parts. The OHS board decided to have the manuscript retyped to make it more
accessible to members via the website and additional paper copies.

The manuscript was retyped by OHS Volunteers during 2005-2007. Thanks to Jean Stalker, Jennifer
Mix and Karen Haines who did the typing, you can now read this. Laurel Lemchuk-Favel coordinated
the effort. Emphasis has been placed on preserving Fred Pain‘s voice and so the wording has not been
edited.

Jeff Blackadar

President

Ottawa Horticultural Society

November 2007

Version: 6 Nov, 2007




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society



Preface ....................................................................................................................................................... 6

―Whyte Trilliums‖..................................................................................................................................... 7

    Dedication ............................................................................................................................................. 7

    Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 8

Horticulture in the Ottawa Valley a Century ago ................................................................................... 10

Ottawa of the Society‘s Formative Period .............................................................................................. 11

Why? An Ottawa Horticultural Society ................................................................................................. 17

Promotion and Inauguration of the Society ............................................................................................ 21

Social Impact on the Society ................................................................................................................... 22

The First Decade 1893-1902 ................................................................................................................... 23

The Second Decade 1903-1912 .............................................................................................................. 24

Chapter 4 Third Decade 1913 - 1922 ...................................................................................................... 25

    Nineteen Thirteen ................................................................................................................................ 25

    Nineteen Fourteen ............................................................................................................................... 25

    Nineteen Fifteen .................................................................................................................................. 26

    Nineteen Sixteen ................................................................................................................................. 26

    Nineteen Seventeen ............................................................................................................................. 27

    Nineteen Eighteen ............................................................................................................................... 28

    Nineteen Nineteen ............................................................................................................................... 29

    Nineteen Twenty ................................................................................................................................. 31

    Nineteen Twenty-One ......................................................................................................................... 32

    Nineteen Twenty-two .......................................................................................................................... 33

Chapter 5 Fourth Decade Nineteen Twenty-three to Nineteen Thirty-two ............................................ 34

    Nineteen Twenty-three ........................................................................................................................ 34



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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
  Nineteen Twenty-five ......................................................................................................................... 35

    Nineteen Twenty-six ........................................................................................................................... 36

    Nineteen Twenty-seven....................................................................................................................... 36

    Nineteen Twenty-eight ........................................................................................................................ 36

    Nineteen Twenty-nine ......................................................................................................................... 37

    Nineteen Thirty ................................................................................................................................... 37

    Nineteen Thirty-one ............................................................................................................................ 38

    Nineteen Thirty-two ............................................................................................................................ 38

Chapter Six Fifth Decade ........................................................................................................................ 40

    Nineteen Thirty-three .......................................................................................................................... 40

    Nineteen Thirty-four ........................................................................................................................... 40

    Nineteen Thirty-five ............................................................................................................................ 40

    Nineteen Thirty-six ............................................................................................................................. 41

    Nineteen Thirty-seven ......................................................................................................................... 42

    Nineteen Thirty-eight .......................................................................................................................... 42

    Nineteen Thirty-nine ........................................................................................................................... 43

    Nineteen Forty..................................................................................................................................... 43

    Nineteen Forty-one ............................................................................................................................. 43

    Nineteen Forty-two ............................................................................................................................. 44

Chapter Seven Sixth Decade Nineteen Forty-three to Fifty-five ............................................................ 45

    Nineteen Forty-three ........................................................................................................................... 45

    Nineteen Forty-four............................................................................................................................. 45

    Nineteen Forty-five ............................................................................................................................. 46

    Nineteen Forty-six............................................................................................................................... 47

    Nineteen Forty-seven .......................................................................................................................... 47

    Nineteen Forty-eight ........................................................................................................................... 47


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
  Nineteen Forty-nine ............................................................................................................................ 48

    Nineteen Fifty ..................................................................................................................................... 48

    Nineteen Fifty One .............................................................................................................................. 48

    Nineteen Fifty-two .............................................................................................................................. 49

Seventh Decade More recent years – Contradictory Progress Report . . . . ............................................ 52

    ADMINISTRATIVE .......................................................................................................................... 54

    The Secretary's Report on one year‘s activities of the Society ........................................................... 67

Officers.................................................................................................................................................... 71

    Names of those who have served the Society as President. ................................................................ 71

    Secretary - Treasurer ........................................................................................................................... 72

    Directors Of The Society .................................................................................................................... 72

    Members Active in Society Work ....................................................................................................... 74

The Society‘s Honour List ...................................................................................................................... 79

Patrons ..................................................................................................................................................... 80

    Honorary Presidents ............................................................................................................................ 80

    Life Members ...................................................................................................................................... 82

    Honorary Life Directors ...................................................................................................................... 83

    Awarded Ontario Horticultural Association Diplomas ....................................................................... 83

Membership Promotion and Comments ................................................................................................. 84

    Some Comments on Membership ....................................................................................................... 87

Social Attitudes of the Society ................................................................................................................ 89

Vice Regal Interest and Garden Competitions ........................................................................................ 91

Lady Byng and Lindenlea ....................................................................................................................... 97

Relating to Photographic Groups ............................................................................................................ 99

Other Home Garden Projects and War-relief and Victory Gardens ..................................................... 100

    War-relief and Victory Gardens ........................................................................................................ 102


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
  Relief Gardens................................................................................................................................... 103

    Victory Gardens ................................................................................................................................ 104

    A few briefs on Victory Gardens garnered from hither and yon. ..................................................... 104

Public Planting Projects ........................................................................................................................ 106

Periodic Summary of Society‘s Shows ................................................................................................. 108

Extension meetings ............................................................................................................................... 114

Radio, Television, and Press Publicity.................................................................................................. 116

The Work and Influences of R.B. Whyte, Esq...................................................................................... 118

What Society Printed Matter Reveals ................................................................................................... 121

The Wild Flowers.................................................................................................................................. 127

The Ottawa Flower Guild – Horticulture for Juniors ............................................................................ 128

Affiliate of the Ontario Horticultural Association ................................................................................ 133

Ottawa Business Houses who have supported the society .................................................................... 137

Odds and Ends ...................................................................................................................................... 143

Selected Verses of Horticultural Theme ............................................................................................... 150

A Garden Song ...................................................................................................................................... 151

The White Trillium ............................................................................................................................... 151

    PEONY ............................................................................................................................................. 157

    AND A FEW ―QUOTES‖ ................................................................................................................ 159

Tulip Time in Ottawa ............................................................................................................................ 161

Looking To The Future ......................................................................................................................... 164




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Preface
Effort has been made to avoid making this story simply a compendium of facts and figures, and no
claim is made for it as a literary epic. Its style may not appeal to all and the justice of views and
opinions also questioned. If accuracy of any statement is doubted, proof of correction received will in
so far as possible, be made publicly. The aim was to make the story as factual as possible which does
not mean that it should be accepted as historical document.

The title ―Whyte Trilliums‖ is not a misnomer. In small measure it acknowledges the part taken by R.
B. Whyte, Esquire, in the cause for horticulture as an avocation in the Ottawa area. As Dr. Macoun,
for so many years Dominion Horticulturist, said of Mr. Whyte; ―He was the greatest amateur
horticulturist of his time.‖ Dr. Macoun‘s memory is honoured with memorial gardens, at the
Experimental Farm, Ottawa; Mr. Whyte, except for this volume is remembered by name only by a few
older horticulturists and others.

Official records of the society for its first thirty five years of service were destroyed by fire. The story
presented is the result of research through files of the Ottawa Press of those years, interviews with
older members of the society and various other sources. Treasured mementos illustrated herein, were
loaned for that purpose.

Minutes of meetings of the society‘s directorate form the background for the latter thirty five years or
so of the story, supplemented by recollections of the author-compiler and others. The search for
subject matter, interviewing sources of information, selection of relevant material, compilation and
script writing, preparation and supervision of format and production processes of this work was in the
main executed by Past President and Honorary Life Director of the Society, Frederick Pain, who alone
is responsible for the inclusion of related matter with views and opinions expresses, not necessarily
shared by contributors or officers of the society.

Acknowledgement and thanks are extended to those who in any way assisted to make this work as
complete as it is, with particular mention thereto of Mr. Samuel Short, a charter member of the Society
who died quite recently; Mrs. J. C. (Controller) Tulley, daughter of R. B. Whyte, Esquire; H. E. Spence,
Mrs. T Bowman (now of Toronto); Mr. And Mrs. Fred Hammond; W. M. Cavaye, Secretary of the
society at this date; Warren Oliver; Mrs. E. Warwick, Mrs. Geo. Rosser; Mrs. B. Sierlowaski, and any
others unintentionally omitted.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


“Whyte Trilliums”
Dedication
The story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society is respectfully dedicated to those who in any capacity
assisted in advancing the objectives of the Society to make the City more beautiful, and still strive to
bring realism to the dreams of its founders. Let us, as we may, pay graceful tribute to them and honour
their memory.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Introduction
It is well to have the intent and purpose of this documentation clearly defined, that it be considered in
intended perspective. To describe it as a History of the Ottawa Horticultural Society is not correct. A
story of what has happened can be most interesting to those who are required to remember neither
approximate date or period, but presented as an History with emphasis on such things it can become
utterly boring. To avoid this cold reasoning of historical demand is to accept this work of the author-
compiler as his-story of events as he has learned of them and hope that it justifies the title. Due
allowance should be made for the use of such material as could be found in lieu of official records of
the first thirty five years which were destroyed by fire.

The story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society, in whatever degree of interest it may be read is not one
of remarkable inspiration of exciting action. It could be cited as a dedication to a very few of its
members who gave generously of their time, and occasionally equally generous financial aid to have it
maintain its objectives. It is noted that any of these members favoured a pet idea or project it in no way
depreciates the good they set out to accomplish.

By present day standards it may not appear that all of the prevailing major objectives and the manner in
which they were promoted, however well intended were intelligently conceived or developed. The
predominating theme throughout the years was to ―Make Ottawa a Beautiful City‖. This focused
public attention on the society and Vice Regal patronage was first given to promote this idea in quite
early years and still continues but with less active participation in objectives. Financial aid has been
received from Provincial and Civic governments and from other sources. This negated the fullest
possible independence of the Society‘s activities because of the fear, real or imagined, that any
digression from already established procedure would bring down on the directorate the wrath of one or
others of its patrons as would limit the society‘s usefulness. The result has been that only very slight
procedural changes have ever been considered and practically no change ever made. Freedom from the
implications of such dependence may have enabled the society to accomplish more, but that is only
speculative.

One positive result of this indirect or presumed influence on policy has throughout the years made a
very large proportion of the society‘s membership become expectant of so much in the way of service
and contributions of garden materials, for the so little they give either in membership fees or assistance
with the necessary work of their Society. The officers can not be blamed for this state of affairs
because since 1906 the Ontario Horticultural Association, of which the Ottawa Society has always
been an affiliate has exercised a similar indirect and most probably unintentional impellation. This too,
has undoubtedly had some effect in freedom of action.

Had the society‘s emphasis from the beginning been one of unbonused home grounds beautification for
the pride of competitive spirit afforded, or for the health and recreational satisfaction afforded,
members would have been conditioned to progressively higher costs of what the society gave them and
the generally improved appearance of the city would have been no less. This would have enabled the
society to give more attention to ways and means for greater expansion, or survival, which no doubt it
would have done had it felt it had greater freedom of action. It might in fact have acquired a meeting
place of its own, Flower shows might have become Flower Festivals or outstanding value to the city
and complimentary to the society.



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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
This may appear to be divergence from the intent of this volume but may help to relieve the persistent
thought that after all that effort, too quietly and unobtrusively made, to beautify the city for nearly three
quarters of a century, as these pages testify, the society could pass from the local scene without
attracting more than passing notice. Howbeit with regrets of a few dedicated members, but with no
recognizable memorial, or even record except these pages. There are those who would aver that the
society will be remembered as long as flowers bloom in Ottawa Gardens; that there would in fact be an
ever continuing memorial to those who strove, through the society, to make the city one of exceptional
beauty. To accept a gracious tribute still does not give obvious recognition for all the thought, labour
and money expended by the Society which has so greatly enriched the City of Ottawa.

It is fair to state that in so far as is known, there is no present likelihood of needing any type of
memorial as a substitute for continuing progressive action in community service. Except the
possibility that the Society could risk its identity by continuing to give increasingly of its skill and
talent to other organizations who with more imagination recognize the value of spectacular floral
displays, leaving the Society only reflected glory instead of reflecting it as it should be doing.
However, all manner of organizations are having to adapt their efforts to vastly changing conditions to
enable them to continue in usefulness, and, Horticultural Societies are no exceptions.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Horticulture in the Ottawa Valley a Century ago
Essentially, this chapter has little connection with the Ottawa Horticultural Society except to show the
contrast between the excellence of the present well tilled lands with condition as they existed but a few
short years prior to the Society‘s formation when very few acres indeed fad become subjected to the
plough.

It takes a keen imagination to assess the difference in the pleasant borad famr lands as we know them
and the same acres seen by Col. By and those who with him first trod what was then a wilderness of
forest and swamp, out croppings of rock, numerous lakes and free flowing streams and rivers; the
whole area infested with mosquitoes, black flies and other insect pests which if not unduly harmful,
made life for those who traversed this land most unpleasant.

No rich prairie lands hereabouts, few open spaces at all except where the soil so thinly covered the
natural rock formation that mosses and some hardy native grasses could only survive. It was the land
primeval; yet to be made useful for the needs of man. As large areas were found to have soil of good
depth and otherwise suitable for cultivation for grain and other crops as indicated by the growth
thereon, man took over and in a very few years rid them of the magnificent Pine trees, Birch, Maple
and Elm trees and many others that grew so abundantly. One authority is stated to have estimated that
an average acre contained no less than four hundred pine trees of marketable size and nearly as many
magnificent Cedars in the wetter areas. There were many evergreens, shrubs, vines and plants native to
this soil which with the trees had to be disposed of before the land could be put to other uses such as to
provide food for man and beast. Wild animals furnished meats, there were fish in abundance; native
sand and limestone furnished some necessary building material while selected logs supplied more to
build barns and dwellings with the straight grained cedar required splitting only to provide near ideal
roofing material.

The abundant timber created an export industry of amazing proportions, helping to clear the land for
settlement and giving winter employment for those engaged on the land in the summer time, providing
an existence for many and riches for a few. Today, little more than one hundred years later we have to
pay a fabulous price for fine wood which less than two life times ago was such an encumbrance that
vast quantities were disposed of by fire.

More to be typed. Page 14




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Ottawa of the Society’s Formative Period
What of the people – the times – the predominating interests – local activities and manner of living in
Ottawa in the ―late Victorian Period‖ in which the Ottawa Horticultural Society cam into being? This
may have little to do with the society and its story, but it is of much interest in and ideas o those who
promoted the formation of and later directed the activities of this new society determining what, if any,
influences prevailed at that time which may have affected the thoughts. At all times there has occurred
waves of popular enthusiasm for projects soon found to be of little continuing value or importance.
There does not seem to have been at this period any such outstanding or unusual interest in
horticultural pursuits to give reason for forming another organisation to control or direct it.

So much has been written about the calm serenity (and severity) of that age which to some people must
have been idealistic years. It may have been so in the old world of so little obvious change. But
Canada was a new country; and Ottawa a recent development of it. It was no longer By-town with
Rideau Canal traffic of paramount, even if still of considerable importance. It was the quite new
Capital City area of the Dominion of Canada. Even so, it lacked many of the attributes needed to
describe it as a progressive or even and interesting city. Its citizens were predominately Government
officials and others, of high and low degree and importance, who were engaged in professions or trades
catering to each others needs. There was little manufacturing or other like industry on the Ottawa side
of the river except the canal transportation requirements and maintenance. However, not many years
were to elapse before the city gained considerable industrial prosperity by reason of the tremendous
expansion throughout the world caused by steam as a motive power, the progressive use of which was
rising to its zenith and has in turn almost disappeared during the fife of the Society.

The dress of the better class male citizen of the period was Top Hats and ―Prince Albert‖ or other long
coats, of sombre hue, relieved only with white ‗wing‘ linen collars or those stiffly upright, and
‗Cravats.‘ Their ladies‘ dress interest was in styles that necessitated abundance of lace and fluffy
ornamentation which made them such charming subjects for Artists and models.

Citizens of the ―middle-classes‖ would be recognized by the ‗Bowler‘ hats they wore, cut-away coats
and striped trousers, with elastic-sided boots. Shoes had a limited popularity outside of social affairs,
probably because of the difficulty of keeping them on ones feet while crossing a sticky, muddy street.
The complaint was not about ‗pot-holes‘ in those days. The hope was that one day in the not too
distant future the street would be paved. There were not automobiles and therefore not careless drivers
to spray pedestrians with muddy water. It was not uncommon to suffer similar indignities by stepping
into like but unpaved holes or acquire a supply of sloppy mud half-way to the knees by simply crossing
a street. Women of this class did not dress as expensively, or as elegantly as did her ‗betters‘ but the
length of their dresses were also maintained scarcely above floor level and it necessitated the crossing
of a muddy street to reveal whether or not the wearer had ankles, shapely or other legs, or wore any
lingerie. Carried away with much saucy recollections we are omitting description of the Mister‘s other
wear, his haberdashery, to wits – white linen collars and cuffs, probably ‗detachable‘ and as not to
become ink-stained or grubby during the hours the wearer was occupied in the task of providing a
living for his family in office or other genteel employ.

Artisans of most trades wore cloth ‗caps‘ as headgear, nondescript suits, often no collar or tie or
perhaps a coloured handkerchief around the neck or if the job called for it, and also for special
occasions as Sundays and Holidays the collars and cuffs would be of a washable fabric, or easily

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
cleaned with a moist cloth. Most of this class would own a ‗Sunday‘ suit and a second pair of shoes or
boots, a very distant picture to that of the present day aristocrat of labour. Their women-folk would
wear cotton print or gingham dresses with more durable goods for their ‗Sunday‘ wear and holiday
time respectability which was limited for most of them to the statutory ones. This ‗better‘ clothing was
expected to, and in fact had to, last for a number of years, before being remodelled for junior or use for
every day wear.

The labouring class were also distinguished by their usually stained and muddy clothes. It needed no
super-detection to be assured of many of the occupations the wearers were engaged in. Dirt and grime
and the residue of many materials they were engaged with told the story. The mud and odours of ditch-
diggers accompanied them on to and off street cars, the only public form of transportation for them,
which was horse drawn before the advent of electrical power. Open side cars were the vogue for
summertime and intentionally or otherwise were exceedingly practical if for no other reason that they
made travelling much less odourless. The closed-in cars, with coal stoves for heating were redolent to
an unimaginable degree, particularly when occupied with passengers who favoured garlic or onions as
a staple, every-day food. Except for Government employees, most men worked ten or twelve hours
daily, including Saturdays, with no time allowance for sickness, holidays, or for changing work clothes
for street clothes, if one could afford much luxury. Considering the rates of pay of those ―lower
orders‖ it is surprising that their women fold could afford any clothes at all which is an explanation for
them not being attractively dressed. They were, of course, as where those of superior class and station,
charming, contrary, illogical, desirable, and useful as they are now, but not so obviously a part of every
employment situation. Their household duties without the many conveniences and contrivances used
in modern homes occupied more time of the distaff side, and it was not considered to be ―proper‖ to be
employed otherwise unless necessity demanded it or waywardness did not concern itself with propriety.
Teenage girls did not clutter up the street cars, restaurants, soda-counters, picture houses and other
places as many are now wont to congregate every day from early afternoon to late, often very late
evening times. With exception they completed their education between twelve and fifteen years of age,
after which they assisted in their own homes if parents were will enough off to permit of it; or so
failing they entered ―domestic service‖ learning in a very practical way the household duties they could
expect to undertake in a few years. Some ―middle class‖ young ladies were employed as dressmakers,
of milliners or occasionally as ―shop assistants‖. Widows of the lower class could be expected to add
to their income with ―char work‖ or ―washing‖. To day they describe themselves as domestic
operatives or cleaning ladies and washing clothing and dished is mainly done with automatic or
powered contrivances.

There were no toiling thousand of female store clerks, typists, stenographers, hairdressers or of the
hundred other occupations girls of all ages are engaged in which is now, in fact, almost exclusively
their spheres.

What did these people do in their spare time? No picture-shows-when first introduced a few years after
the earliest ones of this story-no people, that is to say, some classes, considered it to be ―improper‖ to
attend them. I did take courage to view some of the ―entertainment‖ provided. No automobiles and
incidentally few ―boyfriends‖ who could afford the expense of luxuries now so taken as a matter of
course. Boy and girl friendships were a much more simple matter than those of three score years later.
There were concerts, the Theatre, community social events, swimming and bathing in summer – in full
length, neck to angle bathing suits; some cycling, the girls in ―bloomers‖ too, if the then modern Miss
could endure the comment and attention directed her way because of wearing them – and most could
and did. In wintertime, skating was the vogue, some tobogganing too and snow-shoeing, but no skiing;


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
this so popular sport had not reached this wilderness. Dancing was an accepted part of social life of the
―gay nineties‖ for those whose church affiliations would permit of such ―levity‖; very different too in
its steps and decorum. The stately waltz, then a much favoured dance, developed a precision of
movement that added gracious deportment which was a sign of social advancement of young people of
that period. The ―square dance‖, as the ―Lancers‖, ―Quadrilles‖ and others gave excuse for and
opportunity to set off outbursts of boisterous energy so necessary for the well-being of youth.

Despite these recreational restrictions young people were no less happy, petulant or useful than their
modern counterpart. For one thing, they did not ―run everything‖ as they are now prone to attempt. In
horticultural societies, in all fairness it must be admitted, would be very, very, considerably less in
number and usefulness if the wives, sisters and daughters had not taken them over, as had become a
revolutionary development since the halfway period of this society‘s existence. And why not? They
helped in the garden of likely did most of their work there; assisted at the shows, and more important,
encouraged, or insisted, that the man of the house cultivate the flower and vegetable garden, quite
essential to many of them before the turn of the century and after, and to the family‘s‘ economy. Some
of these wives could probably say with much truth that without her aid the scrubby vegetables her man
seeded and neglected would have been entirely wasted but for her industry and culinary art. We are of
course referring to city women. Those born and raised in the country districts did as much practical
land work as did the men folk of man families. How often they were so credited, is another matter. It
is not that man had grown any lazier or indifferent that he does less gardening, but it is now so much
easier to guy garden produce equal and often better than home grown stuff from the peddler at the door
or at the market or store a short distance away. Moreover, he likely has more money with which to pay
for these things and the family therefore does not have to eat vegetables of questionable size and
quality simply because he- the man of the house- grew them.

Besides gardening there was not a great deal to occupy a married man‘s time. After working a ten or
twelve hour day, six days a week, unless he was a government employee, - not much more work or
recreation was desired. May a game of ―Quoits‖ horse shoes if you prefer, at a nearby vacant lot or in
his own or a friend‘s back yard; some Tennis if still young enough to indulge; swimming in season;
walking- of course; skating and snow shoeing also in due season; but with little in the way or organized
sports to be a spectator of, his recreational relief was naturally n his garden. Mention should also be
make of ―Marathon‖ walking races, then quite the vogue, and a ―paper chase‖ was good exercise while
young and good excuse for long country walks. Base-running, Hare and Hounds, served the same
intent – healthful exercise.

What happened in those founding days; what did the newspapers report on? What unusual excitements
gripped the attention of those early citizens, those horticultural society members, besides the winning
of prizes at the seasonal flower, fruit and vegetable shows? The Press reported the happenings in an
eight-page daily newspaper, very poorly arranged and printed comparable with present standards. This
was before the day of typesetting machines and automatically operated, electrically powered, presses,
with folding the paper a part of the machine or press work. There was not a great deal of worldwide
news. British items have been quoted at least a freely as today but there was much less references to
the United States, except in the ―boiler plate‖ sections, there was stereotype cast material containing
jokes, stories or real or imagined happenings, with an abundance of ―Patent Medicine‖ advertising with
illustration of ―busty‖ females who had or declared they had benefited from the same. Similar material
is still used by small rural newspapers as ―filler‖, where news, as such, is scarce. The advertising was,
for the most part, ―announcements‖ that so and so were purveyors of what ever it was they purveyed.
There was little ―display‖ advertising and no full pages with headlines of bargains the present day


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
merchant so generously (?) offers. Not very thrilling, most of it, and certainly less confusing than the
propaganda we are now so regularly bombarded with not only through the press but by other
communication media which were not in common use if know of so few decades ago.

What were the news items they printed? The following is an average selection, which, by the way, was
not all reported in any one issue.



A run-away horse caused excitement on Sparks Street

Canal traffic notes, (the canal was a busy waterway those days

Local girl elopes with Minister

Heard along the wharves, (they could hardly dare print all they heard there)

Lovers walk becomes dangerous because of rain. (Said walk, north of the Parliament Buildings was
closed not many years ago for similar reason.)

Wholesale shoplifting, (nothing different there)

Excursion by train to Wakefield, return fare fifty cents.

Another to Montreal, return fare two and a half dollars.

A Steam Horse being exhibited, ―something like a threshing machine with a front-end decoration
somewhat resembling the head of a horse, was seized for debt.

Cock fighting in the Gatineau

Log jams

Temperance news

Freight handlers strike for a nine hour day

A lynching in the deep south, a boiler plate item

Disturbance amongst the Printing Bureau employees and Union officials because the Queen‘s printer
had (reportedly) stated that the compositors were an inferior class of men; were dishonest in their
duties, and some more unpleasant things, which naturally was resented, and emphatically by those
implicated.

Trade notes

Consumption of Coal oil increased. (Today‘s inquiry could be what is coal oil?

Comments on Holmes Comet

Body snatchers rampant

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Warning about danger occasioned by scattering orange peel and banana skins on sidewalks. (An
ingredient of half of the so called jokes of the day)

Earl and Countess of Aberdeen to be the next residents to Government House.

Chicago and its work fair enjoyed generous coverage

Ottawa‘s reformer group take action

Excursion to New York and return, ten dollars.

Local improvements reported

Plank sidewalk, six feet wide on Elgin Street from Gilmour to St. Catherine Street.

Other plank sidewalks on Slater Street, Elgin to Metcalfe, and also on Bay, Kent, Queen, Gilmour,
Murray Street, Andrews and Nelson Streets.

―Granolithic‖ walks were laid on Sparks Street, Elgin to Metcalfe and seventy feet on Bank Street.

School trustees object to the dumping of refuse on Kent Street.

Small pox and Cholera scares

A patent medicine advertisement to cure consumption

Lively scrimmage about naming ―Bingham‖ (now Cumming‘s) Bridge.

Eighty acres of land on Russell Road, ―just past Bingham‘s Bridge sold for $1700. Lots on Florence
Street, $300. Adelaide Street lots, $225. Away out at Lansdowne Park lots were $175.

Horse races on Wellington Street.

Comment on the playful pastime of cutting ears off a man and a horse

The court ordered retribution

The purity of the Ottawa River water for drinking purposes questioned. (it was definitely
―questionable‖ in the latter 1920s.)

Residents of Gilmour Street complain bitterly – not about ―potholes‖ – but ―mud so deep that vehicles
could not get through‖

A member has a story of his father, a dairyman, who, about this same period, used to remain seated in
the milk conveying vehicle, and require customers to wade through the mud to it – or him – for their
supply of the ―lacteal fluid‖ poured from open churns into household pots and pans. The member still
has the Bell which announced the presence of the milk purveyor on the street. The ―Fair‖ Association
was to improve Lansdowne Park. One correspondent was critical of the wearing of Crinolines. Bell
Telephone wanted to lay underground wires. Earl Derby, the resident Governor General, succeeded to
that title May 3, 1893. Obviously, it is not practical to continue these new items nor is it in keeping


15
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
with the intent of these chronicles. The foregoing does give some idea of the changes that do occur in
a few years and illustrate the contention that today‘s mundane happenings are a part of history, even
those which occur in a horticultural society, the primary reason for the compilation of this material.

The formative period of the society is also associated with the increasing tempos towards emancipation
of women from the relatively unimportant position they held anywhere except in the home. In this
sphere also there were often not too kindly relations for her, with a great deal of drudgery thereto.
How far in the opposite direction her influence will be felt cannot be foretold. Proportionately to the
change in relationship she has achieved through two world wars, a third one could result in complete
domination of the male in many spheres of activity and particularly in matter pertaining to horticultural
societies, which, according to the remarks accredited to some of them, could only result in
improvement. Yet, until the present year, the Ottawa society had continued with a full slate of male
officers and directors, unquestionably influenced if not horticultural directed by their emancipated
women folk.




16
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Why? An Ottawa Horticultural Society
Formation of societies or organisations wherein the arts and practices of soil cultivation could be
discussed as a natural result where people from Great Britain, or for that matter any other geographical
area, settled in this new land ‗Canada, as colonists. Here there was an abundance of land, fertile and
waiting in the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, to give forth and enrich those who would but till it. Most
settlers had a common interest in cultivating it; necessity demanded it to assure survival, but the harsh
climate of Wintertime in particular and many other conditions not previously explained made operating
most difficult. These settlers had to consult with another to learn the best methods, or those most
favoured, by which to combat the difficulties nature presented and to learn how to cooperate with her
in more beneficial moods. It was not easy or always profitable to accept any suggestion offered that
any particular method of cultivation or other field of effort was the better because it had been practiced
in some specific land, which land was unknown to many. There had to be facilities for enquiry and
consultation.

Although agriculture was primarily involved, horticulture naturally accompanied it as settlements came
into being. Fruits and vegetables were required for consumption and floral growth to give expression
to customs and traditions of a number of different ―home lands.‖ It was the more prosaic connotation
―gardening‖ which defined this vocation, or avocation, when and where there was enough leisure time
to indulge in it. Any endeavour to unduly promote the native views and opinions of any one country or
any organised effort to promote a group or society with a distinctive national inference was frowned
upon as not being in keeping with the harmonious cultivation of the mind and talents of peoples of
many races for the benefit and welfare of all. Whilst this was, and still is, an ideal worth striving for it
is not always proportionately fruitful to the abundant energy and effort to given to promote it. Even as
of these days, nationalistic thought and propaganda prevailed, with the emphasis not so strongly
directed as of today. Subjugation of these tendencies is for the greater good of all concerned.

As By-town developed and became identified as Ottawa, its citizens included an increasing number of
staunch supporters and advocates of the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain, in addition to or
included with those who subscribed to local Gardeners clubs. That there was considerable interest in
horticulture – or gardening – is clearly established in Robert Leggets‘s historical work ―Rideau
Waterways‖. Therein he states ―By-town, May 1830. Mrs. (Col.) By‘s garden was much admired by a
visitor from England,‖ and adds ―the reference to this garden will interest those who know the floral
splendours of Ottawa; the current horticultural interest of the City‘s residents is in a long tradition.‖
This author writes of many gardens throughout the canal system, paying particular attention to the
Kilmarnock Locks ―where there were flowers in abundance‖. Had there been less differences of
opinion about titles of less concern about class or social distinction the Ottawa Horticultural Society
could be celebrating or have celebrated a century or more of fraternalism in the finest of avocations –
Horticulture – with perhaps some other appellation.

To obtain a true perspective of the influence exercised by Horticultural Societies and like groups; the
history of this or any locale it is necessary to go back beyond the date of the founding of the Ottawa
society in 1892. Only seventy or so years earlier, the only people the land had known were the native
Indians, the occasional Priest and the ―voyageurs‖ who used ―The Grande Nord Riviere‖ – The Ottawa
River – and other waterways for transportation purposes. Few of these had little if any interest in or
need for agriculture of like pursuits, until Col. By with his troops, aides and labour force had of


17
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
necessity to take up an interest in, if not themselves cultivate the land for food stuffs on which their
health and survival could at time depend.

The reference to Col. By‘s very fine home garden may not have had any direct bearing on the
organising of the Ottawa Horticultural Society but bearing the earliest record of a garden in what is
now Ottawa it did in its way set an example progressively followed by the many thousands of home
owners since who created a city of beauty recognised as on of the most attractive throughout the
Dominion. A great deal of public money has been spent on delightful parks and driveways but it is
noticeable that the streets thereto, for the most part do not detract from this excellence. There is no
doubt al all that among Col. By‘s officers, engineers, and entourage generally, and in particular those
who later made the Ottawa and Rideau valleys their home, were those who had had an interest in
British Horticultural societies and quite naturally had a desire to continue old-world practices and
traditions as opportunity presented. The home they established for their families still bear tribute to
this by the many beautiful gardens still flourishing more than a century later. It was one of the
pleasurable activities indulged in that helped to ease the rigours of building new settlements in what
was practically a wilderness. In following the customs of their homeland they gained affection for this
their adopted country.

At this period of time it was expected of the aristocracy to give leadership and direction in all social
pursuits; although not necessarily to engage in them. Royalty took an active interest in horticulture as
represented by Kew Gardens in England to which was added a Royal estate about the time these early
settlers were developing their own smaller ones. So, everybody who was anybody and a lot of others
who were note developed either a flair for or at least some interest in gardening. This was like to a part
so aptly portrayed in the film epic ―Goodbye, Mr. Chips‖ where in one scene so magnificently human,
The Lady of the Manor finally accepts as inevitable the fact that the village Station Master has grown
Roses equal to those from her own estate; which was nothing new about this but the acknowledgement.

The Lady of the Manor would nowadays indulge her offspring with motorized vehicles and
contraptions in view of the awful possibility that some day they might need some familiarity with
mechanics by which to make a livelihood. In the days not so long past, and in the belief that ―her
class‖ was hired to rule, guide and direct others, juniors who would be encouraged to treat the
gardeners, among others with some measure of respect or condescension but pester those with
questions pertaining to his work which would aid a fundamental knowledge about ―growing things‖,
for further study or later aggravation of a gardener he would some day employ. In this way he learned
to stress his familiarity with ―horticulture.‖

Children of the class from which ―gardeners‖ were born would be taught through hard, continuous and
practical labour the difference between a weed and a seedling, a geranium and a calceolaria, or a potato
and a tomato, or love apple as they may have then been called. There were fewer distracting
recreations then, so it was possible to engage the attention of the young in such mundane occupations
as hoeing and weeding. These were some of the contributing factors for the wish to have both
Gardeners Clubs and Horticultural Societies as these young people grew older. Some to do the heavier
work of cultivating fruits, flowers and vegetable and others to proffer advice from a better educational
understanding of cultural requirements in what was still a very new and not well-known land. Flower
Shows and ―Fair‖ time provided arenas for proving ones greater proficiency over hat of his neighbour
in the arts and skill of both gardening and the practical work of horticulturists. Prize lists were quire
expensive and liberal in values. ―Cup‖ awards and ribbons for first and second prizes were likely to be
won by the more skilled and the money or ―in kind‖ prizes for third, forth and possibly fifth place
would be won by others. All prize-winning contestants were thus reasonably happy with the results.

18
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The honour prizes invariably went to the ―better class,‖ and the lowlier exhibitor and prize winner
received the cash prizes. The one did not need the money and the other much preferred it to ribbons,
which in a manner proved that democracy of a sort could and did work in those unenlightened days,
when gardeners were not horticulturists and horticulturists not necessarily gardeners.

Any reader who imagines he detects a trace of cynicism in this preamble is assured of no rabid intent to
renew any schism among those who in horticulture propound and those who are expected to follow
dictums. Among older ―cultivateurs‖ are some who have never taken kindly to socially dominated
direction and so became ―emigrants‖; possibly because the genes of non-conformity, more prevalent in
some families than in others, again erupted. So, if this phase seems to be unduly dwelt upon, it should
be considered as more informative than harmful.

Thus, in the autumn of the year Eighteen-hundred and Ninety-two (1892), a number of Ottawa‘s
citizens met in the City Hall to discuss the advisability of forming a Horticultural Society in the city.
Why they thought this to be desirable is not recorded. The City already had progressive florists and
gardeners clubs which may have been all or in part a commercial organisation but had been active for
quite a number of years, promoting projects of interest in may ways comparable to what would be
expected of the new society; in fact, it continued to be operative for may years thereafter. It may be
surmised that the membership of the club attracted other than those citizens who for any reason thought
a Horticultural Society would suit their needs better than any other like group. It should be
remembered that Ottawa of that period had a much more definite and acknowledged social structure
which fortunately, in the minds of most people, is not so much in evidence these days.

A very large proportion of the City‘s residents were British military and other officials, officers of the
Canadian government, professional people of importance and, as now, consular staffs of many
countries that lived in a social status quite different to that of the general populace, most of whom were
emigrants from the British Isles with some from other European countries. The French, for the most
part, were then satisfied to remain in Quebec with a relatively few in Ottawa, other than those
connected with politics. These emigrant citizens were strong, vibrant intelligent men and women, just
what was needed to build the country and city, though many may have lacked to so-called finer traits
and graces requisite for acceptance in some of the higher social fraternities. It has already been stated
herein that the influence of the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain was much in evidence and
formed an agreeable connection for those gardeners of higher estate who continued to look upon the
United Kingdom as the centre of their universe.

In this mixed population of men and women were those who had brought their respective agricultural
and horticultural skills, talents and interest to this cosmopolitan area in ―Upper Canada‖ and were from
lands where racialism was not entirely in harmony with those of others with whom they had to live.
There was however the necessity of living in reasonable accord with their fellows. Inadvisable
expressions of nationalistic and unacceptable sentiments being in some cases the reason for their
presence in this new Dominion which was willing to accept them on the basis of collective
responsibility and worth. Some found objection even to names of organizations yet sincerely wished to
participate I what they represented. Such were some of the contributing factors in the proposal to form
a new society, one that would carry a title none could object to and which would represent the
objective to promote and advance horticulture for its vocational and avocational devotees and add
suitable dignity to members who may have no other qualifications that that of being a ―home gardener‖.

Under such conditions those interested citizens met in City Hall and subsequently at 452 Rideau Street
and as a result of deliberations most of what has since, with very little change, become traditional

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
policy was formulated and preparation made to officially launch early in Eighteen-hundred and Ninety-
three (1893) – The Ottawa Horticultural Society.




20
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Promotion and Inauguration of the Society
Must be typed




21
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Social Impact on the Society
Must be typed




22
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


The First Decade 1893-1902
Must be typed




23
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


The Second Decade 1903-1912
Must be typed




24
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Chapter 4 Third Decade 1913 - 1922
Nineteen Thirteen
The second decade of the society had ended with a considerable decline in membership. If membership
appears to be too frequently mentioned, it should be remembered that the society itself is only one with
sufficient members to enable it to function with due consideration of its intent. The appointment of a
new membership committee was of great importance to the society's survival. As a result of their
energies the downward trend was reversed so that the first year of the third decade showed
considerable improvement in this respect with an additional one hundred and twenty new members
enrolled.

An important feature of this increase was the fact that the new members had not been 'pressured' into
joining because of the excellence of the premiums, for the records show that these cost only $397 for
the total membership of five hundred and twenty eight. This appears to have been very liberal by later
standards but was far less than members had received in some other years and would again so receive.

The total expenditure for the year was $1,1991, from which it may be adduced that less liberal grants, if
any, had been received.

Nineteen Fourteen
The year of commencement of the first world war, which was to make so much difference in Canada's
status in so many and varied ways. Agriculture, the Dominion‘s greatest industry, whilst still
maintaining its lead, had to give way in increasing measure to industrial demands. As urban
populations increased thereby those who were still horticulturally minded and wished to continue
cultivation as an avocation felt the need of social intercourse of like minded neighbours which was to
be acquired through garden or horticultural societies. So it was that this period under review became
the hey-day of this type of organization. Association with others had the merit of adding graciousness
to living as well as improving the produce from the home garden, a much more necessary requirement
for a larger proportion of the populace than it is today.

The society had for its President Mr. W.G. Black J.P.; with Mr. J.F. Watson, as Secretary-Treasurer. In
a flurry of energy, the Directorate scheduled eight meetings between January 9th and April 17th. Any
particular cause or reason for this is not on record. It would not be practical, even if the information
was available, to refer briefly to society events year by year. However, with occasional fuller detail, as
follows, of a series of lectures it is learned what were the prevailing cultural interests, and with more
information on administrative matters in other years, it is not difficult to get a general understanding of
the work and value of the society over a term of years.

The work of the society is to a degree repetitious. Help and information is given which necessarily, in a
measure, changes with each succeeding generation. Each younger one is coached in the latest approved
techniques developed by scientific studies in horticulture whilst elder ones continue in that they


1
    Not sure about this number; the original looks more like “$1.199”.

25
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
consider scientific knowledge superior to ‗new-fangled' ideas, or as it pleases them keep up to date
with improved understanding of ever changing procedures. The following series of lectures, held at the
Carnegie Library, no doubt gave very valuable aid and proven information and instruction, but it is
very doubtful it would in its entirety be acceptable now. Thus the society extends its greater usefulness
in bringing to its public the newest reliable cultural methods as science provides them.

lepeted, Planning and Planting Grounds, tsuscw ,..-.- -sadcets.2

The public were invited to attend all meetings and take part in discussion; also to bring specimens of
diseased or injured flowers, plants and bulbs.

Eight: Mr. R.B. Whyte‘s illustrated lecture in the Normal School on "Horticultural England".

With the Home Gardens competitions, five exhibitions of flowers, fruit and vegetables and other
activities the society can be said to have had a quite busy year. Fruits held a very important place in
exhibitions to which flowers and vegetables were often of secondary importance.

Membership was two less then the preceding year. Premium expenditure increased to $654, but prize
money was only $158.

This was the formation year of the Westboro Horticultural Society. Mr. T.B. Cole was the first
President, and Mr. M.J. Kerr, Secretary. There were eighty-four charter members. By 1920
membership had increased to two hundred and fourteen. The society did not survive the "depression‖
years, the 1930‘s, the result being that the Ottawa society gained some new members who added much
to it, in many ways.

Nineteen Fifteen
This year was in many respects a repeat of the previous one. With the same officers and the severity of
the war not too apparent; there was little more than the rumbling of the storm of energy which was to
transform the society from one of considerable social direction, if not compulsion, to one of exceeding
activity in the national cause to produce more food. The Home Gardens contests continued throughout
the war period and for a number of years after but interest waned in them as many hundreds of new
members wished to receive instruction and aid in growing vegetables for the national well being.
Admitted into the society these gardeners were not persuaded that beautiful gardens were still a
desirable asset during a war, which to a few families never seemed to exist. It is noticeable that the
status of the society was quite different from here on to what it had been previously. (The chapter on
War, Relief and Victory Gardens supplements these notes.)

Nineteen Sixteen
The records show a change in administrative officers; Mr. R. J. Farrell is President, Thomas E. Davis,
First Vice President, Mr. F.E. Buck Second Vice President, H.W. Jackson, Secretary Treasurer, and
some changes in the Directorate. The Dominion Horticulturist, Mr. W.T. Macoun, was elected ex-
officio member of the Board. It would appear that there were some differences of opinion as to policy



2
    Can‟t decifer this sentence.

26
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
to be followed. The prize list for the year was all for art and beauty as the classes of premiums offered
testify. Any two options of many, such as fifteen packets of perennial and annual flower seeds, four
hardy shrubs, one French lilac, flowering crab tree, clematis, three paeonies, and other, but only one
could be had of: 32 narcissus bulbs, 9 hyacinths, 24 Daffodils, (Special), or 40 Daffodils, 64 tulips, or
30 Cottage or 20 Darwin Tulips. 9 Geraniums, Palm, Fern or Pine for indoor decoration. A : Note
added, "With respect to Premium Options: Members will do well to note the new and rare plants
offered.‖

On the other hand, the home gardens competitions were limited to only three classes this year. Class 1.
For lots 66 ft. or less as seen from the street, nine prizes from $25 to $4. Class 2. Rear Gardens; six
prizes from $10. to $3. Best Window Box, six feet or less: eight prizes from $8, to $2. ―Any person, not
necessarily a member, may enter one or more classes, but only one prize per home.‖

There were two Spring Bulb shows; one on May 11th and the other on May 25th. Eleven classes in
each, but no cash prizes. These were called educational exhibits. They were held in the Carnegie
Library with Ribbon awards* There were. four other shows during the summer.

The war-time gardens activities appear to have been developed apart from the active participation in
them by society Officers.

Nineteen Seventeen
The activities of the society became increasingly concerned with war time gardens but were treated as
supplementary to other work being done. All shows, classes and prize money were substantially the
same as the previous year. However, society membership increased to over the fifteen hundred mark
thus making the Ottawa society the largest in Ontario and probably in all Canada. The distribution of
seeds and planting materials was valued at upwards of Two Thousand Dollars. An additional four
hundred dollars was distributed as prize money, and facilities were provided and demonstration given
on the best methods for canning, storing and drying surplus supplies of fruit and vegetables.

An associated group but working through the society and known as "The Vacant Lots Association"
endeavoured to locate the owners of vacant city properties and persuade then to permit the use of such
properties for war-time gardens. The society reported, which was substantiated by the local press and
elsewhere that these war-time gardens doubled the local production of food, which was quite an
achievement. A still continuing local seed house advertised "Cultivate Spare Ground for Profit and
Patriotism". "Your Government is appealing to you to Produce‖. One dollar would buy twenty packets
of vegetable seeds - with valuable information on gardening. But another seedsman contented himself
with advertising ― - - - Royal Exhibition Asters.‖

There was a visit to Government House: "Their excellencies the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire will
be pleased to receive the Society, etc." For confirmation see group picture and notes thereto on nearby
page.

A special Autumn meeting was arranged at which all prizes won in the wartime garden competition
would be distributed, "His Excellency the Duke of Devonshire has very kindly stated that he will be
very pleased to present the prizes.‖ However, some one deputized for him.




27
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Ottawa‘s Public School Board indicated their interest in promoting Home Garden Clubs for juniors at
various schools. The Ottawa Horticultural Society made a grant of $100 with which to purchase seed
for the project.

"Customary" reception at the Experimental Farm-- jointly by the ‗Farm‘ and the Society was held in
June, "the Rose Season.‖

A visit was promoted to visit Wright' s Greenhouses at Aylmer, Que., to see the display of flowers for
the Easter Trade.

An Excursion to St. Anne de Bellevue to visit Macdonald College, ―one of the finest equipped
Agricultural Colleges on the Continent", was also promoted.

No distinction made in prize offers which were open to amateurs and professionals alike - - unless
otherwise stated.

A special prize of Fifteen Dollars was offered, to be judged on value of crops grown, in particular in
gardens started this year.

A four day (evening) course in Practical Home Gardening in the interests of the Vacant Lots
Committee was instituted for the benefit of those working on these lots. Mr. W.E. Harper, in charge.

The Ladies Auxiliary raised money for patriotic purposes by the sale of flowers. They also supplied
others to the city hospitals.

Eleven exhibits of flowers, vegetables and fruits were held during the year, all of which were largely
attended by the public and to conclude the record for this year we quote the words of Mr. F.E. Buck,
B.S.A., President of the Society: "Ours is a work that must appeal to the civic pride and patriotism of
every citizen. Will you help it forward.‖

Nineteen Eighteen
Continuing Patrons: His Excellency the Duke of Devonshire. Hon. President Lady Ann Cavendish.
President: Geo. Simpson, Secretary-Treasurer M.W. Jackson. Directors and others: Messrs I. Short,
Geo. F. McCormick, J.B. Spencer, R.M. Roger, K.P. McDonald, D.B. Nugent, R.M. Cameron, J.B.
Cannon, John Graham, M.W. Cooper, A.F. Newlands, W.T. Macoun, James Bennett, and J. M.
Trimble. There were eight committees and the Ladies Auxiliary. The advertising seedsmen reversed
their position, the one stating "Our Country‘s Life Depends Upon Food" and the other offered "Hardy
English Grown Roses at $4.00 per dozen.‖ Another page in the prize list advertised ―Home of the Fur
Beautiful.‖

The Prize List contained quite a number of slogans as foot notes. Of recent years there have been in the
society‘s year books other foot-notes that are known to have vied with other material in the books for
greater interest. Those of 1918 were somewhat different. ―Grow Food and Help Win the War.‖ ‖He
also Fights who Gardens.‖ ―What use are Armies without Food.‖ ―Do Your Bit for Liberty.‖ ―The
Boys in the Trenches Must be Fed.‖ ―Mother Earth is Kind.‖ ―Home Grown Vegetables are Best.‖
―Become a War Gardener.‖ ―Have a Patriotic Garden this Year.‖ and the most direct of all ―Service
without Sacrifice.‖ Was that intentional satire in a war-time Ottawa?



28
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
War-time Gardens which had in some measure disrupted the regular schedule of projects such as public
plantings round and about institutional buildings was holding its own, so it was decided to resume
normal operations. The Protestant Hospital on Rideau Street was the first of the renewed projects to
receive attention; "the grounds of other hospitals and institutions to be dealt with as resources of the
society permit."

Exhibitions were similar in number and scope as the preceding year, but the locale was moved to
Murphy-Gambles Store, The Phonograph Shop and the Normal School. One class particularly noted
was for "Cut Flowers, all classes, to occupy fifteen square feet, artistically arranged, Prizes: six, four
and three dollars. Home Gardens competition was repeated but with only two classes. Six prizes in
each, total prize money One Hundred Dollars.

The title pages of the Year Book were of unusual artistic typographical merit. It had been intended to
celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary year of the society with a Garden Party to be held 'during Paeony
time' at the home of Mr. R.B. Whyte, with he and Mr. John Graham as hosts, they being the only
surviving members of the original board of directors. Other living charter members would be present as
honoured guests. Unfortunately this did not take place as intended due to Mr. Whyte being met by "The
Greatest Horticulturist of all" on April fifteenth of this year.

Mr. Whyte‘s efforts on behalf of horticulture and the Ottawa Horticultural Society were so wide and
varied that a separate chapter has been dedicated to him and his good works.

Nineteen Nineteen
The war is over. Harold Fisher is mayor. In a message addressed to the members of the Ottawa
Horticultural Society he states: ―Nothing gave him greater satisfaction than to observe the results of the
splendid work that had been done by the Ottawa Horticultural Society with the high purpose of having
city streets excite the admiration of visitors." "The aim of the society is beyond all praise and should
elicit the co-operation of every person who called Ottawa his home." Were war-time efforts so quickly
forgotten that a Mayoral message would include no reference to them?

There is something handwritten as this point, but I can‘t read it.

A couple of corrections are penciled in the Premium and Prize List of this year, which does not excuse
the occasional errorr in more recent similar publications, which those in charge hear so much more
about than the merits of the production, but does indicate that the art of printing had not then or since
reached the perfection hoped for by both the printer and his critics.

Mr. F. E. Buck, now a director again, upset the wheel of correct procedure by paying his special
contribution to the prize list to Mrs. ___ instead of to the Secretary. A small war was in effect, so says
the record, or words meaning the same.

In President George Simpson‘s annual message he states: ―The War is over. Are we going to slow up?
We are not. We are going to keep on growing food, more food and still more food." "How the
obligation had been met during the war by war gardeners to increase the food supply necessary to
sustain our fighting men and allies is told in the startling figures of production, last year 1918, which
was five hundred and twenty five million dollar's worth in the United States and Fifty million dollar‘s
worth in Canada."


29
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
"With Peace and Victory we must have flowers, -- bright, cheerful, beautiful -- emblems of hope and
joy, refreshing the spirit and banishing the unhappy memory of the days that are gone, never, we hope
to return."

Of the seven committees named, the Ladies Auxiliary is the largest with Mrs. F. Winning, President
and fourteen others. Fifty four options are offered for selection. Two shows held at Murphy Gamble‘s
and two at the Normal School. The method of awarding prizes had been revised. If only three entries in
a class only one prize to be awarded, unless special merit warrants more. With five entries, two prizes,
except as afore mentioned. Six to nine entries invites three awards. If twelve or more, the judges may
recommend a fourth prize. ―Among other things, it does away with the undesirable practice of
awarding prizes to entries which are not worthy of a prize, and which on some occasions have been put
on the table at the last moment in order to take a prize." also "It has more of the elements of justice and
common sense, which it is believed, will attract more growers to exhibit their products.‖. "This has
been so found where this method has been adopted."

To encourage the continuation of food production in home gardens and vacant lots, the Ottawa Vacant
Lot Association offered a series of prizes for products, to be staged and judged in the Horticultural
Building, at the forthcoming Central Canada Exhibition. A number of conditions were imposed on
exhibitors:

―All vegetables must be grown by the exhibitor who must make affidavit to that effect if asked to do
so."

"Exhibitor must be a member of the Ottawa Horticultural Society, The Vacant Lots Association or a
recognized garden club."

"Entries to be made on forms supplied and fees charged. One to three entries, 25 cents. Three to ten
entries fifty cents. Ten to twenty entries, One Dollar. There were twenty seven classes. Prizes for each,
Two Dollars, One Dollar, and third prize fifty cents. Prizes for collections of vegetables were Ten-
Eight- Six- Four and Two Dollars,

Four Educational meetings were held during the year at the Normal School.

Mrs. W.E. Matthews and Mr. Geo. Simpson were made Life Members of the society.

The privilege of participating in an outing to visit Government House Grounds would be limited to
members of the society."

The Year's slogan was "Service and Beauty." An advertiser stated that "Reconstruction will be
successfully attained chiefly by production from the soil.‖

The question of a Provincial flower was revived. The under named committee was instructed to pursue
the subject and make report. President: Geo. Simpson; W.T. Macoun, Dominion Horticulturist; J.M.




30
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Macoun, Botanist of Geological Survey; Mr. M. O. Malte, Dominion Agrostologist3; Mrs. Faith Fyles,
Assistant Dominion Botanist; Mr. F.E. Buck, Assistant Dominion Horticulturist; and Mr. J.B. Spencer,
Chief of Dominion Publications Branch. The report of this distinguished committee, if any, may have
been received and acted upon, but unfortunately the fire which destroyed so many records may have
included this.

Nineteen Twenty
Slogan for the Year: "A More Beautiful Ottawa.‖ Patron the Duke of Devonshire K.G. Honorary
Presidents: Lady Ann Cavendish; Hon. S. F. Tolmie, and Hon. Manning W. Doherty. These were,
insofar as is known, the first to hold this office in the Society. Mr. J. B. Spencer was President.

The Year Book of the Society for nineteen fifty one quoted excerpts from an article from the similar
publication this year. They are applicable to any age, for which reason they are again quoted here.

"Among the arts of peace, none is more fraught with possibilities of happiness than horticulture. It is
recognized that, soul, mind and the moral and aesthetic conscience are enlarged by flowers and anyone
who serves to increase the love and culture and aesthetic use of them renders a fine service to
mankind.‖ ......................................................................................................................................................................

"In the years of unselfish service the Ottawa Horticultural Society has won an enviable place amongst
the beautifying forces of the Capital City. Thousands of pent up citizens have by its generous policy
learned the joys of intimate relationship with nature and thousands of homes have been brightened in
the out-of-doors as well as the inside living rooms." "Ottawa regarded as one of the most charming of
the cities of this continent bids fair by the efforts of the society to become recognized as "The City of
Gardens." The remainder of the article continues to be eulogistic of the society and its activities, the
like of which has been much repeated over the years.

A "Women‘s Committee" had been organized to take over the work formerly done by the Ladies‘
Auxiliary. This committee consisted of twenty-six persons. The surnames of many of these are still to
be found in present day mailing lists of the society. What is not recorded is why it is now a ‗Women‘s‘
instead of a 'Ladies‘‘ committee. The reason could be more interesting than the fact. It is noted that,
with one exception, none served on any of the ten other committees.

A "Post War Gardens Competition" featured five classes, each with six prize offers, ranging from
Twelve Dollars to Four Dollars, Gardens not to exceed one half acre and care by hired help was
discounted.

An essay contest provided for from the estate of the late Mr. R.B. Whyte, was held. Eight prizes were
offered ranging from Twelve to Three Dollars, The essay subject: ―My Club Garden.‖ Contestants to
be pupils of Public and Separate Schools.




3
    Yup; its‘s a good word. Agrostology = That part of botany which treats of the grasses.

Origin: Gr.




31
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
At a "work shop" gathering in April, Miss Mary Yates of Port Credit, Ontario, in four daily sessions
dealt with 'Decorative Art‘.

The several shows held during the year showed a similar range of classes as of past years with small
fruits and salad plants competing for attention with a wide range of perennials and biennials. Mr. W.T.
Macoun exhibited ‗several hundred‘ varieties of new Apples originated at the Central Experimental
Farm, and also varieties recommended for the Ottawa area. He also exhibited a number of other fruit
trees and bushes ‗for demonstration purposes only'.

A City Tree Planting policy was inaugurated. This would seem to have been a periodic effort because
one of the first actions of the society soon after its formation was to address the Mayor of the city on
the need for greater attention to trees on both public and private properties.

Arrangements were entered into with the civic authorities for the use of 'fertilizing substances' (certain
street sweepings rarely seen in these days) which gardeners could now haul away, free of charge.

Little has been recorded of recent years of the activities of the Ontario Horticultural Association. This
year Dr. A.M. Scott, F.R.H.S., of Perth, was Director of District No.1, which at that time included
Ottawa. In the reports of District Directors, no mention is made of the Ottawa Society, or for that
matter, any others. Platitudes were abundant however. ―The District has had a fine year.‖ "The
marvellous efforts of all societies in the district are gaining" considerable notice." etc.

Nineteen Twenty-One
Receipts for membership fees were stated to be $1,527.00, indicating that membership was being
maintained at a quite high level. Total receipts for the year from all sources, $3,323.00. Balance on
hand, $25.00. Sustaining members were solicited at One Dollar ―to add charm to urban life.‖

The committee on Tree Planting again called attention to ‗the deficiencies of those responsible for
earlier city plantings. ‗---' had been planted in a haphazard manner - irregular spacing - butchering by
linemen - and the unwarranted cost of removal, etc.' 'Recommend that city only should do street
planting.' 'That the same sort of tree be used on any one street.' 'Hard, Red, Silver, Norway Maples,
Red and White Oaks, and American Elm, recommended.'

Mrs. R.M. Roger won the Devonshire Cup; other features of shows comparable with past years. Prize
money was paid out in amounts of $25; $20; $47.25; $28.75; $47.00; with lesser amounts to fifty cents.
Lady Pope won $.75. The names of so few winners listed indicates that 'show business‘ was taken
seriously by some exhibitors.

In order that specialist growers may learn of popular titles of some flowers favoured for exhibition
purposes in this year of record, the following are cited. Paeonies: White; Festiva Maxima, Duchess de
Nemours, Boule de Neiges, Couronne d'Or, Marie Lemoine. Pink: M. Jules Elie, Clare Dubois,
Livingstone, Faust, Van Dyck# Mdme d'Four, Mdme Calot, Mdme Galle. Red: Adolphe Rosseau,
General McMahon, Felix Crousse. Roses: A.K. Williams, Ben Cant, Capt. Hayward, White Killarney,
Mrs. Aron Ward, Frau Karl Druschi, Etoille de France, King George, Lady Ursula, Pharisaer, Jonker,
G.L. Monk, Caroline Testout, Killarney, Margaret Dickson, Mrs. John Laing, Prince Charming, Mrs
Weymes Quinn, Lady Alice Stanley, Harry Kirk, Radiance, Ophelia. Asters: Lady Roosevelt, White
Perfection, Ostrich Pink, Ostrich Lavender, Crimson Giant. Dahlias: Vivian, M. Somers, Red Husgar.


32
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Some of the winning gardens in competition, and therefore, presumably, some of the best in the city,
were those of Mrs. A.E.W. Hellyer; Lady Pope; D. Kidney, C. H. Horton; Thos. Grindley; F.I. Drayton;
Mrs. D.L. McKeen; F. McCullum; E.A. Petrie; F.C. Ring; A.W. Bayman; A.C. Barkley; H. Stalker;
R.G. Cole; Miss Nel Clark; A.V. Main; Mrs. W.E. Matthews; Lt. Col. Armstrong. As this group were,
with few changes, repeat contestants there is no point in stating their contest standing. Prize money,
paid out for garden competitions amounted to $192. For other exhibitions during the year the amount
of prize money paid out was $320.50.

Efforts were made with some success to interest members of the Kiwanis, Rotary and Women‘s Clubs
in the activities of the society, but no formula was agreed upon for co-operative action.

Nineteen Twenty-two
Mr. F. C. Nunnick, President. Slogan: Every Garden Means a Home." Decrease in membership was
over one hundred. Question of membership fees was reviewed but no action taken. A "Booster Supper"
which had been held annually for some years past, this year cost the society $155.21. A few sustaining
members were recruited. $18.10 was spent on flowering bulbs to hospitals.

Receipts included one hundred dollars from the estate of the late R.B. Whyte. A similar item occurs for
several years indicating that the bequest was Five Hundred dollars, with some additional money for
youth programmes.

His Excellency Governor General Lord Byng of Vimy, extended his patronage to the society. Lady
Byng soon takes an active interest in some aspects of the society‘s activities. (This is more fully dealt
with in the chapter ―Vice Regal interest‖.)

His Worship the Mayor, Frank H. Plant and Controller Arthur Ellis were added to the list of Honorary
Presidents of the Society.

First Iris Show, as such, held this year. Cost of Ribbons $14.07.

Mrs. J. A. Wilson of the Women‘s Committee was the only woman to servo on any of the seventeen
committees of the year.

Legislative Grant was $637.00. City Grant $500.00. Total Receipts $3.205.40, including contributions
of sustaining members $97.25. It would appear that the society had a secondary unit at Vernon, Ont.
which brought in receipts of $66.00 with $56.00 expended on it.

This brings the report of another decade of service to a close. An exciting one with war and its
aftermath each contributing difficulties to be overcome. The society continues its fine tradition of
horticultural service to all who desired it, in and about the Capital City.




33
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Chapter 5 Fourth Decade Nineteen Twenty-
three to Nineteen Thirty-two
Nineteen Twenty-three
R.W. Motherwell, President; W.B. Varley, and D.B. Nugent, Vice-Presidents.

Membership 1463

Advertised objectives of the Society:

For every dwelling an attractive front lawn,

A back garden of shrubs, flowers, and vegetables,

Neater fences,

Every school ground is to be adorned with trees, shrubs and flowers,

Surroundings of Public Buildings to be well laid out and cared for,

Proper planting, spacing and oversight of all street trees,

An ample number of well cared for parks and playgrounds,

A painstaking campaign for a ―better‖ Ottawa (presumed horticulturally).

A simple way is help is to become a ―sustaining member‖, at one dollar or more.



Visits during year: Experimental Farm, Government House

(New) Orme Trophy, offered for amateurs.

A special table at all shows for the display of rare varieties, novelties, and of varieties originated and
introduced by the exhibiter. A Certificate of Merit awarded exhibits deemed to be worthy.

Tuberous Begonias Class added.



Garden Competition: Number of classes and prize values reduced. $15.00 for first prize down to $8.00
for third prize in each class. Receipts included R.B. Whyte bequest $100.00; Legislative Grant (Ont.)
$635.00; City Grant $500; $97.25 Sustaining Members‘ fee; also received $66.00 from the Vernon
Society.



34
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Expenditures: Vernon $58.00; Options $1343.00; Central Canada Exhibition fund $50.00; Prize List
printing cost $394.00 offset with $50.00 advertising receipts.



The name of Lady Byng added as a Patron of the Society.

Mrs. L.D. MacLaren presented a cup (trophy) to be held id won for three years.

A list of judges was issued who probably hold office for a number of years, included W.T. Macoun;
John Graham; James McKee; K.P. MacDonald; M.B. Davis; W.B. Varley; T.P. Ritchie; Grant Peart;
Thos. E. Davis; W. Harris; S. Short; Geo. F. McCormick; J.B. Cannon; Miss Flora Serim; Miss Preston.



Tables and like assets of the Society were valued at $150.00.



Awards of Merit were presented to Central Experimental Farm for Iris; and to Kenneth McDonald and
Sons for Iris and Paeonies and to Miss Helen McCormick for Roses.



Horticultural Societies formed at Spencerville and Carp. Dr. J.A. Morrow, Maxville was District
Director. In his report he stated, ―…more delegates to the convention was desirable but finances would
not permit of this.‖ ―Real objects of Horticultural Societies is lost when Membership Fees received are
paid out in full for Premiums, leaving only grants to pay running expenses (and the generosity of
merchants and others to provide prizes at flower shows)‖. He further reported, ―…that on the whole the
district societies made progress‖.

Nineteen Twenty-five
A.W. Bayman, President. Mayer J. Balharrie and Controller C.J. Tully, Hon. Presidents; Mrs. J.A.
Woldin continues as only woman on Board of Directors.

Secretary‘s remuneration increased by %50.00 to $300.00.

Garden Club for Juniors continues as it has done for the past several years without change.

Five classes this year in Garden contest. Prizes were ―in kind‖ as Lawn Mower, Hose, Fern Pedestal,
Silver Flower Basket, etc.

Total receipts for year $3708.03. A reminder of a nuisance tax of the period: Excise Stamps $2.00.

Paid out for Premiums $1042.35; Prizes: $564.00; Printing: $333.84; T Gunderson and Basil Phelan,
Auditors.


35
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Geo. Simpson of Ottawa was President of the Ontario Horticultural Association.



Nineteen Twenty-six
This was the one hundredth year of Ottawa (and By Town) as a recognised community. The City and
Society celebrations thereto, August 26th to 28th inclusive. The Horticultural Society chose the Aster as
a floral emblem for the occasion. ―It was hoped that everyone would wear one of these attractive
flowers and that gardeners who had an ample supply would give daily to a civic committee for
distribution to visitors.‖

For no reason for which we have explanation, there was a wholesale shuffle in names of Directors
elected.

The second annual exhibition of Forced Bulbs, with thirty-four classes, was held at Murphy-Gambles‘
store. Other shows were held in the Horticultural Building, Landsdowne Park, including a ―Centenary‖
Mid-summer Flower Show, with some special attention to Children‘s classes. The new Lady Byng
trophy was won by Mrs. G.H. Brown.

The City grant was $700.00; Provincial grant, $385.00; Estate R.B. Whyte, $100.00; Regular
Memberships, $1246.00; Sustaining Memberships, $28.50; Options cost $1042.15; Prize Ribbons and
Badges, $16.70; Other prizes, $530.25, $61.35 being highest amount paid one person. A payment of
$148.26 was made to the Canadian Peony and Iris Shows.

Nineteen Twenty-seven
Diamond Jubilee Year of Confederation. R.G.T. Hitchman, President. Mrs. J.A.Wilson becomes 2nd
Vice President.

The Armed Forces are well represented on the Directorate, by Col. Clyde Caldwell; Capt. W.J. Webber
and Major D.L. McKeand.

The Women‘s Committee of the past few years now named ―Ladies‖ Committee with same members.

Options, Shows, and other activities are essentially the same as recent years except that, ―Admission to
Society‘s shows will be free to members with a nominal charge to non-members.‖ This added $192.30
to receipts but cost $128.50 for ―Wages, Ticket sellers, Takers and Helpers at Shows.‖ This cost was
due entirely to collection and charging admission; it was customary to pay for some help for the shows.

Other expenses noted: Royal Horticultural Society Affiliation Fee, $5.23; Rental of a Typewriter,
$10.00; Rental of Palms, $10.00; Repairs to Tables and Painting Vases, $30.15; Public Planting,
$45.30; Ribbons and Badges, $26.16.

Nineteen Twenty-eight
His Worship, the Mayor, Arthur Ellis, Esq., became Honorary President.



36
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The several shows, much the same as last year. Ribbons for prizes for the fourth annual winder bulb
show cost, $27.48. There were also some Silver Spoons awarded, pleasure of Mr. A.H. Pratt. Last of
the R.B. Whyte legacy received in the amount of $133.33. Membership dropped to 996. No apparent
reason for it.

The Booster Supper cost, $123.00, with receipts of $66.00. An admission charge was made for shows.
This yielded $162.05, for an expenditure of $100.50. Advertising costs went to a new high of $155.95.

The Secretary gets a boost of $50.00. Public Plantings cost, $85.00 and Postage, $70.00.

The Premium and Prizes List was embellished with the emblem of the Royal Horticultural Society.

This Excellency the Governor General and Viscountess Willingdon were Patrons.

Nineteen Twenty-nine
McGregor Kassen, President. Past Presidents become ex-officio members of the Board of Directors.

A Perth, Scotland, firm of seedmen offered a prize of Vegetable seeds valued at One Guinea for
highest aggregate points in the Vegetable section. This division has been cut from over 20 classes to six
only this year. Viscountess Willingdon presented a Trophy. Engraving trophies cost, $24.25. There
were eighty-two selections offered for Premiums. Lot ―A‖ one tree‘ Winter Apple of good quality and
one plant Climas Black Currant, ―New Fruits Disseminated by the Experimental Farm.‖

Cartage of equipment was a considerable yearly expense. This year is cost, $35.85. $138.95 is an entry
for Public Planting. The charge for admission to shows was discontinued.

Rev. J.R. MacCrimmon was District Director, Ontario Horticultural Association. His report was
general in tone with no references to the activities of any society.

Nineteen Thirty
Very much a repeat of 1929, with a little more attention to Perennials in the Autumn Show. Classes
included the rare inclusion of Hardy Asters (Michaelmas Daisies) and the same years also included
Phlox. Only six classes for vegetables and one for apples and a collection of fruit to occupy 24 square
feet, for prizes of $6.00, $4.00, $3.00.

Slogan: ―Our Capital Beautiful‖

Grants: Ontario Government, $500.00; Ottawa, $700.00; Equipment revalued at $75.00. Booster
Supper cost, $103.75 with receipts, $75.00. Bulbs (from British Columbia) for distribution to schools
cost, $50.00. Contribution to Ottawa Vegetable Growers Association, $32.75. Advertising, $111.75.

Balance on hand at end of 1929, $2.30, so a loan of $50.00 from the Bank of Commerce was
negotiated. This was paid off later in the year.

There is a reference to planting at the Plant Baths at a cost of $224.00, which amount does not appear
in the Financial Statement.



37
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Ottawa is now in District No. 2 of the Ontario Horticultural Association. F. E. Nunnick was District
Director. The Manotick, Billings Bridge and Arnprior Societies were organized this year, and
otherwise a very busy out-of-town year for the District Director. A Field Day and Banquet was
promoted and held in the grounds of the Experimental Farm at which over five hundred guests attended
from Carleton Place, Carp, Vernon, Kinburn, Gloucester, North Gower and Vars.

Mr. W.T. Macoun, Dominion Horticulturist and a very active member of the Society, received honours
at Acadia University with a Degree of Doctor of Laws.

Nineteen Thirty-one
Anson H. Pratt, President. Honorary Presidents: Mayer J.J. Allen, Esq.; Controller J. Warren York;
W.M. Southam Esq.; and Dr. D.P.

Some small change in Directorate. Twelve Committees, including that of the Ladies Committee, Mrs.
C. Clarke, Convenor.

This year‘s issue of the Premium and Prize list included an Essay written by Miss Charlotte White, 314
Third Ave., Class of 4G, Glebe Collegiate Institute (1930) and winner of the First Prize in the Fisher
Essay Competition, on the subject ―The Ottawa Horticultural Society‖. This is the source of
information that the Society had done the planting at the Plant Baths. To further quote Miss White: ―In
and interesting interview with Mr. John Graham, the only surviving Charter Member of the Society…‖
(it would bane been more correct toe day ―Director‖ than member, as a good friend of the Society and a
Charter Member, Mr. Sam Short, was still alive and a much respected Life Member of the Society at
the time of writing. He died in June 1963.) ―The aim of the Society is to foster a love for flowers
among the citizens of Ottawa and to beautify the City‖. In (this) respect, to follow the custom of the
French ―celui-ci‖ and ―celui-la‖ the Society has from the first given free to its members valuable
premiums. ―During the first years of the Society only one flower show was held each year and that in
the old St John‘s Church Hall, Sussex Street [or Mackenzie Avenue].‖ ―In the junior garden
competition last year over 200 pupils of the Ottawa Public Schools contested for the sixteen prizes
awarded…‖ Most of the other detail included in Miss White‘s essay also appears in these chronicles.

―Rules and Regulations‖ now become the ―Bylaws‖ of the Society.

The Eastern Ontario Rose Show was held at the Chateau Laurier, July 1st and 2nd. Some classes were
open onluy to Horticultural Societies with prizes valued at $15.00, $10.00 and $5.00. Rent of the hall
was $150.00. The Society paid $35.00 for a Floral Exhibit for this show.

Nineteen Thirty-two
Patrons: Their Excellencies, the Right Honourable the Earl of Bessborough, F.F., G.C.M.G., and
Countess of Bessborough.

President, Henry E. Ewart, with some changes in the Directorate.

Ministry of Agriculture for British Columbia offered a Challenge Trophy.

Membership still declining, now 518. Autumn Show cancelled. Viscountess Willingdon Trophy was
offered to Central Canada Exhibition for highest number of points in Cut Flower Classes. An item

38
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
appears $3.50, Commissions for Memberships. Wages, Helpers at Shows, $76.00. Admission to
Flower Shows added $67.55. Public Planting cost, $55.00. Ribbons and Badges, $13.54. Secretary-
Treasurer‘s remuneration, $35.00 less. The effect of the Depression period is already being felt. The
continuing story of the Society occupies another chapter.




39
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Chapter Six Fifth Decade
Nineteen Thirty-three
Membership down to its lowest for a good many years with 401 regular and four sustaining members.
Autumn Flower Show restored and four others held. Fist mention of Relief Gardens Committee. $80.00
paid for ―supervisory services‖. Prize money paid out, $348.25; Premiums, $277.85. Gross Receipts
and Expenditures, $1639.80. Public Planting expense, $40.00. There were Twenty-five societies in
O.H.A. District #2. Dr. W.T. Macoun passed on and Ottawa Horticulturists thereby lost a real friend.

Nineteen Thirty-four
President: Hugh S. Spence. His Worship the Mayor J.P. Nolan, Esq., Hon. President. Others as before
stated.

The name of Dr. W.T. Macoun, the Dominion Horticulturist is missing, he has gone to his greater
reward after a close and active association with the Society from its beginning forty years before.
Membership numbers are up a little from last year. The Province of Ontario Grant is only $156.12. The
City continued its grant of $700.00. A Notice to members states: All Flower Shows will be held as
scheduled provided finances permit.‖

Through the courtesy of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, the Director of the Dominion
Experimental Farm and the Dominion Entomologist, three of the Department‘s Offices have been
designated to serve as the Society‘s consultants: T.F. Ritchie, Consulting Horticulturist; Allan G.
Dunstan, Consulting Entomologist; A.J. Hicks, Consulting Plant Pathologist. The Dominion
Horticulturist, W.B. Davis, B.S.A., M.Sc., becomes Ex-officio Member of the Board.

Rev. H.A.E. Clarke of Pembroke was District Director of the Ontario Horticultural Association. With
two new societies formed at Cardinal and Renfrew the number affiliated with the Ontario Horticultural
Association and located in District No. 2 is now Twenty-one. The District Director‘s Annual Report for
the district contains nothing of interest for inclusion here.

Nineteen Thirty-five
Hugh S. Spence, serving his second year as President, appears to have been made acquainted with the
difficulties caused by ‗the depression‘ as they affected the Society, in a more realistic manner than
some others might have done. The year‘s Premium and Prize list contains a six page message to the
members and a full page illustration of himself, the first of a series which lasted into the fifties.
Quoting from this message – it is unnecessary to give it in much detail as it includes admonitions ―to
do this and that‖ to help the Society, a repeat of what has been frequently said before and since –
―Don‘t leave all the work to the other fellow‖. ―With respect to Premiums, members who refrain from
exercising their premium privileges contribute to the Society‘s work, the equivalent of the dues of four
members taking up premiums.‖ ―Would you not prefer this year to see your entire dollars devoted to
service for the common good?‖ ―New gardens have not been created on the accustomed scale; we
cannot ignore the changed habits – the motor car, golf, tennis and other outdoor recreations have
proved serious rivals to the more prosaic pursuit of gardening.‖ ―The Membership Committee…sent

40
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
out over one thousand letters, signed by the President, appealing for support.‖ ―About ten per cent of
those approached responded, we have a net gain of 129 members over 1933.‖ ―Personally, I feel that
the practice followed for a number of years (all the years) of returning such a large proportion of their
dues in the form of premiums, is a questionable policy.‖ ―It has been suggested that the Society would
lose a lot of members if they were discontinued.‖ (When they were discontinued about twenty years
later, the Society did lose a great number of members, but those who remained gave a great deal more
aid than previously, and in the course, of two or three years membership was regained and surpassed.)
In matters of publicity the Society has had the full co-operation of the ―Ottawa Citizen‖ ―The Society
gratefully acknowledges the assistance given.‖ ―Because the Ottawa Winter Fair has revised its
constitution, adopted in 1934, this Society will cease to have representation there‖ ―Affiliation with the
Royal Horticultural Society of England was continued.‖ ―The total number of exhibitors at all shows
was forty-three, an increase of seven.‖ ―Six trophies were awarded, including two new ones for
competition at the Peony and Rose Shows.‖ ―Mr. John T. Clark addressed the Society on ―Bulbs and
Roses‖ in the National Museum Auditorium and Mrs. Geo. Black on ―Wild Flowers in the Yukon‖ in
the Chateau Laurier.‖ ―Relief Gardens: the Society again co-operated with the Public Welfare Board of
the city organising Relief Gardens for the unemployed‖, (as they had done in 1933 and 1934. This
activity is given in more detail in a chapter elsewhere.) ―291 children entered the School Gardens
Contest.‖ ―Endorsation (sic) was given – that representations be made by the Society to the
Government to have the Horticultural Trial Section at the Central Experimental Farm officially
designated as the ―Macoun Memorial Gardens‖…‖this was forwarded to the Deputy Minister of the
Department of Agriculture, who replied that it would be considered.‖ (It was. The Macoun Memorial
Gardens is one of the show places at the Dominion Experimental Farm at this date – 1963.)

―In reply to a request from the Ontario Horticultural Association, the Directors unanimously approved
the adoption of the Trillium as the Provincial Flower.‖ As noted elsewhere, the Ottawa Society had
been very active in promoting this. ―In view of the large number of lady members, I (the President) feel
strongly that they should be represented on the Directorate, and I am persuaded that the Society would
benefit greatly thereby.‖ (It was twenty-eight years before any were elected – two in 1965.)

It may be assumed that Mr. Spence suffered considerable disappointment because membership further
declined to 335 Regular Members and two only sustaining members. Members heeded his words about
premiums, which this year cost only $190.35. The Ontario Provincial Grant was $91.32. Forty-two
prize winners at the several shows won a total of $432.25. One winner totalled $52.75; others $40.75;
$20.00; $23.25; $16.75; and lesser amounts to 50 cents. The Society‘s non-revision of prize money
offers seems to be an imbalance with pleas for economy made by the President.

Twenty dollars was subscribed to the Macoun Memorial Fund. The Secretary.-Treasurer Salary was
down $100.00 from its maximum. Rental of Hall for Annual Meeting was $10.00; Public Planting,
$40.00; Grant to Central Canada Exhibition, $20.00; and various other expenditures to a total of
$1391.05.

Nineteen Thirty-six
Patrons: Their Excellencies the Governor General and Lady Tweedsmuir. Henry E. Seale, President.
Mayor Stanley Lewis becomes Honorary President.

The Governor General donated a Sterling Silver Trophy. Honorary President Mayor Stanley Lewis
presented a Silver Cup for the Peony Show.


41
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Regular membership was increased to 575. Total expenditures for the year were $1558.05. Receipts
included $71.90 from the Province of Ontario. The City of Ottawa continued it grant. Disbursements
were similar in amount and purpose as those of recent years.

Relief Gardens were continued. The ―Premium and Prize List‖ contained a ―President‘s Message‖ but
was very brief. It was hopeful rather than imaginative. The depression or recession affected almost all
people that few could anticipate or prepare for the condition to improve. One must have lived through
such a period to understand and assess its affect on the human mind.

Despite some adjustments and the small value of individual prizes a few winners were quite well
recompensed for the effort put into the exhibiting.

The School Gardens Club continued without any change in pattern or prizes as they had done since
established in 1918. Interest in junior work appears to have been greatly lacking throughout the years.

Past President J.B. Spencer was elected District Director of the Ontario Horticultural Association.

Nineteen Thirty-seven
Coronation year of King George VI, but no such recognition in the Society‘s programme.

Membership hit a new low at 345 with three sustaining members; Receipts there from, $348.00. Prize
money was the only item well sustained, this amounted to $469.00 and Premiums valued at $223.18,
given to members making a total of $692.00 given away or won, comparable to receipts of $348.00 in
Membership fees. This is not a satisfactory reflection to note; that whilst all other expenditures were
much curtailed, (the Secretary-Treasurer, getting another cut) the Directors did not see fit to use some
other form of prize or award other than money. While the prize value per class was (and is) minimal,
there was still an inordinate number of classes. Proportionately to membership numbers it could not
have been a very serious matter if some exhibitors had taken umbrage about being offered lesser values,
even Ribbons, that is, if thery were not more interested in the Society‘s objectives than getting returns
from their membership.

Nineteen Thirty-eight
Patrons and Honorary Presidents – no change. ―The Dominion Horticulturist‖ is Ex-officio Member of
the Board rather than ―by name‖.

J.J. Carr, President. In his Message to members he states, ―A great many of our garden lovers have
turned from the art of the hoe and take to the lure of the golf club and steering wheel. We find inartistic
garages and long driveways, using the space once given to flowering beds and borders.‖

Membership up to 620, a considerable increase over last year.

Premium offers at one time over eighty choices is now forty-three only. A new departure in that some
premiums require a double membership to acquire them.

Relief Garden interest continues.




42
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Complaint registered that too many visitors through the Flower Shows before judging time. Another
contentious point considered: Should a Chairman of a Show be one with the ―more‖ or ―less‖ interest
as an exhibitor?

Nineteen Thirty-nine
President and Honorary Officers as last year.

Federal and City Governments doing a lot of beautification work, anticipating the visit of their
Majesties, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, for four days in May.

Another drop in membership to 272 with four sustaining members. Three new Trophies received for
award. Value of prizes awarded continues on a substantial level - $479.75. Royal Horticultural Society
membership dropped.

Expenditures approximated similar amounts of past few years. Seeds for Relief Gardens cost $63.00.
Grant to Central Canada Exhibition Association, $25.00. The amounts paid out for ―Typewriter Rentals
and Repairs‖ shows a false sense of economy.

Nineteen Forty
Patron: Her Excellency, Lady Tweedsmuir.

No change in the Honorary Presidents.

President: C.R. Good.

Membership was the big problem. This was increased by 303, the total for the year being 575. Said the
President, ―This increase was entirely due to the enthusiastic and unremitting efforts of the Officers and
Directors.‖ The ―off the record‖ story is that the President personally solicited and obtained renewals
and new members totalling more than the stated increase in numbers. This may have occurred over his
two years of office, although the second year again shows a decline. Whatever the actual number, it
was considered to have been a most creditable performance.

There were a total of five flower shows held in the foyer of the Capitol Theatre. There were nine
Trophies for awarding. Prizes were given in War Saving‘s Stamps and Certification instead of cash.

The junior work received no more attention than it had been getting for years past, except that twenty-
six instead of sixteen prizes were awarded with no increase in the total value, $36.00.

The Premium Prize List was increasing in a number is pages, due in part to a greater volume of
advertising material being accepted to offset cost of printing the book.

The annual statement of accounts shows an amount paid for ―Commissions on Membership‖, Relief
Garden prizes entered at $40.00.

Nineteen Forty-one
Patron: Her Royal Highness, the Princess Alice.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
R Warren Oliver is seconded as Consulting Horticulturist with Dr. F.L. Drayton, Consulting Plant
Pathologist and Allan G. Dunstan continuing as Consulting Entomologist. Auditors, who usually
continue their voluntary services for a number of years, are presently A.C. Wimberley and R.D.
Whitmore.

Ladies Committee: No mention has been made of this group since 1937, nor is there any recorded
reason why this is so.

The same number of shows wit the same range of classes are reported. The Flower Distribution
Committee – all men – request that flowers be left for ―the Soldiers‘ Ward‖ at the Civic Hospital. A
reminder that Canada was at war.

Total receipts with grants, $1780.83. Donation of $25.00 made to British War Gardens.

This was H.W. Cooper‘s last year as Secretary-Treasurer. He had held this office since 1920.

Nineteen Forty-two
T. E. Monette, Esq., President. W. M. Cavaye, Secretary-Treasurer

Some change in Directorate but otherwise administration remained the same. The Relief Gardens
projects had run their course, to be followed almost immediately with – as the President said: ―A plan
initiated to encourage the growing of Vegetables on vacant city lots, as an aid to the way effort.‖ These
War Gardens will be allotted to those making application in-so-far as they are available. Also: ―there
has been a tendency… to resort to the automobile and the wide open spaces in our suit of recreation.‖
―Now, curtailed by restrictions on gasoline, we strongly urge you to find happiness once more in the
backyard garden.‖ ―So,…and the end of another decode has been reached.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Chapter Seven Sixth Decade Nineteen Forty-
three to Fifty-five
Nineteen Forty-three
The lengthy report of the President from which these following excerpts are taken will illustrate the
position of the Society at that time. He states: ―This is the fiftieth anniversary meeting of the Society.
An occasion for celebration, whether or not this be observed depends on to-night‘s proceedings.‖ ―…
We have done some good work which should not stop even for a total war.‖ ―We have had good times
as well as bad, but the difficulties with which we are now confronted are perhaps the greatest we have
been called upon to solve.‖ These are not financial. In past years the Society has had memberships
from fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred and a large war garden scheme was in full swing.‖ ―By
contrast we find our war gardens scheme struggling against official opposition, and operating on a
small scale.‖ ―Most of the Board are actively engaged in some form of war work – transportation is
greatly hampered by restrictions on gasoline and tires – our large exhibitors have gardens out of town –
there is a lot of travelling connected with our society activities – shortage of labour in nursery
establishments – some are closing down for duration.‖ ―To make matters still worse, there is low ebb in
the interest shown in the Society‘s activities, on the Board and off it.‖ ―The question therefore arises,
whether or not we should operate under these circumstances.‖

The President continues with his report: ―…have a membership of four hundred and ninety-five which
seven over the previous year – four flower shows were held in the Capitol Theatre – Tulip Show
greatly surpassed expectations - in spite of the shortage of bulbs; two classes for children were added to
the show, keenly contested; the ability of children in setting up flowers was truly amazing; all prizes
were paid inn Savings Stamps; Members visited Southam gardens, the Carine Wilson garden and Mr.
J.B. Spencer‘s garden and Government House Greenhouses….we sponsored a War Gardens project –
land obtained from the City was ploughed and divided into lots thirty by one hundred feet – expected to
have one thousand of more lots in operation but we have experienced opposition of Department of
Agriculture and Wartime Prices and Trade Board, which had adverse effect on our plans. ―Seeds for
Britain‖ fund and the Poppy Day funds supported. There was attendance at the Ontario Horticultural
Association convention in Toronto, and district meeting held at Arnprior. Sympathy was expressed for
some war casualties and others by death and the report ends with appreciative comments on the new
Secretary, who twenty years later was still earning very sincere compliments.

Any foreboding that was in the mind of the President, T.E. Monette, must have been dissipated, for the
minutes of the meeting reveal nothing but harmony and a general desire to continue the best traditions
fo the Society, However no particular action was taken to celebrate this ―Fiftieth Anniversary.‖

Nineteen Forty-four
President: S. Sierolawski; Ex.-Secretary.-Treasurer H.W. Cooper appointed Hon. President; H.G.
Tinney, Secretary-Treasurer; W.G. Matthews, Consulting Entomologist.

The Radio talks, a feature of last year‘s activities over CKCO, courtesy of Dr. G.W. Geldert, were to be
continued this year.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Somewhere, someone, has become confused about the year of the Society‘s advent. ―Organised in
1893‖ does not make 1944 its Fifty-Second year, or as the 1946 Yearbook has it, ―Incorporated in
1896…Fifty-fourth year.‖ The Society was ―Established 1892‖, which as we have since learned was
the year of preliminary discussion and actual founding. The Society was incorporated in 1893.
However, errors are to be found in other Yearbooks, one, not too long ago, have an ―Irish‖ (Iris) Show.

Society Activities: The ―Goodwin Cup‖ for best Victory Garden, awarded to Sgt. Major T. Knight of
Ottawa Police. There are seven other prizes awarded for Victory Garden Competitions and three for
homes ―Where vegetables for a part‖. The Grey Nuns received $4.00 in prizes. $28.50 awarded to
Victory Garden projects East of Bank Street and a similar amount for West of Bank Street. $25.00
awarded for city lots cultivation. In all, $100.00 in prize money for Victory Gardens. $248.25was paid
for ploughing them, and $219.00 received for that purpose. Prize money for Flower Shows $412.50,
―Seeds for Britain‖ $35.00; Printing $412.59.

1943 and 1944 were war-time spending years. The Society was in receipt of increases in donations,
memberships, and grants. Despite its very considerable expenditures it was able to purchase $200.00
Victory Bonds.

Nineteen Forty-five
No change in patrons, Hon. Presidents, Officers or consultants.

A slogan used in Canada and the U.S. ―Keep ‗em Growing‖ brought forth twelve lines of verse by J.J.
Carr, who as officer in charge of the Society‘s Victory Garden programme did such excellent work. He
should not be judged for that work as he might be for his poetic contributions, of which we give only
the last four lines.

―Victory Gardeners, give waste land the hoe

And raise bumper crops to defeat the foe

For food supplies must increase

To win the war and win the peace.‖

The Victory Gardens programme continued to play an important part in the Society‘s activities.
However, four Flower Shows were held and a Victory Gardens Vegetable Show; all in the Capitol
Theatre. The Iris, the ―Poor Man‘s Orchid‖ received more recognition. Radio talks continued. The Year
Book included articles on cultural matters. Speakers gave helpful talks and demonstrations on Home
Canning of fruits and vegetables. The President, quite bashfully (sic) states:‖ Reviewing the activities
of the Society during the year 1944, I am sure that the officers and members are well satisfied that the
part our Society has played in community life, merits considerable commendation.‖

Financially the Society was in good shape. However, with a bank balance at the beginning of the year
of $385.54, they ended it with $115.75. Provincial Grant was $298.83; City Grant unchanged. War
Gardens ploughing brought in $212.00 and cost $232.50. Prize money given for shows: $515.75.
Victory Gardens competitions, $53.00. School Gardens $36.00 (unchanged during twenty or more
years). Printing Year Book $638.03. (Receipts from advertising in it, $180.00.) Public meetings at the
Museum cost $70.00. Options, $288.45. Amounts of Prize money won by individual exhibitors: $48.50;

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
$43.00; $33.50; $29.75; $34.75; $21.50; $21.75; $17.25; and varying lesser amounts over thirty of
which were less than $5.00. This does not include the Victory Garden awards, nor the, by now, quite
numerous Trophies, which are of course supplementary to any money or other prizes.

Nineteen Forty-six
No Vice-Regal Patron. For the third time in the history of the Society the President occupies that office
for a third year. J.J. Carr becomes the First Vice-President and W.M. Cavaye Second Vice-President.
Dr. H. Senn is Consulting Botanist and A.E. Challis another Consulting Horticulturist. The Five Past
Presidents became Ex-Officio Members of the Board. Says the President, ―the love of and deeper
appreciation of flower culture encourages the cultivation of these finer resources within one‘s self that
operate to make life something more than a daily routine of sleeping, eating and dollar chasing.‖

Will E. Curtis reported, ‖Flowers were sent out to the Rideau Military Hospital, Rockcliffe Air Force
Hospital and the Naval Sick Bay…Officers Commanding expressed their appreciation.‖ The new
Second Vice-President contributes an article of ―Plants for the Home‖ for inclusion in the Year Book.
Instructive ―Forewords‖ are added to each show but classes in all shows change very little. There are
still twelve committees named. The Year Book appears to have been published without such committee
direction. Trophies are won outright and others offered: a complete chapter on these is to be found
elsewhere. Victory Gardens Project continues. Receipts and Expenditures approximate last year‘s
figures. Membership, 577.

Nineteen Forty-seven
J.J. Carr, President. Patron: The Governor General and Viscountess Alexander of Tunis.

List of Honorary Presidents reduced by the demise of W.M. Southam and H.W. Cooper. The new
President‘s message contains most of the reasons, so many times earlier advanced, as to why citizens
should join the Society and what the Society is attempting to accomplish. He calls attention to the
difficulty of obtaining Tulip and other Bulbs and Roses during the past few years. This has meant some
curtailment in Rose and Bulb Show classes. The Year Book has an increased number of informative
articles on topical subjects, also several pages of very useful ―Hints‖, Membership up to 803.
Provincial Grant $214.15. No other receipt or expenditure that calls for special notice here.

Nineteen Forty-eight
Two changes noted in names of Directors and that W.M. Cavaye is again shown as Secretary-Treasurer
after a break of some years. That the Society has been the better for his since continuing service, no
one who knows the situation will deny. It can also be said that the President was one of the most active
in the Society‘s history. His ―Message‖ had little that was new, although the manner in which it is
expressed may seem so. He did stress the Radio Programmes that continued with himself and the
Second Vice-President as ―Commentators‖.

The Year Book increases in size as more advertising is acquired to more nearly cover the cost of
production, although there is little change in format. Some embarrassment is caused to some supporters
who, because they have shown an interest in providing prizes or money for prizes for flower shows of
for the Year Boor, are now asked to subscribe to both. The Society tries out a policy of having show
chairmen and Year Book committee agree on what business houses shall be approached and for what

47
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
purpose. This is only partly effective because as Chairmen are changed they appeal to those who have
shown a willingness to help… as indicated in Year Book publicity pages. The previous year‘s
advertising receipts were $389.31; Printing and Stationery account, $370.35. The book has reached a
self-supporting position.

The Society benefited from the Will of the late W.H. Southam.

Nineteen Forty-nine
President: R.J. Paynter. Another President-to-be becomes a Director.

New Radio Talks and Equipment Committees increase the number of committees to fifteen.
Membership up to a highpoint in recent years with 987 members. Engaging an advertising agent to
solicit for the Year Book cost the Society about seventy-five dollars difference between receipt and
expenditure, less what ―stationery‖ items were included in this account. All other receipts and
disbursements approximated similar ones of recent years.

Nineteen Fifty
Except that another President-to-be was elected to the directorate there was little change in the
administrative body of the Society.

Honourary Life Memberships having been awarded during the past year to Fred H. Byshe; K.P.
McDonald; Samuel Short and James McKee, these names appeared in the Year Book. This Book is
again self supporting.

For some reason, which they said was economic, the City withheld their annual grant this year, the first
time in over forty years. Commitments had been made so the money was raised by other means which
caused a storm of protest from some members, but the result was that the Society realized about the
same amount of grant after prizes and expenses had been paid.

Nineteen Fifty One
President: Fred Pain. J.J. Frith and A.D. Magines, Vice Presidents. Life members reduced by one:
James McKee. J. Aurele Gratton and G. Scott Murray added to list of Honorary Presidents.

The President‘s Message, which had become a continuing feature in the Year Book was very brief, but
through it he paid a compliment to the writer of a similar message some thirty-one years previously,
which message he believed to be equally apt in the present day circumstances as it was at the time it
was first published. His portrait was not reproduced in the Year Book as had been the custom of
Presidents for some years past. In other ways he did not fully respond to Society customs and traditions.
Being thus restricted he did not follow custom of earlier Presidents to become the Society‘s customs
and traditions and was warned of the folly of trying to introduce certain innovations he had brought
before the directors on earlier occasions. Being thus restricted he did not follow custom of earlier
presidents to become the society‘s delegate to the Ontario Horticultural Associate convention.

Membership was down to 690 from 891 the previous year by reason that the Board of Directors on the
motion of the President, then Vice-President, had decided on a change of ―Premiums‖ procedure.
From then on no free premiums would be given to members, but for an additional dollar they could

48
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
receive premium merchandise of considerably more worth than the extra amount paid. Three hundred
and forty three members took advantage of this new plan with the result that the Society was much
better off financially with a lesser membership.

The fact that membership has continued with an upward trend in the years since and that the finances
of the Society are in better shape is the evidence that justified the change.

Effort was being made to improve the appearance of the Year Book but the Post-war shortage of
certain papers created difficulties. Through the Year Book efforts were made to discourage the buying
of cheap bulbs and other gardener‘s merchandise, particularly that which was known to be unsuitable
to the Ottawa climate. A Field Trial Test was made on 200 each of several types bulbs, the results
proving conclusively the folly of being exploited for the difference of a very few cents in cost of bulbs.
This is not the place for a full report. Readers can find out for themselves that, like any other
merchandise, ―you can‘t buy the most for the least.‖

Nineteen Fifty-two
This year was celebrated as the Diamond Jubilee Year of the Society. That there had been a mix-up on
dates that still continued has been mentioned before. Hence we celebrate the date of promoting the
Society rather than the year of its registration as one. Quite and attractive and original cover was
provided for the Year Book. The contents consisted of the usual show classifications and other material
but in place of articles on plant culture, etc., all available space was given over to a resume of earlier
conditions as they prevailed in the Society, much of which is included in these pages.

A new ―Ladies Committee‖ had been instituted for which the President was criticised or compliments
for his part in advocating it; according to the view of the member, many of whom are not entirely
sympathetic to his ‗reactionary‘ ideas. There were those who claimed to remember that an earlier
similar group had not proven to be an asset. However, this group has functioned exceedingly well for
the tenor so years since, and with very slight repercussions, has been all that was hoped of it, and more.

Dr. Charlotte Whitton as Mayor accepted an invitation to become an Honorary President. She
addressed an Anniversary Message to the Society. Her message is reproduced in full.



OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

OTTAWA

CANADA

Charlotte Whitton C.B.E.

Mayor

Message to the Horticultural Society

―Sixty years agrowin‘‖ flowers and trees and shrubs to the beauty of Ottawa and the fragrant glory of
the Capital of our Dominion!


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The record of the Ottawa Horticultural Society is a pleasant one, surely and a happy one for there is
nearly always a quiet and gladness bred of working with the soil, working right with it, taking the dead-
appearing seed, or the fragile seedling or the resistant fibred root and placing it in the well prepared
earth, in hope and faith of growth.

Of course, there is toil, toil, like life‘s own toil, hard and wearing, frustrated and unrequited, but there
is satisfaction, too, in that life and form and beauty have come about from the labour of one‘s own
hands.

The beautification of our City is a matter of national planning, of public enterprise and financing of
broad planned scope, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually as a matter of public policy
and paid personnel.

Ottawa is becoming a delight in its flower-adorned driveways and its stretching swards of sheltering
trees and gorgeous shrubs.

But it is in the lovingly kept borders, the tenderly planted beds, the warmly colourful display of
blossom about the individual home that the people of Ottawa, themselves, show that they love their
own dwelling places, their own town, their own gardening. This beauty of the well tended garden is of
the work, the plans, the achievements of the hundreds of amateurs who delight in gardening and whose
gardening is a delight for each of them and all of us.

There is an old English rhyme which is very, very true:

―If you want to be happy for an hour – become intoxicated,

If you want to be happy for three days – kill your pig and eat it.

If you want to be happy for three months – get married.

If you want to be happy forever – become a gardener.‖

Another sixty years, to 2012 A.D. and then another to 2072, and so on to the end, to the Ottawa
Horticultural Society.

Charlotte Whitton, Mayor



Membership increased, as did the cost of everything for which the money from fees was required,
except the Ottawa Horticultural Society Membership fee of one dollar, as it still was.

----------------------------------------------------------------

The record of the past two years under review, the last of another decade, reveals little of outstanding
and obvious interest. The flower shows were organised and held with the very little change which is
characteristic of them; the same number of instructional meetings were promoted and attended
reasonably well. However, there were changes in administrative attitudes. The financial burden was
less troublesome, it became possible to budget expenses in advance, knowing that the funds therefore
would be available instead of as had been the case for years, hoping that they would. It was a period for

50
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
introduction of more orderly business procedures and sessions where thought and ideas pertinent to
society business could be presented and debated unencumbered with extraneous views and opinions
entirely unrelated to the subject at hand. [It was] A period which introduced proposals for more social
events which received approval; picnics, outings, combined social and business meetings, and an
annual Dinner Meeting. The most important achievement was procedural stabilisation which made it so
much easier and satisfactory to conduct and direct society business. An example set which to the
degree followed would enliven the society membership as well as benefit all who were called upon to
represent them in office.

The chronicles for the next ten years are presented in the following chapter, in somewhat different form.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Seventh Decade More recent                                                            years              –
Contradictory Progress Report . . . .
What transpired during the period now under review is basically the same as in any previous similar
period: one of service to the community, the society‘s concept of what its founding members intended,
withal some circumstantial changes. For this period, less statistical data is included. Figures likely to be
of interest have been recorded elsewhere under appropriate headings. In so far as is practical, the
highlights of the society‘s activities are dealt with, and in sequence, outside the routine reports of
flower shows, general meetings and premium awards which have been, perhaps too freely mentioned in
earlier chapters.

Each year brings some change, seldom anything very striking or different to that of the preceding year,
yet when compared with an earlier decade small incidents may indicate a very obvious change in
thought and consequent action. Membership is continually changing and therefore officers, exhibitors
and workers also are not the same. Each new officer or active member participating in the work of the
society may without conscious intent set out to perpetuate some tradition or some new ideas which he
sincerely believes could benefit the organization; or he may, with very little thought at all, just rely on
and accept that be understands to be society policy; or again, because he early recognizes resistance to
change for reasons of cost, labour factor or other, decides upon the least controversial attitude which is
near tantamount to doing nothing at all. Some much more willing than thoughtful officers may work
diligently at only what they are specifically asked to do for many years; in some cases far too long for
the ultimate good of the society.

Without this so great concern for tradition and direction by it or whatever the cause may be, some quite
different thought and action-even in a so-called 'modern' trend might be greatly beneficial to the
society's interests. The past decade or so has seen much of each concept in the views of those who
deliberate on the society's welfare and future. Results are quite contradictory in some respects.
Recovering from a very low ebb both in numbers and morale of a very few years earlier, the society
was, through more imaginative and forceful leadership, taking on an air of greater prosperity and
advancement. It accepted some new ideas or old ones in a new dress. It set out to keep its financial
structure in better order; to acquire assurance that money for a budget would be available before
making one, and spending thereto. It promoted new social projects to the pleasure and benefit of most
members.

Of course there is the appeal to the sportsmanship and pride of growing of exhibits for the honour of
doing so. However it is not the modern trend to accept honorary awards in place of money prizes, so
why expect it. A realistic membership fee would help to encourage more exhibits, to pay a proper scale
of remuneration for work done, to extend outside effort and influence, to make it possible to
contemplate the future with greater confidence, to have to rely less on the good nature of business firms,
all of whom do not benefit from society work, and in particular have the satisfaction of being self-
supporting – other than from public grants which should be used for public purposes.

It dared to cancel the offer of premiums included in the dollar membership fee, thus making more of it
available for administrative costs and other expenses. The Year Book took on more useful and
attractive attributes. The membership reeled from these and other shocks but soon came back in larger
numbers than before, but in contradictory attitude did not press these opportunities which could have

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
returned the society to its one time position of greater influence in all local affairs in which horticulture
is a recognized part. Its membership fee remains at one dollar per year as it was in its beginning. It still
retained the patronage and good will of many influential friends but has not been willing to request any
aid or assistance from them to further its worthwhile projects. The population explosion of the Capital
City has not been adequately reflected in increased membership numbers, nor has really serious effort
been made to remedy this. If it were possible to do this without cost other than that for a few circular
letters and an already much underpaid staff found willing to accept more work and responsibility for no
further remuneration, this may have been done. But modern business does not operate that way nor can
an old established society do so. To try to increase income by any manner or means other than what
had become customary was frowned upon, Even quite recently suggestions have been made to
eliminate some of the most popular features of society cohesion because of uncompensated work
involved instead of making their popularity pay dividends. The society still expects and fortunately
receives the support of a large number of business houses but who still give the same number of dollars
as they did a quarter or half century ago. This is very much appreciated but it means that so many more
patrons have had to be solicited to aggregate the same dollar value. The increase in the number of
business firms has helped but the increasing proportion of multiple store companies are not at all prone
to take the interest in local institutions as the older type firm of individual or small business operator.
There is a large measure of customer – business relationship that has to give way to less generous
monopolistic business ethics. Others, besides horticultural societies, have cause to know this.

This may be one of the reasons why the prizes for flower shows have maintained dollars and cents
figures as of earlier years. Increased costs or lesser values have their influence on flower growers as
everyone else. Prizes offered are not generous by any means, and though a grower may hope to recoup
some of his expenses he needs to win in quite a number of entries to accomplish this. Fortunately for
the shows, this is not the only motive that governs exhibitors.

The society continues its labour free services to the community with any other expense thereto
dependent upon the annual budget. Financial statements are rarely ‗in the red‘, but failure to receive an
expected grant would seriously jeopardize the society‘s position. The officers of the society are to be
highly commended for their perseverance to try to do so much with such limited finances. This applies
also to those members who give so generously of their time.

It is not the purpose of this story to offer any prognostications. The society has survived many crises
and there is little doubt that others will be encountered and well taken care of. If this record appears to
be in some respects contradictory, there is significance in the fact that what is within memory has, or
may have, a different perspective when viewed and examined over a given number of years in an
endeavour to properly assess the degree and quality of success the society may be considered to have
attained.

A very satisfactory state of affairs for one year must be balanced with reverses which may occur in
another. We may report on the excellence of a project or committee for one period and be quite
uncomplimentary about them elsewhere. Both conditions will exist and will also be true. They will
need to be studied as to both as to both cause and effect before judgment can be made. Now we
proceed with the story of more recent years and accomplishments.

It is very difficult to evaluate the worth to the community of any service organization, horticultural
society, or other, and for our purpose the subject society in particular. Its activities are really not well
known to the general public except as it may receive some publicity through the local press. An
exceptional incident of more than usual interest may receive attention, but the work it does in educating

53
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
its members and others in the art of "growing things" better and the shows it organizes to prove the
prowess of its members in so doing are known only to those who are given opportunity to benefit
thereby. This is understandable, but it is unfortunate that the society has no better means by which to
make its services to the public at large better known.

In this period under review, all operational patterns may seem to vary somewhat from that of former
years, but it is basically the same, to serve the public in all matters pertaining to horticulture in the most
effective manner possible. In this it does not please everyone, not even itself, at times, but it has an
overall justification to be proud of its accomplishments during most of its 70 years of dedicated service
to the community which embraces greater Ottawa.

ADMINISTRATIVE
The years have brought little noticeable change in administrative policy. Its governing body consists of
the president, two vice presidents, a secretary-treasurer, and 10 directors. There are about 20 different
committees, all of which report to the board of directors. The secretary-treasurer, with his added
rightful title as managing director, knows more and does more than any other member of the society
and in longer continuation in office may without necessary intent but through tradition greatly
influence the society's everyday course of action. But as he too reports to the president and Board of
Directors it is their responsibility to direct any course of action. If they fail in their obligations, the
secretary-treasurer must perforce exercise his authority to keep the society functioning.

The committees are the essence and strength of the society. What they accomplish in total determines
to what degree the society can claim a successful operational year. Not all committees work in
harmony and with efficiency each and every year. Quite often, in fact, they lack energetic imaginative
leadership or for many other reasons create a weak link that multiplies the efforts of others. The senior
committee, that named Advisory and Finance, may be loath to advise and unduly parsimonious; afraid
to take responsibility for new ventures, and unwilling to provide monies for any project or reason for
fear that it may be difficult to regain any possible loss. Others can be too liberal or indifferent; with
limited income they must necessarily be cautious. In human relations there are those who will use
money to acquire more whilst others believe that non-spending is saving. The society has of course
officers allied to both schools of thought. In some years one predominates, but very seldom do the
more liberally minded have their way.

The Membership Committee is a very important one. With some imaginative leadership membership
will hold its own or increase; without it and with little or no funds to work with they find it difficult to
maintain numbers. Hard work is claimed to be the secret of increased membership which can be a
fallacy without direction and incentive.

The committee usually headed by a vice president who established the instructional meeting program
for the year has to be one of resource and determination.4 To provide two speakers or programs for
eight or ten public meetings each year is no sinecure. There are lots of people willing to speak or
entertain others. But to arrange for those who have something worthwhile to offer the membership and
visitors either in entertainment or instruction and are free to do it at times suitable to the society
requires a great deal of time, patience and organizational effort.



4
    Does anyone know what this means?

54
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The several flower show committees are somewhat less difficult. These follow the same pattern each
year and chairmanship may be retained for a number of years. Too often perhaps they become routine
with committee members not too keen with practical assistance. They may lack imagination, but the
shows carry on. An interesting feature of these committees is that just prior to the period we are
considering, all committees were male, and also directors of the society. Ten years or so later women
comprise 80 percent of the membership not only of these committees but most others. Whether or not
the society is better served is a matter of opinion, very much dependent upon leadership given.

Whilst all flower shows have their special beauty and attractiveness the tulip show has for some eight
years past received the greater acclaim.. The reason for this is that it has become associated with the
Tulip Festival activities staged by the Board of Trade and other organizations and that it is presented in
such delightful surroundings which the new City Hall affords. Here the flowers may be displayed to a
much greater advantage with greater facilities for the viewing public which includes a large number
from out of town. It reflects great credit to the committee responsible and all others who assist with it;
an example for other committees to emulate had they the power of conviction that much could be done
and could enlist the support necessary to have their respective shows located where a larger public
would view them which for beauty and quality they so richly deserve. As it is they take on the form of
exhibits the owners of them competing one with another for such prizes as are proffered.

The Iris Show is early followed by the Peony Show. The committees for these shows do excellent work
under more difficult conditions both as to number of exhibitors and the accommodation available for
their purpose. Greater publicity would likely overcome both of these impediments but the society has
too limited funds to indulge at all freely with it.

The Autumn Show fares a little better because there is a much wider range of classes. Quite an array of
flowers is available at this season for show purposes with the emphasis on gladiola as the most popular
floral feature. Without them the show would be far less colourful, but an increasing interest in
decorative classes does much to engage the attention of the visiting public. As with other shows this is
more a contest among growers than an attraction for the public at large.

The Daffodil Show in the spring and the Chrysanthemum Show in the fall are not as well-organized but
both add an additional value to the public instructional meeting of which they become a part. Being
smaller, the committee work is less onerous. However, both flowers lend themselves to much greater
member and public interest if the society felt disposed to make them so. The answer is, as with other
prospective developments, lack of funds and lack of forceful effort to improve the situation. This is not
a criticism against committees but comment on the policy the society has or has had to follow through
the years.

Another important committee is the Year Book committee this is charged with the responsibility of
producing a creditable booklet annually which gives detail of the society's programme, its shows or
exhibits, contests or competitions, names of officers and committee members, lists of premiums, report
of the society's financial standing and much other data. If there is space and funds for them, a number
of instructional articles are included. The expectation, or hope, is that the book will be produced at little
if any cost to the society. This has been possible for the past 20 or so years through support received
from merchants of the city and elsewhere. There is a great deal of work for this committee; on the one
hand it must write, gather, compile and edit copy, and provide the money to satisfy the printer. This
requires contact with all sources for ‗copy‘, some of which offer close co-operation whilst others
procrastinate to an irritating degree. Not only must the merchants be solicited for advertising space to
be sold but their copy has to be collected, engravings located or made and later they - the merchants

55
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
have to be billed and whatever is due collected. All in all there is a lot to do for the honour of serving
on the Year Book Committee. There is also the concept of what is suitable to be determined. To some,
if the book can be read, that suffices. To others there is no satisfaction unless the format of the book is
attractive and the contents worthy of the additional effort necessary to make it so. Here, as with other
committees, the initiative and ability of the chairman determine the quality of the completed production.

There have been a number of ladies committees, with some differences in title, throughout the years of
the society. Why they have ceased to function there is little record, which perhaps is just as well. The
present ladies committee has served from about the time this record commences. Organized with some
trepidation, if not actual resistance, by a completely male board of officers and directors, it has belied
all the dire forebodings of the opposition -- that is up to this date of writing. That they have been an
increasingly valuable asset to most phases of the work of the society few will now deny. The following
pages will relate their accomplishments, all for the good of the society.

The African Violet Committee or ‗Group‘, as they prefer to be known by, have also done excellent
work but for the most part restricted to the flower of their choice. More may be read about them as we
go along.

Another committee that designs and executes a landscape project at the Central Canada Exhibition each
year has earned much appreciation for its annual efforts. Not so restricted for money as some other
committees it nevertheless requires much more labour and organization to complete its project. This is
one exhibit that gets tremendous publicity through the many thousands of visitors who each year make
it a practice to see what this committee has thought up for their pleasurable viewing.

The Publicity Committee has an exceedingly hard row to hoe. A good committee writes reams of good
copy describing a flower show, meeting, or other event, but unless there is some exceptional feature
involved they never see any of it in print, but occasionally because of their efforts, there is a television
program so short, swift, and time unannounced that few see it. It does have better success with radio,
press, and television announcements about to ‗what is to be‘.

Public Planting Projects and also Extension Meetings need committees is to fulfill the obligations
entered into. Each deals with matters promoted by, but in measure apart from, the more intimate
operations of the society. The society provides all requirements, whether speakers or materials, and
although the futile outside those concerned efforts year about this phase of society work, the secretary
has on file a goodly number of ―thank you‖ letters which are the record of success in this field.

Special Events for the most part embraces social events.- Picnics, summertime outings, and an annual
dinner meeting. Usually a really special or different event has a committee elected to take care of it.

There is a Committee of Judges. Composed of senior and more experienced members some of whom
are professional horticulturists they are selected to judge flower exhibits and flower gardens not only
for the society's functions locally, but as requested judge a similar range of shows and gardens within a
radius of 150 miles.

Although ‗premiums‘ are no longer free gifts to members of committee operates to keep an eye on the
existing plan and arranges with certain sources of gardeners supplies to provide for mutually beneficial
purchasing within a limited scale.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Garden competitions and contests are organized through a committee for each purpose. Although as
popular as they ever were the area occupied by the city makes it impractical for the society to promote
contests on such a wide scale. They do however receive constant consideration.

A committee to take care of trophies and awards is necessary to acquire new ones, arrange for
engraving winners‘ names on continuing trophies, and collect it from the donors as may be required.

The Ladies Committee, in conjunction with the chairmen of the various shows provides a flower
distribution committee. These are for the most part flowers that are not collected after flower shows
and demonstrations. Delivered to hospitals and other institutions they are usually well received but in
times of epidemics when staff are fully engaged, they are not welcomed.

Photographic contests are usually quite popular as are essay contests. They demand more work than
may at first thought be considered and require the labour of a good committee to take care of the detail.

The society owns considerable equipment requiring a small committee to see that it is kept in repair
and that ownership is assured.

The foregoing will evidence that there may be more to keeping a horticultural society operating in an
efficient manner than at first realized. The degree of proficiency to which these committees function
registers the success of the society. The normal duties of each have been referred to. They operate in
much the same way each year, subject to circumstantial change which is not of common occurrence. A
committee may be suspended or cancelled or another one added. Membership may be more or less. The
locale and nature of social events may differ each year. The lecture meetings are planned to avoid
repetition, but to call attention to any important interesting change in any phase of horticulture of local
interest, as new and different pesticides, insecticides, weed killers, etc. Collectively this sort of thing
reflects the almost imperceptible change that takes place and may not be readily recognized until quite
long periods of time have elapsed. For instance, as will be read in these pages, it was deemed to be
impossible to eradicate a lawn of dandelion and plantain and many other weeds otherwise than digging
or grubbing them out. Certain classes of flowers are referred to in some years and seemingly forgotten
in others. Lecturers repeatedly advise about buying trees, shrubs, and plants not suitable for local
conditions. The public are regularly invited to waste their money on supposedly new species by
inconsiderate vendors and do so despite the many cautions issued against such practice.

This report on the administrative setup of the society will suffice without unnecessary repetition for the
period under review. Our attention will be directed to other than routine happenings with elaboration
possibly of some incidents which may contradict the supposition that all committee work is routine
mediocrity.

What the committees do the greater part of this story, except that they repeat year after year whereas
this record once made suffices for all with additional reference only where deserved or to complete the
account. That the members of these committees give so freely of time and their respective talents must
be self-satisfying for such is their only reward. Why they do it -- a few only of many members -- it's
probably for the same reasons as those of service organizations, which, beyond a wish to serve, is not
readily described.

All committee's report to the Board of Directors, which body approves, rejects or by-passes at will,
always with the best intent if not with vision, all matters presented to it. It is the warden of all the


57
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
society's income ranging from $3000 to $5000 annually. No money may be spent or debt incurred
without the approval of this board, who abhor any suggestion about debt.

This board elects a secretary-treasurer each year. It appoints delegates to the annual convention of the
Ontario Horticultural Association; only one or two are financed but others may attend at their own
expense. The convention is a very pleasing aggregation of like-minded people where social aspects far
exceed any business they will be permitted to take part in. A representative to the Central Canada
Exhibition Association will be elected. He may have the support of any other member who may
independently be a member of horticultural committees all that association. Liaison with this
organization is now limited to the one representative whereas, as may be read, the society had a far
more important place with the CCEA 50 and more years ago. Perhaps the most tiresome function of
this board is to listen to and make decisions on the odd, wonderful, and weird suggestions offered with
good intent to benefit the society in one way or another. Good or otherwise, they usually gain entry in
the minutes of the society and if controversial that is likely the last heard of them. Many of them will
be concerned with increasing membership which subject has deserved a separate chapter. Other
subjects or committees that have also been treated in separate chapters are: Extension Meetings,
Garden Contests, Public Planting, and Trophies. There may be other occasional reference to any of
these but in little detail, and some other committees may not be of sufficient interest or import for
further notice, except perhaps in incidents relating to them.

The Ladies -- Women's -- Committees -- Groups -- Branches -- or Auxiliary that have been associated
with the society during past decades probably deserve a chapter to record their activities. However,
mention is made of them here and there are only and reports are fragmentary. It would seem that their
emergence, as it were, in the years of emancipation was slower in the Ottawa Horticultural Society than
in many others. The society had but one lady director, and at that for a very short period, before at the
very recent election of two to this body.

As already mentioned, the present Ladies Committee was organized about the period this chapter
records, with much doubt and some strong objection but has proved to be a great asset to the society.
As male arrogance and opposition diminished they built a record for themselves that dispelled the fear
and has continued to be most complementary to itself. Some of the more prominent among the
opposition now go out of their way to pay homage to a degree that the more moderate question that the
ladies deserve. They help with membership solicitation, provide guidance and help at flower shows,
attend to matters of refreshment when such are served, provide decorative features besides decorative
exhibits for shows, and in many ways prove their interest and usefulness. To say that one or another
activity has been their best is not perhaps fair because all of what is involved. It can be said that their
assistance at the annual Tulip Show is outstanding. They have helped to evolve a Springtime Flower
Festival from an average and ordinary exhibition of tulips. Held in the City Hall, it has all of the
appurtenances that help to make this show such an outstanding event that many thousands of citizens
and visitors view it and comment on it with much credit to the society, or, in reality, the Tulip Show
Committee with the help of the Ladies Committee. Arising from this, the committee was requested by
the mayor, Dr. Charlotte Whitten, to put on a similar partial floral demonstration which included in
particular decorating of the spiral stairway which leads upwards from the foyer of the building. The
occasion for this was a visit by the Queen Mother in June, 1962. Her Majesty expressed great interest
in this decorative feature and, through the mayor, extended her appreciation of this admirable result of
the Ladies Committee efforts.

The society is invited to participate in numerous floral and decorative projects promoted by other local
organizations. The Ladies Committee frequently takes an active part in these with male assistance to

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
whatever degree is needed. Among these was "An English Tea Garden"; "A Dutch Treat Supper‖;
―Decorative Features at the Wintertime Horse Show‖; and quite a number of fashion shows. One of the
more recent and outstanding of these projects was "An International Flower Show" (1962). Admirably
organized and arranged by a local women's organization, it did not have the support it deserved it due
to poor publicity. Repeated in 1963 it was an unqualified success. Published accounts gave very little
credit for the very considerable part the society had had in it, which is not unusual.

Occasionally these complementary efforts of the society are claimed to infringe on the rights of the
professional decorator, with some possible temporary disharmony which helps to maintain balance
between over enthusiasm and practicality.

A not entirely feminine trait "that they were not sufficiently appreciated" came from the Ladies
Committee, who were reassured that they did have the fullest confidence of the Board of Directors,
who, knowing well of the good work they did, were very appreciative of it. This seems to have cropped
up in earlier years as though to insist that the ‗stronger‘ sex pay due deference to the ‗weaker‘ one. It
does save taking each other for granted.

Remarkable success attended several ‗workshop‘ projects arranged by the Ladies Committee for the
society, or perhaps vice versa. Under the instruction and guidance of Mrs. Hardy, Montréal; Mrs. Ann
Francis Hodgkins, who made several trips from New York at very little cost to the society; Mrs. Tom
Bowman, now in Toronto; and Miss Josephine Brown of City View, a very considerable number of
ladies, and some men, were made much more familiar with the intricacies of flower arrangement. The
various flower shows have since received entries of far better decorative quality which can be
attributed to these workshop sessions.

The African Violet Committee, or "Group" as they preferred to be known, may be said to have
stemmed from the Ladies Committee. It comprises those who were particularly interested in this
particular plant. This group attracted to the society many new members with interest in this flower.
This made it advisable to not only organize classes for instruction in growing, but also to provide
exhibit facilities where the enthusiasts had opportunity to show their prowess as growers of this, to
many, very contrary plant. Hence an African Violet Show, first held on February 18, 1953, which
proved to be an outstanding success, so much so that it has been repeated each year since, with great
satisfaction to both exhibitors and those who view the show. With this continuing interest this group
undertook to supplement the society's Central Canada Exhibition project with an accompanying exhibit
of African violets. Each helped the other in continuing interest and attraction.

A Past President [ed. Fred Pain] wrote and published a handbook on African violet culture which was
well received and added considerably to the interest in growing this flower.

Earlier pages made quite full reference to what is involved in publishing the society's yearbook. It is
interesting to note that the first year of this seventh decade record was the 60th year of the society's
inception or its Diamond Jubilee Year. There is no particular reason to celebrate such anniversaries but
the fact that the society has survived this number of years is striking evidence of its place and
usefulness in the community, or it would not have survived. Members and others remain cognizant of
the anniversary by a special design cover for the Yearbook, the pages of which were largely devoted to
review earlier years in much the same manner as contained in parts of this volume




59
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The Coronation Year of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was also commemorated through the
Yearbook, again with a special cover design and illustrations of Her Majesty and Prince Philip. Flower
shows and other functions were also associated with the coronation scene.

The format of the Yearbook has changed little since the first edition, whoever is responsible for its
production. Content and overall attractiveness and quality vary as bespeak the editor-manager's
personality -- or peculiarities, or the manner in which he wishes to have the society represented. With
the average member it is more likely to be regarded as a good production of ‗if it is free to me‘.

Interest in encouraging juniors to take an active part in horticultural pursuits was very keen in the
earlier years the society. Mr. R. B. Whyte did much to promote this as may be learned in the chapter
describing Mr. Whyte's remarkable attention to all phases of society work. During a the seventh decade
the society received quite a shock and the work with juniors was set back when the public-school
authority gave notice that they would no longer provide garden space and instruction thereto. This was
much regretted but was not too surprising considering the vast increase in the number of children of
school-age now in the city. As has been stated elsewhere, besides providing judges, a limited amount
of instruction and inspection, and some prize money, the society had not taken a very serious concern
in what is regularly described as an activity of great importance. Nor did it now agree to any proposals
offered to create a greater and continuing interest among young people other than adding a few classes
for them at the regular shows and more support for essay and floral poster contests.

It will have been noted that finance was as much a concern to the society as it is to many another.
Without an annual grant from the city purse the society would have had to curtail much of its work.
This was demonstrated during the early 50s when5 the city failed to provide as usual, the first lapse in
over two score years. No reason other than a general economic trend was vouchsafed for this but the
strain on the society was exceedingly grave. The following year the President was instructed "to take
any action he deemed necessary to protect the position of the society". Fortunately he was not required
to do much about it, although a delegation of officers and directors did call upon the Mayor and Board
of Control with respect to the matter. Other means were found to cover the deficit and the embarrassing
situation resulted in measures to have reserves on hand to cover any proposed budget.

Flower shows or more correctly stated flower exhibits submitted by members of the society to be
judged for their degree of excellence in competition with another have of course been one of the major
features of the society, and although they become routine in many respects they do become the subject
of much discussion. Very rarely are the rules governing society shows changed in any significant way.
In the early part of this decade it was thought advisable to review them. It would be impossible to have
them conform to all the recommendations presented. Heretofore it had been obligatory to complete
entry forms for any class in any show and have them in the hands of the Secretary at least the day
before the show was due to be judged. This long standing rule was now abrogated. Moreover it was
made permissible for decorative classes to be built and arranged elsewhere than in the exhibition hall.
Who is an amateur grower is a question frequently requiring an answer. Rarely does the answer satisfy
all contestants. According to the dictionary it is quite obvious but to a grower of flowers for
competition for prize money it takes on many connotations.



5
    This word added.



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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
During the life of the society there have been many new shows promoted for flowers currently popular.
Elsewhere we have made reference to the African Violet Show which came into being in this decade.
Moreover for good and sufficient reason others have been dropped. In ‗54 the rose-growing fraternity
conceded that "Old Man Frost" had got the best of them during the preceding winter and aftermath, as a
consequence of which the Mid-Season or Rose Show was discontinued. This was a great pity because
roses symbolize summertime floral beauty as do tulips in the spring and chrysanthemums in the
autumn season. They have since gained some popularity with the number of new and hardier varieties
beautifying many city gardens. So far the society has not attracted a sufficient number of dedicated
rose growers to do more than exhibit this flower in the few classes for them in other shows.

Two or three years later the springtime bulb shows suffered a similar fate. This has been a regular
feature for many years. Stores on Sparks Street had bid for this show to be held on their premises, one
of which supported the show for a number of years to mutual advantage of themselves and the society.
It was a very pleasing attraction to the store particularly in the years that ‗Government House‘ in their
interest in society affairs contributed for the occasion a wealth of interesting plants from the
greenhouse there, and extended the further honour of their presence during the show. This was
excellent publicity for the society and it may be assumed that business house was reasonably well
compensated for the courtesies extended. A number of reasons contributed to the discontinuance of the
show. Some exhibitors had reached an end to their earthly gardening and new exhibitors were not
found in sufficient numbers to replace them. A change in Government House policy was perhaps a
greater factor than that of the store management who appeared less disposed to see to the society's
reasonable requirements. Overtures have been made by other business establishments to have the show
held there but so far sufficient enthusiasm has not been engendered to re-establish this show.

Essay contests have been a regular feature of horticultural interest. Quite often sponsored by the
Ontario Horticultural Association and occasionally more directly by the society. One such, for juniors,
received wholehearted support of the Separate School Board whilst the Public School Board declined
to have any part in it. The results of this particular contest were excellent. There were a goodly number
of entries and all winners fully justified that honour. Instead of the usual procedure for prize giving
wherein the winning contestants are invited to attend a meeting of the society to publicly receive their
awards, the President and a French-speaking Director accepted an invitation to attend a concert party
held in one of the Separate Schools and present the prizes there. This was done to the pleasure and
satisfaction of the society‘s representatives and presumably of their hosts. In the light all of the present
furor about biculturalism it is interesting to note that the French speaking population of the city has
rarely supported or taken part in the work of the society. A few have taken out membership and some
have been prize winners at the shows but have more recently refused nomination on the Directorate.
Those who are remembered as directors are also remembered for the cordial relationship mutually
enjoyed.

The Ottawa Board of Trade and the Ottawa Horticultural Society have worked together or perhaps
more correctly have been associated in efforts to add floral beauty to the city. Most of these occasions
have had to do with "Tulip Time in Ottawa". The first of these in the period of chronicling had to do
with a "Tulips in the Garden" competition. The society provided judges and did the judging. Lack of
publicity resulted in unsatisfactory response at that time. Each year since then until 1962 there have
been Tulip Garden contests with the Ottawa Journal providing generous publicity, the representative of
the Holland Bulb Growers Association with others making available prizes of tulip bulbs of substantial
value, the society again supplying judges and judging and the Board of Trade doing the behind scenes



61
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
work and receiving a great deal of the credit. It was unfortunate that entries decreased after a year or
two leaving the contest one between repeating winners which was far from the original intent.

Attendance at flower shows caused much concern to the directorate and show committees. With the
exception of the Tulip Show of recent years, lack of publicity and a very large number of counter
attractions, and also possible sameness in shows, made it advisable to reconsider length of time shows
should be available to the public. The policy had been to provide space and supervision for all or part
of two day. It is not advisable to leave exhibits unattended and difficult to find volunteers to give their
time freely to care for them. If there be a good attendance for viewing, attendants can have a pleasant
experience meeting other flower enthusiasts, but a very dreary one if practically alone for a half-day
session. It was decided that except for the Tulip Show each committee would decide for their
respective shows. It would appear that the one evening show has come to stay.

An accurate record is kept by the Secretary of the number of entries in the many shows held. There is
no point in stating what these numbers are for they vary considerably due to weather and other
contingencies. They have reached a high of over 500 at a single show and have been as few as 150
entries. These do not include the Daffodil and Chrysanthemum shows which have not developed a need
for space and attention other than as an addition to one of the regular instructional meetings.

The Annual Business Meeting of the society is held in December. For several years past this has been
made very interesting with talks and practical instruction on making and using Christmas decorations.
Another recent innovation is to have the Ladies Committee serve refreshments follow the programme.
This is a very pleasant social contribution at an invitation to larger attendance.

Extension meetings came to have an increased importance in the society's activities as the city
extended its bounds and building projects were promoted east, west and south. Community
organizations asked for speakers and instructors to advise their memberships on ways and means to
improve and beautify their properties. Many local organizations considered it incumbent upon
themselves to take a part in the work of improving the suburban acres where many of their members
were taking up residence. Among those who made overture to the society to assist them in this audible
service, and who were in due course regaled with the eloquence of society's public relations group of
speakers and representatives advising on many aspects of ―growing things‖ were the Capital Women's
Conservative Association, the Protestant Women's Federation, Elmdale, Hillson, St. Clair Gardens and
several other Home and School Associations, Church of the Ascension, St. Bartholomew's Church, to
mention a few, both in and out of the city.

Home garden competitions, once a very popular feature of the society's work, had been discontinued
when efforts were directed to wartime and relief gardens, came in for discussion and general survey as
to the advisability of re-establishing them. It was decided that due to the very great expansion of the
city's boundaries it is no longer practical to promote them on a citywide scale. How it was thought that
regional contests should be promoted with special attention to some of the newly developed residential
areas. With the cooperation of the builder-owner a contest was promoted for Elmvale Acres, with the
primary intent of encouraging and assessing the improvement in home gardens year by year. This
served the intent for the first two or three years after which it was discontinued because in effect it
developed into a contest between a few competing homeowners. In connection with this project a
number of instructional meetings were held in the district in the interests of contestants and others.




62
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Moderately successful, they did not have the same impact6 as did similar meetings held in other parts
of the city. Some all these also did not justify the effort put into them. If there was reason to believe
that a demonstration on planting would be accompanied with three free gifts of plants, the attendance
would be greater. One of the main items at most meetings was to suggest caution and consideration
about buying trees and shrubs and some classes of plants. There are so many offered that do not take
kindly to the Ottawa district climate. It appears that the attractive pictures presented by some
salespeople are far more effective than the practical advice given by those who would save people
some money and subsequent disappointment.

A bequest from the estate of the late Hon. President, H. S. Southam, was much discussed. A title ―The
Southam Award" was approved, and the award converted into Government Bonds, pending
introduction of a proposal which would gain the support of a majority of directors. Interest there from
has been put to good use but it is otherwise intact. With a changing directorate, knowledge of such
things becomes known to only a few who seem to feel the bonds are safer and more satisfactory than
trying to agree on disposal.

District No.2 of the Ontario Horticultural Association of which the Ottawa Society is a part, had for its
District Director Mrs. E. C. Hope, for its earlier years of this decade, being succeeded by Past President
Frederick Pain of the Ottawa Society, then by Harvey Fraser of Pembroke, who also holds membership
in the Ottawa society. He was followed by Mrs. F. E. Hayley of Manotick, who at this date has
tendered her resignation of this position. It was Mrs. Hope‘s proposal that the Office of Director be
supported by an "Advisory Board" to consist of the President and Secretary of each of the societies
within the district. This board was formed and at once agreed that the annual district meeting,
heretofore held in May or June, should be held over until October each year, which, under the
circumstances, was a practical suggestion and the later date has since been continued. The District
meetings have become exceedingly popular events. They have resulted in much closer cooperation and
interest among district societies and greatly to the benefit of all. With the addition of a luncheon and
some suitable instructional features and entertainment, they are very pleasing social events.

          <There is some additional material in here, but some of it is crossed out and I can‘t put the
remainder into context with any degree of certainty>

As trophy winners have the satisfaction of holding the honours won for only one year, the society
decided to make a supplementary award of a ‗Trillium‘ design spoon. These were for some years
presented to the award winners. When the source of supply of the spoons failed, the idea fell through.
The list of trophies awarded over the years (see Trophies and Awards) indicates that there must be
quite a number of trophy winners somewhere. An interesting thought: how many are still prideful
possessions?

From the first Poppy Day onward, the society has made it a point of honour to purchase a poppy
wreath for the memorial services annually, as their token of remembrance to members and all others
―who served‖.




6
    Just a guess; I don‟t know what was intended here.

63
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Through a series of photographic competitions and donations from members the society had built up a
remarkable selection of colour slides depicting many of the more interesting and colourful phases of
horticulture. These have been of exceeding great value at extension meetings held in and about the city
and quite a demand for their use has been received from far distant societies. Through financial aid by
the African Violet Group a suitable projector was purchased. At about the same time of the Ladies
Committee provided a public address system.7

The question of cooperative buying of horticultural supplies for the benefit of members of the society
has been broached many and many times. It came up for discussion in a slightly different form a few
years ago. The proposal had been received that the society purchase a considerable quantity of British
grown roses and undertake the distribution of them to members desirous of obtaining this presumed to
be excellent stock at very reasonable cost. This might have been a profitable venture and have done
something toward reviving the recently defunct Rose Show. Again the question of the society doing
anything for financial gain was raised and rejected. The greater argument used was that it would
infringe on the business rights of some supporters and possibly jeopardize good relations. It may not
have been mentioned but there is always the fear, real or illusionary, that nothing should be done that
let any way jeopardize continuance of grants of public funds. The fact there is also a large number of
business houses which benefit from the avocation of gardening but in no way encourage the society in
its work still leaves the question an open one.

The Ontario Horticultural Association awards medals and certificates to persons recommended by
affiliate societies for exceptional service in the course of horticulture. Each year consideration is given
to nominees for these honours. Those with which the Ottawa society has been concerned are named in
a chapter on Honours and Awards.

The Judging Committee instituted a Board of Judges. This is composed of older officials and members
of the society who are familiar with the judging features of flowers each may be particularly interested
in, together with others who are professionally trained and willing to serve. At the call off the
Chairman they judge in shows where their individual qualifications may be used to best advantage.
They are frequently invited to judge other than society shows within a radius of 100 miles or more of
the city. As these services are voluntary it is sometimes difficult for judges to respond to out-of-town
calls at the desired hours, although willing to attend. The presence of judges in the exhibition hall most
certainly without any ulterior intent caused complaints from some exhibitors, a matter which was
promptly remedied.

To enable any person interested in judging flowers to gain some further knowledge on the matter, he
District Director, Mrs. F. E. Hayley, organized a series of classes for instruction in the subject. The
instructors were professional where needed, the locale for classes was at the Experimental Farm and
attendance very satisfactory.

The first Daffodil Show as such that was organized in 1955. The emphasis on growing tulips may have
some effect on the popularity of daffodils, but sufficient interest has been maintained to continue this
show to date. A flower like many other things may be favoured by a very large number of people but
require a vast amount of paid-for publicity to make it popular. There are many other "old-fashioned"
flowers that are worthy of much greater interest by younger horticulturalists.



7
    This word added by the typist.

64
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The directors received a number of requests for classes to be held to study flowers in their season. The
proponents were more vociferous than interested because when such classes 8were organized very few
attended, nor has there since been anything more heard about it. However this may have been the
introduction to visits to test gardens at the Experimental Farm during springtime, which have proved to
be very popular. This is just another of the many ways members of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
benefit through close liaison with the ‗Farm‘.

The society in its earlier years had had a very important part in the promotion and continuance of the
Central Canada Exhibition Association. In the course of time they lost this premier position and
supported it with, among other things, very pleasing display gardens round and about the buildings.
This service became further limited to the free construction all an annual display in the Horticultural
Building at Lansdowne Park. By the early 50s the much reduced purchasing power of the dollar, which
is making it a problem to finance any society project, necessitate an assistance if these landscape
displays were to be continued. The Association recognized the worth of these exhibits and undertook to
assist with them. Each year something new in landscaping is prepared and never fails to gain very
favourable comment from the thousands of viewers many of whom make it a point of their visit to the
"Fair" to see what the society has presented. The exhibit for 1955 included a gift of water lilies from
the Water Gardens at Port Stanley9, Ontario. Acknowledgment should also be made for the loan of
guard requirements from local merchants as requested.

The Ottawa Horticultural Association proposed a per capita payment of three cents to help finance the
expenses involved by District Directors. This move was concurred in and has since been increased to
five cents per member. The Association also increased its per capita contribution from societies in 1962.

Letters of commendation are quite frequently received concerning some phase or other of the society's
good work. They are always a source of gratification and perhaps considered to be more
complimentary when received from Mayors of the City, Mr. Davis, Chief of Horticultural Division,
Experimental Farm and from Mr. I. Wood of the Federal District Commission.

The Directors decided to issue an Award of Merit to non prize winning exhibitors at the shows and for
other occasions where it was thought advisable to do so. This idea did not meet with long continuing
favour but after a lapse of two or three years is again receiving considerable attention as an
acknowledgment of service rendered or result achieved.

It is not often that any section of the "Press" invites information concerning the society. One such
occasion did occur when the Ottawa Journal through one of its editorial staff asked for a two column
contribution of the society's activities for a special horticultural issue they were about to publish. This
was, of course, promptly supplied – and was printed as presented.

We have made reference to letters of commendation received by the society from friends in high places.
Correspondence from the average member is quite frequent and not always complimentary in tone.
Such was received from a lady member who protested strongly about poor transportation arrangements
to a District meeting. She was overlooking the fact that visitors are welcome but not being a society
affair only it was impracticable for the District Director to provide transportation for people who might


8
    A guess as to what was meant; the words aren‟t clear.
9
    Corrected; the manuscript says “Fort Stanley”

65
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
wish to travel 100 or more miles to attend. Were she a delegate the society would assist in providing
the requirements to attend. Not an interesting item but it does illustrate the thoughtlessness the
Secretary is subjected to. On the other hand it is pleasing for him to receive each year a letter from one
of the very eldest members, usually with a donation for the society, commending it for its unselfish
action. Another very old member wanted it to be known the fine results she had obtained through
perusal of a book on African Violet Culture written by a member of the society, which she had
received as a prize for her essay on "wildflowers".

Invitations to prominent citizens to accept the title of Honorary President are not sent out until very
considerable consideration has been given to the person so nominated. This may be another aspect of
the society clinging to tradition for many distinguished citizens have shared this honour with the
society. (Names may be read in the appropriate chapter.)

Consulting Officers contribute much to the usefulness of the society. Some of these are delegated by
the Experimental Farm Administrators and others requested to extend their talents to the society. A
suggestion made that their telephone numbers be also added with their names in the society‘s Yearbook
was, in the opinion of the directors, an imposition on very good friends, and so declined.

The society not disposed to supporting fund-raising projects whereby it may be benefited, gave
recognition to the efforts of Mrs. Eric Thompson who so successfully promoted a plant sale and home
tea party at her residence for three consecutive years. A small token of appreciation in the form of a
Trillium designed pin was presented to her publicly. This was not a great value considering the effort
that she had made which will be remembered for a long time. Other ladies of her group (African
Violets) have continued this very pleasurable occasion to some financial advantage of the society.

The largest single projects organized by the society in many years if ever before was in 1958 when they
received over 800 guests from the Ottawa Valley during ―Tulip Time‖. This too is detailed elsewhere.

"Impeach" is a word rarely used and then only concerning people in high office. The impeachment of
President during the 50s was not a very serious affair but if nothing else it caused the fullest attendance
of officers and directors very seldom seen, and on a cold snowy November evening at that. (Perhaps
we still retain some of the "genes" that made possible the Roman gladiator days.) However the
accusations were declared unfounded and caused considerable embarrassment at their source, and local
harmony was restored.

The society have, always ready to give assistance when and where it can, assisted materially in the
organization and formation of two district societies, at City View and Stittsville. Its efforts to keep
others from winding up their ears were not as satisfying.

The most significant motion presented by the society in recent years to the Ontario Horticultural
Association occurred in 1962. Approved by the directorate it was brought to the attention of the
District Convention, that year held in City View, approved there, and given to the District Director for
further action. The association acknowledged its receipt and gave promise of debate, but seemingly it
was not treated very seriously or if so must have been dealt with in secret. The resolution asked: "That
the Association invite official enquiry, for reasons given, into the question why, despite profound
changes in almost all occupations and industry during the past 70 years, horticultural societies continue
with little apparent change in direction or administration and why in such a large number of cases
societies fail to survive.‖ This possible, repeat possible, reassessment of horticultural societies and
effect on the Ottawa society is left to our readers to ponder. It is an interesting point at which to

66
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
conclude this part of the society's story. This in effect is what is being done except the Secretary so
adroitly assessed a year's work in his annual reports that it is believed to be an advantage to repeat one
report in full. .................................................................................................................................................................

The foregoing by no means includes all that's happened during the past 10 years. Social and other
activities, honours bestowed, and a number of subjects have been included in chapters rather that
include them here.

The Secretary's Annual Report to the Ontario Horticultural Association forwarded through the District
Director contains a very complete summary of activities of the year it is dated. This is the best
testimony that can be presented of the society's accomplishments for which reason it is repeated in full.
The locale of District Meetings will change. Social events will in some manner differ from previous
ones. There will be new faces on the Board of Directors and a change in senior officers. There will be
much discussion on affairs pertaining to the society's well-being, but not likely to change in any
marked degree the even tenor of its way. The Secretary's report may give thoughtful readers some
better idea of the very considerable amount of time, most of it voluntary, required to produce this very
commendable list of results plus more time consumed in discussion of projects presented, no doubt
with the best of intent, but fail to find favour with few others. This does not mean that such ideas have
no value but may at times indicate a lack of imagination or courage to consider them objectively. This
is no more or less common with a horticultural society than other organizations to find the directorate
to be a debating group on matters which should have been thrashed out in committee stage, and
submitted for confirmation or other action by the directorate who would be better engaged with matters
of policy for the organization. Despite the great wastage of time that could be more advantageously
used, the following report will show that with all this resistance, much is accomplished.

The Secretary's Report on one year’s activities of the Society
Membership. With the vigour of a sustained membership drive, the record show that 745 members
signed up for the year; this is 55 more than the previous year, but does not achieve our objective.

Meetings. Seven Board meetings; 12 committee meetings; six general meetings and three extension
meetings have been held -- the most successful one outside the society meetings was the one held on
the premises of (a Departmental store) when about 80 were present. Speakers and judges have been
provided for other societies and other clubs and social groups. The joint meeting with Manotick and
City View societies was enjoyable and such meeting should be encouraged both for social and
educational advantages.

Projects. The society continues to supply garden magazine subscriptions to the Ottawa main library;
officers and others assisted in the planting of the window boxes at the CNIB "Home of the Blind‖ and
also planted 100 tuberous begonias there -- we are at present supervising the grading and sodding of a
―sitting out area" at the rear of the "Home". The planting of annuals at the" Good Companions Club"
was also carried out and we would like to record indebtedness to several of the society‘s Past
Presidents who add so much lustre to this title and who are still an inspiration to all of us. Telephone
information service is also still an important part of our contact with members and the general public;
queries by mail are also handled.

Finances. The society has received substantial grants from the City of Ottawa, and from the Province
and support from local merchants and from many of our interested members.


67
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Yearbook. This year's yearbook was quite different in format and was again well received and it was
financed by advertisements and tireless effort on the part of a Past President.

Publicity. We continued to receive fairly good publicity from local newspapers, especially from radio
station CFRA.. We, along with all other societies in the valley, also derived much good publicity on
CBOT - Channel 4.

Trophies and awards. To a considerable list of trophies – the society is indebted to Mr. George Nelms,
an Honorary President, who has donated a very valuable trophy for competition as recommended by
the society's Board; this was given and named in memory of his mother, who was a long time member
of the Billings Bridge Society.

Flower shows. The African Violet Group Pot Plant Show was again a success, as was the tea held in
connection with it; the Tulip Show held again in the City Hall was once more very successful both
artistically and from the point of view of attracting many visitors; the decorated stairway was the
cynosure all eyes and reflected great credit on the lady decorators – the men did the heavy work before
the show was set up; the Iris and Peony Shows were both well patronized and quality was high in the
exhibits; the Autumn Flower Show was again a Kaleidoscope of colour with glads, asters and other
annuals and perennials and vegetable entries making a colourful picture. Daffodil classes were held too
early to get many entries but we hope to have colourful garden chrysanthemums at an early October
meeting to wind up the Flower Show Programme. Junior entries again gave us some cause for thought
but we have had no response to our appeal for Junior Leaders in society programmes.

Judges. The society is indebted to the panel of excellent judges, who look after our flower, plant, and
vegetable shows and we are happy to name judges for other societies when they are needed.

Outings. The society was privileged see behind the scenes of a garden centre, at the invitation of a local
horticultural supply house to be their guests in February. They were excellent hosts with refreshments
and gifts for all. The society also enjoyed an all-day outing to Montréal, visiting first the Montréal
Botanical Gardens where we had guided tours of the grounds, nurseries and display greenhouses; then
after a bus tour of the northern part of the city to see the famous Cleveland Morgan Estate at Senneville
on the Lake of Two Mountains; this was attended by 130 members and friends and was a success.

Ladies Committee. Meets often for informal social affairs and is of great and invaluable help to the
Boars in various functions connected with meetings and shows, e.g. preparing tags taking
memberships, being hostesses, assisting with prize lists, distributing flowers and plants to hospitals and
homes.

OHA Convention. This was attended by three members of the society and the society did appreciate the
honour done by the OHA10 through the District Director in presenting to the Secretary William Cavaye
the OHA Award of Merit.

Central Canada Exhibition. A committee of mainly old-timers again responded to an appeal for help
and resulted in another excellent display of simple landscaping by the society. The display was joined
by the Violet Group display and together with competitive efforts on each side by City View and



10
     Says OHS, but wasn‟t the award presented by the OHA?

68
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Gloucester societies made a most commendable area of the hall; more entries from other societies
could make this feature the focal point of the Horticultural Hall.

Premiums. If members want a premium, they pay an extra dollar and thereby receive a special discount
at local nurseries and seed stores, etc.

OHA Service Diploma.. The Service Diploma was presented privately by two of the society's officers
to Mrs. George Rosser. George Rosser, an energetic and capable president of the society during 1959-
1960, died suddenly in February of this year. He is and will be much missed in the society activities
this year and in the years to come.

Photography. Last year's photographic competition brought in almost 100 entries and we expect as
many and of even better quality this year than last.

Fall plans. Fall plans included participation in the District Meeting in Eganville on September 30.
Meetings in early October for Information on Fall Work and the Hardy Chrysanthemum classes; a late
October meeting for a feature on "Care of House Plants"; a Supper Meeting in November and a talk by
Dr. John Slykhuis on his travels around the world; participation in the night school classes on "Home
Gardening" and our Annual Meeting in December when new officers are chosen, reports presented and
a special topical entertainment program featured.

"This society excels in each field of endeavour, has assisted very many neighbouring and District
Societies and Groups and cooperated generously and fully" the District Director adds to this report.

This chapter is about to be closed. This also concludes this portion of The Story of the Ottawa
Horticultural Society. At the beginning of the chapter it stated that contradictory opinions might be
expressed. This to some extent has happened elsewhere. It also happens in this summary of the period
under review and those that have gone before. The vast amount of work and responsibility the society
has accepted is surely reflected in this story. That this effort does a very great deal to improve the
amenities of the city will not be denied. That it suffers from lack of support including that of its
membership is obvious, even if that is the fault of the directorate in continuing a dollar a year
membership fee, which does not pay the Secretary's meagre remuneration and mailing costs of
literature and notices issued. The society is dependent upon money grants which are not guaranteed in
the larger amount and the other fluctuates according to controlling factors. It is required to find halls
for flower shows and meeting places at no cost to itself. Its major publication is by courtesy of
merchants (plus very considerable labour of its own). This also applies to prizes for shows and other
contests. The equipment it owns has very limited sales value. It has no means other than an occasional
circular letter for publicity. Prize values do not attract new exhibitors, admitting that it is not cash
values alone that cause people to exhibit. Flower shows continuing for half a century should have
become flower festivals with a recognized standard of excellence for at least some flowers. These
things cost money; the society may or may not engage in any money making project -- it does assist
others that do so. Other organizations use flowers for added attraction and to stimulate interest in their
projects and charge for admission to them. The few social events are self-supporting, as they should be,
but there could be no criticism if they also assisted the finances. The city is now so extended that
secondary units of the society could be satisfactorily established with the society providing direction
and aid. But there are no available funds to promote them. Whereas the society was already associated
with all social phases of a small city it has not been able to maintain that position.



69
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The magnificence of the Experimental Farm and the work of the Capital City Commission far exceed
in scope anything the society can undertake yet both these bodies acknowledge that the society is an
important adjunct to city beautification. It has the good will of all service organizations none of which
have the same difficulties for survival. Is this success or an imitation of it. . The society manages to
keep out of debt and could possibly survive for a short while if its benefactors ceased their donations.
Are society workers, the few that carry the society along just misguided enthusiasts? We who are also
these persons in question believe of course that our efforts are really worth while. But are they? There
is no barometer which registers public opinion. Will the society, like many a person, have to die to be
appreciated? There is an end to all things and this is if of this chapter.




70
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Officers
Names of those who have served the Society as President.
1893–94      Lt. Col. Wm. White                 1929-30     McGregor Easson

1895-6-7     John Craig                         1931        Anson M. Pratt

1898         Dr. James Fletcher                 1932-33     H.E. Ewart

1899         W.T. Macoun                        1934-35     Hugh S. Spence

1900-1-2     R.B. Whyte                         1936-37     H.E. Seale

1903-04      F.G. Keyes                         1938-39     J.J. Carr

1905         Ald. W.G. Black                    1940-41     C.R. Good

1906-07      Samuel Short                       1942-43     T.E. Monette

1908-09      Edward Hepsted                     1944-45-6   B. Sierolawski

1910-11      Col. Wm. White, C.M.G.             1947-48     J.J. Carr

1912-13      J.A. Ellis                         1949-50     R.J. Paynter

1914-15      W.G. Black                         1951-52     Frederick Pain

1916         R.J. Farrell                       1953-54     Alex D. Maginnes

1917         F.E. Buck                          1955-56     J.M. Cowan

1918-19      Geo. Simpson                       1957-58     H.W. Cole

1920         J.B. Spencer                       1959-60     Geo. Rosser

1921-22      F.G. Nunnick                       1961-62     J.M. Robinson

1923-24      R.M. Motherwell                    1963        H.A. Coulman

1925-26      A.W. Bayman

1927-28      R.G.T. Hitchman




71
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Secretary - Treasurer


1893-97           P.G. Keyes                                1941-42        W.M. Cavaye

1898-1915         J.F. Watson                               1943-47        H.G. Tinney

1916-19           H.W. Jackson                              1948-1976      W.M. Cavaye11

1920-40           H.W. Cooper12




Directors Of The Society
The following served the society as directors. To avoid repetition, those who also served as President
are not included although, without exception, they first occupied the office of Director. Each person
named served for varying periods; a few for one year only and others from ten to thirty or more years.
Vice Presidents have not been credited with that additional honour.



F.J. Alexander                 A.R. Dawson                  J.L. MacDougall        R. Stanley Smith

Walter Antochi                 Chas. E. Dietz               A.V. Main              Wm. Snelling

J.R. Atkins                    Dr. F.L. Drayton             Dr. Matheson           J. Sorley

                               Ambrose Duffy                Wm. McCann             John Spear

J. Balchin                                                  Geo. F. McCormick      Dr. C.H. Spire



11
     „76‟ is entered here in handwriting; not clear   what this means


12
     Spelled ―Coper‖ here, but ―Cooper‖ elsewhere.

72
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Dr. F. Banfield         E.K. Fallis             Peter McCready      A.P. Stalker

J.H. Bartlett           R.J. Farrell            K.P. McDonald       C.M. Stewart

J.F. Barton             J.J. Frith              Dr. W.G. McGregor   Wm. Stewart

Dr. E.C. Beck           Rowley Frith            J.W. McIntosh       W.W. Stinson

Wm. Bell                                        Mjr. D.L. McKean    J.F. Swayse

R.G. Benedict           John Graham             James McKee

Lawrence Bennett        T.E. Gunderson          Alex. McNeil        R.M. Thexton

Arthur Bourilot                                                     G.C. Thompson

T. Bowman               C.B. Haggity            Morley C. Neate     F.E. Thompson

R.H. Briggs             W.E. Harper             A.F. Newlands       M.E. Thomson

Major G.H. Brown        RR. Hayter              M. Nicholson        Wm. Triek

A.R. Buckley            W.C.J. Helman           J.E. Northwood      M.P Tutchings

F.H. Byshe              P.A. Holmes             M.B. Nugent         J. Tutchings

                        M. Holtz                                    E. Bruce Tuttle

Brig. A.C. Caldwell                             D.F. Oliver

D.F. Cameron            M.M. Ide                                    W.B. Varley

K.M. Cameron                                    J.M. Putman

A.C. Campbell           Fred James                                  A.J. Walker

J.B. Cannon             J.W. Johnstone          Dave Reynolds       W.B. Wallen

?. A. Carrier                                   E. Rhodes           J.F. Watson

W.M. Cavaye             Albert Karsk            T.E. Ritchie        Capt. W.J. Webber

A.H. Challis            M. Kuske                A. Robb             Geo. I. Williams

Fred Cook                                       C.R. Robertson      Mrs. J.A. Wilson

H.W. Cooper             V.S. Laderoute          R.M. Roger          A.C. Wimberley

H.A. Coulman            W. Latour                                   M. Wittenberg



73
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

C. Craig13                    Cecil W. Lay14                J.W. Saylor             R. Simpson Wright

A.C. Cronk                    C.E. Lester                   Chas. Scrim

W.E. Currie                   S.J. Lew                      J.A. Shorten            J. Warren York

                              C.E. Living                   Louis Smith

E.J. D‘Oust

M.B. Davis



Members Active in Society Work
It is obviously impractical, even were it possible, to list all persons who have through the years held
membership in the society. However, there has been made available names of a quite large number of
members who, in one capacity or another, have shown sufficient interest in the society to be entitled to
active membership recognition. Some have been interested in committee work, or have exhibited at
shows, or addressed meetings, whilst others have held one or more offices in the society. The lists may
not be complete, but no member in any period has been omitted with intent. Many of the names occur
in our present-day membership rolls and are probably related to earlier members, thus continuing a
family interest in the affairs of the society and its objectives.

-A-

Messrs. Wm. Alford; A.E. Attwood, P. Anderson; Walter Antochi; Jas. Allen; J.A. Adamson; A.G.
Acres; Harry Allan; J.H. Ashfield; W.B. Armstrong; L.S> Amos; Levi Crandall

Mrs. (or Miss)A. Anrep; P.R. Arbuckle; A. Ardley; P.N. Arkell; A.G. Acres; H. Allen; J.H. Ashfield



-B-

Messrs. A.W. Bayman; F.H. Byshe; Henry F. Bronson; F.E. Buck; T. Bowman; Dr. E.C. Beck; J
Baldwin; R.G. Benedict; R. N(?) Briggs; William Bell; Dr. F. Bamfield; T. Robson; A. R. Buckley; J
Balchin; W.G. Black; G. Brackenbury; J.F. Bellamy; L.E. Barclay; F. Beasley; John Baron; H. Bernard;
D. Bonner; Dr. J.F. Booth; Capt. Bookey; E.J. Boag; R.C. Bowen; Dr. P.H. Bryce; Lawrence Bennett;
W Douglas Burden; T. Beveridge, Jr.; C.H. Broughall; John T. Bell; A.H. Burke




13
     Something handwritten here, but I can‟t decipher it.
14
     This was listed with the W‟s, The name is clear, but maybe there is a typo??

74
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Mrs. (or Miss) J.T. Bell; Eleanor Bryce; E.J. Boag; R.G. Benedict; K Barker; A.J. Bawden; H.L. Beer;
H.J. Blachin; Josephine Brooks; J. Burns; T Bowman; P Byers; G. Bayley; L.D. Baldock; J.M.
Brownlee; R.C. Bowen; G. Brackenbury; Z. Boudron; B.J. Bawden

-C-

Messrs. H.P. Cortesen; F.S. Checkling; T.B. Cannon; H Chamberlain; K.M. Cameron; D.F. Cameron;
Fred Cook; H.W. Cooper; S.A. Carrier; J.J. Carr; W.E. Currie; H.A. Coulman; A.e. Challis; N.
Cuthbert; J. Chamberlain; Jas. Cox; D.C. Chamberlain; M.J. Cowan; J.M. Cowan; E.S. Crossman; F.
Costing; D.W. Charboneau; Geo. Chequer; W.H. Cole; Dr. Chan; W.M. Cavaye; Hugh M. Cairney;
G.L. Cooper; A.C. Cronk; J.P. Cordukes; W. Cattrel; C.C. Cummings

Mrs. (or Miss) C. Clarke; H.A. Coulman; J.M. Cowan; K.C. Carty; W.M. Cavaye; A.G. Cadger;
McLeod Clarke; J.J. Carr; E. Currie; N.W. Cole; W.E. Cavan; P.C. Curry; J. Curry; H. Cottee; G.A.
Cockburn; Francis Cook; F.N. Chapman

-D-

Messrs. A. Duffy; T.E. Davis; E.E. Dietz; F. Davy; J. Dempsey; E.J. D‘Aousr; Dr. F.J. Dayton; R.L.
Dore; N.B. Davis; A.R. Dawson; A. Downs; E. Dagenais;

Mrs. (or Miss) E.A. Driscoll; Miss Davidson; A.B. deGrosbois; Miss Durin (?)

-E-

Messrs. Dr. McG. Easson; J.A. Ellsi; W.T. Ellis; Harry Ewart; C.J. Ecklins; W.G. Eddy

Mrs. (or Miss) M.E. Ewart; K. Edwards

-F-

Messrs. A.H. Flindt; T.D. Finn; J.A. Farquharson; E.B. Fraser; Harvey Fraser; J.R. Fisher; Dr. W.S.
Flora; Rowley Frith; J.J. Frith

Mrs. (or Miss) W.H. Fenn; Miss Fenn; R.J. Farrell; Miss Files; D. Foster; H.S. Franklin; W. Finn; F.
Fentiman

-G-

Messrs. J. Graham; G. Garlick; P. Gordon; H.T. Gusson (?); J. Goodwin Gibson; F.J. Garton; C.E.
Godding; C.R. Good; Dr. Geldert; T Gunderson;

Mrs. (or Miss) Goodall; Jno. Guy; L.G. Gillisie; R.G. Gibson; Mrs. Gilleland; J. Groves; J.E. Gobrel;
J.W. Groves; J.T. Gill

-H-

Messrs. F. Harper; F. Horn; Ed. Harvey; R.R. Hayter; R.E. Hay; James Hope; Fred Hammond; Wm.
Hull; Geo. F. Hunt; F. Harmone; L. Hammond; P.A. Holmes; C.B. Haggith; R.G.T. Mitchman; W.C.J.
Helman; E.S. Husson; W.R. Hunt; J. Hussery; E.C. Hall; Reg. Hopeer; ? Hanwright; C. Hurst


75
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Mrs. (or Miss) J.W. Hunter; F. Hammond; Mrs. Hickman; V.G. Holland; C.E. Hoare; W.F. Harrison;
R.G.T. Mithcman; E. Hammill; W.P. Hurrell

-I-

Messrs. R.M. Ide

Mrs. (or Miss) W. Irving; Frank Irwin

-J-

Messrs. A.H. Jarvis; John W. Johnstone; R.J. Jamieson; W.G. Joynt; Harry Jarrett; R. James; Fred
James;

Mrs. (or Miss) E.B. Jost; M.V. Jarrett; R.F. Jacob; D. Jolly; R. Jarvis

-K-

Messrs. Albert Karsh; N.F. Kuske; W.J. Kerr; T. Knight; Chauncey T. Kirby; A.S. Kennard; W.Q.
Ketchum

Mrs. (or Miss) Lady Kingsmill; Ida Kealey; N.L. Keyes

-L-

Messrs. C.J. Lynch; W. Latour; F.M Laderoute; J.S. Laderoute;C.F. Lester; C.E. Living; M. Lamb; R.E.
Lucas; J.B. Laderoute; R.W. Little; J.S. Low

Mrs. (or Miss) F. Lee; A.J. Lapp; Gordon Lennon(?); I.S. Laderoute; L. Lusuk; M.L. Lys; G. Law;
Fred Lee; Herb. Lee; Dora Lumsden

-M-

Messrs. R.E. Millett; J.R. Mangus; H. Maddon; A.C. Marah; G.C. Monture; G. Cecil Morrison; J.E.
Martin; F.W. Matley; M.L. Moss; A.D. Maginnes; T.E. Monette; A.R. Mills; R.M. Motherwell; T.
Mulligan; W.B. Moulds; A. Mains; R. Mansfield; W.P. Mills; C.M. Mullens; W.A. Mohan; R. Millett;
T Morell; R. Mengies; A.V. Milne; John Mather

Mrs. (or Miss) R. Mengies; W.P. Morling; M. Moreland; E.M. Mills; M.S. Mansfield; A.L. Malone; J.
Murdock; W.E. Matthews; W.H. Machin; A.D. Maginnes; Miss Mansfield; Miss Milson; D. Monette;

-Mc-

Messrs. R.M. McCormick; K.P. McDonald; J.W. McIntosh; Dr. W.G. McGregor; D.L. McKeard; J.B.
McCurry; F.B. McNaughton; James McCann; W.H. McLean; E. McQuatt; F. McCallum; Peter
McGready; Adam McGregor; W.T. MacDonald; J.H. MacDonald; J. MacGrady

Mrs. (or Miss) D Macdonnell; G. McNabb; W.G. McGregor; J.W. McIntosh; L.B. McKenna; J.D.
McNee; E.A. McDonald; D. McNaughton; E.M. McElroy; D.J. MacLaurin; Miss LeLeod Stewart;
Edith McGillivary


76
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
-N-

Messrs. P. Nettbohn; D.B. Nugent; N. Newlands; F.E. Nunnich; M.C. Neateg;

Mrs. (or Miss) Nettbohn; P Nigret; Miss R. Newlands; Miss Flora Newlands

-O-

R Warren Oliver; F.D. Oliver; W. O‘Brien; J. O‘Grady

Mrs. Ouillette; Miss W. B. Oakley

-P, Q-

Messrs. E. A. Petrie; J.F. Philips; B. Pxxxxx; R.J. Paynter; Frederick Pain; R Payfer; G. Pennock; W.K.
Playfair; L.J. Purcell; Fred Perron; Dxxxx Price; Dr. J.R. Putnam; Basil Phelan; W.P. Patrick; N. Paris;
Grant Peart;

Mrs. (or Miss) C.G. Peppers; Miss Prince; B.V. Pain; N.F. Perrin; N. Purvis; C.A. Post; Miss E. Pepper;
J. Piggott;

-R-

Messrs. G.R. Robertson; J.N. Robinson; C.G. Reese; Geo. Renning; N.J. Read; R.N. Roger; Dave
Reynolds; F. Reiber; E. Rose; A. Rudd; R.A. Reid; P.D. Ross; H.G. Ross; L.D.J. Roy; H. Racicott; E.
Rhodes; Geo. Rosser; J. Rowley

Mrs. (or Miss) J.N. Robinson; J Rodd; F.P. Robson; G. Rosser; P. Reiss; H.W. Reddington; F. Reade;
F. Reiber; E. Ross; W.J. Rowles; R. Reiber; L.P.T. Roy; C.R. Robertson; E.B. Ralph; E.N. Rodrick

-S-

Messrs. J. Southwell; E. Norman Smith; Howard L. Scott; W.N. Southam; N.S. Southam; S Short; J.F.
Swayse; R. Stanley Smith; Lewis Smith; G.N. Stewart; C.J.Schieman; J.A. Shorten; John Speer; A.P.
Stalker; J. Sorley; Robt. Surtees; J.B. Spencer; N.E. Seale; M.M. Spence; W. Showman; N.E. Spence;
Dr. C.N. Spire; Ben. B. Stapleton; N. Shaffer; S.L. Sayles; Dr. Senn; D. Swerdferger; W.H. Stanlley;
S.H. Snow

Mrs. (or Miss) P.J. Sage; F. Stocker; Lady Schrieberg; D. Short; N.S. Southam; McLeod Stewart; F.
Scrimm; E.W. Salway; W.J. Smith; R.M. Scott; Collingwood Schrieberg; N. Stephens; Dr. Elizabeth
Spencer; E.A. Smellie; M.M. Spence; Grace Smith; R. Switzer

-T-

Messrs. R.K. Thexton; Wm. Tuck; J.N. Tribble; N.P. Tuchings; M.E. Thompson; Ray Tubman; Bruce
Tuttle; H.G. Tinney; C. Maxwell Taylor; Eric Thompson; Wm. Trick; M.E. Thomson; G.C. Thompson

Mrs. (or) Miss F.E. Thompson; N.P. Tuchings; R.K. Thexton; H.G. Tinney; R. Toone

-U, V, X, Y, Z-


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Messrs. M. Voles; W.B. Varley; Marshall Yarrow; James W. York; R. Youll; F.C. Zalfeldt

Mrs. Bert Vye



-W-

Messrs. A.S. Williams; J.E.D. Whitmore; W.B. Wallen; R Simpson Wright; Howard Wright; L.
Williams; G.A. White; K.D. Whitmore; Mafor C. Wake; C.F. Wingless; J.G. Wight; J.W. Wight; A.C.
Wemberly; H.D. Winterburg; C.H. Williams; R.B. Whyte; Peter Whelan

Mrs. (or Miss) S Waggoner; J.A. Wilson; P. Woolicombe; J.R. Watson; G.H. White; R. Warwick; R.S.
Wright; O.R. Walshe; E. Ward; T. Watt; G. Woodside; Mrs. P. Whelan.

Addenda




78
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


The Society’s Honour List
The strength and continuity of any group such as an Horticultural Society is at times dependant upon
the zeal and earnestness of a very few of its officers and members. There are periods when the best of
organisations require some bolstering of morale and example set for continuing effort. We have an
expression of this in the eulogy written by W.T. Macoun on the occasion of the death of his friend and
close associate in the cause of local horticulture: he is a professional exponent of the art and Mr. R.B.
Whyte, an exceptionally well informed amateur. (The document is dealt with elsewhere.)

There have been many good Presidents and other dedicated officers and members and as is the scheme
of things, some not so good. Few have been outstanding in leadership yet have advanced the work of
the society in their different ways. Some might have advocated more aggressive programmes except
that the society‘s directorate has never been prone to accept many ideas that might risk even the tenor
of administration or make changes in what had become customary.

Offices of the society have been elected from all ranks of local populace. Many of them have been
government employees and not a few have held positions at the Experimental Farm. All have given
generously of time, effort, and knowledge to help others in the pursuit of a better understanding of
horticulture, but the nature of their employment could be a deterrent to undue publicity which support
of any radical change in society policy might have produced.

To name any officers and members s having been better than others is to infer that what they did or
advocated was in greater degree of value than that given by others. This in fact could be true if it were
possible to define what phase of helpfulness was most significant. Therefore as a courtesy to those who
meant to do more than they appear to have accomplished it is felt that tribute should be paid to all who
tried to uphold the dignity and usefulness of whatever office they held. However laudable any effort,
however praiseworthy any accomplishment of any person, it will, in the nature of things, be
remembered but a short while. Any real satisfaction attained is within each one‘s own recollection and
the possible betterment to be observed in some way or place for which it might be impossible to claim
credit, if so desired.

We of this present day pay our respects to those who in the past gave heed to the society‘s need. It may
be our judgement that some served the society for such long periods that deterred others from serving
and possible injected what they may have considered to be more progressive proposals for society
advancement. That those who have served did so with the best of intent should be accepted, but that the
society benefited from some is open to doubt. There is no way to prove ―what might have been‖.

So let it be, that the good we as individuals would do, be done; and that those who did better than we
have acknowledgement of it in our hearts if not in public adulation. Who served better than another is
but an opinion. Contrary opinions develop acrimony, which is not the desire of any who contribute to
this chapter.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Patrons
Some Governors General and their families have taken a great deal more interest in the Capital City
than have others. Thus Vice Regal Patronage may have been extended to the Ottawa Horticultural
Society as a reflection perhaps of the city‘s drab and untidy appearance compared with old world
standards, which the Chatelaines of Government House in particular, set forth to improve.



The following Governors General extended their patronage to the Society:

His Excellency the Earl of Aberdeen

Their Excellencies the Earl and Lady Minto

Their Excellencies the Earl and Lady Grey

Field Marshall H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught

His Excellency the Duke of Devonshire, K.G.

Their Excellencies Lord Byng of Vimy and Lady Byng

Their Excellencies the Viscount and Viscountess Willingdon

Their Excellencies the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Bessborough and Lady Bessborough

Their Excellencies the Governor General and Lady Tweedsmuir

Her Excellency Lady Tweedsmuir

Their Excellencies the Governor General and Viscountess Alexander of Tunis

His Excellency the Rt. Hon. Vincent Massey

Their Excellencies the Governor General and Lady Vanier

Honorary Presidents
The task of making and keeping a city beautiful is not that of any one group of its citizens. It requires
the co-operation of all ranks of society to do this effectively, and preferably through an horticultural
society which has available in its membership and associates the necessary skill and facilities to do it
creditably. The following accepted the title of Honorary President of the Society:

Her Royal Highness the Princess Alice

Lady Ann Cavendish



80
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Senator Carine Wilson




81
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
                                                         N. Gratton O‘Leary, Esq.
Hon. S.F. Tolmie
                                                         Dr. N.A. Senn
Hon. Robert Weir
                                                         Hon. Duncan Marchall, M.L.A.
Hon. Manning W. Doherty
                                                         Hon. Flethcer Thomas
Hon, Thomas L. Kennedy, M.L.A.
                                                         W.M. Southam, Esq.
Hon. P.M. Devon
                                                         Dr. D.P. Rees
Hon W.A Goodfellow
                                                         G. Scott Murray, Esq.
Hon. J.T. Thorson
                                                         J. Aurele Gratton, Esq.
H.S. Southam, Esq.
                                                         Dr K. Hill
H. W. Cooper, Esq.
                                                         N.B. Davis, Esq.
W. Norman Smith, Esq.

Most Mayors, Controllers, and Aldermen of the city have encouraged the work of the Ottawa
Horticultural Society. A great many have been active members of it. This relationship has been
mutually beneficial and the city much more attractive because of it. The following accepted the office
of Honorary President:



Mayor Frank H. Plant                  Mayor Henry Watters                   Mayor G.W. Goodwin

Mayor J.J. Allen                      Mayor J.P. Nolan                      Mayor Dr. Charlotte Whitton

Mayor Stanley Lewis                   Mayor E.A. Bourgue                    Controller Warren York

Mayor Geo. Nelms                      Controller C.J. Tulley

Controller Arthur Ellis               Mayor J.P. Balharrie



It is probable that the records of the society, destroyed by fire, would reveal other prominent citizens to
have had similar close affiliation with the society.



Following is a list of Members of the Society who served it with such distinction as to warrant their
preferment to the title given:

Life Members
John Graham                           Fred H. Byshe                         James McKee

82
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Mrs. William Irving                 B. Sierolawaki                       John W. Jognstone

Fred Hammond                         Geo. N. Tinney                      Geo. Simpson

H.P. McDonald                        Samuel Short

Mrs. W. Matthews                     Ben Pearce



Honorary Life Directors
―For continuing interest and service to the society‖

John J. Carr                         A.D. Maginnes                       John M. Robinson

S.A. Carrier                         John H. Cowan

Frederick Pain                       H.W. Cole



Awarded Ontario Horticultural Association Diplomas
―For exceptional service in some phase of horticultural service to the community‖

W.M Cavaye – Gold Medal Award



Diplomas were awarded to:

R.R. Good                            Frederick Pain

J.J. Carr                            A.E. Challis

W.J. McIntosh                        Geo. Chequer

H.W. Cole                            T. Monette

W.M. Cavaye                          Mrs. T. Bowman

H.E. Seale                           J.H. Cowan

W.S. Curry                           Mr. and Mrs. R. Benedict

S.A. Carrier                         Mrs Macdonnel?

R.J. Paynter                         Mr. and Mrs. Eric Thompson?

Geo. Rosser

83
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Membership Promotion and Comments
Throughout the Minutes of and in the printed matter issued by the society since its earliest days there is
no more constant theme than ―we should have a larger membership‖. Almost without exception
everyone has agreed, and most all have asked the question, in different ways, ―How do we get it?‖
Getting memberships is a relatively simple matter as has been proved time and again, provided – and
that is the crux of the matter – one has something worth while to offer and someone to do the work of
offering it. In a society such as this it is no one person‘s job; it is every member‘s responsibility. It is
the one real tribute a member can pay his society, to think well enough of it to get another person to
learn of the benefits to be had and the impact he may therefore have for encouraging others to do more
towards beautifying the city.

There are perhaps only two main methods that have been used to attract new members. One, a
dignified approach to a prospective member with a courteous invitation to join a group of cultural
enthusiast which limits the field to those who are like minded and willing to pay the necessary costs
involved. The other is the more sensational way of offering gifts for the membership dollar requested
and to give freely all other services the society has to offer. Neither plan can be said to have been
unduly successful in so far as this society has had experience. In times of national stress, when growing
food supplies was essential, membership numbers have been very high. When the necessity has been
relieved, interest declines.

With few exceptions membership in the society continues for a very few years. The novice wants to
build a lawn and learn something about foundation planting. Often when he learns what is involved in
making a good lawn he settles for a grass plot, and though he may have learned something about
suitable trees and shrubs for foundation planting he likely buys what he has been cautioned not to do,
such as native spruce or cedar or other reasons of his own. He does not retain membership. Another has
a fancy for dahlias and having learned what they are susceptible to frost and how to store for winter, his
interest wanes. The would-be peony grower joins to learn a little about his favourite flower and interest
ceases. The spring bulb grower likewise, so that there is a continuing stream of withdrawals for whom
the society has served their purpose, which is also its function but must have replacements in order to
exist. A percentage do continue membership for many years; some are interested in show competitions,
others in administration, the social atmosphere the society offers, or because they are more appreciative
of the work the society does towards making their city a more attractive place in which to live.

It may be said that a story of the society should pay more attention to what has been done rather than
what might be. But membership is the society; Too many members could embarrass an already
overworked, underpaid administrative staff and with the continuance of giving so much for so little
soon be financially disastrous; whereas too few could have the same result. There are too few ardent
culturists who are willing to pay the necessary cost to keep a society going, and too many attracted to it
for what is materially offered in return, subverting the idealism to the very selfishly practical.

It could be that a co-operative membership would supply the answer, whereby a member would pay for
services rendered through profits on purchases he would make. This of course subjugates the ethics of
the art of growing things to crass commercialism. The founding administration perpetrated an illogical
situation by giving so much for so little. Successive generations have tried continuance with more
severe problems as the value of the membership dollar declined. Now with a comparable value of
about fifteen cents to the original dollar membership there are still those who hear the result if the

84
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
membership is asked to do more financially to support their own society. Maybe, some day, the society
will dare to test the bonds of thraldom which binds it and demand a greater measure of support for the
very great services being rendered to its members as individuals and to the community at lage, - and
get it. That is for a future story writer to tell.

The attached chart graphically illustrates what he been the comparable membership totals over the
years.




85
   The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society




               1000
               1050
               1100
               1150
               1200
               1250
               1300
               1350
               1400
               1450
               1500
               1550
               1600
         200
               250
               300
               350
               400
               450
               500
               550
               600
               650
               700
               750
               800
               850
               900
               950
1893 *

1896

1899

1901

1903           *

1905

1907                           *

1909

1911                                    *

1913

1915                       *

1917                                                                   *

1919                                                               *

1921                                                                       *

1923                                                           *

1925                                                   *

1927                                                       *

1929                                               *

1931                                *

1933                   *

1935               *

1937               *

1939     *

   86
   The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

1941                   *

1943                         *

1945                                       *

1947                                           *

1949                                                           *

1951                                                       *

1953                               *

1955                                   *

1957                                           *

1959                                               *

1961                                                   *



   The asterisks show approximately , to the nearest fifty, the membership each second year. A trace from
   * to * will clearly indicate membership trend which for greater accuracy may be found elsewhere.

   Some Comments on Membership
   The society needs membership for survival. The City needs the society, stronger and more forceful, to
   assist in the enormous task of supplementing the work of all who are endeavouring to create an Ottawa
   comparable with other capital cities of the world for beauty and attractiveness. Here, as elsewhere, the
   effort is primarily with features that call for attention to keep the mind occupied with what is to be seen
   in order that the citizen and visitor may be impressed with its magnificence which he transmits to his
   friends and neighbours all over the world who are themselves unable to visit the scene of so much
   beauty and splendour which represents this seat of government.

   It is the façade that is really seen, admired, commented upon. Behind this in many capital cities is the
   grim evidence that proves that some states have much less to be admired than the excellence of the
   presented picture of gardens, buildings, and driveways.

   Ottawa has its drab behind façade scenes also; fortunately far less terrifying than some others. It is the
   behind the façade appearance that can detract from the magnificence. This is the field for society
   endeavours. Thousands of home owners can be, and as a matter of fact have been, encouraged to add to
   the attractiveness of approach to the greater horticultural beauty. These citizens can be assisted to get
   the best results of their efforts through the Horticultural Society. But they need to be attracted to the
   society as they are attracted to the merchandise marts, costly recreational centres and many other places
   which compete with the garden for attention. But the society does little to attract. The fact that it can


   87
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
and will do much and has knowledge to do it intelligently is not sufficient. These attributes have to be
made knows and wanted by the public.

No more does the manufacturer rely on quality to sell his product. He dreams it up in fancy packages,
uses extravagant phrases to describe the contents, and this to such an extent as to hypnotise the
customer. This mode of business may be modern, contrary to all trade customs and traditions and any
other excuse offered but is accepted as a necessary adjunct to the item. The society deplores the
publicity of certain nurserymen who sell by similar methods, and rightly so, but if they had the means
for a forceful campaign to combat this type of wrongful merchandising they could do more good than
just deplore it. Pastor Billy Graham and Father Sheehan fight with modern weapons and methods. They
do not permit tradition to rule in their efforts to do service to their fellows.

For the society to do anything more that it is presently doing, it needs funds. Membership is needed to
help secure them. It can have more members, and the power and the strength they represent if it can
wean itself from the tradition and accept the fact that seventy years is a long time to continue without
obvious change in everything they do.

When the society is disposed to admit this, there are several phases to be considered. One is that they
have the knowledge and scientific skill to instruct, also the masses who need instruction. Another is
that each group must be maintained separately, but under one general guidance body. The tactics used
may be considered quite undignified by one group but are part of their daily life as well as of the
greater one, except that one admits it and the other does not. If and when the society makes up its mind
that these modern membership fees and other monies and in return get valuable bonuses of knowledge
and improved results from their labour and wisdom. The society can benefit, the citizen can benefit,
and those who wish to retain the dignity of their profession need not be publicly involved except to
assist with necessary advice as may be required.

Another alternative to keep the society ultra respectable and continue its good work without fanfare or
noise is for acknowledged horticulturalists and their supporters to show willingness to accept much
higher dues and expenses in order that the society may more adequately expound that which the masses
will have good cause to practice.

Admitting that tomorrow can take care of itself, will there be a tomorrow? A little realistic
consideration – and some imagination – can make it a more practical one.




88
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Social Attitudes of the Society
This is not intended to project the society‘s status into or compare with the socially elite groups of the
city but to comment on the social activities engaged in by its members collectively. Undue sociality
could not be attributed to the society at any period of its existence. This does not imply that good
fellowship has not prevailed or that there have not been social occasions among the city‘s
horticulturists in general or the society in particular. They are as congenial a group as can be found
anywhere. Their love of nature as expressed in whatever form of garden activity they may be attracted
to, gives them keen satisfaction that is rarely affected by everyday frustration or whatever it is that
compels others engaged in less gently arts and recreations to indulge in the degree of social
extravagance this society, as such, does not commit itself to.

The record is incomplete if it is not acknowledged that in its earlier years the society was held in vary
great esteem. Anybody who was anybody was a member of the horticultural society. No important
function in the city but what included representatives from the society. During the yeas when Ladies
Minto and Byng, and later when Lady Ann Cavendish and Princess Alice were resident at Rideau Hall,
there were many gatherings that included at least one or more officers of the society and occasionally
all members who cared to visit on stated dates were made welcome. The two group photographs
reproduced herein so testify. There have been no such visits of recent years. Each Governor General
has followed his predecessor in honouring the society with his patronage and the presentation of a
Trophy. The society is not invited to Government House nor does it take any measures that might result
in a visit there. Occasionally an out-of-town party of society guests are escorted through the gardens
and grounds. Thus it bridges tradition and present day attitude.

These has been many commemorative and formal banquets and many more less formal dinners,
Booster Suppers, and Booster Picnics have been held and many others of each with no especial
appellation. Some of these have repeated for many years and others as special events. Distinguished
guests have attended these functions as the records relate: Dr Tolmie, Dominion Minister of
Agriculture was a one-time guest. On another occasion ―the Rev. Mr. Scott and four others spoke on a
variety of subjects to the one hundred and three members present.‖ ―In March, nineteen-twenty, over
two hundred and thirty members and eighteen invited guests were present at a dinner held at the
Masonic Temple at a cost of seventy-five cents per person.‖

The Booster suppers and picnics grew to be quite a drain on the treasury, the receipts being
increasingly below costs on some occasions. There were ―some other financial considerations too, that
caused them to be discontinued.‖ It is recorded that one picnic ―cost each director $3.50.‖ There were
several occasions ―when it cost the directors…‖, which is probably reason enough for discontinuance.
They did much better on another occasion, to quote: ―The Annual Afternoon Tea was given by the
Directors on July 19the, at ―the Farm‖ The Farm supplied butter, milk, cream, sugar, cream cheese and
tomatoes – also dishes, tables, chairs, and tents.‖ ―The Ladies Committee made sandwiches and did the
serving.‖ ―The Director of the Farm welcomed about two hundred and fifty guests.‖ Verily, the
Directors gave a wonderful picnic.

On another occasion ―a newly formed Ladies Committee offered its services, again at the Experimental
Farm, where three hundred and fifty guests attended. The Menu included Tea, Lemonade, Ham
Sandwiches, Brown and White Bread and Butter, Assorted Cakes, and Ice Cream.‖ The proposal


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having been accepted and the picnic voted a success, ―the cost being Thirty Five dollars, which was
met by the Directors.‖ To be a Director of the society was an honour to be paid for in those days.

A Twenty-fifth Anniversary Reception was also held at the Farm. The ladies provided refreshments
and served them but it is not stated who paid for them. It may have been Mr. John Graham who was to
have been co-host with Mr R.B. Whyte at a ―Garden Party,‖ which was cancelled by the demise of
Whyte. On this occasion Mr Graham was presented with the society‘s first Life Membership award.
Elsewhere, in a chapter dealing with Mr R.B. Whyte‘s work and influence in society matters, is a full
report on a dinner at the University Club, the President, Mr. Whyte being host to his officers.

War times and Depression years were not conducive to social events and it was not until the early
fifties that they were revived, first in picnic form at Kemptville Agricultural College on several
occasions or Lac Philippe, Arnprior, and other places. Later they took the form of day-long trips to the
Montreal Botanical Gardens, Fort Henry and Queen‘s College, Kingston, Upper Canada Village and
the St Lawrence Seaway area, and other spots attractive to horticulturists. Most of these latter events
have been self-supporting and offer excellent opportunity to get better acquainted with fellow members.

About the same time an annual dinner was promoted. Held in the Saunder‘s Building Dining Room at
the Experimental Farm, with the Chrysanthemum Show am added attraction each year. These affairs
have been attended by as many members as could be accommodated. With an excellent supper,
interesting speakers and the aforesaid visit to the Mum show, it is likely to be a continuing event for
quite a number of years, provided only that the directors help in the work required to make it so.

What was particularly in mind at the commencement of this chapter had to do with those occasions of
less organised or almost spontaneous gatherings of members and officers who with no particular
significance except a spirit of friendliness, get together to express their good will to others. There may
have been many of these in the history of the society but are not the type of social contact that reaches
the public. Our record is of those which have occurred in quite recent years, and for the most part
contained to officers and directors.

One such occasion was of a Director being honoured on the occasion of his impending visit to England
after an absence of a good many years. More valuable than the practical gift he received was the
evidence of true fellowship to lighten the burden of sorrow that was the aftermath of war for so many
parents. Recently returned from residence on Vancouver Island he still has, no doubt, very pleasant
recollections of the occasion.

Some years later a Past President and his wife were signally honoured one evening in nineteen fifty-
two when without exception every person invited, for the most part officers of the society and their
wives made the trip to an out-of-the-way summer cottage to spend the evening there. Not a remarkable
feat in itself, except that the evening was one of violent thunderstorms, which was sufficient and
reasonable excuse for absence. This record attendance, necessarily held indoors, with no organised
programme, but with the joint enthusiastic voices of food comradeship, and without resource to any of
the accepted forms of ―stimuli‖ in or with beverages consumed, made this a most enjoyable evening,
spent in complete harmony in its finest sense. It was the perfect compliment that could be paid to
anyone, and it continues with a quite frequent ―remember when…‖, and the story is enthusiastically
retold. A couple of similar events have since been held with a Past President and wife as hosts,
continuing these expressions of exceeding goodwill.



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It is this excellence of good comradeship, manifesting itself as occasions arise; always evident in the
heartiness of greetings as members meet at lectures, flower shows, conventions, or organized social
events that qualifies the opening paragraph ―that undue sociality could not be attributed to the society,‖
but everyone agrees that those who spend much of their time ‗growing things‘ are for the most part, a
kindly lot of people to know.


Vice Regal Interest and Garden Competitions
The activities of the Society reached a climatic period just before the turn of the (twentieth) century
when the Earl of Minto and his gracious Lady entered into occupancy of Rideau Hall. Lady Minto is
generally acknowledged to have been a remarkable woman. She dared to say and do things that
theretofore had been considered to be the prerogative only of the male. She had indomitable courage
and the spirit that actuated that remarkable band of women who were about the same period working
for, suffering for, demanding and finally achieve the emancipation of their sex from the tyranny, as
they claimed, of laws and customs conceived and used by men for the purpose of dominating
everything and anything he wished to do, and women especially.

Lady Minto took the duties and responsibilities of her Vice Regal position seriously. Ottawa was to be
her home for the time being. Ottawa was the Capital City of one of the Empire‘s vast domains. Less
than an average lifetime before it had been cleared and carved from the primeval wilderness, known
only to a few white voyageurs and traders and the native Algonquin and Iroquois Indian tribes. She was
no doubt aware that the processes of government would in due course create and develop the attributes
and characteristics of a city likely to gain a position of immense importance in the future, a city of
relative grandeur and magnificence in so far as its scenic amenities were concerned. She had vision;
she saw that that alone would not suffice. Zones of lawn and garden beauty however lavishly
maintained with public funds lose so much if streets and avenues leading thereto are drab, dull and
unattractive. Here, by precept and example she would work for the betterment of the city. She would
encourage the citizenry to a realization of their responsibilities and would develop through all possible
means greater attention to home properties: lawns, trees, shrubbery and flowers for those to admire
who used the streets, the hidden areas to be equally well cultivated for family use, comfort, and pride.

As she may have reasoned, who but Mr. Macoun, the chief official at the Experimental Farm would be
her best advisor? It is probable that she ‗commanded‘ Mr. Macoun to meet with her at said hour on
such a date for the purpose of discussing her ideas that the local populace should smarten up their
properties as befitted them as residents and representatives of a capital city.

Mr. Macoun, an able and intelligent man and also somewhat of a diplomat, probably explained that this
sort of thing was beyond his official sphere, but as an ardent supporter of the local Horticultural
Society, he could and would have the matter satisfactorily attended to. He presented the matter to the
society‘s Presidential incumbent who was found to be willing to be of service for a plan so dear to his
own heart. To have his own visions supported by her Ladyship‘s favour would add impetus to a
realistic plan for city beautification. Consulting his officers, Mr. President found them equally willing
to assist. Lady Minto was highly gratified and showed her appreciation of this co-operative assistance
in many ways. For herself she could report to His Majesty the Kind, who, incidentally, had been the
Prince of Wales who laid the cornerstone of the original Parliament Buildings, that Ottawa was a much
more attractive city because of her efforts on its behalf.



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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
There was lots of work, meetings and reasoning before a satisfactory plan was evolved. Her Ladyship
would present certificates, Medals, and other prizes for the most attractive gardens in certain areas in
about Ottawa proper, which was not very large at that time, and for the most part peopled with
government employees and those who catered to them, collectively comprising a socially conscious
class quite different to that which prevailed in suburban districts, as for instance, Mechanicsville.
Democracy as it is now understood was a condition much more suited to ‗those people‘ who lived
‗south of the border‘ than to this outpost of empire.

A selection of the best men with suitable horticultural knowledge and ability to judge the gardens of
others was recruited. Mr. Samuel Short was one of these judges. He tells the story of a carriage drawn
by a splendid team of horses, put at the disposal of himself and other judges by Lady Minto, to assist
them to make their periodic visits of inspection of properties, the owners of which had complied with
the terms and conditions of the Home Ground Improvement Contest. The scene must have been
impressive in its formality. Eight times between springtime and harvest, usually on Saturdays, a
handsome equipage arrives at certain homes of Ottawa‘s citizenry who vie with others for recognition
that they have lawns and gardens of better than average beauty, worthy in fact of obtaining Vice Regal
acknowledgement. From this equipage two distinguished gentlemen alight and at once proceed to make
critical inspection of the lawn and garden, possibly referring to notes made at the time of an earlier
similar inspection. They observe the care with which the lawn has been cut, raked, and trimmed. Have
grass clippings been entirely removed? Are there more or less weeds than seen on a previous visit? If a
local dandelion has dared to show its beauty it would likely have created consternation. Are the edges
meticulously straight or curved with exactitude? Has the soil been recently raked and all foreign matter
removed? Is the whole lay-out in the nest tradition? Is the colour effect one of harmony, in keeping
with the surroundings and to delight the eye of those who view them, including the judges? Are the
vegetables in perfectly straight rows, and thinned-out uniformly and a correct distance apart? Are the
stakes for tomatoes or dahlias or others of even height and a host of other things that apply toward near
perfection?

Each team of judges had about twenty gardens to survey and judge each month, making notes and
awarding points for each so that at the end of the season the aggregate of points recorded would
determine the position of each contestant in relation the receipt of final rewards.

Judging gardens can be a most interesting, yet difficult and thankless task. Judges cannot possibly take
into consideration all the thought, misguided perhaps but sincere, and the energy and expense put into
the property being judged. They must make decisions on what they see within certain rules and
regulations officially determined for their guidance. It was no easier then than it is at this later date to
question what the contestants really believed was near perfection in their exhibits and therefore they
have not been honestly dealt with. Judges may judge as umpires may umpire, but in his judgement,
they will rarely gain a reputation for strictest honesty.

One dares to think that her Ladyship‘s intent was not fulfilled to the letter. Entrants were owners of
developed properties, which may have been further improved as a result of her interest. An example
may also have been set to neighbouring property owners; but it appears to have been of a later date
during the years that Lady Grey took a similar interest in contests towards city beautification that the
class of property owner or tenant who entered these contests lived outside the residential areas of the
earlier contestants, and was perhaps more in keeping with the original concept for city beautification.
The requirements of the first contestants were such as would appeal to the more wealthy home owner
whose properties would likely be seen by more visiting dignitaries and did much to give a better
impression of the city‘s horticultural standards. Smaller property owners found it difficult to compete

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
until changes were made which enables them to show that much floral beauty could be attained, less
costly and ostentatious perhaps, and also not as near perfection, but adding much to the local scene.
The fruits, flowers, and vegetables, whether they were for the artist, craftsman, or labourer were
equally palatable, satisfying, and nourishing, and certainly more abundant than for those who rated the
first engraved certificates and medals. This is not to decry any phase of these contestants or the good
intent that promoted them, but the greater good for the greater number is a virtue at all times worth
striving for.

For these chronicles we have relied to a considerable extent on the recollections of Mr. Samuel Short
and members of his family who provided much of the background, and in particular, that pertaining to
the very early days and the subject garden contests. Mr. Short was a charter member of the society and
the only one known to be living at this time of recording. He has since died. Mr. Short was one of the
contest judges and later entered the contests. He loaned the ‗certificate of Merit‘ which is reproduced in
these pages. It was he who implied that with all her graciousness her Ladyship could be quite
demanding of the time of others for committee and other meetings. Whilst very generous with
refreshments on such occasions she was equally thoughtless in outer ways. Public transportation
facilities to Government House were most inconvenient and walking to and from for reasons such as
attending meetings and returning equipage loaned for judging purposes, consumed a great deal of time
and energy which could have been used to personal advantage, and was a tiring, quite frequent, unpaid
Vice-Regally promoted service for the community which he has never regretted.

Mr. Short was President of the Society in the years 1906 and 1907. In this office he was a delegate to
the newly formed Ontario Horticultural Association convention held in Toronto that year (1906). There
he delivered a paper covering the garden competitions in Ottawa under the patronage of Lady Minto
and Grey. At the risk of possible repetition, Mr. Short‘s paper, or more correctly, excerpts from it are
here repeated. In particular, he covered the years 1902, ‘03 and ‘04 with Lady Minto as patron. The
governing and directive garden contest committee consisted of Messrs. R.B. Whyte, W.T. Macoun, and
Controller (later Mayor) J.A. Ellis. The City was divided into four districts for competition purposes.
Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded for first, second, and third place honours, in both
amateur and professionally attended gardens. All entrants who received a score of 75 percent contest
points were awarded a cash prize of fifteen dollars; those between sixty and seventy-five percent a ten
dollar case award. As some winners declined money prizes, Certificates of Merit, personally signed by
her Ladyship, were presented. The actual point position of contestants was not divulged, with the stated
intent of avoiding rivalry or jealousy among contestants. Her Ladyship had had experience of similar
competitions among the tenants of their English estate and found that the plan worked well and that the
award of certificated was appreciated.

Mr. Short, who elsewhere stated that as a government employee his working hours were from 10 a.m.
to four p.m., agreed that he had lots of time for his garden but indifferent health have him trouble so
that in his first efforts as a contestant, he found himself at the bottom of the list. However, with
diligence, hard work and careful observation of prize-winning gardens and proper groupings of
Paeonies, Sweet Williams, Iris, and other flowers, he eventually won the Certificate of Merit already
referred to. With this better understanding he also became a consistent winner in the Society‘s shows.

When Lady Minto left Canada the contests lapsed for a year or so, being revived under the Patronage
of Lady Grey with a committee including Mr. H.N. Bate, Chairman of the Ottawa Improvement
Commission, and Mr. Short. This committee changed the rules somewhat, allowing twenty points for
labour and enthusiasm, which was compensation for new gardens established and widened the scope or
contest range of operation. In this regard, Mr. Short makes mention of an English family of Mother and

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
several daughters who lived in a cottage which rented for six or seven dollars a month, in the centre of
a row of similar dwellings. The front garden was only five by ten feet containing flower pots, baskets,
and iron vessels in which were planted Fuchsias, Geraniums, Calcelorias to hide as far as possible, a
broken and unpainted iron fence and gate (which the owner promised to repair). The back garden was
divided into sections with each daughter responsible for one of them. Herein were Spireas, Ferns and
groups of annuals. This account is included to tone down the implications that contests were all on a
higher level as they once had been.

Of the twenty-six entries in one year, seven received over eighty percent of possible points. The
winning garden scored two hundred and eighty-eight points out of a possible three hundred and twenty,
the aggregate of four seasonal visits.

The overall result of these contests was that Ottawa was ‗wonderfully improved‘; that ‗a more general
love for flowers was created‘; that ‗the retail Florists business doubled‖; that the Ottawa Improvement
Commission were encouraged to request an amount of sixty thousand dollars for City Beautification‘.
The Editor of the ‗Wilmington Star‘ stated: ‗The Parks and the Park Driveways of Ottawa are simply
beyond description. One becomes lost in the maze of beautiful flower beds, and unique rustic wood
houses, arbours, and bridges, and Ottawa is slum-less.‘ Mr. Short‘s story ends with the remark that
―Certificate presentation was made at Rideau Hall with refreshments and entertainment‖.

Thus their Excellencies, the Lady Minto from or about 1898 to 1904 and Lady Grey from 1905 to 1911,
set an example for better gardening in the Capital City and through their Patronage encouraged the
Ottawa Horticultural Society activities and its representatives who were called upon to do a tremendous
amount of work because of this Vice Regal recognition.

There his no known complete or official record of these citizens who participated in the Vice Regal
Home Gardens Contests. Files from Government House of the covering period were turned over to the
National Archives where, apparently, material featuring such things as garden contests, if any, was not
regarded of very great importance or worth saving. This is understood even if pride in the society
suffers thereby.

From the sources that have been available, gardens of those owners named below were considered to
have been of more than passing interest but those which were for membership viewing and those of
contest entry are not clearly determined. They are not necessarily the same. Such detail is not readily
remembered except perhaps by those who were participants, most of whom at this date of record are no
longer her with us.

The Certificate illustrated tells us that Mr. Samuel Short was a contestant and an unclaimed medal
engraved with the name of D. Chamberlain is evidence of another. Mr. R.B. Whyte had a wonderful
garden but not one of the contest requirements, it is believed. Mr. Wm. Macoun had a lovely property
but his position at the Farm would not be conducive to free entry in garden competitions. The Southam
family gardens would be more likely for viewing than competing. Lady Pope was a likely entrant.
Kenneth McDonald likely had a fine garden, as did the other seedmen, the Graham brothers, but for
business reasons would not enter contests.

The following were exhibitors in flower shows so quite likely entered the garden competitions also.

Mrs. A.W.E. Hellyer                  Thos. Grindley                       R.G. Cole


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Mrs. W.E. Matthews                  Lt. Col. Armstrong                     Arthur Ellis

A.C. Berkley                         A.W. Bayman                           F.G. Ring

N. Stalker                           J.B. Spencer                          F. McCallum

E.A. Petrie                          D. Wilson                             Geo. Holland

J. Rowley                            R.G.T. Hitchman                       Misses McLeod Clark

D. Kidney                            C.H. Horton

F.? Drayton                          Mrs. D.L.McKeand

Miss Nel Clark                       A.V. Main

The homes of the following are reported to have had very nice gardens, which they at times shared
with their fellow members of the society, and with intent or otherwise, took and interesting part with all
others who early in its history made Ottawa distinguished as a Beautiful City: homes of the Rochesters,
Heneys, Keefers, and Butterworths. More specifically named are the gardens of:

Leslie Macoun                        A.E. Chamberlain                      O.C. Culbert

W. Gardiner                          L.J. Burpee                           R.C. Cummings

J.L. Deacon                          Dr. Matheson                          C.L. Farnsworth

R.F. Byshe                           A.J. Leggett                          J.T. Fetherington

F.A. McCord                          F.S. Checkley                         A. Fraser

L.Ogilvy                             P. Clarke                             J.B. Dufour

W. Seper                             H.A. Cleghorn                         J. Duggan

Dr. Courtenay                        John Johnston                         T. Fadden

Geo. H. Perley (Sir)                 C.S. Berbridge                        W.M. Currie

C.B. Powell                          Wm. Ralph                             A.R. Paget

Dr. Cousins                          T. Bert Cole                          Ambrose Duffy and others

T.M. Birkett                         B. Crabtree




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Lady Byng and Lindenlea
As had his immediate predecessors, General the Lord Byng of Vimy, G.C.B., G.C.N.G., M.V.D.,
extended his patronage to the Ottawa Horticultural Society during his term of office as Governor
General at Rideau Hall from 1921 to 1926. Lady Byng also had an appreciation of the efforts made by
the society in the city‘s beautification plans and extended her help and influence in many ways. She
had probably learned of, and may have been influenced by, what the Ladies Minto and Grey had done,
particularly in the matter of Home Garden Contests.

It was at this period that the now quite lovely residential area known as Lindenlea was being developed
primarily to provide homes for veterans of the First World War. That a large proportion of these
veterans were also civil servants may have been responsible for the greater interest reportedly denied
similar groups elsewhere. It was then the ordinary housing construction practice in developments as
this to build the houses, make some attempt at levelling the terrain and leave the landscaping problems
to the new residents or owners. The result of this policy can well be imagined, and as Lady Byng is
supposed to have expressed it: ―Lindenlea was a horrible mess.‖ From what we have learned of this
charming and energetic lady, her remarks may have been much more caustic and forthright.

It may have been too that, as Lindenlea was situated in near proximity to Government House, caused
her Ladyship to take more practical interest in this particular area. Not only did she encourage the
formation of a Lindenlea Garden Club, in association with the Ottawa Horticultural Society, for special
effort to bring order and garden beauty to the district, it is also known that she supplied many of the
new home owners or tenants with shrubs, bulbs, and plants from the ‗Hall‘, and provided much more at
her own expense. Even now, forty or more years later, it is not uncommon for a member of a pioneer
Lindenlea family to proudly inform anyone within hearing range that ―that climbing rose‖, or that
whatever it might be, ―was given to the home by Lady Byng.‖

The Lindenlea Garden Club elected Mr. J.J. Carr as its first chief officer. He later became one of the
most energetic of presidents, serving the society two separate terms of two years each. With the help of
Mrs. Carr the club was a great success. There are even those (of course) feminine admirers who declare
she did most of the work. If this is really so, Mr. Carr made up for it in other spheres of horticultural
interest.

Lady Byng, in an usually democratic manner for Vice Regal society, made herself known to a large
number of the residents in the Lindenlea area, and on occasion, invited them in small or larger groups
to ―tea‖ in the grounds of Government House, there to view the Rock Garden she had had built and
which has since given pleasure to so many thousands of visitors. Rock gardens were virtually unknown
in the Ottawa district prior to that time. This was probably an expression of ‗home land‘ influence
being developed in a British Dominion and a continuing reminder to a much appreciated lady of her
beautiful home in England. One thing she insisted upon, according to our informant, was that at all
Garden Parties to which one might be invited, it was essential to wear white gloves.

Lady Byng‘s activity in horticultural pursuits extended beyond Rideau Hall and Lindenlea. She was a
frequent visitor to the Central Experimental Farm and took a very great interest in the Wild Flower
gardens there. Vivacious, devoid of snobbery, she would question anyone she met concerning the
subject tree or plant that gained her attention. A fine tree on Maple Avenue at the Farm bears a plate


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
recording that on Sept. 27, 1926, it was with all due ceremony planted by her Ladyship. A living tribute
to a very gracious Lady.

Fifty years later we have cause to wish that their ladyships had been a little less concerned about
publicity attending their good works. Quite willing to give assistance, they did not approve of having
their names unduly associated with the projects they sponsored. It is therefore impossible to be more
definite about the number of garden owners who were competition entrants, other than to state an
informant‘s version: ―there was quite a number of them all told. Almost everybody who had a
presentable garden entered the contest in one year of another.‖ His memory would not permit of
anything more specific. Files of the period received by the National Archives from Government House
most likely contained this information but they were not the type of record considered worthy of
preserving. If is the Press carried pertinent information thereto, it was overlooked by researchers.

The names of Samuel Short and D. Chamberlain we are sure of. The evidence is in the illustrations of
this chapter. Others were likely some of those who entered other garden contests as named in the
chapter on ―Other Garden Contests‖.

This chapter on Vice Regal interest in the society and its works must pay due deference to other
occupants of Rideau Hall who continued practical beyond the presentation of a trophy by successive
Governors General. Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice, a Patroness in the year 1941, supported the
society in many ways.

Lady Ann Cavendish honoured the society by accepting the office of Honorary President and mad her
interest obvious and practical through invitations to the society to attend the Garden Parties at
Government House and in many other ways. The two group photographs reproduced herewith include
her Ladyship, also the Duke of Devonshire, Lady Dorothy Cavendish and her husband to be, the Rt.
Hon. Harold MacMillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, at this date, who at the time was Aide
de Camp to the Duke of Devonshire.

Lady Alexander is gratefully remembered for her interest in the Spring Bulb Show held in a Sparks
Street store. In those days exhibits from the Greenhouses of Rideau Hall added much to the
impressiveness of these shows. One continuing member, at least, has very happy recollections of her
Ladyship‘s presence at these shows and of the courtesy she extended to all.

Other patronesses of recent years have not been as closely associated with the Society, which is
probably more the fault of the Society than those who have otherwise extended patronage.




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Relating to Photographic Groups
―And the inevitable group photograph was taken‖ is the final sentence of an Ottawa newspaper report
on the presence of five hundred members of the Ottawa Horticultural Society at Government House on
the invitation of Their Excellencies The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire one lovely afternoon in May,
nineteen nineteen.

Two groups shown are of separate dates, ―A‖ having been loaned for reproduction by Mrs. Wm. Irving,
a Life Member of the Society, now resident of Toronto, who with her daughter, Mrs. T Bowman, gave
so much in time and effort – as did her late husband – to advance the wellbeing of the Society. Mrs.
Irving does not remember the names of those present except the Society President, Geo. Simpson, and
Mr. F.E. Buck (Outing Committee Chairman) and of course, herself and her husband, but she does
remember the gracious reception given them by their Excellencies and in particular that of Lady Ann
Cavendish – an Honorary President of the Society – and her sister Lady Blanch Cavendish.

Group picture ―B‖ was a year or two distant from the other, and for this we are indebted to Mr. and
Mrs. Fred Hammond., Mr. Hammond being another Life Member of the Society. They also do not
remember the names of others present but have never forgotten the kindliness of the reception given
them by Their Excellencies. For the most part those present were as those of the other illustration with
some differences in the Vice Regal reception group, which included His Excellency‘s Military Aides,
one of whom married Lady Dorothy Cavendish and is now very well known as the Rt. Hon. Harold
MacMillan, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

These visits to Rideau Hall which included ‗light refreshment‘ served under cover, outdoors, were
considered to have been a complete success on each occasion, except that at the season held, ―a
marvellous crop of mosquitoes‖ managed to cause some slight inconvenience and in particular to those
ladies present ―resplendent in party dress for the occasion.‖

From three to five p.m. the visitors toured the lawns, gardens, and greenhouses, the latter filled with a
rich aroma from Lilacs of many colours, Pansies and Tulips, and a host of other flowers. Outside,
Apple Trees ―obviously as old as Rideau Hall itself‖ made the scene delightful with their pink-white
blossoms. Away in the distance could be seen, and as conscience dictated, one could join in thought
and spirit either gardeners at their work or cricketers at play. Not to delay too long or it might be too
late to partake of refreshment, which gave a satisfying conclusion to one of the more eventful days
enjoyed by members of the Ottawa Horticultural Society.




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Other Home Garden Projects and War-relief
and Victory Gardens
Following the discontinuance of Vice Regal interest in home gardens, the society continued them for
some years and promoted other competitions along similar lines. Instead of Certificates and Medals,
money prizes of considerable worth, at the then dollar value, were offered, or, as in one year, articles of
merchandise. However, it may have been because of ‗less glamour‘ and ‗social prestige‘ at one time
associated with similar contests diminishing interest which now occurred. Another factor was that the
funds of the society could not long stand the strain of such liberality. Before deciding to discontinue
them the President was instructed to interview the Mayor and Board of Control in an endeavour to
obtain a grant of five hundred dollars for this purpose. He received three hundred that year and two
hundred in following years. This situation is said to have continued for the next ten years of so. One
condition established was that no competitor should be awarded more than one prize. Entries were
judged once in each of the months of June, July, and August. Prize money was in the amounts of fifty,
twenty-five, fifteen, and ten dollars. The number of classes was changed in some manner year by years,
which makes it difficult to understand one record that an amount of three hundred and twelve dollars
was awarded to twenty-eight winners in one year. Entrants in the 1912 contest were twenty-six in class
one; thirty-five in class two, and twenty in class three. No prize money is mentioned thereto.

In 1908 it was decided to try out another idea to concentrate efforts on one street or district. Gladstone
Avenue from Bank to Bell Street was selected for this, with some houses on Percy, Florence, and
Concession Streets, around an adjoining park. A circular letter was sent to each resident in the selected
area, offering to supply free, and also to plant, two flowering shrubs from a list of three presented: two
hardy climbers from a list of three, provided only that the recipients prepare the soil for their reception
and dig a hole eighteen inches deep, free from stones, bricks, chips, etc. If they would do as requested,
―Gladstone Avenue would soon become one of the most attractive streets in the city‖.

As recorded in the Chronicles elsewhere of this year the results were very disappointing. So few
responded that the offer was said to have been withdrawn but some work of this nature was done in this
area for it is within the memory of at least one older resident, who some years ago, called the
secretary‘s attention to quite a number of shrubs still flourishing in this neighbourhood which he said
had been planted but the society quite a long time ago. There may still be blooming a spirea ‗Van
Houten‘ or other flowering shrub, adorning what might otherwise be an unattractive spot. Who would
deny that Ottawa is a more beautiful city through the society‘s continuing efforts to make it so, even if
the present Gladstone Avenue tends to belie it.

Arising out of the building boom following the Second World War the society sought to aid new home
owners in such matters as pertained to lawns, landscaping, and gardens. Numerous instructional
meetings were held in many parts of the city and in particular in Elmvale Acres subdivision. With the
co-operation of the project contractor, who subscribed substantial sums for prize money, the society
organized improvement of home grounds contests with the objective of encouraging new owners to
landscape and develop their properties the best advantage at reasonable cost. This was highly
successful for the first three years and many homeowners benefited greatly in improving the
appearance of their home sites. However, like so many competitions, instead of serving the intent of
improving the appearance of many properties for which acknowledgement would be made in suitable


100
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
manner, the plan developed into a situation that would require decisions to be made only about who
were the better of a few repeating entrants, or in other words, there was such lack of interest that did
not justify the very considerable amount of time the society gave to it.

Another difficulty was to satisfactorily explain why a garden with perhaps a dozen or more small
flower beds, meticulously cultivated, or another one over replete with decorative supplements, or again,
an exceedingly colourful garden of annuals was not, in the opinion of the judges, comparable with the
selections made.

Another contest to which the society gave their services was between service station tenants and
owners who staged a competition among themselves for the best appearing and florally attractive
Gasoline Station premises – their own admission that most of them are far from being beauty spots.
This was carried out for the years 1958 – 1961, with a few stations made attractive, but the general
result was not a successful one.

The Ottawa Board of Trade, who had in name, sponsored a Tulip Garden competition in the nineteen-
fifties, incorporated the idea into the annual Tulip Festival Week activities, which continued into the
early nineteen-sixties. This was presumed to be a tri-party project. The Ottawa Journal provided
publicity and gave or distributed prizes of substantial quantities of Tulip bulbs (understood to be with
the co-operation of the Holland Bulb Growers Association); the society provided teams of judges who
traversed several hundred miles of city streets each contest year, examining and judging entries and
submitting their findings to the ‗Journal‘. This very considerable number of hours was freely given
with the ‗Journal‘ footing the gas bill. The Board of Trade permitted their name to be used but
otherwise did little if anything to promote the project. Although advertising space was liberal, and
prizes of bulbs generous, the public‘s reaction was not an enthusiastic one. This too became a contest
between earlier prize winners despite efforts to widen the scope of the competition, which was
discontinued after results for 1962 were made known.

Ex-Mayor Geo. Nelms presented a magnificent trophy to the memory of his mother, Emily Townsend
Nelms, a garden lover and a member of the Billings Bridge and Ottawa Horticultural Societies. Her
preference having been springtime flowers, this trophy to her memory was offered for the most
attractive springtime garden. It is questionable that had the entries been many times greater, there could
have been more beautiful and well-maintained gardens that those for which this trophy was presented
in 1962 and 1963.

To summarize on Home Garden contests, it must be conceded that without the stimuli of Vice-regal
patronage or other unusual circumstances the citizens of Ottawa are content to work their gardens for
their own satisfaction and for the pleasure of others who may wish to view them as they pass by; but
with very little inclination to submit them for public comment or material gain. Any superiority they
may justly feel about the excellence of the appearance of their properties is fully warranted.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

War-relief and Victory Gardens
At the risk of some repetitious references elsewhere of the larges projects successfully engineered by
the society, these are worthy of further mention and detail. The so-called war-time gardens of the First
World War period; the Relief Gardens of The Great Depression Years or ‗Hungry Thirties‖ as they
were also called and the Victory Gardens of the Second World War years may not have had the beauty
of the Home Gardens contest projects, with Vice-regal interest as had occupied the attention of the
society in earlier times, but each of these later projects was of vastly greater importance in their
objectives: to increase food supplies as the different circumstances demanded.

The first of these projects did not get underway until two years or more of war had made many things
uncomfortably obvious and so contrary to general expectations. The assurance the war would not be of
long duration was being contradicted. The enemy not only could, but did, disrupt the passage of food
supplies from all parts of the world to Great Britain and elsewhere. The invincibility of the greatest
nation the world had even known was being tested, even though it did have the loyalty, devotion,
financial aid, and manpower of its world wide Dominions, as Canada, with some reservations, to help
in the struggle.

When the need for food conservation or increased production came to be realized, unbounded
enthusiasm resulted with men, women, and also children – with some exceptions of course –
determined to ‗do his bit‘ to assist towards victory. Ottawa‘s citizens as those elsewhere literally set
forth ‗to dig for it‘. In this the society did not give undivided attention. It seemed unable, or certainly
unwilling, to entirely forsake its chief love of so many years, the home gardens competitions. We read
of lawns ploughed up and flower beds laid waste, which stories have a base for truth, but not as implied
in so far as Ottawa was concerned. Ottawa‘s beautiful gardens continued to flourish even if not quite so
well cared for by some scarcity of manpower, which was not great enough to call for any cancellations
of contests even though they had by this time ceased to be Vice-regally sponsored. Whether this was
the proper course to take may be questioned. The war did not make any great impact on the society‘s
predominating theme to make Ottawa a beautiful city but made its war time gardens activities
supplementary to its other projects. Had it gone to the extreme in promoting war time gardens, and
thereby neglected the art and practice of cultivation for beauty, it may not have survived, particularly
with a preponderance of temporary ‗garden‘ members over those who believed the higher social virtues
included Horticulture in the manner they attributed to it.

Instead of encouraging the destruction of beauty spots the society co-operated with an associate body
named ―the Vacant Lots Committee‖ who located owners of vacant city lots and prevailed upon them
to permit of the use of such lots for the public good, to wit: the growing of food stuffs. Granted this
permission, the association ploughed the land, provided seeds and plants, and the society gave liberal
instruction in the requirements of successful cultivation. It accepted these new gardeners into
membership with all rights and privileges thereto as ‗Options‘ or free seed for plant distribution, worth
very much more than the one dollar membership required. The society provided money for prizes for
shows of war garden produce; young people were encouraged to grow vegetables and in contexts were
credited with ‗points‘ in their favour and according to age. A prominent citizen offered through the
society a special prize to the boy or girl who grew the largest edible potato on a city lot. There were
other inducements for juniors ‗to dig for victory‘.




102
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Statisticians computed the tonnage of crops produced, their value and their impact on available
supplies which did much to relieve any local shortage, enabling greater quantities to be shipped to
those suffering from insufficiency.

Membership in the society rose to near the eighteen hundred mark, diminishing slowly during the post
war years although many of the war time gardeners continued to cultivate. Having learned all they
wished to know, why bother to continue support of those who taught them. Logical perhaps, and
continuous.

The Ladies Committee of these days was most active raising funds from the sale of flowers and in
other ways, to be used for patriotic purposes. The society received the commendation of civic and other
authorities for work well done in a national emergency. And here ended the great3eer part of the social
distinction that had characterized the society. Horticulturalist and gardener who had heretofore
represented separate standards, the one assuming greater distinction than the other, from hereon jointly
controlled and directed the society‘s activities.

Relief Gardens
The next national emergency which required the fullest co-operation and effort by the society was
during the years of the Great Depression, 1930-1939. A succession of western crop failures occasioned
by drought and an astonishing break in the stock markets of the world brought on a situation of such
severe economic stress as was never before experienced in Canada and needs to have been lived
through to believe. For years few people in this country – and elsewhere – were fully employed, of if
so, as with government employees, at wages and salaries far below what had become to be considered
more or less adequate and fair. It had its effects on the society and membership dropped to a very low
level. Even flower gardens were neglected by many because of the lack of money to purchase the seeds
to maintain them. Through a national ‗Employment Relief Commission‘ money was provided, referred
to as ‗the dole‘ to maintain minimum living standards. (This was before the easy of Unemployment
Insurance.) Civic authorities provided some additional relief in more needy cases. They also co-
operated with the society to provide relief gardens whereby those who would do so, could supplement
family food requirements.

Applications for these garden plots were made to a relief officer at City Hall with payment of one
dollar to be applied to ploughing the land and like expense. Membership in the society was not a
requirement although the society gave a great deal of material and instructional aid to all who cared to
accept it. Many thousands of bushels of prime vegetables were provided for those who needed them to
augment an otherwise meagre fare.

Although almost everything necessary, as plants, seed, fertilizers, insecticides, etc. was provided
without cost, leaving only labour to be furnished, it cannot be said that there was any great enthusiasm
for this project. Although of national importance there was not the same will and intent to make it a
success as characterized the very similar project of the First World War period and after. The times
were so frustrating, seemingly endless, that interest in living at all seemed to lag, which state of affairs
continued into the early months of the Second World War period, which brought relative prosperity to
the relief gardeners and others.

These relief gardens were located in various parts of the city, the largest group being at the south end of
Range Road at Mann Avenue. Another large area was at the back of the Civic Hospital; another on the
Slattery estate at Main and Riverdale, and smaller sites elsewhere. Certain of the society‘s officers did

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
amazing feats of work for this public project, making their services available to all who had need of
them at all house of the day and frequently at night. Reward is often only in satisfaction of work well
done; these members had reason for great personal satisfaction.

Acknowledgement was made, somewhat grudgingly it is recorded from some quarters, that the society
had lived well up to its responsibilities as a community service organization. For reasons tha have no
place here, there was considerable dissention among those directing these projects. Perhaps one of the
most forceful arguments that ever took place among directors of the society was over certain phases of
these garden projects. As so often occurs, a little misunderstanding can develop a tremendous volume
of words, a word storm which fortunately and invariably is soon blown into a calm.

An interesting sidelight on these gardens was the generosity of a landowner who was referred to by
those who thought they knew him as a character with sentiments quite the reverse to his timely
charitable actions. If the society should ever establish an order of Knights of Horticulture the names of
Harry Ewart and J.J. Carr should be included for their unselfish work for others during these years and
in a subsequent project. Bother were government employees and so not so much affected by the state of
the national economy as were some others. They gave service far ‗beyond the duty of their office‘.

Victory Gardens
The relief gardens project struggled along into the early years of the Second World War period. With
the improvement in local financial conditions new housing projects were soon to be considered which
required notice being given that certain of the relief gardens properties would have to be vacated. This
caused quite a lot of difficulty because as the months went by it became increasingly obvious that the
Canadian people would be required to include some food production as one of their civilian war efforts.
This time the society took the initiative and acquired tracts of land east and west of Bank Street, as they
were designated for later competitive show purposes, which were held for ‗Victory‘ gardeners. The
officers of the society who had in the meantime been changed, endeavoured to instil a greater interest
in this new venture than had been apparent during the latter years of the still-remembered ‗relief‘
project. For what seemed to be most illogical reasons the society ran into much opposition and
consequent delay. Land said to be available was declared to be unsuitable, or permission to use it was
withheld. This applied also to city-owned properties. Ploughing labour was difficult to get, and why the
project should have concerned the wartime Prices and Trade Board, as is reported it did, is very hard to
understand. They may have wished to acquire statistical data on the approximate volume of produce
grown but surely no one grew enough to sell any quantity of it that would affect any government
regulations.

Despite all the delaying tactics of officialdom it was an important venture and on the whole a most
creditable one for those members of the society who conducted it.

A few briefs on Victory Gardens garnered from hither and yon.
The exceptionally cold spring of 1946 greatly retarded growth in the gardens. In this year six prizes
were presented for best appearing victory gardens. Sgt. Major Tom Knight of the Ottawa Police Force
was a consistent winner of first prizes and trophies, one of which was presented by Lieut. Col. R.S.W.
Fordham.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
It is estimated that two thousand five hundred people in Ottawa were Victory Garden conscious either
on their own properties or on the allotments provided. Mr. E. Pearce, Secretary of the Board of Control,
received more applications for garden plots than the society could provide.

Vail‘s Laundry provided a large area of garden land as did the Slattery estate. It was during 1946 that
some gardens had to be abandoned because the land was needed for building purposes. In 1948 the
society was instructed not to again plough the Lady Grey property. Dr. Carmichael had earlier objected
to the use of this land for garden purposes.

Archbishop Vachon and the Mayor showed great interest in the garden projects and provided proze
money in the amount of seventy-five dollars.

The society bought several pressure cookers and canning equipment for Victory Gardeners, which was
in very great demand. This was subsequently sold. They also provided cans to the value of one hundred
and fifty dollars.

The Social Services offered gardening tools, free to all who would use them.

In February 1946 the Society received a letter from the Mayor and Board of Control ―commenting the
work done by the society in the matter of Victory Gardens‖.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Public Planting Projects
Public planting service has been one of the evidences of the society‘s unselfish usefulness in the local
community. As well as being good publicity in itself, it has given proof of the constructive nature of
projects for which society members give so freely of their time and talent. These have also constituted
demonstrable assurance that public grants and other monies received by the society are used to the
benefit and advantage of organizations and others to whom the dociety directs its skill and assets for
communal betterment.

It is not generally known, or has been forgotten in the tide of events, that the Ottawa Horticultural
Society once held and important place in the affairs of the Central Canada Exhibition and did much
more than it is presently able to do to develop and assist the progress of that association. Among other
things it maintained for many years quite large flower beds at Landsdowne Park. Canna lilies and other
suitable plants made these beds a decided attraction, giving rise to much favourable comment. As a
publicity project for the society it may have well justified the annual cost and labour expended.

Another outstanding ― public planting‘ project carried on for some years was that at the Animal Shelter
on Mann Avenue, which caused such interest as a floral attraction. It was not learned if the canine
viewers appreciated it or treated it with any more respect than they do arboreal and floral areas
elsewhere.

The Protestant Hospital at the east end of Rideau Street was an institution of considerable import fifty
years ago. The society maintained at its own expense most of the landscaped areas there, thus adding in
no small measure to the general appearance of the premises. It would also have pleasant reactions from
both patients and visitors who had cause to be there. An attractive outside appearance would stimulate
confidence in what might be experienced inside. Gifts of flowers by the society were also a regular
contribution to this hospital.

The Canadian Legion housing projects of more recent years were originally landscaped but the society
who provided both labour and materials.

Perhaps the most satisfying public planting project of the society during recent years is the twice yearly
attention to the flower beds and flower boxes at the Ottawa Home for the Blind. In this case all
selections of plants and shrubs are considered with very great care. Few of the residents have sufficient
sight to appreciate visually the beauty displayed, so each item plants is for its particular odour or scent
which can be recognised by the inmates, who appreciate this thoughtfulness, included with the service
given. Quite extensive landscaping has also been done in some seasons to add attractiveness to the area.
Springtime bulbs planted give this institution a creditable place in Ottawa‘s Tulip Festival‘s efforts to
promote popularity for this flower.

The ‗Good Companions‘ building and grounds is another area where of recent years the society has
twice yearly supplied and plants spring flowering bulbs in the autumn and in the spring replaced them
with plants that make gay and attractive masses of colour which in their strength and vividness add
brightness and cheer to the lives of older citizens who congregate there and partake of the welcome the
Centre affords them. Numerous window boxes also receive attention adding pleasure to those who
view them from the inside and outside of the building.


106
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Grace Hospital had at one time quite extensive grounds that permitted of effective landscaping. Here
too, until the area was required for additional building, the society applied its knowledge, skill, and
labour with necessary materials to add cheerfulness to the scene.

Ottawa‘s Home for Friendless Women for years received the attention of the society, who with gay
flowering plants and shrubs made the grounds of that institution more attractive, which may have
reflected to the inmates a thought of friendliness and interest in their welfare by those unknown to them.

The society has in various ways reciprocated the interest taken by the Carnegie Library authorities who
have provided and maintained a wide selection of books on horticultural subjects. These have from
time to time been reviewed by the society and recommendations made ot keep them up to date. Of
considerable interest is the knowledge that when the library was first built, the society provided the
original landscaping with all necessary shrubbery, much of which is still flourishing at the date this is
written.

The erection of the Plant Public Bath was quite an event in its day. Here too the society is reported to
have done the original landscaping, stated to have been at very considerable expense by one account of
which there is no confirmation. Whatever the cost, the society did once again prove its usefulness to
the community.

Most of the older schools in the city received some attention, where permitted, from the Horticultural
Society other than supervision of school gardens, which were well developed by some. One particular
project dealt with was Devonshire School, where very considerable landscaping and continuing
attention was given. In more recent years, Fisher Park High School was a credit to the horticultural
interest if its Principal W.B. Wallen‘s dedicated flower culturist and a very important member of the
society‘s administrative body. His springtime Tulip beds and later summer flowers were of impressive
beauty. The society may perhaps in some measure reflect in the beauty of this achievement.

The attempt to improve the appearance of a whole street or at least several blocks of it, a joint public
and private beautification plan is described in a chapter on Garden Competitions and as part of the
activities of the society in the year it was undertaken. A Canadian Legion building project was aided by
the society undertaking to landscape the property.

It is known that a large number of other similar projects were undertaken by the society and in many
others, assistance given. Information as to those the society did sponsor and those in which it assisted is
not sufficiently reliable to make claims of well doing for fear of contradictions or embarrassment as to
who may have been the chief party in whatever was done. That it in some way served the community is
not to be questioned.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Periodic Summary of Society’s Shows
– ms. Page 160 - 165

This summary of Society‘s shows is periodic only in that it is quite impractical to make such report on
all shows held over a period of more than seventy years, even if the data thereto was available, which it
is not. The chart herewith illustrates the changed trend of interest of flowers, fruit, and vegetables over
the years, which would be less discernible if quoted more frequently.

In 1911 there were only five classes of Tulips shown, and no decorative classes in the show. In 1961
there were about sixty Tulip classes, including a number of decoratives in fie of the seven shows of that
year. In 1911 there were 53 classes for fruits and in preceding years, even more attentions had been
paid to this horticultural feature. For he past several decades there has been only one or two, and these
for apples only.

Reference numbers have been freely added, which reference detail will enable the interested reader to
learn something more about the subject.

As information has been acquired from various sources, there may appear to be an occasional
contradiction or inaccuracy. Any such are either serious or intentional. For instance, a ‗collection; may
be included in either ‗display‘ or ‗classes‘. Statistical accuracy has been attempted but not necessarily
attained.

Trophies and names of donors and also names of winners are listed elsewhere. The chart herewith
shows only the number given, with some possible confusion as to what are awards and what are prizes.

With the use of the following reference material it should not be difficult to approximate the society‘s
show position at any of the stated periods.

Ref. No. 1 Shows prior to 1911.

There is not a very great deal of information readily available concerning the earlier shows and exhibits
that lends itself easily to inclusion in the chart. It would appear that they were held with greater (and
sometimes less) frequency than in later years and were for seasonal produce, with a great deal more
interest in fruits and vegetables, and were held in conjunction with instructional meeting on similar
produce or matters relating to it. There was also a wider range of flower exhibits, many of them being
varieties not now favoured. Some further information may be gained from the year-to-year chronicles
of which this chapter is supplementary.

Ref. No.2 Membership

Despite all the garden gift material, service and attention showered upon membership since the earliest
days of the society it has always been a problem to maintain its numbers. No explanation is needed to
explain the upsurge in membership in wartime years when it becomes a patriotic duty to help
supplement the country‘s food supplies and the necessity to grow vegetable to eke out the ‗dole‘ paid
to so many in so-called depression years, when the society‘s records may not show high membership
numbers, but in both related conditions the society performed most valuable services to a very large


108
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
number of citizens who may or may not have been in a position to pay event the very nominal
membership fee required. In the later fifties when it was found to be necessary to drop the free
premiums, membership numbers suffered severely but has since been replaced with new members who
if they wanted premiums in addition to all else the society offers them, were prepared to pay a little
more to receive them.

Ref. No. 3 [Number of shows]

Except during the years of the ‗great depression‘ the number of shows has been fairly constant. Some
have been dropped and others added. That there has been so little change may be accepted as perfection
early arrived at, lack of imagination, or just ‗laissez-faire‘.

Ref. No. 4 Prize money paid

This has varied somewhat during the years, some explanation for which may be attributed to periods of
Home Gardens Competitions, and those prompted for wartime and relief gardens, when additional
amounts were received to further encourage gardeners or extra money‘s assigned from the society‘s
funds for the same purpose. Fairly substantial sums were given in the Home Gardens Competitions.
The prize money for the classes in the various shows is little different in stated amounts to those
offered fifty or sixty years ago, but now of very much reduced purchasing value. Another reason for
differences is that on several occasions, particularly before the dates covered in the chart, ribbons were
given as acknowledgement of an entrant‘s prize winning status.

Ref. No. 5 Trophies and awards

Trophies were silver cups, bowls, trays, or other, presented by some dignitary or business firm for
overall excellence over a stated period in certain prescribed classes in exhibitions. Awards, referred to
have been for the most part gifts of money or merchandise as supplementary prizes for a specific class
or classes in certain shows.

Ref. No. 6 ‗Premium Options‘ or ‗Options‘

These were selections of seeds, plants, or other, claimed by the business houses from whom purchased,
to be of exceptional value for the amount of money the society paid for them. It may be noted that in
certain years these premiums given to members cost as much as or more than the total membership
receipts of the year. Horticultural supply houses competed for this business as, logically, an
introduction to further business. As the purchasing value of the dollar progressively decreased over the
years, the premium value likewise decreased. At the same time the cost of administration of the society
increased to a point when it became no longer possible to give any free Premium or more, what was
actually taking place, attract a certain type of member with a bonus equal to his membership fee.
When these membership inducements were dropped the number of members decreased quite
considerably, to be replaced with an even greater number who had a greater appreciation of the
services the society was still giving them. Premiums were then offered to members for an additional
dollar for that purpose. These were of excellent value but did not become very popular. The present
method of maintaining the premium idea, is for a selected number of merchants supplying
horticulturists needs to give a stated bonus value on the premium dollar collected by the society from
interested members. This offers and inducement to the member to buy more extensively from these
suppliers but is of very little value to the society for membership increase purposes.


109
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Ref. No. 0 Junior Interest and Classes for them

Prior to about 1917 work to interest juniors had been quite well taken care of through the Children‘s
Flower Guild and in other ways as detailed in a chapter on the subject. The First World War conditions
may have had an influence in change of policy whereby the society gave the Ottawa School Board the
sum of one hundred dollars, with which to buy seed for children‘s Home and School gardens. The
schools provided the land, instruction, and supervision, the society providing inspection and judging
personnel. The society also awarded prizes of varying values and number year by year. This
arrangement continued until 1954 when the School Board informed the society that they could no
longer continue these garden projects. With the vastly increased school population, this can be well
understood and also considering that the number and value of prizes had changed but little in all this
time which could indicate but casual interest in the plan by successive Boards of Directors of the
Society. Since that time most of the society‘s shows have included one or two classes for school
children as the chart illustrates.

Re. No. 10 [Home Gardens Contests]

Home Gardens Contests interest is not well illustrated by the figures on the chart. These received
greatest interest during the years that the Lay‘s Minto and Grey gave them the benefit of their
patronage. A special chapter on these will be found elsewhere in this volume. Although similar
contests continued for some years after these ladies left Canada, they were not as popular. Wartime and
relief gardens also superseded with necessary production rather than the artistic. Localized Home
Improvement projects were undertaken during the fifties and a Spring Garden contest for society
members inaugurated in 1961. Tulip Garden contests sponsored by the Ottawa Board of Trade and in
particular by the Ottawa Journal newspaper were directed and supervised by the society but are not
included in the subject chart.

Ref. No. 11 Decorative classes

The figures given here are the totals given for the year described in the prize lists as such. In later yeas
figures do not include ‗collections of‘, ‗display of‘, or ‗arrangement of‘. Figures of earlier years may
include some overlapping because not clearly defined.

Ref. No. 12 Collections, arrangement, and Displays

These have included exhibits of flowering shrubs, perennials, and annuals not otherwise classified as
well as mixed flowers.

Ref. No. 13 Annuals, Perennials, and Biennials

The chart has listed those specifically named in the prize lists which classifications have continued
until recent years, but does not include old time favourites which were often exhibited, including
Perennial Phlox, Poppies – various, Lilies, Cannas, Violas, Scabiocia, Candytuft, Verbena, Marigolds,
Petunias, and many others. They have never recovered sufficient popularity to be classed in shows
since the land many of them occupied was required for first wartime gardens.

Ref. No. 15 African Violets




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Although not so recent an introduction as the chart might imply, the interest in this flower has gained
considerable proportions before the first show for them was held in 1953.

Ref. No. 16 House Plants

These enjoyed very great popularity in society activities prior to about 1911. There were Premiums of,
and exhibits of, Geraniums, Fuschias, Calceolarias, Ferns, Musk plants, and a number of small trees
and bushes for home decoration. Others too are mentioned not now known of except in professional
circles.

Ref. No. 17 [Fruits]

Available records show no reason for the decline in fruit growing and exhibiting except that their chief
exponent had given up his fight to popularize their growth in home gardens and that commercial
growing made them much easier to buy than to grow. Canning of home grown produce was once an
important domestic art which also makes it difficult to assess the sudden cessation in society interest.

Ref. No. 18 Vegetables

Except for the flurry to grow vegetables during the wartime and relief years vegetables have suffered
the same indifference or change in society interest as have fruits. Other than the reasons given for less
fruit growing the home growing of vegetables has also been affected by easier facilities for playing golf
and the development and use of the automobile. A further counter-attraction is the growth of organized
sport viewing. It‘s all so much easier and so much less tiresome than gardening. A higher standard of
living, meaning more money earned, has contributed to lessening interest in the healthy avocation of
vegetable gardening.

[See table]




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         The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


         Periodic Summary of the Society‘s shows for the past fifty years. Earlier data is not complete or
         sufficiently reliable. See ‗Reference Notes‘.

Re    Subject               1911   1917    1922   1927   1932   1937   1942   1947   1952   1957   1962
f
No
.

1.    Shows prior to See
      Ref. No 1

2.    Society               417    1500    1408 1299     518    448    500    705    504    618    651
      Membership

3.    No. of shows held     5      6       5      6      3      5      5      5      6      6      7

4.    Prize money ($)              400     580    500    355    469    484    546    690    608

5.    Trophies/awards              2/5     0      2/-    5/3    6/-    11/-   9/-    10/2   10/3   10/7

6.    Free Premiums         49     50      79     83     62     41     41     59     0      0      0

7.    Value of Premiums 373        2,00    1433 1002     369    223    298    403    See    See    See
      ($)                          0                                                 ref.   ref.   ref.
                                                                                     8      8      8

9.    Junior        Show                   8      16     16     26     10/2   9      7      9      8
      Classes                                                          6

10.   Home      Gardens. 0         18      12     See    Ref.   12
      Competition

11.   Decorative    Class 0        7       24     22     10     32     35     38     36     37     47
      (all shows)

12.   Displays              11     7       9      16     0      3      9      11     6      6      6

13.   Annuals, biennials, 27       20      11     13     5      8      6      7      8      7      7
      perennials

14.   Tulips                6      13      21     45     28     27     32     39     54     46     44

      Narcissus             5      5       0      16     1      5      0      0      13     4      0

      Hyacinth-crocus       1      3       0      14     0      10     0      0      13     4      0

      Iris                  2      1       13     19     4      0      -      23     24     24     25



         112
        The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

      Paeonies             8      8       17     17     15   17   25   23   24   28   29

      Roses                14     9       14     22     28   26   29   29   18   9    8

      Delphinium           2      2       2      2      2    0    1    2    3    1    1

      Sweet Pea            11     7       9      8      0    0    0    0    0    0    0

      Gladioli             3              312    14     0    0    23   25   26   20   20

      Dahlias              2      1       3      3      0    5    6    2    4    4    4

      Asters               10     5       6      7      0    7    8    6    4    5    4

      Chrysanthemums       0      0       0      0      0    0    0    0    0    5    6

15.   African Violets      0      0       0      0      0         0    0    8    29   35

16.   House plants         12     0       1      0      0    1    0    0    2    5    6

17.   Fruit Collection     0      1

      Apples               20     2                                         1    1    1

      Plums                3      2       2      2

      Strawberries         11     2

      Raspberries          4      1

      Currants             3      3

      Gooseberries         4      1

      Grapes               7

18.   Vegetable            1      0                          2              1    1    1
      Collection

      Potatoes - Roots     1      2       1      0      0    1    1    1    1    1    1

      Tomatoes - Melons    5      3       2      2      0    0    0    1    1    1    1

      All others           11     7       5      3      0    0    1    4    5    5    5




        113
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society




Extension meetings
– Ms. Pages 171 to 173

There are few public halls in the city which, at one time or another, has not accommodated numbers of
citizens interested in hearing instructional lectures on gardening or horticultural subjects by speakers
provided by the Ottawa Horticultural Society. Home gardening is not the popular avocation it was a
half-century ago but it still has many devotees who are always curious to learn a little more about new
introductions of plants, cultural methods, the newest in insecticides and weed killers, and other things
pertinent to their hobby. There is also an ever-continuing stream of new gardeners who want to learn at
least the fundamentals of gardening. Numerous organizations reserve one or more sessions each year to
keep their membership up to date on many subjects, including gardening, flower arrangement, and
other associated ideas, and regularly call upon the society for help to demonstrate and explain how best
to deal with them.

In the ‗good old days‘ a bunch of seasonal flowers were gathered and arranged with some taste, which
was sufficient for the decorative effect required. Things are different now; there is a much greater and
more pronounced interest in decorative floral art and wasy and means to produce it. Now it must be a
Japanese motif or one of the other several styles that include driftwood and numerous accessories to
make them complete. The society takes cognisance of these changes in trend and from its early days
instructional meetings have usually been well attended, As a further service to the more serious
devotees of the art of floral display the society has promoted ‗workshop‘ meeting for whom a specialist
in flower arrangement is engaged to demonstrate her accomplishment and ability in greater detail and
precision to a limited number of ‗students‘, usually ladies, who in turn, if members of the society,
much improve the quality of decorative exhibits at the seasonal shows.

These may not be considered ‗extension meeting‘ except that similar floral decorative art is included
with other attractions in fashion shows, bazaars, and numerous money-raising projects not connected
with the society‘s normal activities, except that its officers or members are called upon to assist, which
on most occasions constitutes a generous free will offering to whatever the cause may be. Another
public service by the society of which the general public hears little about.

The use of the expression ‗extension meeting‘ is perhaps better demonstrated in the instructional
meeting promoted by associations of new home owners in large subdivisions and elsewhere where
courses in home grounds development and improvement are carried out. Where information and advice
is given on what and what not to even try to grow for local climatic conditions; which is so frequently
subverted to the wiles and machinations of none too scrupulous salespeople for nursery stock. Some
fine the instruction offered likely to be too laborious to put into practice, so may settle for a grass plot
and golf or other recreation. On the other hand, a great many homes are the more attractive, and the
tenants consequently have a greater pleasure in them because they listened and acted of what the
society‘s experts advised.

Quite often at these extension meetings the society will provide a ‗panel of experts‘ who will answer
any question on horticultural subjects that the members of the audience may wish to ask. Whether on
indoor or outdoor planting or on any related subject, rarely is there not a completely satisfactory

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
explanation given. Very occasionally some specific problem may have to be followed up with the
enquirer after further. Enquiry and investigation is made on his behalf. Sometimes a speaker may ‗talk
over the heads‘ of his audience, and occasionally there may not be sufficient attendance to make it
worth while talking at all, except to dispose of the problems of any person present.

The society has of later years acquired a very fine selection of colour photographic slides which are
much used at extension meeting and are a continuing delight to those who are privileged to see them.
Moreover, their subject quality has gained such fame that has resulted in requests for their use from
many places.

Following is a few only of the societies and organizations that have been addressed, and the halls that
have housed gatherings of those who were present to listen to the words of horticultural wisdom by
speakers from the Ottawa Horticultural Society. Many have been repeat occasions, in some cases for
several successive years. The list is not claimed to be complete but is an indication of the service
tendered.

Organizations: Church of Ascension Fellowship; Overbrook, Elmdale, and Manor Park Home and
School Associations; Hopewell Community Centre; Capital Women‘s Conservative Association;
Deschenes Tree Planting Committee; Manor Park Boy Scouts; Ridgemont-Ellwood Municipal
Association; Southminster Church; Elmvale Acres Community Association; The Queensway Group;
Creighton Street School Association; Richmond Women‘s Institute; Gloucester, Morrisburg, Eganville,
Pembroke, Stittsville, City View, and other Horticultural Societies; Hawthorne Women‘s Institute;
Local Council of Women, Carleton Heights Development Association, and others both near and far.

Some halls in which the society regularly held meetings for instruction and flower shows: St. John‘s
Hall, Mackenzie Avenue, seems to have been the favourite location during the society‘s earliest days,
with Mellon Hall, Aberdeen Hall, Goldsmiths Hall being other choices. At other times similar use was
made of accommodation in the Russell House; the Chateau Laurier Hotel; Chalmers Church and St
George‘s Church Halls; the City Hall, both old and new; Carnegie Library; the Museum Auditorium;
University Club; Ottawa Technical School; Vincent Massey School, Elmvale Acres; The Normal
School, now Ottawa Teachers‘ College; Horticultural Hall, Landsdowne Park; Provincial offices in the
Keyes Building; Simpson Sears cafeteria; Capital Theatre; and at various local stores, including
Murphy Gamble‘s, the Photographic Shop, Ottawa Hydro-Electric show rooms, Ormes Ltd., and
probably a number of others.

Such was the co-operation between the society and the Central Canada Exhibition Association for the
use of old and new horticultural halls at Landsdowne Park, that it may never have occurred to earlier
day offices of the society that any other or permanent accommodation should be acquired for its needs.
If so, nothing was ever done about it. By courtesy of the Province of Ontario, Agriculture Ministry, and
the exceeding goodwill of local representatives of that department, space for all suitable functions has
been provided at the Ottawa Teachers College during the past fifteen or more years.

Members of the society, not necessarily as such, have always been included in the roster of instructors
for Night School study classes in Horticulture sponsored by the Ottawa School Board, which does an
excellent work, and greatly relieves the society‘s extension programmes. It is not inferred that the
society as such assists in these projects.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Radio, Television, and Press Publicity
– Ms pages 174 to 176

The society has received a fair amount of attention of the local radio broadcasting stations as part of
their public announcement programme service. An exception has been CFRA, which has of recent
years given the society a good deal of publicity. CKCO, when it was CKOY and under different
management gave considerable free time for the purpose of disseminating matters of interest to district
horticulturists and gardeners. For several years a spring-time programme was broadcast which was
very well received and unquestionably reflected credit to the station and the society, through a group of
members who gave the necessary time to prepare and deliver these talks.

The first of these broadcasts over station CKOY was on March 16th, 1944, with Dr. Spiro as the first
speaker whose subject was ‗Planning Home Grounds‘. He was followed by Warren Oliver – one of the
society‘s exceedingly good friends, and others during the remainder of the season and that of the
following spring. The programme was under the general direction of J.J. Carr, who was also a frequent
speaker. The next series was conducted by Frederick Pain, who added, with assistance, talks on home
canning of fruits and vegetables, and related features to horticulture as well as practical information on
the subject. He was the most regular contributor during the last two seasons the programme was
continued. A change in management or ownership called for a complete change in programme
schedules in 1952. The new management offered continued free time for horticultural subjects that was
inconvenient to attend as well as being at hours considered by the society not in their interest. Another
difficulty was that of preparing script that would be of the widest interest. The air audience asked for a
very wide range of subject matter. The older gardener enjoyed hearing about what modern science was
doing to make his avocation more interesting and exciting and had little patience with the elementary
instruction desired by the younger groups who just wanted to know how best to get anything to grow
without too much concern about how new or different the process was or whether or not pesticides and
weed killers were any better than those of a generation before.

As television became increasingly popular, the local broadcasting stations included occasional
programmes of horticultural interest. During 1960 and 1961 William M. Cavaye, Secretary-Treasurer
of the Society, was quite frequently seen and his melodious Scottish accent – seemingly accentuated by
television sound media – often heard on programmes, which horticultural amateurs as well as other
specialists, telling the world in general, how easy it was to be successful at ‗growing things‘. He also
presided when several of the society flower shows and other functions were televised round about the
same period. Unfortunately these public affairs broadcasts are so limited in time allowed for
broadcasting which follows no particular schedule [indecipherable handwriting]….few others than
chronic tele-viewers ever see them, and in the few moments not taken up with detail and explanation
there is rarely time for the mind to register what it is all about.

As long as the society has been in existence and possibly many years before that, the local press has
carried series of articles on horticultural subjects. A large proportion of them has been syndicated
material and too frequently gave quite impractical cultural instruction and recommendations for plant
growth and named varieties most unsuitable for this climate. From time to time the society managed to
secure space for more reliable material until in more recent years prominent local writers and
specialists on horticulture have been engaged to contribute articles more suitable to local growing
conditions. This situation could not well be bettered for seasonal and pertinent instruction and advice

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
given on what and what not to do to get the most pleasure and satisfaction out of gardening. These
writers have, for the most part, been members of the society, but it can claim no kudos for this.

Periodically the local press has been generous with space covering the activities of the society; at other
times far from it. Of more recent date such prosaic happenings as an horticultural show or meeting is
rarely considered to be news of public interest and so, if quoted at all, is so brief that no particular
information is gleaned, other than a meeting or other was held. This is unfortunate because
considerable time and pains is usually taken to give only what is thought to be essentials in copy
prepared and submitted. Had it not been for fuller reports that were sometimes printed, fifty to seventy
years ago for local citizens, much of these chronicles could not have been written. In due and proper
season, the society has gone on record acknowledging the courtesies extended to them by the press.



[Ms page 176 out of place and entirely scratched out by author. Typist‘s note]




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


The Work and Influences of R.B. Whyte, Esq.
– Ms. Pages 177 to 180

The strength and continuity of organizations such as the Ottawa Horticultural Society may at times be
dependent upon the zeal and earnestness of a very few of its officers or members. There are periods
when the best of them require some bolstering of morale and example set for continuing effort. There is
something of this in the eulogy written by Mr W Macoun on the occasion of the death of his friend and
associate, Mr. R.B. Whyte, who with him was an active worker in the cause of local horticulture; Mr.
Macoun as a professional and Mr. Whyte an exceptionally well-informed and energetic amatory. The
document in question comprises nine foolscap pages, too long for full reproduction. The selected
excerpts convey, however, a great deal of information concerning the man to whom Ottawa owes so
much - horticulturally. Mr. Macoun said:

―In the sudden passing of Mr. R.B. Whyte, on April 15th, 1918, Ottawa lost one of her most useful and
respected citizens.

―The influence of the good he did during his life will last.‖ ‗Old men and little children praise him.‖
―He was the greatest amateur horticulturist of his time in Canada.‖ ―[he] was interested in wild flowers.
His largest collection was made in 1875, and his herbarium contained most of the species found in the
Ottawa district.‖ ―Charter member and first Secretary of the Ottawa Field Naturalist‘s Club – 1887 to
1889, and closely associated with Dr. James Fletcher.‖

―Mr. Whyte was one of the organizers of the Ottawa Horticultural Society and from the first was a
leading spirit‖. ―He lived to see it become the largest and most influential Horticultural Society in
Canada. Was President in 1900, 1901 and 1902 and almost continuously a Director.‖ ―He was a strong
advocate for exhibitions and himself a frequent exhibitor.‖ ―These have been a strong feature of the
society and through Mr. Whyte‘s efforts continued to be so, when others thought them to be not
desirable. He offered many special prizes and many a gardener has a lasting memento in the cops
which he gave.‖ ―During the first years the usefulness of the society was limited to its members.
Through Mr. Whyte its activities were extended so that in 1908 the planting of ornamental trees and
shrubs was carried out in the grounds of hospitals and public schools.‖ ―As President of the Society and
as a judge he took an active interest in Lady Minto‘s Garden Competitions‖ ―He published a book
entitled ‗Ottawa, the City of Gardens‘ in 1916.‖

―The Ottawa Flower Guild was formed in 1908 and received its main financial support from Mr.
Whyte. For years he distributed bulbs and plants to school children. He was assisted by a few earnest
lady members of the society. Several thousand children received seeds and competed for prizes at
exhibitions held each year. The children were given planting demonstrations and instruction. They
were also given outings from time to time.‖

‗In 1912 he organised a Potato Growing Contest, for boys between twelve and eighteen years of age.
First limited to Carleton County it was later extended to Russell County. In some cases crops were
increased four fold. Each fall competitors were called to City Hall where prize winners were presented
with very attractive medals – and listened to addresses by well-known citizens. Mr. C.H. Newman was
secretary in the competition and prepared reports. The idea was taken up throughout Canada.‖


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
―In 1915 he encouraged the development of home gardens in Carleton County by girls, also the
canning of produce and exhibits at County Fairs for prizes he provided.‖

―Mr. Whyte had planned a Garden Party for June of the year he died. This, his own garden, known far
and wide, contained probably the finest collection of herbaceous plants in any private garden in Canada,
- also apple and plum trees, currants, raspberries, gooseberries, and grapes. Many Ottawa gardens have
been stocked from his garden.‖ ―He was particularly interested in plums of Canadian origin. The
‗Herbert‘ raspberry was originated in his garden. He tested over one hundred varieties of gooseberries
before adding any to his collection and continually endeavoured to make this berry more popular.‖

―His vegetable garden was not large but produce always of the best.‖

―He had a special interest in Paeonies, Iris, Day Lilly, Phlox, and Gladiolus, also Darwin Tulips. His
garden was not planned for special effect. His main purpose was [more] to test the merits of varieties
than to use for decorative purposes.‖ ―In 1915 he extended his energies to farming at Merrickville.
Here he planted considerable areas to apple and plum orchards.‖

―Mr. Whyte was one of a committee which waited on the Government to urge the importance of
forming an Ontario Horticultural Association – formed in 1906. He was President of the Association in
1910 and 1911 and for five years a Director. He was also a member of the Quebec Pomological Society,
the American Paeony Society and the Royal Horticultural Society.‖

―As a result of his latter years travelling in Great Britain, the Mediterranean, Holy Land, Jamaica,
Florida, and elsewhere, he accumulated a large number of photographs and lantern slides which were
made available for ‗talks‘ on horticultural matters.‖ ―He was a man of strong personality and had very
decided views on everything in which he took an interest.‖ (Printed in full in The Ottawa Journal.)

In the eulogy of Mr. Whyte, we also have the story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society during its first
twenty-five years, for he was largely if not entirely responsible for many of the activities for
horticultural betterment of the city promoted through the society. He provided many of the ideas and
much of the money to have them put into effect. It is also apparent that the society did not fully
appreciate his sincerity and good intent because of his manner in presenting his views and opinions; so
as recorded in a retort ―The Directors were in anything but complete accord with Mr. Whyte.‖ For
another indication of this we read, ―that the President (Mr. R.B. Whyte) had had printed, at his own
expense, a booklet entitled ―Ottawa, City of Gardens‖ ―A Compendium of Horticultural Information
Applicable to Local Conditions.‖ ―His generosity was appreciated‖, so it is said, ―but the question of
who would pay for distribution of them caused considerable discussion.‖ ―Eventually some members
of the Board of Directors undertook to do this.‖ (The book is described in some detail in a chapter
which follows on society printed matter.)

On another occasion he invited the Directors and others to be his guests at a dinner at the University
Club. His object, he said ―was to talk over the work of the society for the ensuing years; matters of
expansion, membership, and so forth‖. The invitation ―was received, discussed, and commended.‖ At
the dinner he stated what he had in mind: ―A more suitable hall for exhibitions; a greater number of
exhibitors; to hold flower shows on Sparks Street (presumably in stores); to arrange for trophies, prizes
and medals for flower and vegetable exhibits and to have them on exhibitions throughout the season; to
obtain a larger grant from the city; publish seasonal pamphlets and bulletins, short articles in the press
under a distinctive society heading; to invite members to write short articles or brief accounts of any
horticultural matter suitable for publication; to visit more gardens and greenhouses; increase

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
membership by bringing the society to the attention of the Board of Trade, The Canadian Club. The
Ladies Canadian Club, and other organizations; try to gain the co-operation of the Improvement
Commission and the Board of Education; extend the Garden Competitions from May to September
each year; ask Florists to co-operate at Flower shows; give vegetables and fruit growing more
prominence; and although not in the record, sore attention to activities for Juniors, in which he had no
great interest. We read further that ―a vote of thanks‖ to the President and ―Three Hearty Cheers‖
concluded the dinner meeting. Subsequent recording does not indicate how many of the subjects
received further consideration and ultimate action.

There is usually one member of a society who is continually upsetting the even tenor of its proceedings
with both long term and short perm proposals which in his view the society would do well to consider.
This society has had the same sort of ‗nuisance‘ in more recent years. Most of these ideas are promptly
tabooed because they are not in keeping with tradition or because were would required an outlay of
funds. The occasional one that is found to be debatable brings some measure of benefit to the
organization, if it only triggers views and opinions of others that result in some good therefrom. These
members have the respect of their fellows but rarely are they given joyful credit for their imagination –
and in some cases insistence, but rather the reverse. They are apt to be too upsetting of the peace and
tranquility so delightful in the garden which is carried to extreme in executive gatherings may lead to a
degree of indolence not compatible with the progressive views of these troublesome characters. Mr.
Whyte may have learned the truth of this, most regretfully. Ideas are splendid; they are needed; but
who is going to do the work involved and pay the cost? In the case of Mr. Whyte, he seems to have
provided most liverally where his views were accepted by his colleagues.

As Mr Macoun said: ―Mr. Whyte was one of the city‘s most useful and respected citizens‖, but
evidently not a popular leader in the sense of being able to encourage all local horticulturists to work in
harmony with him. Nevertheless, they owe much to his indomitable perseverance in the cause of
horticulture and citizens generally to the continuance of the Ottawa Horticultural Society, which has
done so much towards maintaining the floral beauty so much admired by tourists and others who are
fortunate enough to be springtime and summertime residents or visitors.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


What Society Printed Matter Reveals
– Ms. pages 181 to 187

Some of the detail of this section should perhaps be with the chapter of the years 1905 to 1912. As
noted it is used here to avoid repetition and because Mr. R.B. Whyte was the greatest exponent of the
use of printed matter for the purpose of creating interest and convey[ing] instruction on horticultural
subjects the society has ever had

[Text missing]

[Sentence fragment] with the fantastically expensive equipment as is his more modern counterpart his
service was very much closer to a labour only cost of production, as the average smaller printing plant
was a cone or two man organization with an ample number of low wage apprentices it was possible to
obtain printed matter at prices equitable and reasonable. There were of course overhead costs but not
the multi-headed ones the modern business man has to heal with.

The earliest piece of printed matter published but the society the research has found was date 1903. The
title is fully descriptive and lists many items, a few only of which are not in common use today. It
contained eight pages of listings.

Bulletin No. 1

The Best Annuals, Perennials and Vegetables for the Ottawa District

..................................................................................................... Prepared by J. Ellis, W.T. Macoun and R.B. Whyte

........................................................................................................................................................ February 23rd, 1903

P.G. Keyes, President. J.F. Watson, Secretary-Treasurer

During 1904, 1905 and 1906 the following bulletins were published, addressed particularly to school
children who at that time received greater encouragement in horticulture than in any period since. They
acquitted themselves very creditably as young gardeners. The 1904 issue was a four page pamphlet
―Instructions to Competitors in the R.B. Whyte Aster Growing Competition‘. Similarly for 1905 it was
‗The Ellis-Whyte Geranium Growing Competition and also the ‗R.B. Whyte Poppy Growing
Competition.‖ In 1904 there was also the ―R.B. Whyte Sweet Pea Growing Competition‘. In 1906 the
―Ellis-Whyte Begonia Competition‖ and an undated one – the ―Ellis-Whyte Phlox Growing
Competition.‖

In the year 1911 the society embarked upon the quite difficult task of publishing a monthly bulletin
entitled ―The Ottawa Horticulturist‖, ―the official organ of the Ottawa Horticultural Society‖. It carried
no advertising and had the quality of being another of Mr. R.B. Whyte‘s contributions, although there
was no credit to that effect. At the end of the year it was advertised, ―Twelve issues, bound in paper
covers, post free, thirty cents. Only one hundred copies for sale.‖ The twelve only issues published
contained one hundred pages of instructional data, some aspects of the society‘s activities such as detail
of flower shows, prize lists, premium lists, and other. It was mailed to members free of charge and was


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
also used as an additional premium to attract new memberships. The first few pages were taken up with
the reasons for the publication; objectives of the society were followed by an article on ―Care of Bulbs
in Winter‖. A list of forty-nine groups of shrubs, plants and seeds is next, listed as Premiums, any three
of which could be selected by a member free of charge. Membership was then, as now, one dollar per
year, but it bought so much more than it does no as the premium0option lists make abundantly clear.

The first number obtained the names of the winners of the Governor General‘s prizes for Essays
written from a series of lectures given by Mrs. Whelan and Mrs. W.D. Oakley, Secretary of the Ottawa
Children‘s Flower Guild, and Mr. R.B. Whyte. The Essay subject this time was ―Holland and her Bulb
Culture‖. Presentation was made of prizes in the Carnegie Library, by Mrs. Peter Whelan. Winners
were Myrtle Lindsay, John Perry, Ella Major, Oswald Anderson, Eva Otta, George Major, Ethel Fenn,
Annie Perry, and Gladys Smith.

Subsequent issues had articles on Sweet Peas, Cannas, Lilacs, insecticides, Mock Orange, Paeonies,
Palms, Perennials, Roses, Tree Planting, Tulip Diseases, and Vegetables. Weather records were given
for each month. There was announcement of meetings with exhibits for adults for each month may to
September. The May meeting featured Pansies, Narcissus, Hyacinths, Tulips, Hardy Garden Flowers,
Ferns, Begonias, Rhubarb, Asparagus, Lettuce and Radishes. The June Meeting/show featured thirteen
classes of Roses, eight of Paeonies, Delphinium, Sweet William, Canterbury Bell, Cut flowers, Sweet
Peas, Iris, and ten classes of Strawberries. The July Show had nine classes for Sweet Peas, Nasturtiums,
Spireas, Fuchsias, Perennial Phlox, Stocks, Poppies, Iris, Apples and Raspberries, Gooseberries and
Currants, Peas, Beans, Corn, Tomatoes and Celery. The August show included ten classes of Asters,
Phlox, Zinnias, Dianthus, Lilies, Scabiosa, Dahlias, Hydrangea, Gladioli, Cannas, Apples, Plums,
Muskmelons and Tomatoes. Special prizes for Sweet Peas, Begonias, and Gloxinias. The September
Show: Pansies, Flowering Begonias, Palms, Ferns, Foliage Plants, Annuals, Perennials, nine classes for
Apples, eight for Grapes, three for Celery and one for Cauliflower.

Next follows Rules and Regulations. One that has since been discarded was ―that entries had to be in
the hands of the Secretary the day preceding the show‖.

Donations for Prizes were given by J.B. Lewis, Esq. $25.00. Lt. Col. Wm. White $10.00. J.A. Ellis,
Esq., $10.00. W.T. Macoun and P.G. Keyes, Esq., each $5.00. Geo. H. Garlick, Esq., $3.50 and R.B.
Whyte, Esq., 465 bulbs and 45 perennial plants.

In a list of prize winners for the May Show, R.B. Whyte received nine prizes. J. Goodwin Gibson, four;
S. Short, five; Mrs. Fenn, eight; Mrs. Nettbohn, seven; also mentioned were Mrs. Burns, W.J. Kerr,
Arthur Ellis, Mrs. Robson and Wm. Alford.

In the June Show D.C. Chamberlain, W.G, Black, R.B. Whyte and Ambrose Duffy shared the prizes
for Roses. Also as entrants and prize winners mentioned are Mrs. Collingwood Schreiber, Hugh
Dickson, Mrs. Hickman, M.W. Cooper, J.B. McCurry, W.J. Kerr, Wm. White, W.T. Macoun, Wm.
Hull, W.B. Moulds, Mrs. Eckford, Wm. Trick, A.V. Farquharson, Chas. G. Ross, R Chilton, W.
Watson, A. Petric, Jas. Cox, Rev. Torrens, C.E. Livings, N.P, Cartesson, L. Williams, J.P. Philips.

It would have been more interesting perhaps if what was won by whom was herein included. In that
five monthly shows are presented here the conclusion may be drawn that the number of exhibitors has
never been fully proportionate to membership, or if so, they failed to equal in numbers the entries of a
relatively few more expert amateurs, which condition has not been any different in recent years.


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Quoting from the short lived publication ―The Ottawa Horticulturist,‖ we learn of many things of
passing interest, and thereby gather some idea of how the devotees of the cultural art dealt with their
problems and find too, that after half a century we are no nearer to a solution of difficulties of similar
nature which still beset horticultural societies and their supporters. Concerning the publications itself:
―Some members say it is worth much more to them than the one dollar membership fee which includes
receipt of it. There are a few who think it to be of little value; others say that a larger and better
magazine should be published.‖ ―To these we say that the Editorial Board will be glad to consider any
proposals that will include the necessary funds to pay for it. At present all work connected with the
publication, with the exception of printing, is done without cost to the society.‖ ―Unless additional
funds are provided, it is doubtful if it can be continued even in its present form‖.

―The society should have at least 1--- members (1911). The date to which members will be received
into the society has been extended to April 15th.‖

―Her Excellency, Countess Grey. Under her care and initiative there was planted large plots of the
various Narcissi but the schools; in the foreground of Rockcliffe Park; and for six years Her Excellency
has annually supported and personally superintended the planting of some thousands of bulbs
throughout Rideau Hall Grounds until now at Springtime they are a scene of such entrancing beauty
that one could well imaging himself to be in an ―old world‖ garden with crocus, jonquils, snowdrops,
hyacinths, and even the old-fashioned primrose peeping up in the most unlikely of places.‖

―Four layouts are described for circular flower beds. Having finished your planting you say ―Let her
go‖. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me impress upon you that this is by no means the case. Your plants
need care every day (so do this and that) – and I am confident that your flower garden will be a
constant source of pleasure and profit to you.‖

―A few ounces of lime in a pail of water will give solution to kill earth worms that may be in flower
pots.‖

It required two issues of the magazine to complete an article on Sweet Pea culture, by Mr. Macoun.

―Tests made at the Experimental Farm show the value of ashes from beat burned in open grates, as
processed by the Government for that purpose from Peat from the bog at Alfred, Quebec. An analysis
given shows that, inferior to hard wood, they are still worth saving and using. They should be broadcast
at the rate of fifty to one hundred bushels to the acre.‖

―The London Daily Mail offered the following unprecedented prizes for Sweet Peas: First Prize. One
thousand Pounds Sterling. 2nd. One hundred. 3rd. 50 Pounds. Show to be held in the Crystal Palace,
July 28th and 29th. Professionals are barred. Sweet Pea growing will be much stimulated.‖

―Effect of Chlorinated water on plants – unhesitatingly affirm that so far we have been unable to detect
any injurious effect, direct or indirect….‖

―Mr. Garlick brought from the Driveway beds a very fine collection of Tulips - for exhibition only at
the May show – all named, which made it of much value.‖

―The Tax Collector reports that there is a much less number of dogs on which tax can be collected.
This is good news to gardeners – but continued damage suggests that the dogs have been able to evade
the tax collector or that the record he presented is defective.‖


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―Some years ago the society submitted to the City Council a draft of a proposed By-law for the proper
planting and care of trees. No action has been taken, which is unfortunate because so many of our
beautiful shade trees are being destroyed through unskilful pruning and the reckless way various
companies erect wires and cut the trees to suit their own purposes.‖

In the year 1908 the society issued, in so far as is known, its first Prize List of Plants, bulbs and seeds
for ―Free Distribution‖. Any others that may have been published between then and 1919 have not
been made available for this work. These Prize Lists in due course became Premium and Prize Lists
and later on the Horticultural Society‘s Year Book, as it still continues to be named. The 1908 issue
was of eight pages, entitled ―List of Bulbs and Plants to be distributed Free to Members.‖ The back
page listed the Officers for 1908. President: Edward Depsted; First Vice President: Lt. Col. Wm. White.
Second Vice President: J.H. Putnam. Directors: J.F. Berton, J.M. Bartlet, P.G. Keyes, C.E. Living,
Alex. McNeil, B. Short, W.H. Snelling, Wm. Trick, R.B. Whyte, Ex-Officio: W.T. Macoun. Delegates
to Central Canada Exhibition Association: F.J. Alexander, J.F. Berton, Ambrose Duffy, J.H. Putnam,
and L. Williams. Official Judges: Flowers – C. Craig, Wm. McCann. Fruit and Vegetables – H. Holtz.
Auditors – Ambrose Duffy, Wm. Stewart. Secretary-Treasurer: J.P. Watson, 62 Park Avenue.

Page 2 contained an Announcement addressed to the Citizens of Ottawa. The only difference in this
than others we have quoted or quoted from is a standing offer of a Fifty Dollar prize for a seedling
Apple, hardy enough for the Ottawa Valley; and

―How can the society afford to spend so much money – and ask only a nominal fee of One Dollar?
Simple explanation – the society is not a dividend-paying corporation – it receives a grant from the
Provincial Government. The more members – the greater the grant – the greater value returned‖ (Today
it is not quite as simple as that.) Thirty groups of Options occupied more pages, one of which was
seventy-five mixed Gladiolus, another Twelve plants Tuberous Begonias, two doz. Spring Bulbs, etc.

There may be some question as to the propriety of including the following excerpts in this story of the
Ottawa Horticultural Society. It is intended as a compliment to the memory of Mr. R.B. Whyte who
gave so much in so many ways to further the interests of the society in the community. It is also of
considerable interest to older gardeners and well merits the attention of younger generations.

The subject Book was published in March 1916 entitles ―Ottawa, City of Gardens.‖ It consists of about
one hundred pages, was well printed and attractively encased in an overhanging dark green cover, with
the title embossed in gold, the whole being tied together with a green silken cord, a style then much in
vogue. The inside title page states: ―A Guide for the Improvement of Lawns and Gardens in Ottawa.‖
Prepared by the following committee: R.B. Whyte, W.T. Macoun, F.E. Buck, J.B. Spencer. It is
illustrated with seventeen half-tone engravings and ten plans for landscaping home properties. Mr.
Whyte and his committee, even in those not very distant days, did not visualize the possibility of at
least one automobile per home, because they planned for thirty-three and fifty foot lots without
driveways.

As described, it is full of practical lawn and garden information a great deal of which is not in keeping
with modern ideas on the subject. It is not the intent to include the whole of Mr. Whyte‘s material
however interesting it might be. Excerpts only can be quoted to illustrate some of the changes in
horticultural interest and practice from that period to this.

Three pages are addressed ―to the Citizens of Ottawa.‖ The Capital City should be knows as the City of
Gardens‖ This would be so if individual homeowners would realize and embrace their opportunities. (It

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is learned from oral sources that Mr. Whyte tried very hard to have Ottawa advertised as the City of
Gardens.) He describes the natural beauties of the city and states [that], with the single exception of
Quebec, Ottawa is undoubtedly the most beautifully situated city in Canada. Another statement, ―Only
a Capital City can enjoy the advantage of a Government supported Improvement Commission and the
wealth of horticultural interest and lessons to be learned by having at the very door of the city, the
Central Experimental Farm.‖

After describing at length the results achieved by the Improvement Commission since its inception in
1899, Mr. Whyte takes a couple of pages to describe the Ottawa Horticultural Society. Whilst quite
flattering to the society and some members, it would only be repetition of what may be found
elsewhere in these pages, as well as in a chapter on ― Odds and Ends.‖ ―The visitor, after investigating
the driveways, Parks, and Public Gardens, cannot fail to observe ugly vacant lots overcome with weeks
and harbouring debris; the bare lawns and neglected back yards; here perhaps is the weak link in the
chain of city beautification.‖ ―If the populace would only see the light and avail themselves of what the
Ottawa Horticultural Society could do to assist them, Ottawa would be indeed ―The City of Gardens,‖
an appellation Mr. Whyte so strongly urged.

Nearly five pages are devoted to the building and care of lawns. This detailed information is much the
same as a modern authority would give, with some exceptions which younger gardeners will find hard
to believe after having listened to some authorities on the subject. ―The soil for a good lawn, in respect
to its quality, is no of vast importance.‖ (And to think of today‘s tremendous dollar cost business in
topsoil.) ―For getting rid of weeks in lawns, where they are apt to occur in abundance, many spray
methods have been tried, but dandelions and plantain, which very commonly occur in lawns, almost
defy all methods of eradication other than that which is generally recommended, namely, spudding or
cutting out by hand.‖

The making and keeping of prize-winning gardens is the next subject. The garden that is taken as an
example was a prize winner in the Lady Grey competition of 1910-1911. A landscaping plan is given
which has areas for lawn, flowers, shrubbery, and vegetable garden. The latter an essential feature of
all gardens is for the most part now occupied by the family garage. An interesting feature is a list of
sixteen perennials suitable for growing in shady places. Few of these plants or others recommended are
popular now. Hardy perennials listed included Hollyhock, Larkspur, Foxglove, Sunflower, Sneeze-
weed, Cone Flower, Lupine wort, Monks hood, Columbine, Star-wort Aster, Japanese Windflower,
Bellflowers, Shasta Daisy, Gas Plant, Blanket Flower, Feverfew, Madwort, Rock Cress, Hairbell,
Iceland Poppies, Moss Pink, Wake Robin, and some we are more familiar with as Phlox, Forget-me-
not, Tulips, Day (Lemon) Lilies, Scarlet Lychnus [sic], Daffodils, and others.

The cultivation of bulbs is well described. Most of the varieties named are not to be found in our
present day catalogues. There is also a wealth of information about growing Roses; Hedges are lightly
touched upon. There is some cultural detail about Paeonies, Iris, Sweet Pears, and a variety of Annuals.
The section on Fruits is quite extensive. He included Apples, Plums, Cherries, Raspberries – Red –
Black – Purple, Currants, Gooseberries, Blackberries, Grapes, and Strawberries. Gooseberries and
Raspberries were great favourites of Mr. Whyte, who introduced new strains of these fruits.

With an article on City vegetable gardens and a brief chapter on house plants Mr. Whyte concluded his
very well thought out and interesting contribution to printed matter on horticulture as it applies to the
Ottawa district. As he states:

―The gardener‘s work is one of worth,

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
 He‘s a partner with the sky and the earth;

 He‘s a partner with the sun and rain,

 And no man loses by his gain.‖




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


The Wild Flowers
The society as such does not appear to have taken more than passing interest in Wild Flowers, which is
not too surprising as many wild flowers are better known as weeds and are not permitted to spoil the
cultural appearance of gardens, particularly those for display to other than the owners. A great many
persons have no compunction about how many weeds are grown. In what little record there is on the
subject it is learned that Mr. R.B. Whyte had an exceedingly fine wild flower garden. However, he was
unable to persuade his associates to make wild flowers a subject of more importance than one which
juniors could be concerned with. The Ottawa Children‘s Flower Guild, an organization he fostered did
pay attention to them, but the society directly, or as a result of the Ontario Horticultural Association
representations promoted or aided an occasional Wild Flower Essay Competition. They repeated the
frequent admonitions published by different authorities to ―Save the Wild Flowers‖ as became good
citizens, but made no concerted effort to differentiate through any publicity whatsoever what wild
flowers should be saved and what should be, if possible, exterminated. One child will adore a posy of
fresh picked wild flowers whilst another, being shown a beautiful collection remarks ―them‘s weeds,
they grew in the ditch over there‖ which in fact they did. Just a matter of appreciation.

Of the more successful Essay competitions was one for adults in the mid ‗fifties in which some Ottawa
mothers successfully competed in a Province-wide contest. Another one, about this same period,
invited the Ottawa Public and Separate Schools children to participate. The Public school board
declined but the Separate school board encouraged it. It was interesting to observe the degree of
interest and excellent renderings, perhaps stimulated by authority, which resulted in a number of prizes
being awarded to students from about twenty entrants.

The Society took part in preliminary meetings, action from which resulted in the ―Trillium‖ being
adopted as the floral emblem of the Province of Ontario. One may also read of the Montreal
Horticultural Society making much ado about wild flowers and giving them an honoured position in
their shows of one hundred years ago. Admitting that many are pests, few will deny that wild flowers
add much beauty to the landscape from early spring to late Autumn, that is to the decreasing number of
persons who travel slowly enough to see them, or for that matter, any natural beauty.




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The Ottawa Flower Guild – Horticulture for
Juniors
From the earliest days of the society until about nineteen eighteen, a great deal of the work pertaining
to horticulture for juniors, for which the society was credited, was in fact directed, if not performed by
one man: Mr. R.B. Whyte, who promoted, sponsored and financed numerous projects on behalf of
young people. Horticulture must have been almost an obsession with Mr. Whyte, for not only was he
an ardent exponent but tried by all possible means to inculcate a like concern in the minds of others,
with particular attention to children. He was responsible for forming the ―Ottawa Flower Guild‖ which,
as with others of his undertakings was promoted through the Ottawa Horticultural Society, who in
giving recognition of them provided supervision and judging as required.

It would seem that with instruction about flowers, wild and garden varieties there was a ritual
connected with membership in the Guild. This is suggested in a collection of songs made available for
these pages, the cover of which is inscribed ―Ottawa Flower Guild No. 21‖, the inside pages containing
a number of songs ―To be sung on suitable occasion‖. These songs include ―The National Anthem‖
evidently, as elsewhere in the British Dominions to be sung without reservations. ―Oh Canada‖ is the
next title, with some differences in the words English speaking Canadians currently use, and quite
different to the words more regularly used by our French-Canadian friends. ―God Bless the Prince of
Wales‖, a song not heard of for a good many years, which if revived in the near future will likely be
differently worded. ―The Maple Leaf Forever‖ is another, not now as popular as in years ago. As the
words of ―The Flower Guild Hymn‖ is not likely to be familiar to readers it is reproduced in full.



       God bless these seeds we plant,

       And to all nature grant

       .......................................................................................................................................................... Sunshine an

       May they sweet blossoms bear,

       May they perfume the air,

       With fragrance rich and rare,

       ........................................................................................................................................................... Praise thee



       Lord of the earth and sea,                                                       When to Thee, hymns we raise

       Bless our fair city.                                                             May children‘s songs of praise

                                                                                         ...........................................................................................
       .......................................................................................................................................................... Grant us thy


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

       Save us from indolence,                                                          Help us to work aright,

       Waste and improvidence,                                                          Shed Thy bright rays of light,

       And in Thine excellence.                                                         And in earth‘s darkest night,

                                                                                         ...........................................................................................
       .............................................................................................................................................................. Guide us




In a Monthly Bulletin publishing venture in the year 1911, the Ottawa Children‘s Flower Guild is
mentioned in the February issue, and refers to an ―Exposition of Plants and Bulbs‖ in the Y.M.C.A.
during the preceding October. One hundred and twenty children had received 240 Hyacinths, 240
Golden Spur Narcissus, 240 Trumpet Princeps Narcissus, 86 Begonias and 43 Geraniums. Prizes were:
Membership in the Horticultural Society for all First Prize winners; One Dollar, cash, all second prizes;
Third and Fourth prizes: fifty and twenty-five cents. Prize winners were: Madge Sharp, Mary Hickman,
Oswald Anderson, Marian Fergusson, Ethelwyn Austen, Annie Perry, Wilfred Laishley, Ethel Fenn,
Fabiola Bourdon, Ruby White, May Fenn, Marjorie Spearman, Grace Moulds, Ella Major, Laura
Nesbitt, Bertha Andrews, and Cyril Anderson. Fourteen girls and three boys. Who is it tends the
gardens?

The advocate of the junior horticulturist, Mr. R.B. Whyte, promoted a method of instruction for young
people in pamphlet form, followed in due season with a show organized for them. Sometimes alone
and at others with the aid of another interested party he had prepared and printed a pamphlet describing
how to cultivate and prepare for show purposes one specific flower; a different one or two each year. In
1903 he selected the Aster; had printed an instructional pamphlet thereto. In 1904, in a similar manner,
the subject being Sweet Peas; in 1905 it was a Poppy Growing competition with pamphlet instructions.
Another was the Ellis-Whyte Geranium competition; Begonia was another selection. There may have
been others which no record is available for these pages. There is little doubt as to who made himself
responsible for prize money distributed at the shows held in connection with these printed instructions.
Yet it is doubted by some who knew him that the results justified the effort he put into them. It is said
that his ideas and methods were excellent but he perhaps did not have sufficient consideration for any
one with views in any way contradictory to his opinions, an attitude which did not endear him to either
children or adults.

Following the demise of Mr. Whyte in 1918, the Ottawa School Board approved of Garden Clubs at
most schools, and gave encouragement to pupils and provided instructors. Mr Whyte, in his Will, had
made provision for continuance of junior work under the direction of the society, who from this and
other sources contributed money for seeds and prizes for the school clubs and for Essay Competitions
on garden subjects. At very little cost to the society who furnished supervision and judges each year,
and with a minimum of consideration at times, this arrangement continued with very little change for
the next thirty or so years. During this period the amount of prize money was the same each year. The
contest requirements were rarely altered. It became an automatic procedure to vote ―the usual fund‖ for
prizes; agree that the devoted instructors were doing a good job; and mutually agree that something
was being done for Horticulture for juniors. Occasionally the local press would pay some attention at



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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
competition time, as the following report dated 1949 indicates. This could be, with a change of names,
a report on many previous similar contests, of which this was the final.

Announce Results of Public School Gardens Competitions

Announcement of the results of the Ottawa Public School competitions for junior gardeners for prizes
offered by the Ottawa Horticultural Society were made over the weekend.

There were eighteen public school garden clubs in 1949 with a total membership of three hundred and
forty-nine. There were no entries from Separate Schools.

Teachers from the various public schools form the club and act as garden inspectors; Miss Alida J.
Lapp of 18 Clarendon Avenue is the Public School garden supervisor. Miss Lapp together with Miss
Bessie Piggot of Cambridge Street School acted as judges for the combined competition of garden and
garden essays.

The efforts of school children are excellent, considering their youth; one of the first prize winners is
only nine years old – Marietta May. Instilling a desire to garden in school children will be a greater
interest to more beautiful home surroundings and consequently a more beautiful Ottawa in the future.

The Ottawa Horticultural Society has been providing prizes for this competition for over twenty-five
years. Winners of prizes follow: Marietta May, Elmdale; (‗School‘ and home address omitted) Tommy
Batty, Borden; Beverley Rose, Glasham; Betty Short, Crichton; Bobby Barter, Elmdale; John Howe,
Mutchmor; Ian Blakeney, Gowling; Beth Hodges, Connaught; Tony Reynolds, Metchmor; Barbara
Johnson, Mutchmor; Phyllis Reichman, Crichton; Sheridan Raichman, Crichton; Gordon and Ivy Scott,
First Ave.; Brian Eddwards, Gowling; Leroy Cain, Hopewell; Bruce Jackson, Hopewell; Beth Trewin,
Lady Evelyn; Peggy Evoy, Connaught; Barbara Reaume, Lady Evelyn, Carol Gutteridge, Borden;
Helen Stewart Wellington Street; Glen Argue, Borden; Fay Shouldice, Elmdale; Ann Henry, Elmdale;
John Gordon, Gowling.

Twelve of the eighteen schools had prize winners, equally divided between boys and girls, in this
particular year.

When the School Board announced its intention to discontinue the school garden clubs, a wave, really a
small one, of indignation was created at a meeting of the directorate of the society, and more said about
attention to Junior Horticulture than for years past. It was a wonderful opportunity to declare ―what
ought to be done‖ but no proposals were offered that appealed to a majority of those present, or if so
found no one willing to undertake organisation, instruction or supervision, necessary for
implementation.

Some impetus was given to Essay competitions and much reported about the success of a neighbouring
society in junior work, the leader of which was invited to explain her theories to a public meeting of the
Ottawa society. These were believed to be impractical for a much larger non rural area. Some ideas
presented by a Past President of the society were received with considerable disdain, yet they are
known to work out quite well in other urban communities.

All possible and imaginary difficulties have at various times been explored. It was seriously considered
that as the cult of freedom of thought and about everything else for young people was rampant with
Go-carts, organized and unorganized sports, automobiles, television, to mention only a few of the


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
modern distractions, make it difficult to persuade youth to consider engaging their spare time in such
prosaic occupation as gardening. Moreover there is a realistic difficulty in finding suitable land freely
accessible where it could be policed against vandalism if it were possible to attract youth to cultivate it.
This has not encouraged anyone in recent years to emulate Mr. R.B. Whyte‘s devotion to the cause of
young people and healthy recreation for them – gardening.

By the time our present day juniors become of age to be mature horticulturists, it may not be permitted,
by law, to grow anything for home consumption because to do so contravenes some regulation or
competes with organizations of influential mass producers of earth‘s bounty or conversely of
organisations of their employees through trades unionism. Fantastic? A wild guess at an impossible
future? To get back to the earlier days for a change and some realism to conclude this chapter with a
news story on junior work, never likely to be repeated either in fact, or in a story such as this.

The date of the newspaper article from which the following was compiled was May 31, 1919.
Considerable impetus has been given to gardening through the War-time Gardens projects initiated by
the society which was reflected in many ways; first with great enthusiasm and later with considerable
interest but more as becomes a tradition. To quote: ―At the extension of First Avenue to Bronson is to
see the strangest, but one of the most instructive schools in Ottawa, if not in the country. The walls are
of wire; the roof is the clear blue sky of heaven. Here children, all under the age of twelve years, labour
industriously and happily during certain school hours, even voluntarily spending much of their summer
holidays to indulge in more of this popular study‖.

―Around the instructional area are borders of lovely flowers. The centre of it is a plot of growing grains
of several kinds: Oats, Barley, Wheat and Corn that those who eat the products of them will recognize
their seeds and how they grow.‖ ―Between the flowered border and the taller centre-piece are twenty
eight plots each about 22 x 43 feet in area, each bordered by straight and tidy pathways. Some of these
plots are tended by a whole class of forty pupils. Others are restricted to ‗clubs‘ of not more than thirty
pupil-members in each. These clubs have a membership fee of ten cents per member which is applied
to the purchase of seeds and plants not normally supplied, usually some special vegetables the harvest
of which the club members may take home as crops mature.‖

―These horticultural studies are not confined to the summer outdoor season. During the winter months
gardening is continued indoors. Flower, Vegetable and Grain seeds are tested for germination and
study in window boxes and noxious weed seeds are also planted and studies in order that they may be
recognized in the out-door gardens the following summer and destroyed. This way pupils learn what
many an adult has never mastered, to recognize the difference of seedling weeds and a flower or
vegetable sprouting. In springtime, there are cold frames to understand and tend.‖

―Thus is developed a love for the aesthetic and a knowledge of scientific gardening the need for which
had been forcibly demonstrated during very recent years, which if ever re-occurring would have a
coming generation fully equipped with the necessary knowledge to meet it.‖ The record also states
―This land was acquired by the School authorities at considerable cost.‖ The article does not associate
the Horticultural Society with this activity which as stated elsewhere did have a part in it. That it was a
beneficial project for all concerned very few will doubt. Whether or not these students were fully
equipped and used the knowledge gained some twenty odd years later is also not known. Many




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
probably did more fighting than gardening. However, there is little doubt that the girls were making
sure that what men were available were tending the gardens – unless they too were in the ―services‖.15




15
     In this paragraph, there is a correction on top of a correction, and I do not know how to interpret it.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Affiliate of                          the            Ontario                  Horticultural
Association
The Society has at all times been an affiliate of the Ontario Horticultural Association, which came into
being in the year nineteen hundred and six. This to a very large extent through representations made to
the Government of Ontario by officers of the various Horticultural Societies throughout the Province
and included the Ottawa society whose chief advocate in the matter was Mr. R.B. Whyte. Such an
important part had he played in the negotiations preliminary to the formation of this Association that
Mr. Whyte was elected to the office of one of the Vice Presidents, and later, in the years 1910 and 1911
was its President. Other Ottawa society members who also held this distinguished position were Mr.
Geo. Simpson in 1925; Mr. F.C. Nunnick in 1920 and Mr. J. B. Spencer in 1935. These same
gentlemen had held the office of President of the Ottawa society and also that of District Director of the
area which included Ottawa. Other Ottawa Society members who have been elected to the position of
District Director were B. Sierolawski, J.J. Carr and Frederick Pain. This honour has also included Mr.
Harvey Fraser and Mrs. George Lemke, Past Presidents of the Pembroke Society who maintains
membership in the Ottawa Society16 and likewise Mrs. F.B. Hayley of Manotick.

Without this Association, or rather the Provincial Governments support through this Association, the
Ottawa society may not have managed to survive and continue its good work in the community and
have gone the way so many others have gone. There have been occasions when this appeared to be
possible.

Like most organizations of like composition and good intent the Association assumed a paternalistic
attitude and naturally expected if it did not demand obedience to its factual and implied precepts and
regulations. The society who obeyed the rules was rewarded quite handsomely in earlier years if not so
well in more recent ones, which too is only17 a process of democratic law. One must conform for the
greater good of the greater number or the organization has no value. Actual reports of the Association
indicate a wide difference in amounts of financial assistance given horticultural societies in different
periods, very high indeed in some years but a smaller but more assured annual grant on a standardized
basis in more recent years. What these reports cannot show is the periodic worth of these bonuses or
grants in purchasing power. Forty or fifty years ago one hundred dollars was a generous offering;
nowadays it doesn‘t pay for notices of meetings, etc. mailed to each member of societies comparable in
size with that of Ottawa. Why is this so?

Like most economic questions there are many answers, reasons or excuses. One probably explanation
is the Provincial Government‘s attention has not been called to it, in particular relation to horticultural
societies, which it should be the business of the Association to make absolutely clear.




16
  No clear from this amended paragraph whether “retains membership in the Ottawa Society” applies only to Mr.
Fraser or to both Mr. Fraser and Mrs. Lemke.
17
     Could be “inly”?

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The Ontario Horticultural Association is comprised of Directors elected from a number of designated
districts within the Province. These Directors elect from among themselves a President and Vice
Presidents, as an executive body to work with and in cooperation with certain officials employed by the
Provincial Department of Agriculture. These civil servants are expected to be horticulturally minded
and well informed on techniques even if limited in practical experience. They are required to anticipate
and answer enquiries of the less well informed directors as to what is expected of them in their office
and instruct in what the government has to offer the societies they represent and the manner and terms
for affiliated societies to receive it. Moreover they are expected to receive the views and opinions the
directors may wish to express, and permit of discussion in order to determine what merit, if any, there
may be in them in so far as society work in horticulture is concerned. Directors may make
recommendations concerning policy matters but have no authority beyond that, nor is it a simple
procedure to promote any idea or plan that is likely to cost additional money or transgress the unwritten
laws of precedent.

The Association is, to repeat, under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Agriculture. Ministers are
periodically changed by their advisers, permanent civil servants continue in office. These continuing
officials are quite naturally desirous of maintaining their respective positions and are more likely
concerned about official attitude towards themselves than the own attitude to the less articulate class of
people they have to administer to, the avocational horticulturist. This is not to imply that there are
wilfully negligent of the interests of others but there is little doubt that familiarity with the routine of
government employ builds tradition of selfish consideration for preference for ones own views and
opinions. Contradiction thereof is not to be tolerated if it can be avoided.

Being only a section of branch they are bound to be subject to considerable internal pressure tactics.
The divisional chief who has the more dominant characteristics will most likely manage to receive
quite him full share of the overall departmental appropriations. The least voluble will get what is left.
Few divisional heads can be expected to focus undue attention to themselves by demanding greater
consideration for his own or for all sections. Politics being what they are the Minister is happy to know
that there will be no greater demands and so is able to demonstrate his own ability as an administrator
by keeping departmental costs within bounds. So the farce that each dollar offered is a valuable as any
preceding one is permitted to continue.

The district directors are happy in the distinction of being the elected representatives of their respective
districts, being so more often because of their good fellowship than for business acumen. The few who
do have opinions to express find the official staff have quick and ready answers and explanations, quite
as likely traditional as factual ones, and have been known to be expressed in a ‗that‘s that‘ manner, for
who is there to do any challenging. Regulations that govern societies are those of the Association and
have been so with very little change indeed for a matter of fifty years or so. Imagination might invite
consideration of policy alterations which might in turn require more money from the Provincial purse if
approved, a tiresome if not dangerous position to get involved in, even if it were considered to be a
good proposal. Much less worrisome to let it lie. A slight change, say, in an Essay contest? Well that is
different. There are some good ideas that came from this Board, the booklet on judging standards a few
years ago was one of them.




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Statistically the Association represents about forty18 thousand members of about two hundred societies
in fifty counties of Ontario, divided into sixteen regional districts. Each district elects a representative
who attends Association meetings twice or thrice yearly. In 1910 there were about fifteen thousand
members. By 1926 the total was sixty thousand members from three hundred and seventy societies.
What troubles the serious minded is: why with so much greater population the membership does not
hold its own, and why there are so many less societies functioning. We have some of the answers, but
why, again, is the Association so seemingly unconcerned about it. A quiescent body is presumed to be
a contented one. Is that why so little is made public about this important aspect? A quite recent
recommendation that the matter be investigated by a judicial or other responsible body, just got lost in
the files or will be attended to ‗some day‘.

How does this quite lengthy chapter fit into the story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society? It is not
intended as a criticism only of the Association, but the Ottawa society did have much to do with its
founding and may be presumed to have more than casual interest in it. It may also have been more
greatly influenced by it since, and it could feel some responsibility for the organization its earlier
officers did so much to bring into bearing. Real or imagined ineptness, governing by tradition or
indifference even if unintentional is reflected in the administration of the Ottawa society as in all others.
Were new ideas frequently emanating from the Association the Ottawa society would likely have
shown interest and progress instead of maintaining a status quo, or is stagnating a better term.

The Ottawa society because of its size has received a very substantial proportion of the Provincial
funds made available for Horticultural societies. That it has rendered full and complete reports and
otherwise complied with all requirements is sure. That the society continues solvent indicates
continued successful administration. Yet to be asked to spend a few dollars on a new idea of project
without causing a shudder through the whole of the administrative body is practically impossible.

Reviewing the reports of District Directors for as many years as they are available is not an
exhilarating literary experience. So little is gleaned from them. When Directors did report, which was
but occasionally in some districts, the general theme was: ―I visited most of the societies within my
district during the year. Slow but steady progress may be reported.‖ Other innocuous information might
also be added. Very rarely would one learn that a District Director had initiated some different course
of action or proposed anything to add to the well being of societies in his district. Some districts, which
does not exclude the one Ottawa was in would often have been just as well served without
representation. There were also others who did a good job in promoting inter-society interest in the
District. Any faults are not entirely those of the Association.

The Association has held an Annual Convention. New delegates attend hoping to promote or put
forward pet ideas. Older delegates go for the very pleasant ride. They know they will meet a large
number of very nice people and are happy that the opportunity presents itself for this. They have
learned that despite all talk to the contrary, any possibility of getting any matter discussed that has not
already been decided by the Association‘s executive body approximates the impossible. The O.H.A.
convention is not alone in this respect.

No doubt Horticultural Societies appreciate their share of the public funds and the permanent officers
of the Association make a good job of the distribution. To receive financial benefits should be for good



18
     This number is not clear

135
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
reason and used for specific purposes. To have it in any way responsible for nullifying or stultifying
any society activity by implied or outdated requirements in a so rapidly changing age should be
seriously questioned. By all means continue society bonusing but for good and stated reasons. Helping
a society to continue useful functions in any community requires acknowledgement of the modern
trend. This may not materially increase membership but projects of public planting, demonstration
plots, developing interest in new flowers, more attention to foundation planting in building
developments and community centres, co-operative or collective buying are a few things the
Association could give active leadership in.

Perhaps too, the emphasis on Horticulture could be lessened a little, to persuade every day gardeners
that Horticultural Societies are not as stiff necked as they may have been half a century ago. The
Ottawa Society is one of the most efficient in the Association but with some guidance and
encouragement not shrouded in tradition could likely double the results of its efforts. Readily accepted
or not, the Association is part of the story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society.




136
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Ottawa Business Houses who have supported
the society
The business houses of Ottawa have loyally supported the Ottawa Horticultural Society in varying
degree and periods and in different ways. Some have used advertising space in prize lists and year
books; others have presented trophies or donated prizes for flower shows; some have done both. Whilst
the efforts of the directorate have been to use discretion in solicitation, for only one project at any one
time, some enthusiastic members may have solicited and at times possibly abused the generosity of
some of its friends.



It is a compliment to the society, or it is so taken, that some business firms have consistently supported
it since its formation; others for periods ranging from five to fifty years; and some perhaps with direct
advantage to themselves and others for the satisfaction derived in indirectly contributing to efforts to
make their city an increasingly beautiful one.



Those listed hereunder supported the society, as noted, from fifteen to over fifty years ago. In some
cases for quite a short period whilst those denoted by * have continued to the present or very recent
years. We would like to think that our members have 19 reciprocated this good will in the fullest
possible measure.



Gave support fifty or more years ago

                                                                                   .....................................................................................................
*............................................................................................................................ Kenneth MacDonald and Sons, Ltd.

                                                                                    .....................................................................................................
............................................................................................................................................................. Murphy Gamble

                                                                                   .....................................................................................................
*........................................................................................................................................... Henry Birks and Son, Ltd.

                                                                                    .....................................................................................................
............................................................................................................................................................... Ormes Limited

                                                                                    * ...................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................................... James Wilson and Son

*..................................................................................................................................................... Chas. Scrim, Florist




19
     Amended from “our membership have”

137
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Gave support forty or more years ago

                                                                                   * ...................................................................................................
*........................................................................................................................James Hope and Son (and successors).

                                                                                   .....................................................................................................
*................................................................................................................................................................... G.L. Myles

                                                                                   * ...................................................................................................
*......................................................................................................................................... A.J. Freiman (Mr.) and Ltd.

                                                                                   .....................................................................................................
*....................................................................................................................................................... A.M. Fitzsimmons

                                                                                   * ...................................................................................................
*............................................................................................................................................. Canada Packing Co., Ltd




Gave support twenty-five or more years ago

                                                                                     * .................................................................................................
..................................................................................................................................................... A.C. Brown, Jeweller

                                                                                     * .................................................................................................
............................................................................................................................................................... Regent Theatre

                                                                                     * .................................................................................................
............................................................................................................................................................. W.C. Pickthorne

*.................................................................................................................................................. Pratt‘s Flower Shoppe
                                                                                    * .................................................................................................

                                                                                    * .................................................................................................
*................................................................................................................................................... John Heney and Sons

                                                                                     ...................................................................................................
*........................................................................................................................................................ W.A. Rankin, Ltd.

                                                                                    * .................................................................................................
*................................................................................................................................................... Gray Harvey Co, Ltd

                                                                                      ...................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................................................Cowan and Page

                                                                                      ...................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................... Sabourin and Henry




Gave support over fifteen years ago

                                                                                      ..................................................................................................
*......................................................................................................................................................... Bank of Montreal

                                                                                       ..................................................................................................
..................................................................................................................................................................... C.M. Petch

                                                                                      * ................................................................................................
...................................................................................................................................................Pritchard and Andrews



138
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Gave support over fifteen years ago

                                                                                      * ................................................................................................
............................................................................................................................................................... Bruce Coal Co.

                                                                                     * ................................................................................................
*............................................................................................................................ Campbell Steel and Iron Works Ltd

                                                                                     * ................................................................................................
*........................................................................................................................................................... Producers Dairy

                                                                                     * ................................................................................................
*.............................................................................................................................................. Welch and Johnston Ltd

                                                                                      ..................................................................................................
*........................................................................................................................................................ D. Kemp Edwards

                                                                                     * ................................................................................................
*........................................................................................................................................................... W.J. Carson Ltd

                                                                                      ..................................................................................................
*.......................................................................................................................................................... J.R. Douglas Ltd

                                                                                       ..................................................................................................
.......................................................................................................................................................... Colonial Furniture



Names of Forms who have supported the Society‘s Year Book or in other ways within the past fifteen
years

           H.L. Allen, Electrical                                                               Builders Sales Limited

           Armstrong and Richardson Ltd.                                                        Bruce Stewart and Co.

           F.W. Argue Limited                                                                   Beechwood Flowers

           Algonquin Nurseries                                                                  Bank of Nova Scotia

           Acme Tree Specialists                                                                Brown‘s Better Flowers

           Albert Street Garage                                                                 Bakers Equipment and Supply

           Broder21 Electric                                                                    Beo. Bolton, Electrical

           Bryson Bros. Ltd                                                                     H.L. Crain, Ltd

           Bryson Graham Limited                                                                Citizen Publishing Company

           J. Buchanan, Shoes                                                                   Chateau Furs

           The Borden Company, Ltd                                                              Coulter‘s Drug Stores




20
     Is this correct?
21
     Browder or Broder? The text says “Browder”.

139
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Names of Forms who have supported the Society‘s Year Book or in other ways within the past fifteen
years

       William Brown, Elora                              Central Dairies Ltd.

       Bradings Breweries Limited                        Corkery‘s Drug Store

       Baillie‘s Flowers                                 F.J. Courtenay Ltd.

       Canadian Industries Limited                       Langfords, Jewellers

       W.J. Carson Ltd.                                  Henry Morgan Ltd

       Cedarvale Tree Experts Ltd.                       McCoy Services Ltd

       Capital Consumers Co-op.                          J.E. Martin

       Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce                Mae‘s Horticultural Service

       C.A. Cruickshank Ltd.                             McFarland and Charboneau

       Colonial Coach Lines                              Morris Hardware

       Camera House                                      Metropolitan Stores

       DeJaeger Bulb Co. Ltd                             Mayne Davis Lumber Co. Ltd

       James Davidson‘s Sons                             Mulligans, Florists

       Dufords Limited                                   Manufacturers Products Ltd

       J.R. Douglas Limited                              Earl Mulholland, Garage

       Dovers Hardware                                   A. McMillan, Jeweller

       Dovers Men‘s Wear                                 Myers Dale Ltd.

       Davis Cameraland                                  Newton‘s Photo Studios

       Dixon Reid Co. Ltd.                               Nesbitts Orange of Canada

       Davis Agency                                      Nettleton‘s Jewellery Ltd.

       E.B. Eddy Co.                                     Ouelette‘s Flowers

       T. Eaton Co. Ltd.                                 Ottawa Electric Street Railway Co.

       Erskine Smith and Co.                             Ottawa Gas Co.

       W.G. Edge Ltd                                     Ottawa Journal


140
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Names of Forms who have supported the Society‘s Year Book or in other ways within the past fifteen
years

       Edgedale Nurseries                                Producers Dairy Limited

       Frith‘s Flowers                                   Plaza Hotel Ltd.

       H.G. Francis and Sons Ltd.                        Proulx, Florist

       Fentimans Limited                                 Photographic Stores, Ltd.

       Fines Flowers Limited                             Cecile Paquette, Florist

       Frazer Duntile Co. Ltd.                           Plant and Anderson

       Green Valley Lumber Co.                           Pepsi Cola

       Green Valley Restaurant                           Parson Refrigerator Service

       Hall Fuel Co.                                     Pure Spring Company

       Hahn‘s Nurseries                                  W.H. Perron and Co. Ltd Montreal

       S & S Higman                                      Wylie R. Rourke

       Hulse and Playfair                                Roto Rooter Service

       Geo. Keith and Sons                               Rosene‘s Electrical Supply

       Chauncey Kirby and Sons                           Royal Bank of Canada

       Kew Gardens Nurseries                             Jack Snow, Jeweller

       Kendon Builder Limited                            Sheridan Nurseries Ltd

       Kelly Leduc, Hull                                 Sherman‘s IGA

       O‘Keefe Brewery Ltd.                              W.H. Smith and Sons

       Lord and Burnham                                  A. Snyder, Tailor

       J.D. Sanderson Co.                                Welland Vale Manufacturing Co.

       Steinbergs                                        Whitehall Glade Restaurant

       Swift Canadian Co. Ltd.                           Warren‘s Men‘s Wear

       Simpson Sears Co. Ltd.                            Westboro Flowers

       Treeland Nursery                                  Woolworth Ltd.


141
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

Names of Forms who have supported the Society‘s Year Book or in other ways within the past fifteen
years

       Taylordale Gardens                                   Zeller‘s Limited

       United Coal Co.




There may have been other firms who at one time or another supported the society in its efforts to help
make Ottawa beautiful, of which record is not available. None have been intentionally omitted.




A.& P. Stores




142
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Odds and Ends
These ‗odds and ends‘ in the main have to do with the Ottawa Horticultural Society or are of related
interest. They have been acquired from various sources: records of the society – the local press – and
the recollections of older people. Their authenticity has not been questioned but as memory does play
tricks with the best of people there may be a question or so about which some one would not agree.
None of the subject matter casts reflections on anyone so it is hoped they will be of interest to readers
and no harm can come of any inaccuracies unintentionally included. Some items may have also been
referred to or repeated in other pages and yet others might perhaps have been better omitted. They are
not in chronological order either, but collectively, will help to recreate the atmosphere and life of the
society over its many years.

The Agriculture and Arts Club, with comparable standing to the later Ontario Horticultural Association
held its Annual Meeting in Ottawa in 1882 as it had also done in 1877. Geo. Graham was Treasurer at
the time. The Graham family took a great deal of interest in the formation of the Ottawa Horticultural
Society and subsequently.

Spring weather of 1893 – the year the society was formed – was very trying for gardeners. A white
frost was reported on May 26th and a killing black frost on May 29th. Despite this farmers were
complaining about scarcity of help.

Arbour Day celebrations, 1893, by the school children of the city which had been set for May 10 th were
postponed. (Later date if any not stated.) The programme that had been prepared included songs about
trees and flowers. There was to have been ‗an interesting talk on trees‘. Tree planting was to be the
main feature. The kindergarten and first and second forms were to plant maples. The third and fourth
forms were to plant oaks. Fifth form was to plant evergreens. The National Tree to be planted with full
ceremony was a maple. This to be followed with ‗three cheers for the principal‘ and then the singing of
‗God Save the Queen‘ to conclude the programme.

A boon to local horticulture in ‗the good old days‘. Said an older member of the society, ‗As a member
of the Post Office Department I enjoyed Civil Service hours in those times from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The first lecture addressed to the society was on the subject of ―Dissemination of the seeds of Noxious
Weeds.‖

A quote: ―The first shows held were rather amateurish. The exhibitors brought their own containers
such as Gem Jars (a trade name, not jam jars), milk bottles, fine china vases and the odd silver one. The
motley appearance of the containers detracted from the fair sized blooms. One of the first society
expenditures was for different sizes of green painted vessels.

The rule that all exhibits must be grown by exhibitors has, in so far as known, been rarely broken. On
those occasions the culprits were suspended. In more recent years there have been times when some
doubt existed about the validity of exhibits, but seldom has action been taken against the – presumed –
transgressor.




143
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
We quote: ―As in all periods, some meetings were not very well attended; at one of them – owing to
the absence of the President and all Directors, and with only a dozen or so in the audience, Mr. Gibson
promised to give his talk at a later date.‖

Nine thousand persons are reported to have attended exhibitions and lectures during 1918. During the
following year the number was estimated to have been eight thousand.

A regular feature of flower shows in the years just prior to the First World War was musical selections.
A three-piece orchestra was engaged to play from eight to ten p.m. at a cost of Ten dollars.

Financial conditions of the society have at times been troublesome. In 1912, for instance, the secretary
was instructed to pay outstanding accounts ―insofar as funds permit‖. However the year ended with a
credit balance of $159.25.

And in the year 1893: Feb 10th. The Gardeners and Florists Club discussed the practical aspects of
growing cauliflowers; and on March 9th the subject, with exhibits, was Brussels Sprouts.

The newly appointed Parks Committee to which the society had taken exception met for a business
session on March 10th ‘93, but as only four members attended the meeting was postponed.

In 1861 Anthony Trollope, a famous author of his day, wrote: ―Ottawa is the Edinburgh of British
North America.‖

Centre Block, Parliament Buildings, burned in 1916. Rebuilt 1917 – 1922 at a cost of Twelve Million
Dollars. Chief of landscaping was a member of the society.

J. MacDonald Oxley said of Ottawa: ―Trees, shrubs, beautiful flower beds, lakes, and rustic bridges
have replaced stretches of unsightly weed-grown land.‖

Local Florists (1893) object to water rates for Greenhouses. Contend that consumption is not so great
as that of many saloons in the City.

Mayor Durocher stated that the Parks Board he had appointed would in the course of their duties visit
all public squares in particular relation to tree planting.

One ‗Good‘ member is reported have solicited and enrolled four hundred and five members. A ‗Good‘
and practical piece of work.

The Rockcliffe ―Rookery‖ area, and the adjacent renowned Daffodil Gardens, which attract many
thousands of visitors each year are among the foremost of Ottawa‘s beauty spots. It may not be
generally known that these lands were donated by the Southam family, who, among their so many good
works, evidenced in a most practical manner their interest in the work done by the Ottawa Horticultural
Society.

The Ottawa Horticultural Society was incorporated under the Agricultural and Arts Act of Ontario,
which distributed grants to horticultural societies. This act was superseded by another Act in 1906, but
retained most of the provisions of the earlier one in so far as horticultural societies were concerned.

In 1899 the Government gave its support to the Ottawa Development Commission which by 1916 had
built fourteen miles of driveways, created two hundred and fifty acres of park lands and had spent one

144
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
and a half million dollars on these and similar projects, including, as stated by Mr. R.B. Whyte,
―Flower Beds of Exquisite Beauty in the City of Ottawa which, with the exception of Quebec, was the
most beautifully situated City in Canada.‖

The local press reported a meeting of the Ottawa ‗District‘ Horticultural Society, May 2 nd 1893. Mr.
Graham of New Edinburgh read a paper on Bedding Plants, and Mr. Taylor of the Experimental Farm
gave an address on Top-Grafting. Lieut. Col. White presided. A resolution was adopted regarding the
planting of trees in the city, and the secretary was instructed to forward a copy of it to the Parks
Commission.

The Florists and Gardeners Club, 1893, formed a committee to call on members who had defected.
Matters concerning an ‗At Home‘ and a Concert were settled amicably.

In 1892 there were three florists in business in the city. Three years later their number had been
increased by five others.

The year the society was formed, the Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley was Governor General. At
the beginning of his term he was Baron Stanley of Preston but assumed the title of Earl Derby on the
occasion of the death of his brother. Hon. John Carling was Minister of Agriculture. Sir John A.
MacDonald was Premier; Thomas Birkett, Mayor; and W.P. Lett was city clerk.

Nights 22 Directory of Ottawa, 1892-93, states that the Gardeners and Florists (sometimes Florests)
Club meet every 2nd Thursday, in Mellen23 Hall, Queen Street. James Sorley, President; James Hickey,
Vice Pres.; John Graham, Treas.; E. Parks, Secretary. The club is frequently mentioned before and after
the present notice. It is noted also that the same names frequently appear in reports of the activities of
the new horticultural society.

It is also noted of the same period that there were four seedsmen in business in Ottawa, yet seventy
years later with several times the population there are only two accredited seed houses, and each of
these not dependent alone on sales of horticulturists supplies, as perhaps they never were. Of course
with the greater freedom of transportation outside competition is much greater.

At an Annual Meeting of the Ladies Auxiliary it was reported that they had enrolled one hundred and
fifteen new members. From the sale of flowers they had been able to donate Eighty Dollars to the
Voluntary Aid Detachment and Sixty Eight Dollars to the Red Cross. The society voted them another
twenty-five dollars to carry on with.

In one particularly busy year in one respect, efforts were made to amend the constitution of the society.
At one meeting four of its eleven articles were subjected to change and four other additions were
proposed.

In the year the society reached its twenty-fifth anniversary (1918) there were nineteen committees
including four for the flower shows. However, they did not have sufficient funds to increase the
secretary‘s honorarium. In the endeavour to increase production of food supplies, the window box



22
     Can‟t identify this. McKnight‟s, maybe?
23
     Could be Hellen

145
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
competition was dropped and the prize money thereof applied to prizes in the vegetable sections of the
shows. It had been proposed to celebrate this twenty-fifth anniversary with the issuing of an historical
booklet, which idea died quietly as being inconsistent with all-out war activity. The death of Mr. E.B.
Whyte that Spring caused other ceremonial measures as a Garden Party to be cancelled.

Vandalism was then as now. The society was asked to do something about ‗the wanton destruction and
theft of plants and flowers‘ in the Victoria Museum grounds. Action was taken and expanded to plants
and shrubs at flowering time in all public and private grounds of the city.

Who remembers Mr. F. Davy, of 12 Le Breton Street, who exhibited four tomatoes, one weighing 17 ½
ounces, the total weight being four pounds.

Recently we received advertising matter for tomato seed to produce Super-Mammoth Tomatoes, each
to weigh not less than three pounds and grow to the size of a large grapefruit, about eighteen inches
around.

In 1908 the society is reported to have distributed 22,000 bulbs, 12,000 plants and climbers as well as a
large quantity of seed. Monthly meetings gave instruction of how to sow and how to reap.

It was estimated that the society distributed $25,000 worth of planting material during its first twenty-
four years.

In earlier years the tendency was to plant in rows rather than clumps as now favoured. Emphasis was to
grow more perennial plants.

Rock Gardens were not in favour at the turn of the century period. Lady Byng created an interest in
them by having one built at Rideau Hall.

A Lady Grey Medal, engraved for Mr. D.C. Chamberlain, a garden contest winner in 1911 and for
some reason unclaimed, now rests in the archives of the society.

Many of the open social functions at Government House during the tenure of the Ladies Minto and
Grey usually included eight or so invitations to officers and members of the Ottawa Horticultural
Society, where one or more were frequently given a place of honour.

A conservative estimate, allowing about five years as an average period of membership in good
standing, indicates that fifteen thousand or more citizens of Ottawa have held membership in the
society. Calculating a nominal expenditure per member each year on horticultural supplies it is not
difficult to estimate that the society has been in part or directly the cause for sale of several millions of
dollars worth of merchandise incidental to their avocation, most of which was purchased locally. Some
merchants freely acknowledge this and co-operate in its work. Others grudgingly so, and others seem
to wish to be entirely unaware of it or more specifically, not to be reminded of it.

A small horticultural incident is said to have created a rift between friends that lasted for years. The
parties, both well known in associated local business, disagreed over the country of origin of the
―American Beauty‖ Rose. Tempers were aroused, money changed hands and one-time friends took a
long time to settle their dispute, if they ever did. Was it in England or the United States? We have the
answer, on the best of authority and so probably have you, so we decline to argue about it.



146
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Eight public meetings between mid January and mid April is probably a record achievement for the
society. Subjects covered were Palms and Geraniums; Propagation; Control of Insects; Hot beds and
Cold frames; Veranda and Window Boxes; Peonies, Spireas, Lilies, Iris, and other.

From the minutes of one busy directors meeting: A letter concerning arrears of $15.00 due the Ontario
Horticultural Association was ordered filed. As most of the meetings this year were held in the
Carnegie Library Hall, the caretaker was to receive $5.00 for his services. Objection was raised to
paying $8.50 prize money because exhibits were reported not to have been grown by the exhibitor.
However the supposed offender was paid.

Before the days of 2,4-D and since, and repeated through the society until very recent years: ―There is
no entirely satisfactory way of eradicating dandelions from lawns.‖ ―It can‘t be done‖ idea must still
prevail with quite a number of our city‘s lawn growers.

For some years before the turn of the century, non-competitive exhibits were shown in the Carnegie
Library Hall. The evidence is that money prizes were not offered in this or other phases of the society‘s
activities. When money prizes were introduced a number of exhibitors declined to be party to
‗commercialization of their hobby.‘

A membership committee wanted to ‗go modern‘ and install an up to date Card Index system. This was
not approved. Meanwhile the city was divided into six districts for a membership campaign but at a
subsequent meeting ‗so few were present that no action was taken.‘

Our Ladies Committee wanted more funds, but as they had some left from the previous year the request
was denied. The same committee seems to have run into considerable difficulty with their flower
distribution plans.

Suitable vases for flower shows are difficult to obtain. The proposal to get some from the Mines
Branch, which was then promoting a Pottery, did not provide a solution. Sufficient for one special
occasion were borrowed.

A lot of time was taken over the question of selection and adoption of a Provincial Flower for Ontario.
The Peony, Aquilegia and Trillium were all considered and it was decided to invite public opinion on
the matter at Conventions and elsewhere. As we now know, the Trillium was decided upon.

In July of one year, seven hundred members and guests attended the Experimental Farm. The Ladies
Auxiliary provided and served refreshments.

On one occasion, six hundred members were received by Their Excellencies at Government House.
Lady Ann Cavendish, their youngest daughter, was elected an Honorary President of the society. Tea
was served in the Ball Room. Group photographs were taken which included Their Excellencies and
family. (Reproduction of a photograph of two groups is to be found elsewhere in these pages.)

A local garden, replete with fruit trees, bushes, canes and plants is now not readily found. In the years
before such extensive transportation systems and huge canning and freezing enterprises, where possible,
the household grew its own fruits for preserving and only of necessity used imported evaporated
products. Literature and exhibits at the shows of those days call attention to the change from abundant
home-grown fruits and vegetables which have declined in importance through the years until now it is
only tradition that retains a very few vegetable classes and no fruit exhibits in our present day shows.


147
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
A pencilled note on the back of a form letter dated May 6th 1908 will have a familiar, perhaps nostalgic
recollection for some older men ―11 Collars, 2 Cuffs, 3 Shirts‖ - particularly the second item.

Before the days of African Violets – if you can remember that far – Calceolarias, Minimus Musk, Ivy
Leaf and scented Geranium, Primulas, and Fuchsias were favourite house plants. Marjoram, Thyme,
Sage, Dill and other ‗herbs‘ for medicinal use and ‗‘savouring‘ were grown in a secluded spot in the
average garden. Small fruits as Currants – Red-Black and white, Raspberries, Strawberries and
Blackberries (wild) were abundant in season, and at least one each Damson, Plum24, Apple, Pear and
Quince tree was found in most gardens with maybe a Filbert, Chestnut or Cob-nut bush or tree in the
bordering row. Gardening included so much more, fifty or so years ago.

The society took some part in the Manotick Centennial Celebrations a few years ago. Frederick Pain,
one of its past presidents, acted as judge in the village wide garden competition, and also dedicated the
―Millstone Memorial‖ situated in a small part which the Manotick Horticultural Society had
undertaken to develop as a community enterprise. Although quite small, this ideally situated spot, high
above the river and the old mill dam has since received significant interest and may in time become an
area of substantial magnitude and historical importance.

One of the most successful Daffodil Shows held by the society was staged through the then Principal of
Fisher Park High School, Mr. W.B. Wallen, who led a discussion on the culture of Spring flowers and
provided further entertainment with the assistance of students from that scholastic institution.

An ancient Oriental legend tells of the young Persian – Ferhad – who fell deeply in love with the
beautiful maiden Shirin. But the lovely Shirin spurned the youth. Broken-hearted Ferhad wandered far
out into the desert and wept for his lost love. As he wept, each tear that struck the desert sands burst
into a most magnificent flower – a Tulip. From that day on, these tear-bred blossoms have become the
symbol of the Perfect Love. The fruits of Ferhad‘s tears were taken to Holland in the sixteenth century.
There the Tulip, and other bulbs, found their true home.

For a number of years after the demise of Mr. R.B. Whyte, each society flower show was made
additionally attractive with a goodly display of flowers presented by Mrs. Whyte. Although at that time
bulbs were quite scarce and difficult to acquire, her displays at the tulip shows were remarkably
beautiful ones.

At the shows during the years 1918 to 1921, the Ladies Auxiliary of the society supplied flowers for a
special table which were there sold to Visitors, the proceeds being given to the Infants Home or other
charitable organization.

During most of the years of Mr. Macoun‘s interest in the society the appearance of most shows was
stimulated with seasonal displays from the Experimental Farm.

The Ontario Horticultural Association annual report for nineteen fifteen illustrates on page one-o-six an
excellent design for an ―Award of Merit‖.

Any reference made to money, as the membership fee of one dollar or the amounts of prize money
given or grants received, or the value of ‗Free‘ Options should be considered in the purchasing value of


24
     Should that be “Damson, Plum” or “Damson Plum”?

148
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
the dollar at the time of such reference. There are still many who remember that at the turn of the
century in Ottawa, at which time a labourer was paid seventy-five cents to one dollar per day of eleven
or twelve hours work. A tradesman or artisan would receive ten to twelve dollars weekly for fifty or
more paid hours, with no sick or unemployment benefits or paid holidays. Supervisory personnel and
professional workers were paid more but twenty five dollars per week was a goodly wage or salary. In
1914, the pay of a Private in the Armed Services was increased to One Dollar per day – and allowances.
An Officer received three dollars upwards. A Dollar may still be a Dollar by ……?




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society




Selected Verses of Horticultural Theme

This selection of Verse has been included, not that it has any particular significance in the story of the Ottawa Hortic
themselves unable to put sentiments into words. For some this verse will enrich the theme of these
pages, combining beauty of thought with beauty attained by physical cultural work, and thereby
supplementing the pleasures of gardening.



                       Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too.25

                       Unconscious of a less propitious clime,

                       There blooms exotic beauty, warm and snug,

                       While the winds whistle and the snows descend.

                       The spiry myrtle with unwithering leaf

                       Shines there and flourishes. The golden boast

                       Of Portugal and western India there,

                       The ruddier orange, and the paler lime,

                       Peep through their polish'd foliage at the storm,

                       And seem to smile at what they need not fear.

                       The amomum there with intermingling flowers

                       And cherries hangs her twigs. Geranium boasts

                       Her crimson honours; and the spangled beau,

                       Ficoides, glitters bright the winter long.

                       All plants, of every leaf that can endure

                       The winter's frown, if screen'd from his shrewd bite,



25
  NOTE: I copied the Cowper poem from the Internet instead of retyping it from the manuscript; there are a few
minor differences.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
                      Live there, and prosper.

                                 .......................................................................................................................................



                                 ―And round about he taught sweet flowers to grow‖

                                 .......................................................................................................................................




A Garden Song26
HERE in this sequester'd close

Bloom the hyacinth and rose,

Here beside the modest stock

Flaunts the flaring hollyhock;

Here, without a pang, one sees

Ranks, conditions, and degrees.



All the seasons run their race
                                                                                   The White Trillium27
In this quiet resting-place;

Peach and apricot and fig                                                          Trillium graceful, Trillium white,
                                                                                   Star of the woodland, Lady of light
Here will ripen and grow big;
                                                                                   Lo, how she proudly
Here is store and overplus,—                                                       Stands in the glade,
                                                                                   Tri-sceptred sovereign,
More had not Alcinoüs!                                                             Queen of the shade.
                                                                                   Stately she rises,
                                                                                   Slender-stemmed, tall,




26
     Copied from he Internet
27
     Copied from a web page.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
                                                                       Gracious response to Spring's early call,
Here, in alleys cool and green,                                        Lifting three leaf-arms
                                                                       High from the sod,
Far ahead the thrush is seen;                                          Gazing with pure face up at her god.
Here along the southern wall
                                                                       Milena Matcska
Keeps the bee his festival;

All is quiet else—afar

Sounds of toil and turmoil are.



Here be shadows large and long;

Here be spaces meet for song;

Grant, O garden-god, that I,

Now that none profane is nigh,—

Now that mood and moment please,—

Find the fair Pierides!

The little brown bulbs went Henry Austin Dobson
                               to sleep in the ground,28
In their little brown nighties they slept very sound,
And Winter he raged and he roared overhead,
But never a bulb turned over in bed.
But when Spring came tip-toeing over the lea,
Her finger on lip, just as still as could be,
The little brown bulbs at the very first tread
All split up their nighties and jumped out of bed.

(AUTHOR UNKNOWN.)




―The garden of content is cultivated in the mind.‖




28
     Copied from a web page – very close, but slightly different formatting.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

          A Garden29

          See how the flowers, as at parade,

          Under their colours stand display‘d:

          Each regiment in order grows,

          That of the tulip, pink, and rose.

          But when the vigilant patrol

          Of stars walks round about the pole,

          Their leaves, that to the stalks are
          curl‘d,

          Seem to their staves the ensigns
          furl‘d.



          Unhappy! shall we never more                                          The Picture of Little T.C. in a Prospect
                                                                                of Flowers30
          That sweet militia restore,

          When gardens only had their towers,
                                                                                See     with     what      simplicity
          And all the garrisons were flowers;                                   This nymph begins her golden days!

          When roses only arms might bear,                                      In the green grass

          And men did rosy garlands wear?                                       she loves to lie,

          Andrew Marvel (1621-78)                                               And there

          Written after the Civil Wars                                          with    her     fair    aspect tames
                                                                                The wilder flowers, and gives them
                                                                                names;
                                                                                But only with the roses

                                                                                plays,
                                                                                And         them        does        tell



29
     Copied from a web page, but omitted the section that Pain omitted in his manuscript.
30
  Again, taken from a web page. Pain has attributed it to “anon”, but many sources identify it as the work of
Andrew Marvel.

153
        The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
                                                                                What colour best becomes them, and
                                                                                what smell.

                                                                                Andrew Marvel (1621-78)



"And first of all the Rose, because its breath

Is rich beyond the rest; and, when it dies,

It doth bequeath a charm to sweeten death."



                                                        Go make thy garden fair as thou canst-

                                                        Thou workest never alone;

                                                        Perchance he whose plot is next to thine

                                                        Will see it, and mend his own.

                                                        Elizabeth Rundle Charles




                                         See Grandpa, my flower, she cried;

                                         I found it in the grasses.

                                         And with a kindly smile, the sage

                                         Surveyed it through his glasses



                                         ―Oh Yes‖ he said, ―involucrate,

                                         Corolla gamopetalous, composite,

                                         Exorgenous, a pretty specimen it is,

                                         Taraxacum dens-leonis‖




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

                                She took the blossom back again,

                                Her face a wistful eye on;

                                ―I thought‖ she said with quivering lip,

                                It was a dandelion.‖




                        My Neighbour‘s Flowers



                        They‘re my neighbour‘s flowers at our party line,

                        And though owned by him, they are also mine;

                        They bloom for me, and are for me as fair,

                        As for the one who gives them so much care.



                        Theirs was the cost, and theirs the labour too,

                        But mine as well as theirs the loveliness to view;

                        Thus I am rich, because such good friends grew,

                        A wealth of flowers within their neighbour‘s view.



                        I knew from this that others plant for me,

                        And what they grow, my joy may also be to see;

                        So why be sad, unhappy, when so much that‘s grand

                        Is grown to share with us upon another person‘s land.




The original verses from which this was adapted quoted ―Roses‖ instead of ―Flowers‖. An
accompanying note stated ―These lines also apply equally to the commonest flower grown‖. It also


155
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
added hat the author, Mr. Grube, was a lawyer who became rich in deeds of kindness to his fellow man.
At his funeral (prior to 1916) the police were forced to close the doors of the church, the crowd was so
great. Dr. Work, during the solemn service read ―My Neighbour‘s Roses‖ while standing beside the
lifeless form.

___________________________



                              City Beautiful . . . .



                              He called for a City Beautiful

                              He wanted a city that would be fair

                              Where filth and such would never be seen,

                              And forgot in spite of all else he‘d done

                              To keep his ―back-yard‖ clean.

                              From verses by S.J. Pearce, London, 1907



                              ―God‘s first gift to man was a garden.‖



                              ―God spoke and from the arid scene

                              Sprang rich and verdant bowers,

                              Till all the earth was soft and green

                              He smiled; and there were flowers.‖



                              ―And Adam was a Gardener‖

                              Shakespeare




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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

                             The Peony                                            PEONY31
                                                                                  "Pionia virtutem habet occultam."
One called Sho Yo, most beautiful
                                                                                  ................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................. In legend, song and art,
                                                                                        Carman, Bliss, (1861-1929)
Known in the days of gods and man

For healing virtues practised then
                                                                                  Arnoldus Villanova
By Paeon on Olympus high
                                                                                  Six hundred years ago
Where Pluto wounded fled to die
                                                                                  Said Peonies have magic,
But Paeon skilled in herbs and roots
                                                                                  And I believe it so.
Soon had the great god in his boots,

But then was Paeon sore oppressed
                                                                                  There stands his learned dictum
By envious Aesculapius,
                                                                                  Which any boy may read,
Who sought his death in secret plot
                                                                                  But he who learns the secret
That Pluto foiled upon the spot
                                                                                  Will be made wise indeed.
By changing Paeon to a flower

Which bears his name by his great power
                                                                                        She hath a deep-hid virtue
............................................................................................................................................. And deeply grateful heart.
                                                                                        No other flower hath.

                                                                                  When summer comes rejoicing
Now when we read this kindly tale
                                                                                        A-down my garden path,
............................................................................................................................................... That ancient myth recall,
                                                                                        In opulence of color,
On hearts of man of the Sho Yo flower
                                                                                        In robe of satin sheen,
Who still reigns with a sovereign right;
                                                                                        She casts o'er all the hours
In Flora‘s kingdom fair and bright,
                                                                                        Her sorcery serene.
Though rose and lily each may sue



31
     Copied from a website, but omits the verses that Pain leaves out.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

For honours awarded a chosen few;

And iris and columbine demand                                                   By many names we call her,--

An entrée to the favoured band                                                  Pale exquisite Aurore,

For colour, substance, grace and form,                                          Luxuriant Gismonda

For fragrance and elusive charm                                                 Or sunny Couronne d'Or.

We choose the peony from the host                                               What matter,--Grandiflora,

For fear one will deny our boast                                                A queen in some proud book,

....................................................................................................................................... ―Most beautiful‖ flower of all.
                                                                                        Or sweet familiar Piny

                                                                                With her old-fashioned look?



                                                                                And many a mystic flower

                                                                                Of the wildwood I have known,

                                                                                But Pionia Arnoldi

                                                                                Hath a transport all her own.

                                                                                For Peony, my Peony,

                                                                                Hath strength to make me whole,--

                                                                                She gives her heart of beauty

                                                                                For the healing of my soul.



                                                                                Arnoldus Villanova,

                                                                                Though earth is growing old,

                                                                                As long as life has longing

                                                                                Your guess at truth will hold.

                                                                                Still works the hidden power

                                                                                After a thousand springs,--



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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society

                                                       The medicine for heartache

                                                       That lurks in lovely things.




If you would have a mind at peace,                   ―Give me a garden well kept,

A heart that cannot harden,                          however small, two or three

Go find a door that opens wide                       Spreading trees, and a mind

Upon a little garden                                 at ease, and I defy the world.‖

                                                     Human Life




AND A FEW “QUOTES”


         ―Gardening besides the emotions of beauty, by means of regularity, order, proportion, colour
         and utility, can raise emotions of grandeur, or sweetness, or gaiety, melancholy, wildness, and
         even of surprise and wonder.‖

                                                                                 Eighth Century Writer.



         ―What a marvellous link a garden is between man and nature. A plane on which we all meet,
         and everyone is in sympathy. The love of a garden purifies a man‘s mind.‖

                                                                                               Milman.



         ―Some say Tulips have no souls. They are brave gaudy folk, a trifle opinionated and conceited
         but they bring the joy of colour into our gardens and they open so graciously to the sun, and
         drink in the splendour of life.‖

                                                                                               Milman.



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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Gardening is like all the important and most of the delightful things of life32, worth while only when you do it yours
of the manifold delights and dismays in the outwardly mild avocation of gardening for fun. Actually it
is a furious and nerve-straining pastime. A sixteenth of an acre can furnish space for violent exercise
and virtually all human emotions.

John Day.

Who sows a field, or plants a flower, or plants a tree, is more than all.

Whittaker



A flower leaps to life – the quiet clod has uttered music;

Noiselessly a tree flings forth green song; beauty whispers to the listening heat - -



I walk down the garden paths, and all the Daffodils are blowing.

Amy Lowell.



Spring is a symphony of Dogwood and Azaleas.




32
     Manuscript says “like”.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Tulip Time in Ottawa

Tulip Time in Ottawa is one of great attraction to visitors. The Society has been host on numerous
occasions to parties sponsored by Horticultural Societies from all sections of the Province. Single bus
loads are relatively frequent and there is occasionally a mass invasion of twenty five or more busses
loaded with people wishing to see for themselves the colourful masses of Tulips which are to be
viewed from many miles of driveways maintained by the Federal Government which is a part only of
many plans to make Canada‘s Capital City one of exceeding charm and beauty.

As the society provides informed local members to accompany its guests on tours of the city the
secretary thought it advisable to have an itinerary prepared in order that guides could show the greatest
number of attractive places with the minimum mileage. This was particularly useful on one occasion in
the mid ‗fifties when eight hundred visitors from societies in Districts No‘s 1, 2 and 3, affiliates of the
Ontario Horticultural Association descended on the city and society one Saturday afternoon for sight
seeing purposes. The itinerary is reproduced in full as still covering most of what is to be seen Tulip-
wise in and about the city. Other attractions have been completed in recent years also very worthy of a
visitors attention, some of interest at Tulip-time and others when the weather can be expected to be a
little more congenial. To mention a few of them includes an extension of the Gatineau Driveway; The
Interprovincial Gardens project on Wellington Street a few hundred yards West of the Parliament
Buildings; The Vincent Massey Park to the South; Several new Government Buildings, East, West and
South, which may not have an abundance of tulips at present, but are very pleasing from a landscaping
interest. To repeat, the following is for Tulip lovers who may on the tour learn much of other places of
interest as they pass by the beauty spots. Time required to complete the distance, at viewing speed, four
hours.

A convenient place to start is from the Main Lawn, near the Administration Building at the Central
Experimental Farm. First, visit the tulip collections at the Horticultural Division, nearby. If you have a
guide he will be able to give some interesting information about the Experimental Farm. Then head for
the Dominion Arboretum and Botanic Garden across the Prescott Highway and travel round the circle
in the Arboretum taking note of the Vista views and return through the Elm Driveway, through the
centre of the Farm, past the Tulip plantings on Carling Avenue; turn right on Carling to Preston, noting
the Civic Hospital, the Science Service Building, and the buildings of the Department of Mines. Turn
right at Preston, towards Dow‘s Lake, taking note of H.M.C.S. Carleton. Turn left here and continue
along the Driveway – past the main tulip beds and under the Bronson Avenue Bridge where mention
may be made of this main North-South artery and of the Division of the Driveway on both sides of the
Canal Continue under Bank Street Bridge, pass the Central Canada Exhibition Grounds, where the
second largest Fair in Canada is held on to Pretoria Bridge, noting St. Patrick‘s College and a glimpse
of the Victoria Museum. From here proceed under which at the time of record is the Elgin Street
subway to be replaced in a year or so by one which will underpass the cross-town ―Queensway‖.
Through the subway, turn right on to the Driveway, Tiffany Apartments on the left and note Tulip beds
as you go along with the Ottawa University Building across the Canal and Lisgar Collegiate on the left.
If time permits describe the historical significance of the Canal. Turn left of the Drill Hall and thence to
Laurier Avenue where a sharp right turn is made. Crossing the Bridge mention may be made of
Roxborough Apts., First Baptist Church, Customs Building, Police Station and Court House, the


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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
Mackenzie King Bridge (and who was Mackenzie King) and the Parliament Hill skyline. Continuing
East, passing more of the Ottawa University Buildings the Sacred Heart and St. Joseph‘s Churches, All
Saints Church and Laurier House. – home of Sir Wilfred Laurier and the Rt. Hon. Mackenzie King and
now a museum. As you turn left at the Eastern end of Laurier Avenue, note Strathcona Park and
Fountains and the Embassy of the U.S.S.R. Now on Charlotte Street, named after a Royal personage
and not the incomparable Mayor of Ottawa - also a Princess, but an Honorary Indian one. Turn right at
Rideau Street for one block then left on to Wurtemburg Street – where resided the first President of the
Ottawa Horticultural Society, the house now occupied by an Embassy. (As practical and known, call
attention to the many embassies that will be passed.) MacDonald Park is to the left. Next is presently
the home of the New Zealand High Commissioner, at the end of the street turn right over St. Patrick‘s
Bridge, across the Rideau River along Beachwood Avenue to Springfield Road. Passing Maple Lane
may be noted the home and garden of Mr. Sam Short, a charter member of the society, in his ninety
sixth year at the time of writing, on to Mariposa Avenue, Rockcliffe Village, turn right here to Acacia
Ave., and left on Acacia past Stornoway House bought for the use of the Leader of Her Majesty‘s
Opposition, then past two Embassy residences to the Rockcliffe Rock Gardens, donated by the
Southam Family, who were very strong supporters of the Society. Near by are the Daffodil fields
several acres of this flower with a back drop of most attractive Rock Gardens. Join the Driveway again,
note the Gatineau vista, the New Edinburgh Canoe Club - Home on the left is what was the residence
of Senator Carine Wilson, for a number of years an honorary President of the society. Near by is the
residence of the United States Ambassador and that of the Ambassador of Norway, being just outside
of Government House grounds. Enter these grounds by Lisgar Road entrance (with guards permission)
and to the parking area at the East of the House. If permitted to view the Rock Gardens and Tulip beds
will be found to be very attractive. (Reference to Government House interest in the society occurs
several times in these pages.) Continuing through the grounds via the main driveway and through the
gateway turn left on to Sussex Avenue, with the home of the South African Commissioner on the left
and the home of the Prime Minister of Canada on the right. Close by is the Embassy of France.
Crossing the two Bridges the Ottawa City Hall will be seen on the left and the National Research
Building on the Right. Here too are Rideau Falls where the Rideau River literally falls into the Ottawa
River which is viewed at this point, across which will be seen the Gatineau Hills in Quebec Province.
Next, on the right is Earnescliffe, home of the High Commissioner of Great Britain and formerly the
home of Canada‘s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald. The railed in enclosure next seen is the
Royal Mint, the National Archives being next almost adjoining. To the left is the Ottawa General
Hospital and the War museum opposite. In order from here may be noted Nepean Point with statue of
Champlain. (Here it is at present contemplated to build a National War Memorial on or about the site
of the old Printing Bureau.) Majors Hill Park is nearby, associated with Cpl. By and the Rideau Canal.
At the end of what is proposed to build ‗a mile of history‘ for the coming Canada‘s Centennial Year,
the National Revenue Building, the Daly Building, and making a turn to the right the Union Station
may be seen on the left and the Chateau Laurier on the right. Continuing through Confederation
Square – note War Memorial – to Parliament Hill entering via the West Gate of East Block entrance
where the Prime Ministers offices are located, past the Main Parliament Buildings and Peace Tower,
with a stop to view the structure of the National Library at back ot main buildings, and the many
statues to be noted. Leaving by the West Gate various imposing government office buildings will be
noted and that of the Metropolitan Life Building, the Bank of Canada and in the near distance the site
of the Interprovincial Gardens earlier referred to.

From here on it is a matter of choice how best to get back to the starting place. Whichever route taken
there will be places of interest if not of tulip beds. If the visit has been timed to visit the society‘s Tulip
Show an hour or so will be well spent there. In all Ottawa is a delightful place to visit.

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The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
The occasion for which this itinerary was originally prepared was a memorable day for all who were
privileged to take part in it.




163
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society


Looking To The Future
The future cannot be foretold. To prognosticate is but to guess as shrewdly as possible on a basis of
past experience and intelligent appreciation of what is happening in all that concerns the subject.

Horticulture in its wider sphere must continue to expand to supply mankind with necessities such as
those that have been produced in relative abundance by horticultural society members in the past for
continuing to find more and more outlets for the energy once bestowed on this particular avocation. It
will be through increasingly larger scale operations as demanded by modern economics and trade that
the amateur horticulturist will become year by year more difficult to find. Already his garden areas are
being taken over with driveways, garages, patios, swimming pools and outdoor living space. The
increased tempo of living which makes it more and more difficult to stay at home will further increase.
A larger percentage of citizens will occupy a lesser number of buildings. These apartment houses, as
well as factories and homes will continue to trend of foundation plantings to decorative shrubbery with
few flowers that need much attention. Although the average person will have more and yet more
leisure hours, care of lawns will be done with powered equipment and less interest. Certain ground
coverings including slow growing grass may become more popular. Present day youth attending
schools where anything appertaining to growing things is rarely mentioned cannot be expected to
become enthusiasts about such pursuits. They will beget another generation who will know even less
and therefore care less about soil cultivation as a hobby or recreation. There will be those that will
follow through from a professional view point which occupation will become as fully mechanized and
changed that there will be little resemblance to present day methods.

What about the future of Horticultural Societies the Ottawa one in particular. Whatever predictions are
made can only be made in appreciation of what is happening and the trend taken in horticulture. One
related factor is that as business houses become incorporated into larger organizations the horticultural
society will diminish accordingly. Almost everywhere the business support from the proprietor has
been the continuing friend and often supporter of the horticultural society – in Ottawa particularly so.

These pages illustrate that except for three of so periods of national emergency, membership in the
society had not been commensurate with the number of citizens engaged in home gardening projects
not have the materials as well as the cultural attractions offered to have them become members. It may
well have provided justifiable results been the influx of these members attracted by material gifts rather
than real horticultural interest that discouraged many ardent amateur horticulturists who saw in this
sublimation of real art to what after all is quite a different but related phase of horticulture as they
would see it. As stated, youth is not being encouraged in the art or its practical aspects, and with so
many counter attractions it is not likely that it will be a very sure source of future memberships. Adults
too, with an ever increasing better standard of living find it much easier and cheaper to buy flowers,
fruits and vegetables and with a great deal less effort, although he may spend it on other attractions.

With sufficient effort to enrol replacement members the society can be expected to continue through
the lifetime of present day adults, but if longer it will be as a coterie of professional horticulturists,
dedicated amateurs with others who may consider themselves to be so. As all things change, so must
the society. Within a few decades this story of the society may be the only fairly complete record of the
vast amount of time and energy put into a forgotten avocation, that of growing things non-
professionally whose devotees formed and maintained the Ottawa Horticultural Society.


164
The Story of the Ottawa Horticultural Society
In decorative art nothing can fully replace flowers, but the excellence of artificial flowers has its impact
on the use of cultivated ones. Shown a very artistic decorative feature quite recently a professional
horticulturist remarked: ―Even at this distance you can see that they are not garden blooms‖. Which
does not do away with the fact that they are finding a place in home decorations. There is also the
possibility that an aggregation of organisations may merge their interests to contrive an horticultural
section if only as an assistance to fashion shows and other functions. . or it may be that dramatic
interest will be shown in some other floral specimen such as has characterized the African Violet for a
number of years, but with even greater intensity. A ‗live‘ or imaginative society could periodically
create such an interest and prolong its life for quite a lengthy period.




165

				
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