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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 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 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.1 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. 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 1 Does anyone know what this means??? 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 when2 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 2 This word added. 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. 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 under discussion 3 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 3 This is just a guess as to what was intended; it replaces a single word that I was entirely unable to decifer. 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 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. Moderately successful, they did not have the same impact4 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. 4 Just a guess; I don’t know what was intended here. 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”. 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.5 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 5 This word added by the typist. 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. 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 6were 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 6 A guess as to what was meant; the words aren’t clear. 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 Stanley7, 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 7 Corrected; the manuscript says “Fort Stanley” 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 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 the 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 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. 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 OHA8 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 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. 8 Says OHS, but wasn’t the award presented by the OHA??? 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. 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.
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