By Mike Pearson, News staff
If you’ve got a green thumb and you’re looking for something to do on Wednesdays, the Winona Horticultural Society wants you.
One of Hamilton’s oldest, continuously operating horticultural societies is still going strong after 85 years.
Founded in 1929, the society predates similar groups in Ancaster and Flamborough. The Stoney Creek Garden Club and Horticultural Society is three years older, but unlike its crosstown counterparts, the Winona group has never been inactive, as the Stoney Creek society was between 1940 and 1955.
Gerrie Loveys, Winona Horticultural Society co-president, said the society was born shortly after the Great Depression when area residents were struggling with job losses and food shortages. The horticultural society responded by organizing and planting community vegetable gardens.
The group’s focus has changed over the years, but the hort society continues to foster a love of gardening among people of all ages. The society is now hoping to get involved with local school groups.
Recently, members have conducted presentations and hand-on activities at local retirement and long term care homes.
“Seniors miss their gardens,” said Loveys. “And that’s been very popular. We help them plant their planters, we did a presentation on gardening in general and then there was another presentation about the development of a garden.”
About 30 members and guests attended an 85th anniversary celebration last Saturday at Winona Park. Guest speaker Lizzie Matheson demonstrated floral arrangement techniques using Gerber daises, roses and greenery.
Examples of the Winona Horticultural Society’s work can be viewed throughout Winona in flower beds carefully maintained by society volunteers. Notable sites are Winona Road and Highway 8, the Winona post office and St. John’s Anglican Church.
The society also meets at St. John’s on the third Wednesday of each month, from May to September. In June, the group embarks on an annual garden tour. This year they stayed close to home with a visit to Puddicombe Estate Farms and Winery.
“Things are more and more expensive but we try to keep our membership costs down,” said Loveys.
While there are no meetings in July or August, the society is busy preparing for the Winona Peach Festival from Aug. 22-24. Volunteers will be selling plants and garden-related items at the event again this year.