The Tenterfield Horticultural Society is celebrating its 90th anniversary at a celebratory lunch on Saturday, November 9, including past judges and Garden Clubs of Australia president George Hoag.
George Woolnough's claim to fame extends beyond being the Tenterfield Saddler and Peter Allen's grandfather. He was also one of the founders of the society back in 1929. While records of the society's history are patchy (the committee would love to hear from anyone with information), past patrons include green thumb Fred Bailey, Iris Cowan and Sarah Bruxner (mother of Michael), who also hand a hand in the beautification of Bruxner Park.
Carol Hurtz and husband Rod joined the society as a couple more than 30 years ago, perhaps not quite newlyweds but with a joint love of flowers they wished to build on.
Their speciality is dahlias and Carol said they didn't know too much about them in the first few years when they started exhibiting, but learnt much through club members who were willing to share their knowledge.
She said it was a strong club back then, although probably with fewer members than the society enjoys today. Many of those members have since passed on and she feels the average age of the group has decreased, in contrast to many other community groups.
In those days the society had just the two shows, spring and autumn, which it continues today although the ongoing drought forced a cancellation of the spring show this year. The society is hopeful of rain before the autumn show, however, with the Hurtz dahlias throwing a few shoots now.
The Hurtzes had young children back in then, limiting their participation, but Carol recalls the floral art classes run by Mrs Vi Armstrong, and Iris Cowen proved to be a great mentor. She said everyone 'knew a bit' and were happy to contribute to the communal pool of knowledge.
"We learnt as we went along."
The society's flower section at the Tenterfield Show was then just a corner of the Main Pavilion, but members were happy to take over what is now known as the Flower Pavilion when it was no longer required for Rural Youth around 25 years ago.
Carol feels that of the many shows she and Rod travel to, Tenterfield has the best pavilion and shows.
Flower trends have changed over the intervening years but roses and dahlias remain perennial favourites. Carol has witnessed the popularity of floral art go up and down over that period, with recent visits from Glen Innes's Irene McIndoe motivating members to explore this medium. Again Carol feels Tenterfield shows shine in this regard.
Carol's looking forward to the anniversary luncheon, and hopefully the opportunity to catch up with modern day society icons like Hilda Corney, Betty Inglis, Teenie Dove and Phyllis Burton, who could always be counted on to arrive at shows with armfuls of flowers.
Mrs McIndoe is organising flower arrangements for the occasion, for what promises to be a colourful and classy affair.