Every spring, the planters in downtown Huntsville are transformed from mere soil to beautiful beds brimming with life, and its all thanks to volunteers from the Huntsville Horticultural Society.
Thirteen volunteers were out in the sweltering heat on Monday, June 7 to accomplish this year’s task, one the society has met with enthusiasm for decades.
“The Huntsville Horticultural Society has a long tradition of planting the downtown beds. Our mandate is to beautify Huntsville and to expand people’s horticultural knowledge. It’s something just to give back to the community,” said society president, Debora Marshall.
This year’s planting was planned, organized, and coordinated with the Town by the society’s downtown beautification chairpersons, Terri Yocom and Jessie Snell.
The Huntsville Horticultural Society donates the flowers and the labour for seven raised beds downtown plus the gardens at Huntsville Public Library. The Town’s parks department maintains the beds once they’ve been planted, although in 2020, due to staffing restrictions during the pandemic, they were unable to make that commitment and the society’s members took it on themselves rather than see the beds stay empty for the season.
The Huntsville Horticultural Society is 96 years old — it was established in 1925 and has been planting public gardens in Huntsville in some form ever since. The centennial garden near the train station was originally planted and maintained by the society before it was taken over by the Town, but a few years ago members of the Junior Horticultural Society replanted it as a pollinator patch, noted Marshall. The society also once planted the gardens by the swing bridge, among others.
Nancy Huttenlochner (left) and Rosemary McGuire gave life to these West Street N planters (Dawn Huddlestone)
Normally an active club with many meetings, workshops, and events throughout the year, the society has had to meet via Zoom since the start of the pandemic. They look forward to resuming in-person activities soon, and hope the many people who have turned to — or returned to — their gardens for solace or fun while COVID-19 restrictions have been in place will join them.
Annual membership in the Huntsville Horticultural Society is $10 for individuals, $15 for families, or $2 for junior members aged six to 16. Learn more at gardenontario.org, on Facebook here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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