A blooming success for gardening group with 50 years of cultivation

Steve Halliwell, chairman of Preston Gardening Society
Steve Halliwell, chairman of Preston Gardening Society
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From dazzling daffodils and sunny tulips, members of Preston Gardening Society have the golden opportunity to celebrate 50 years.

Back in 1967 like-minded folk with a green eye met at St Andrew’s Church Hall, in Tulketh Road, and formed the Preston Gardening, Floral and Houseplant Society.

Ian Lowe visited Preston Gardening Socety

Ian Lowe visited Preston Gardening Socety

Over the years the organisation has bloomed and developed, transforming into the Preston Gardening Society.

They meet regularly on the third Tuesday of each month and have two big shows a year – the Spring Show in March and the Summer Show in 
August.

The society sponsors bulbs and plants for member to grow or to enter those shows.

Steve Halliwell, chairman, says: “The object of the society is to promote an interest in gardening and allied activities.

Bill Blackledge, Gardening Consultant at Radio Lancashire, gave a talk at Preston Gardening Society

Bill Blackledge, Gardening Consultant at Radio Lancashire, gave a talk at Preston Gardening Society

“I have had a lifelong interest in natural history, and that has developed into an interest where nature has to be controlled to a certain extent.

“However, the less it’s controlled, the better. This newly-found interest has resulted in the joy of visits to some of our lovelier private gardens.

“For me, gardening is about therapy and getting away from the humdrum of life. I would say most people take up gardening seriously later in life when they have more time 
after retirement.”

The group organises guest speakers and well-known experts in the field of horticulture to offer advice to members.

Christine Walkden, gardener, lecturer, trainer, and broadcaster, who is to speak with members of Preston Gardening Society in September

Christine Walkden, gardener, lecturer, trainer, and broadcaster, who is to speak with members of Preston Gardening Society in September

Steve adds: “Our meetings are normally opened with an introduction by the chairman, which includes any relevant notices, reminders for future meetings, trips or shows, and welcoming a speaker. A question and answer session relating to the talk is followed by refreshments and a raffle.

“Ian Lowe visited the society in November, bringing with him seasonal ideas for wreaths and other festive decorations. There may be rules to follow in the construction of each item, but the content is, once again, a matter of personal preference and taste.

“His idea for a table centre decoration followed that of a wreath but in miniature, before standing it on a plain glass bowl containing wrapped sweets and a coiled set of battery-powered fairy lights. The final addition of a central candle can be made once the safety aspects have been considered. Those sweeties in the bowl could be very tempting to tiny hands.

“Bill Blackledge, gardening consultant at Radio Lancashire, has a programme where listeners can telephone in with their gardening queries. His visit to us in September saw him present his dos and don’ts of planting spring and summer bulbs in containers. It would seem that the only limit is your imagination. Have you ever thought of planting miniature daffodil bulbs in a hanging basket? Give it a try.”

Preston Gardening Society is particularly looking forward to former Myerscough College student and gardening broadcaster Christine Walkden visiting in September.

Steve adds: “Christine’s visit is very exciting for us and forms part of our golden anniversary celebrations. She has gardened since the age of 10 and describes herself, among other things, as a gardener, lecturer, trainer, garden centre advisor, tour leader and guide, writer, photographer, and broadcaster. Tickets are already on sale at £12.”

Steve will be presenting a talk on Tuesday January 17 about his monthly visits to the gardens at Gresgarth Hall, 
Caton, looking at how the garden changes and then develops as the months pass.

Visitors are welcome to attend and see what the group has to offer. The meeting starts at 7.30pm.

Annual membership is £10, plus £1 per visit. For non-members, entry is £3 per visit.

For more information on the group visit www.prestongardeningsociety.com.