Friday, 11 January 2013

The Awesome Gardens of South Africa: January Meeting

And we're off!  The first North Toronto Horticultural Society meeting of the year and our Annual General meeting were a big success. It was a chance to meet dear friends, chat with new members of the executive, listen to a fascinating talk, and renew memberships. The munchies, as always, were delicious!

Signing up for another year with
Membership Co-Directors Geoffrey & Patricia Cook 

Incoming NTHS President Don Beard

Our guest speaker Gloria Broks gave a very interesting talk on The Awesome Gardens of South Africa.  Last year, she had the opportunity to attend Rosafrica 2012 , the 16th World Rose Convention, in Sandton City near Johannesburg.  While the roses and gardens Gloria saw were indeed awesome, her observations on life in the suburb were surprising to some.  

South Africa has so much beauty to offer to visitors but, according to Gloria, a preoccupation with safety and security is a major drawback.  Her garden tour group was not allowed to travel anywhere alone.  They were to remain on their tour bus at all times.  Any pictures of Sandton City were snapped through bus windows.   The gardens themselves were lush and overflowing with blooms but climbing vines and large shrubs disguised a different reality.  

Gloria described gardens enclosed within fortresses: tall walls topped with electrical fencing and barbed wire. There are no quaint garden gates to welcome you. Instead, heavy steel doors slide open to admit visitors as security cameras keep watch the entire time.  It seems, says Gloria, the post-apartheid era has bred a climate of fear and paranoia among the country's white population.

On a hopeful note, Gloria says there are signs that things are changing.  At the conclusion of the convention, awards were handed out for top roses. A young white woman in her thirties won a prize.  Rather than accept the award, she instead announced that she was not the one who cared for and nurtured the gardens that produced the award-winning blooms.  Then she invited her gardener, a young black man, to accept the accolades.  Perhaps this one small moment is the beginning of change.

Incoming Program Director Shari-Lyn Safir
and guest speaker Gloria Broks
The 17th World Convention of Rose Societies is just a few years away.  Click on the link to plan your getaway to France in 2015.

11 Months and Counting Until Christmas!
Okay, okay.  We're not really counting down to Christmas.  But we do want to look back at Christmas 2012.  A wreath designed by NTHS members Mary Audia and Dorothy Cartmell was auctioned off in support of the Toronto Botanical Garden.  It was snapped up by a lucky supporter for $70.  Congratulations to Mary and Dorothy on their beautiful design!  We are very proud to have you represent the North Toronto Horticultural Society.

This wreath designed by NTHS members Mary Audia
and Dorothy Cartmell raised $70 in support of the
Toronto Botanical Garden

Events Members Might "Dig" 
The North Toronto Horticultural Society posts these not as an endorsement but for informational purposes only.  Please confirm details for yourselves before attending. Click on links for more info.

February 27th, 8pm-10pm
David Tomlinson, owner of Merlin's Hollow, gives his last public presentation. 

Includes tours to the Chelsea and Tuileries Garden Shows

And, of course, don't forget about our February meeting.  NTHS Member Myint Gillespie will get us all in the mood for some gardening with her presentation "Chasing Spring." Check back soon for details to be posted in the blog. 

Until next time, happy gardening. 

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