Centenary Tea

On Saturday 19th August the Society held this most important event in its very special year. A sit-down celebratory tea, with cakes and sandwiches of course, and followed by a very special talk from Jim Buttress (“70 years in Horticulture by Jim Buttress”), of whom more later. All the Society’s members were invited to this unique event to celebrate our 100th anniversary, in Woodgreen Village Hall. 

80 members attended and were treated on arrival to a refreshing glass or two of Prosecco ( courtesy of the Woodgreen Community Shop). Luckily, the weather was in fine mood, in this year of often disappointing weather for gardening, and we were able to enjoy this outside. While in the garden Jim Buttress planted a clematis in the Village Wildlife Garden to mark the occasion. The garden has been designed, created and tended by Society members in recent years, very much with an emphasis on naturalistic planting and encouraging wildlife. Open to all, on the day it looked at its Summer best! 

On into the Hall which, in the eyes of many, had never looked better. The Society Committee and friends had dressed the tables beautifully and the murals provided the perfect backdrop. Watched over by our founders, Beatrice and Ada Davies, who can be seen appropriately attending the Flower Show in one of the murals, we started with Jim’s talk, and a cup of tea! 

Jim talked about his 70 years working in Horticulture. Always interested in gardening from a very young age, Jim left school with only a cycling proficiency certificate and made his way into horticulture. He navigated around the many early obstacles he faced and eventually trained at RHS Wisley. He worked for the GLC and then onwards and upwards to the Royal Parks, not least Clarence House and Buckingham Palace, gardening alongside the Royal Family. He has exhibited at Chelsea, winning golds. He is head judge at the RHS and has judged Britain in Bloom for 25 years. In 2006 he was presented with the highest accolade of all, the Victoria Medal of Honour for his services to horticulture. Jim has worked on TV programmes and in Radio, most recently as the ever popular judge on the Big Allotment Challenge. A most impressive career, a humble man and a most fitting talk about a career in parallel with the life of the Society. 

Tea and Cake followed, including the Centenary Cake made to honour the day. This was cut initially by Andrea Finn and Val Le May Neville Parry, our President and Vice-President, and then enjoyed by all… alongside all the equally delicious cakes and sandwiches donated by members and committee. 

It was all over too soon, but the weight of compliments was frankly almost overwhelming. Clearly a huge success and quite up to the occasion. HWHS. 


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