Fonds MS-89 - Edmonton Horticultural Society fonds

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Edmonton Horticultural Society fonds

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  • Textual record
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3.25 m of textual documents – 0.5 m of artifacts

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Administrative history

The Edmonton Horticultural Society was founded in 1909. In 1912 it amalgamated with the Strathcona Horticultural Society under the name Edmonton Horticultural Society. However, when the Edmonton Horticultural Society and the Vacant Lots Garden Club decided to join forces in 1918, the Edmonton Horticultural Society became the Edmonton Horticultural and Vacant Lots Garden Association. Not until 1973 was the name changed back to the original Edmonton Horticultural Society. Although the society’s registration must have lapsed for a period in the early 1970s, the Edmonton Horticultural Society has been in continuous existence since 1909.

The first president of the Edmonton Horticultural Society was Walter Ramsay, well known florist and greenhouse operator. George Harcourt, Alberta’s first Minister of Agriculture (1905-1915), the University of Alberta’s first Professor of Horticulture (1915-1935), and a passionate advocate of the vacant lot gardening program, joined the society when it amalgamated with the Vacant Lots Garden Club and chaired the vacant lots committee. He remained a resource person for the society throughout his career and made space available in the University of Alberta’s trial gardens for some society-related horticultural trials. Other well-known Edmontonians who were associated with the Edmonton Horticultural Society include: photographer, Gladys Reeves, who became the society’s first female president in 1924 and remained an active member of the society until her death in the 1970s; Alfred Pike, the founder of Pike’s Seeds; and Ernest Stowe, the chief gardener for the Province of Alberta until his retirement in 1952.

The Edmonton Horticultural Society’s mission has been to promote city beautification and to provide practical information and assistance to city gardeners. Long-lasting program mainstays have included: the vacant lots garden program (which the society administered on behalf of the City of Edmonton on city-owned vacant properties); one or more annual flower and vegetable shows (often referred to as bench shows); an annual garden competition; and a regular speakers program. In addition, the society has provided volunteers to create and maintain gardens as public service projects. Such projects have included a model garden in Market Square during the 1920s and 1930s, a centennial rose garden in Coronation Park which was planted in 1967 and demolished to build the Telus World of Science in 1982, and many others. Since 1995 the Edmonton Horticultural Society has collaborated with the City of Edmonton on the Communities in Bloom and the Front Yards in Bloom programs.

Custodial history

The City of Edmonton made office and storage space available to the Edmonton Horticultural Society from 1909 until some time in the 1980s. When the offices were located in the basement of the old City Market Building on 97th Street, some time in the 1970s, many of the society’s early records were destroyed in a flood.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of textual records relating to the administration of the Edmonton Horticultural Society and the events of the organization.

This fonds is divided into six series:

  • Series 1 - Administrative records: including incorporation documents, insurance, leases and rental agreements, documents related to board activities, minutes of the Board of Directors, annual reports and membership information.
  • Series 2 - Financial records: including audits, financial statements and general ledgers, fundraising records, grants and budgets.
  • Series 3 - Program and Event records: including those relating to programs such as the annual bench shows, the annual garden competition, the vacant lot gardening program, the monthly speakers' program and others. Of note are the vacant lot rental records.
  • Series 4 - Publications: of the society, including histories, newsletters and annual prize lists. Of note is the almost continuous collection of annual bench show prize lists from 1921 to the present.
  • Series 5 - Miscellaneous and oversize documents and artifacts: includes guest books, ribbons and posters.
  • Series 6 - Other Societies: material related to horticultural organizations, primarily in Alberta, that are linked to the Edmonton Horticultural Society through partnerships, affiliate ties or through common interests. These include the Alberta Horticultural Association, the Edmonton Exhibition Association and various horticultural and gardening organizations around the city.

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  • English

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Some files are restricted under PIPA.

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Copyright held by City of Edmonton.
Reproduction restrictions may apply.

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Finding aid available online.

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Further accruals are expected.

General note

Accession numbers: A80-82, A2009-44, A2011-7, A2012-130, A2014-62, A2018-54

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City of Edmonton Archives

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