Bovingdon Gardeners emerged out of a pursuit to inspire and support the community, and a desire for actions to speak louder than words. We’re an organization driven by a strong foundation of support.
There are records of floral events in Bovingdon as early as 1908, but it was not until Bovingdon & District Horticultural Society was established on the 30th August 1927, instigated by the actions of a Mr W C Smail and MR A V Parker that events started formally. It was stated in the first minutes that ' It should be non-political and non-sectarian…. and that it was very difficult to form anything in Bovingdon not associated with political or religious matters'. 'The object of the society were 'manifold' including chiefly that of; helping members to gain knowledge in the art of horticulture, the arrangement of a winter program of lectures, also for the arranging of competitions among members thus instilling a spirit of friendly rivalry... plus... the possibility of cooperative buying to the advantage of members'.
Membership was 1s. (shilling) per year. Our first flower show was held in the Memorial hall on the 18th august 1928 with the school children of Bovingdon making no less than 120 entries! (Look in the News section of this website for a full transcription of the 'entertaining' first meeting) and for some reason unknown, the early society shows were held on a Wednesday !
The history of the society up until the late 1970’s is vague because none of the minute books are available from those early years. (We would be interested to learn of the whereabouts, if you have information please let us know.). Most of the silver cups were given in the 1920’s and 30’s and the society was active between the wars, probably being supported by the large houses who employed gardeners. One of the early Chairmen was J.L. Chapman, active committee members being Mrs. F. Banks of Church Cottages (now Lychgate Cottages), the village post lady during the 1914-18 war plus Mr. Fred Bryant of Green Lane. Subscriptions were 2s (shillings).
After the war the society held a Rose and Sweet Pea Show in the first week of July on a Friday evening, this transferred to Saturday when more classes were added. Capt. C.E. Glenister R.N. was the Chairman for many years succeeded by Miss Joyce Weavers (later Mrs. Huntley) Richard Glenister took over as Chairman in 1970.
During 1976 the Society ceased to exist due to lack of support until in 1979 Mike Leon canvassed the village for individuals willing to resuscitate the Society. After an inaugural meeting in February a new committee was formed with Mike Leon as Chairman, Sue Miller as Secretary and Geoff Daniels, Treasurer.
The revamped Society grew from strength to strength and by 1984 the Society was holding a Summer and Autumn Show, the Trading Hut was available to members and also discounts were offered by local shops and garden centres. Monthly lectures during the winter months were held and at least one annual coach trip was arranged; plus the ever popular annual Plant Sale in May and regular Newsletters.
In 2021 we decided to revamp our name to be more appealing in modern society and so have renamed our society Bovingdon Gardeners. However we still operate technically as Bovingdon and District Horticultural society
Whatever your level of interest, knowledge or experience, you are assured of a warm and friendly welcome.
We look forward to gardening with you!
Pleas contact us to learn more and get involved.