CONGRESBURY GARDENING CLUB

History

Fund Raising

The Society grew once more to be a significant factor in the life of the village. Membership continued to grow so much that the winter time meetings (which were held in the Refectory by the Parish Church) had to find larger premises to accommodate these larger attendances, but with the savage inflation that hit the country from 1974 onwards, finance once more became a worry. In the 50’s and 60’s it had been possible to hire a large five or six bay marquee together with all the necessary display tables and accessories for about £50.  By 1980 the figure was about £500.00. In addition, speakers at the monthly winter time meetings were demanding higher fees.

The committee gave much anxious thought to the question of raising these considerably higher costs. It was felt that raising subscriptions to a level that would balance the budget would not solve the problem because increased subscriptions would probably lead only to reduced membership and many of the original members, the backbone of the Society, were now senior citizens with rapidly diminishing incomes. If subscriptions were raised too much, these valued members would probably be compelled to withdraw. The loss of such people would be a sore blow.

So membership subscriptions had to be held as low as possible and other means had to be found to increase the Society’s income. Therefore throughout the Summer the Society can be found holding coffee mornings in different members’ gardens and these have proved very popular. The opportunities to go poking about in other peoples’ gardens has proved irresistible and the number of surreptitious cuttings that have resulted from these is no doubt, considerable.

Another good fund raiser was found in the Spring Plant Sale. Members are asked to grow more seeds and cuttings than are required for their own gardens, these “extras”, for the Society. On a Friday evening in May all of these extra seedlings, and plants are collected in the Methodist School, checked, labelled and priced, - prices being generally about half the prices being asked at the Nurseries. On the Saturday morning all the material is put on display outside the Methodist School, for sale to any passers by. At the first of these plant sales what appeared to be a very large quantity of material was sold out in a little over half an hour! The next year an even larger quantity went in even less time. The Spring Plant Sales continue to this day as also does the Autumn Sale of Shrubs and perennials which Miss Day holds in the garden at “Rowton Cottage”.

Thus the Society works hard all the year round in order to finance the main event of the Society’s year - The Rose Show. It is hard work for the committee but these events have now become a most enjoyable part of the social life of the village.