We've been cultivating Calgary's gardening community since
1908. In the early 1900s the promotion of gardening was
an important part of a social movement to counter the adverse
effects of urban
Business leaders founded the Society to inspire responsible
citizens to learn about gardening in this challenging, largely
treeless environment and to aid in the beautifying and
improvement of the city of Calgary.
In the early years, the Society's programs focused on an
annual flower show, garden competition, regular meetings and
gardening articles in the Calgary Herald.
William Reader, as the first superintendent of the Calgary Parks
Department, ensured that the Society and the City worked closely
together. For example, in 1914 more than 10,000 trees
were planted through the efforts of the Society and the City
planted a further 10,000 seedlings that same year.
1914 Board of
As the Society evolved over the years, the projects
changed and the number of members waxed and waned. By the early
1980s, when membership had dropped to an all time low, one of
Calgary's oldest societies was in danger of
The unflagging enthusiasm and hard work of volunteers
David Matthews and Sheila Paulson saw memberships soar from 27
to more than 1,500 in just three years. They
established a new Board of Directors and began significant
fundraising efforts and increased public relations.
These dedicated supporters of gardening in Calgary also
introduced a newsletter, initiated plant shares, bus tours, monthly
speakers, garden visits and workshops, all of which are still major
components of current Society activities. Since this rejuvenation,
membership in Calgary's oldest gardening Society has climbed
to over 5,000 members and is still growing.