A lifetime of flowers
With the Woodend Spring Flower Show celebrating 85 years this year, president Evelyn Paget has time to look back on when she first entered the show as a child.
‘‘I must have been about eight,’’ Paget said.
‘‘I remember doing things such as a sand saucer, mini garden and vase of flowers. It was very important to cover the whole saucer and sand otherwise you could be marked down.’’
The Flower Show has had many names and she remembers it being the Woodend Horticultural Society Show.
Articles in newspapers from 1882 suggest the show has its roots in the Woodend Chrysanthemum, Grain and Root Show, where varieties of barley, wheat, carrots, potatoes and more were exhibited to win prizes and awards.
Paget remembers the Anglican Church being strongly involved, as well as the Lions Club and Garden Club, and competitors were mainly farmers’ wives. As a secondary school student, she helped record entries and everything was done manually – she still has copies of many of the old minute books.
She continued her partici- pation in the show as time allowed, with her children following the tradition of entering, and she remembers when the agricultural classes were dropped, and the show became focused on flowers, produce, baking and crafts.
She has spent over 20 years on the committee, holding offices as secretary, treasurer and lately president. She has faced challenges to the show in that time including financial issues, lack of committee members and venue changes due to earthquakes/fires, however loves the people contact and learning new skills from the judges and demonstrators.
Paget believes the show has a strong future if the next generation carry on the mantle, as manpower is becoming an issue with many of the committee now over 70.
Innovations such as adding a bloke’s section, a children’s craft class, and digital photography are widening the scope for entrants.
Two years ago the show partnered with the National Daffodil Society to hold a special two day event which saw record attendance. Will the show make 100 years? ‘‘I hope so. I won’t be around to see it, but I hope so.’’