HAVING shared a love of plants for the past four decades, Horsham Garden Club members celebrated a special anniversary with tea and a room full of laughter.
The club invited past members to mark its 40-year celebration on Thursday last week. About 50 people attended the special day.
Speeches from president Jocelyn Merlo and secretary Joyce Smith opened the celebration. Members took a walk down memory lane to the very first day of the club's formation.
A special birthday cake, followed by an afternoon tea, commemorated the anniversary.
Ms Smith said a steering committee was formed and she became the club's inaugural president in 1979.
"We had to get the club going in 14 days. We raced around and had to get everything organised. On May 9, 1979 the first general meeting of the Horsham Garden Club was held," she said. "I have had various roles in the club over the years and I have been the secretary since 1993."
Ms Smith said not many garden clubs had survived.
"When we first started, we had all of these people come to our garden club and then they gradually formed their own garden club and those clubs are all extinct now," she said.
Jocelyn Merlo became a member of the club 12 years ago.
She said she aimed to maintain club members next year but an ageing population was a concern.
The youngest member of the club is the only member under the age of 70.
"It is a very stable club. We stay about the 40 (member) mark, lose some members and gain some. It's a happy club," she said.
A competition is conducted every meeting for categories including the best vegetable, fruit, flower, cut, stem of foliage, stem of flowering, buried tree shrub or creeper.
The members who attain the most wins across the year are recognised accordingly.
The competition was also a highlight of the 40th anniversary, with the each category displayed across the stretch of the event.
"We try to involve the whole club by having segments where the members can talk about their gardens. They get their flowers and vegetables to be judged and show people," Jocelyn Merlo said.
Horsham's annual Spring Garden Festival is organised as a fundraiser for the club.
The event is the only known fundraiser aside from an occasional auction.
"The club puts out sandwiches and Devonshire tea for the spring garden festival. We have a beautiful flower show and a lucky person gets the aggregate," Jocelyn Merlo said.
The club has nine committee members at present.
Members will travel to Minyip and Rupanyup soon to further celebrate the 40-year milestone.
It's a happy club.Jocelyn Merlo