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Helping Midland stop and smell the roses for 125 years

Midland Horticulture Society has been going strong since 1897 by helping to beautify town while also fostering camaraderie and knowledge sharing between members

For 125 years, one club has helped Midland residents stop and smell the roses.

Since its formation in 1897, Midland Horticulture Society members have worked hard to beautify the town by planting annuals and perennials in several key areas of the municipality.

“We do it to beautify Midland and it’s something we enjoy doing too,” says local resident Jenni McKeown, who has been a club member for the past eight years. “It’s our way of giving back to the town.”

And given its longevity in helping keep the town in the green, the club has also adapted its moniker and is now known as the Midland Garden Club, a change that was proposed years ago to try to create more interest.

Several members were busy one recent weekday morning working on the gardens near the town's fire hall.

“We order the plants in October,” explains club treasurer Liz Schandlen, who has been involved with the club since 2001. “We get them from Canadian Tire and they’ve been very good to us over the years.”

While the town of Midland’s gardeners also oversee and maintain a number of gardens in town, including the large display at the corner of Highway 12 and 93, the club ensures its gardens, including one dedicated to popular MSS teacher and past club president Edie Clark, are weeded and looking good through the season.

“We organize the troops throughout the summer and will ask for volunteers to weed the beds,” Schadlen says, noting they’ll also lend their expertise to help plant gardens around the area for organizations such as the Midland Animal Centre.

The club holds monthly meetings with Schandlen pointing out guest speakers are often invited to expound on a wide variety of topics, including talks on how to better the environment through gardening.

“The last two years, it was mostly Zoom,” she says, noting they’re happy restrictions have been lifted and in-person meetings can occur again. “We have some really interesting speakers who give some interesting tips and hints. As well, the cost of membership is very low.”

And how true that is. Annual membership in the club is $15 for a single person, $20 for a couple with youth memberships costing $2 and those just interested in hearing a guest speaker at a regular meeting charged $5.

Adds Schandlen: “If you’ve been in the club for 15 years, you become a member for life.”

The club also prints an annual calendar featuring winning photographs from a garden-inspired photo competition.

And this coming Sunday, club members will host a plant sale featuring all locally grown plants at the Midland Farmer’s Market.

For more information about the club, email [email protected]. They also have a Facebook page under Midland Garden Club.


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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country‚Äôs most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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