Muswell Hill Horticultural Society still blossoming as it celebrates 100 years

Much has changed at the Muswell Hill Horticultural Society since it was founded a century ago.

Vegetable growing was strictly “man’s work” with female members only allowed to practice their hand at flower arranging when the society began.

“Things have changed a lot since the first picture of the society was taken – there were very few women back then, but the opposite is true now,” said Susan Bennett, who hosted a party to celebrate the society’s centenary on Saturday (June 30).

“Apparently women weren’t allowed to exhibit anything apart from flower arranging

“They weren’t considered able to grow their own vegetables, which was considered a man’s thing. Flower arranging was their kind of consolation prize.”

Members past and present gathered at her palatial garden in Alexandra Park Road to mark the milestone.

The society has grown since its inception in 1912, blossoming into a group with nearly 200 members which holds regular shows - where the largest melons and giant fuchsias vie for coveted prizes.

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And its future looks healthy as a new generation of green-fingered gardeners are learning to grow food in schools.

“There is a growing movement which encourages children to be more involved in the environment around them,” said Ms Bennett. “They are growing their own vegetables and flowers in allotment and school playgrounds.

“The society’s active members are getting older and it would be nice for younger people to get involved to ensure the shows continue to thrive with talent.”

Visitors to the centenary celebration were treated to a “very English” garden party, where they were served up Pimms and enjoyed the performance of a flutist and harpist.