On 26th December 1862, the newly formed Christchurch Agriculture, Botanical and Horticultural Society put on their first horticultural exhibition. Gardeners and florists were encouraged to bring in samples of their plants and produce with prizes on offer. About 2000 people attended, mostly made up of ladies.
This took place in Cathedral Square, opposite the western end of the Cathedral site in a small garden set up with a lawn, shrubs and flowers. A paling fence and poplars enclosed this historic showcase. This garden remained a main feature of the Square until redevelopment of the area took place.
Now known as the Canterbury Horticultural Society, they celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2012 and are acknowledged as one of the oldest horticultural organisations in New Zealand. The society is basically a club for the gardeners of Canterbury, offering education and advice, awards and sharing information on other gardens that are worth a visit.
The attached photo was taken in the Wairarapa, Masterton in the 1890’s.
* Image courtesy of Bright Wings – http://brightwings.typepad.com/ *