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City of Derry and District Gardening Society

How it all began:

written by Daffodil supremo the late Seamus McCauley and revised by Joan Winters.

In 1934, a group of mostly professional men from Londonderry got together to form a society to promote gardening in the City, and so began the City of Derry & District Horticultural Society. The aim of the Society was to encourage civic awareness in gardening and the production of fine flowers and vegetables, both in gardens and also in the many allotments in the City.

These same gardening concepts are still promoted today with the addition of ‘awareness of ecological and environmental issues’, a change made to our constitution in 2009. In the early days a two-day show was held in the late Summer, but from 1968 a Spring show only has taken place. Since 1975 it has been held in St Peter’s Church Hall, Culmore Road, and continues there to the present day.

Our first Chairman was Capt. Glover Austin and our present Chairman is Mrs. Anne Jones.

We have only ever had four Presidents. Our first President was Sir Dudley McCorkell 1934 – 1960. He was succeeded by his nephew, Col. Sir Michael McCorkell 1961 – 2006. Our next President was Mr. Sydney Harrod, who retired in January, 2014, and has been succeeded by Mr Liam Greene, a well-known business man and an expert gardener.

The society arranges a number of visits to gardens each year. Overnight visits have been made to Dublin, the West of Ireland, County Wicklow and Scotland.

In 2009 the society celebrated its seventy-five years and we had a full year of celebrations. A calendar of members’ gardens had been produced, and later we planted three oak trees in our City, one in St. Columb’s Park, one in Brooke Park and the other in Gransha Park. This was in conjunction with Derry City Council as part of the Pride in Our City campaign and with Conservation Volunteers. In June we had a celebration dinner in a local hotel at which our guest speaker was Ms Wendy Austin, a BBC journalist who is also the granddaughter of our very first Chairman in 1934, Capt.Glover Austin.

We have hosted a visit by the BBC Radio Ulster’s “Gardeners’ Corner”, a very popular programme about gardening.  Each year we are involved in judging gardens entered in the Gardening Competition organised by Older People Northwest (Age Concern).

In 2014 we voted for a name change: our new name is City of Derry & District Gardening Society.

For further information about the Society, please use contact numbers on the home page.

21st November 2015