HomeBensalem TimesTrevose Horticultural Society marks 100th anniversary

Trevose Horticultural Society marks 100th anniversary

Its annual flower show, this year entitled ‘Rooted in History,’ is set for Aug. 18-19 at St. Ephrem

Much to see: Attendees browse a display at the annual Trevose Horticultural Society flower show. Submitted Photo

This year is a rather special one for the Trevose Horticultural Society as it marks an impressive milestone: its 100th anniversary.

Since 1923, the group has been uniting lovers of horticulture and, with the exception of World War II and the pandemic, has hosted a public flower show each year from its inception. That tradition continues on Friday, Aug. 18, from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at St. Ephrem Catholic Church, 5400 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, where the National Garden Club Small Standard Flower Show “Rooted in History” will be staged.

For show chairperson Karen Wychock, a THS member of over a decade, it’s a thrill to see the group achieve such a feat.

“It’s an incredibly long time. I think it’s exciting for a club of any kind to last 100 years. Very seldom, most clubs and things are not in existence for that long, so that part’s exciting,” she said.

In what can only be described as serendipitous timing, member Betty Sykes is also turning 100 this year.

“And her birthday is the same week as the flower show,” said Wychock. “So what else could we ask for?”

During “Rooted in History,” Wychock will have on display the educational exhibit “A THS Centennial Celebration,” highlighting key points in the group’s lengthy history. She’s been combing through countless photographs, news articles, awards and memorabilia — including a poster advertising the 1925 flower show for 25 cents admission — the most fascinating of which will appear at the show.

It all started in 1923 with Jay V. Hare, Secretary of the Reading Railroad, who persuaded some of his friends and associates to cooperate with him in putting on a flower show in the village of Trevose, where he resided. For the next 18 years, Hare, along with Buchanan Printing Company Philadelphia executive Garrett V. Clark and dahlia-grower Charles S. Randall, led the fledgling Trevose Horticultural Society.

“I know that, early on, they had over 1,000 members, if you can believe that. But people would come up from Philadelphia on the train. And because the originator Jay Hare was secretary of the Reading Railroad, they publicized a lot on the trains,” said Wychock.

Currently, the group boasts approximately 60 members, all of whom Wychock said are extremely passionate about horticulture, whether they’re growing a few things on their windowsill or have a massive garden. These members attend monthly meetings of varying topics at the Bensalem Senior Center.

“It’s a pretty good mix,” said Wychock. “People become experts in their little field, in a certain type of plant or a certain type of flower. It’s a fun group. Gardening is something you can pursue throughout your life. A lot of our members are in the eighties and nineties and, as I said, Betty’s 100. But everybody still does some kind of gardening.”

All smiles: Ruth Kurtz poses with her creation at an annual flower show. Submitted Photo

In an effort to ensure the Trevose Horticultural Society lives on for another 100 years, the group is working to introduce the craft to the next generation. At the flower show, in the newly-added Youth and Sponsored Groups Division, children ages 18 and under can compete in the Junior Horticulture Section, which includes classes for vegetables, flowers and herbs. Then, both youth and senior groups from the Bensalem Senior Center will compete in their respective classes in the Sponsored Groups Division, decorating a decoupage clear glass container with colored tissue and all-natural materials.

“We always do something for kids to encourage them to garden,” said Wychock. “I hope people continue to enjoy gardening so that they want to join a group. The younger generation, they’re not joiners. They don’t join groups, they just don’t. I belong to the Pennsylvania Craftsman Guild and we’re having the same issues. Everybody who has a group is having trouble getting members. But you become a family. You meet year after year, you organize a flower show every year you come together.”

In addition to the camaraderie, Wychock named another benefit of gardening: knowing where exactly your food is coming from.

“There was so much farming that went on in Bucks County, and most of those farms have just been eaten up with suburban sprawl. So I think it’s important for people to continue to garden and to say, ‘Hey, where’s my food coming from?’ Especially the vegetables and things,” said Wychock. “With this year’s title, ‘Rooted in History,’ we’ll look back at the victory gardens in World War II. People went back to growing things for themselves, for their families, for their community. It’s important to keep that going. And nothing’s more exciting than to eat a tomato that you’ve grown. It’s the best tasting tomato.”

Members and non-members alike are invited to enter “Rooted in History,” which is free and open to the public. There will be the Design Division, a wide-ranging horticulture schedule and several informative displays. Advanced registration is required for competitive design entries. Contact the Advance Registration Chair at 215-322-4154 prior to Aug. 2.

Guests can also enjoy a selection of homemade goodies and market tables laden with home-grown flowers and produce, bird-themed novelties, garden-related items and potted plants. Proceeds from raffle baskets will benefit two $1,000 scholarships for area students.

A special addition this year, Wychock promised that celebratory birthday cupcakes will be on hand.

For more information or copies of the show schedule, contact 215-460-8853, visit TrevoseGardeners.org or follow on Facebook.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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