Lucknow Horticultural Society raises funds through breakfast
BY SCOTT STEPHENSON
Few things brighten up a small town in this little corner of the world more than a colourful kaleidoscope of seasonal flowers and greenery in the downtown core. But these shy spring tulips, sassy summer geraniums, sleepy autumn mums and stoic winter kale don’t just occur by happenstance - controlling every hanging basket of sweet potato vines and concrete planter cascading with ivy is a semi-secret society: the local horticultural society! These hard-working volunteers concern themselves with all things town beautification by planning, planting and raising funds alongside flowers. Lucknow’s very own green squad looks after the Lucknow and District Sports Complex garden beds, as well as those at Waterworks Park and the Lucknow Medical Centre.
On April 22, the Lucknow Horticultural Society held a fundraising breakfast at the local arena to raise money for its upcoming season of botanical projects. This particular breakfast’s profits are going toward flower beds, barrels and bridge boxes. Co-President Sharon Nivins let slip that the flowers they are planning on planting are Profusion Zinnias - a playful little hybrid of zinnia angustifolia and zinnia elegans. She also confirmed rumours that “pink” was going to be happening in a big way this year, and that cameos from begonias, potato vines and Swedish ivy can be expected in Lucknow’s downtown shopping district. Nivins also confirmed that the breakfast was an “excellent” success so far.
For a mere $12, frugal and famished flower fans were treated to soft scrambled eggs, heavenly hash browns and succulent sausages (a limit of three unless you asked nicely). Also available were all the continental breakfast standards - fresh fruit, cheese, many muffins and toasts ranging from white to wheat. Coffee, tea and juice rounded out the meal on the beverage side. A comparable breakfast from a fast casual giant like Denny’s would run you close to $18, and the number of plants helped would be negligible.
Seats were scarce by mid-morning, and people from all over the area were having a great time. Ben Taylor, his family and friends have attended many local breakfast events over the past few weeks with Lucknow being the latest stop. “We’re from Dungannon,” he said, “and we just did a breakfast there in the community centre, and now we’re here.” They were appreciative of the chance to take their kids out to eat in a venue that could accommodate their children’s boundless, breakfast-fueled enthusiasm.
The Brussels-based Bauer bunch posted up at a table in the corner, and had two great reasons to be at the fundraiser. “We like breakfast, and we like horticulture,” declared the group with resolve.
It took 15 volunteers to pull off this breaking of the community fast. Two of those volunteers, siblings Monique and Liam Cooper, respectively Junior Director and Junior Member of the Lucknow Horticultural Society, were in charge of operating the arena’s elevator for any guests who needed assistance to get to the Paul Henderson Room on the facility’s second floor. It was also Monique’s idea to host an Earth Day breakfast in the first place, so it’s fair to say that the future of this organization is looking bright.
Suzanne Andrew, in charge of the society’s membership, said they are always looking for new members. The cost is $10 for a year-long membership. Those interested should ask for Horticultural Society Co-President Elizabeth Irwin at the Home Hardware location in Lucknow. All membership fees go towards town beautification. Meetings are held once per month. There are guest speakers, garden tours and a bus trip to visit gardens in other places, and everyone is welcome.
With the emergence of warmer weather, it’s a great time to see what’s going on with your local horticultural society, and to do what you can to participate. Become a member, offer up your time, your expertise and your enthusiasm - because a florally bankrupt downtown is not something anyone should ever have to endure.