Founded in 1878 by a group of local gardeners and nurserymen, the Upwey and Broadwey Cottage Garden Association evolved over the years to become the Upwey and District Cottage Garden Society in 1914 and finally the Broadwey, Upwey and District Horticultural Society in 1946.
Organised activities were largely the same as now, including talks, flower shows, outings, harvest suppers and quizzes. They also ran the allotments in Upwey, sadly no longer in existence.
The first flower show was held in 1881 in the grounds of Nottington House. In 1895 the Upwey Flower Show was held in a field adjoining Eastbrook House. Subsequent shows were held at Westbrook and the Croft Field until the second World War. During the war members were urged to Dig for Victory and no shows were held.
In 1946 the summer show was held in conjunction with the gymkhana, organised by supporters of the Upwey and Broadwey World War Memorial Fund. Held at first in Mr. Gould’s field at Upwey House and later in Hurdlemead, this event grew into the annual Big Affair so fondly remembered by older residents.
Proceeds of the fund were used to build the Memorial Hall which became the venue for all future shows as well as harvest suppers, plant sales and other special events.
Following the traditions of the Society, monthly meetings are held at 7.30pm on the first Thursday of each month at St.Nicholas and St.Laurence School, Broadwey. An interesting and varied programme of talks can be enjoyed, along with the usual refreshments, raffle, sales table and Flower of the Month competition.
Shows are held in March and August, a plant sale in May and outings to gardens of interest during the summer. There is also an evening trip to Poundbury Garden Centre in Dorchester , which includes a talk and a generous discount on purchases. The Harvest Supper takes place in October.
In 2003 the Society staged an exhibition of its history at Brewer’s Quay. This gave a fascinating insight into the importance of gardening and the part the society played in organising social events in the villages around Weymouth.
Annual membership subscription is currently £6. Members benefit from a discount at the Gardens Group of centres at Sherborne, Poundbury and Brimsmore.
Further details of the Society’s activities can be obtained from the Secretary, Sheila Seal. Tel. 01305 816915.