Our Community Champions: The Kingsville Horticultural Society

Heather Crewe, Chris Childs, Carolyn Ganderton and Sara Getty preparing planters for the Town of Cottam

As an avid walker, I have always admired how beautiful the gardens and planters of Kingsville and Cottam are from spring to fall. Volunteers make this possible.

Heather Crewe, President of the Kingsville Horticultural Society, acknowledges their dedicated members who step forward every year in service to our community.

Last weekend, members of the Horticultural Society met to prepare the colourful planters that will be displayed on the main street in Cottam. That’s only the beginning.

The Jack Miner tribute floral garden

The Society maintains multiple gardens including the OPP front garden, Carnegie building, all the flowerbeds in Lakeside Park, as well as those by the Kingsville signs at the north, east and west ends of town, at Ridgeview Park and by the municipal office. The vibrant colours and hues of flowers and greenery throughout our community lift us up on any given day.

As shared by the Kingsville Times last week, Communities in Bloom Kingsville and the Kingsville Horticultural Society partnered to create three COVID memorial gardens at Rotary Park in Cottam, on Union Road in Ruthven, and next to the municipal office on Division Road North in Kingsville. The symbolism behind each of the flowers selected is explained by signage.

The beautifully landscaped Carnegie Welcome Centre

Our local branch has been challenged by the Ontario Horticultural Association to plant a field of yellow across the province. Heather and her crew of volunteers are doing just that. The bright and cheery yellow colour theme was chosen by OHA to lift our spirits after 18 months of COVID gloom.

Annually, elementary school children throughout the Kingsville school district participate in the Society’s Junior Gardner Program. This year there are 95 participants aged 4 to 14 from all four local schools. Each is creating a garden in their own yards to be judged in August based on a number of factors.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be one of these judges? I’m sure each garden is unique as it is created for the first time.

One of our beautiful flower beds

Typically, the kits would be distributed to children through their schools, but the COVID lockdown added a new wrinkle. This year, Heather hand-delivered them directly to students’ homes.

Front Garden Recognition is coming up between June 21st and 30th. Teams of judges from the Horticultural Society will be on the lookout for front gardens that may qualify as entries. Each judge will create a shortlist of five homes per zone. With permission from the homeowner, the judge will inspect the property and award points based on criteria set by the Ontario Horticultural Association.

Bill Parr at one of the gardens in Lakeside Park

Winners from each zone will be awarded a sign stating, “Front Garden Recognition 2021” to display on their front lawn.

If you have walked past Lakeside Park pavilion recently, you may have noticed a change as the town has now excavated a site where native wildflowers will be planted to create a pollinator habitat. We have a wide variety of colourful butterflies and moths that are native to our area. Situated right by the lake, the new garden will attract migratory butterflies, hummingbirds and native bees.

Joan Washburn (volunteer) and Joan Cope at Lakeside Park

Planting will begin in June and ultimately there will be signage to help people identify both our native wildflowers and local pollinators.

We thank each and every volunteer representing the Kingsville Horticultural Society and appreciate the beauty all around us. New members are always welcome and invited to contact Heather directly at


Is there someone you think should be considered as a community champion? We want to know! Send an email to Lynn at

One Comment

  1. Avatar Gord Queen

    Great story
    Nice to remember those who work and make our town great
    Gord Queen

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