Spring is here for many of us. The risk of frost has past (hopefully, these days you never know) and thoughts are turning to sprucing up the front yard with flowers and shrubs... whether to have beautiful curb appeal or to attract hummingbirds and bees.
My Dad didn't know, or know anything about, his paternal line beyond his father who was estranged from his family. If he had known them, he would have realized he got his love of carpentry from his grandfather and great grandfather, and his love of flowers and gardening from his great uncle William Seale.
William was a member of the Ottawa Horticultural Society. Specializing in roses, his yard was "a flower lovers' paradise" and he won many medals, bars and diplomas in competitions. William's nephew Henry was also an award winning horticulturist and his specialty was gladioli. After winning The Viscountess Willingdon Trophy (for an exhibitor scoring the highest number of points in all classes) and many other awards for a number of years, and always winning in every class of Gladioli with at least 12 varieties, Henry's bulbs were highly sought after. People hoping to achieve award winning flowers could buy the Seale Gladiolus Bulbs for $2 a box.
At a young age my Dad's neighbor got him interested in growing Dahlias and gladiolus and year after year they won prizes at the Montreal West Flower Shows. I remember him growing gladioli at home, and he was also proud of his hibiscus. My brother Mike inherited his gardening gene and loved growing plants and vegetables. This is Mike with his First Prize winning carrot in a local vegetable contest in 1985.
I on the other hand seem to have a knack for weeds.
Do you have an ancestor with a love for flowers and gardening?
Check local newspapers for lists of prize winners in flower shows, horticultural competitions, etc. Search at google books and internet archive using keywords:
[state, city, town name] Horticultural Society, garden show, floral exhibit, country fair.
Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, London (several issues)
Massachusetts Horticultural Society - yearbooks and reports
National Flower Show of the Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturists - Philadelphia 1916
Annual of the Rose Society of Ontario (various years 1914-1954)
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society - memberships, yearbooks, flower shows, etc
The Minnesota Horticultural Society
Worcester (Mass) County Horticultural Society
Wisconsin State Horticultural Society
Horticultural Society of New York: Memoirs Vol 1 - 1902
Horticultural Society of London
Annual report of the Montreal Agricultural & Horticultural Society - 1865
Quebec Horticultural Society: list of officers and schedule of prizes - 1867
Quebec Horticultural Society: list of officers and schedule of prizes - 1888
Annual Report of the British Columbia Horticultural and Fruit Growers Society
Ottawa, a city gardens: guide for improvement of lawns and gardens 1916
Manitoba Horticultural Society - 1898
Australian Horticultural Societies at Trove
The Canadian Horticulturist
Nova Scotia Agricultural & Horticultural Fair 1894
Report of the Horticultural Societies of Ontario: 1917-1921
Ontario Horticultural Societies of Ontario 1920
The Grand Parada: for the benefit of the Horticultural Association, St John, NB 1897
Horticultural Exhibitions and Garden Competitions (explained)
Official Catalogue of Exhibitors: Universal Exposition- St Louis, USA 1904
Bulletin de la Société d'Horticulture de Genève
Bulletin de la Société d'Horticulture de Cherbourg, France
Journal de la Société National d'Horiculture de France
Bulletin de la Fédération des Société d'Horticulture de Belgique
Memoirs of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, Scotland
Programma della seconda esposizione orticola che avrà luogo in Venezianel giardino della Società Campo S. orivolo, 1873