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Twenty years as chairman – Frome Selwood Horticulture Society celebrates a growing club

With so much new happening in Frome these days, spare a thought for the societies that have stayed the course of time; none more so than the Frome Selwood Horticulture Society (FSHS) that will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.

This hearty and growing society meets monthly for topical talks, combined with questions and answers, and, just as importantly, an opportunity to mix and mingle during the tea interval.

The FSHS is not exclusive to expert gardeners, in fact many don’t even have gardens, instead enjoying allotments or simply the opportunity to be amongst others with the same interest.

Essential to any group’s success is its running, and the FSHS has been fortunate that the chairman and committee manage year on year to plant fertile seeds amongst the members to ensure healthy growth for this long running club.

At the recent AGM, it was with a sense of continuity that outgoing chairman, Richard Robinson, handed over to Ray Carver, former vice president, and founder member.

Richard spoke fondly of his time since joining in July 1993 and taking over as chairman from Neville Baily 20 years ago.  He had worked hard for the society along with vice chairman, David Turner.

He had overseen the various moves, with the meetings previously at St John’s Hall and now at Trinity Church Hall, the annual flower show leaving the old market hall in Frome when it was pulled down, then briefly to the Cheese and Grain, then the Frome Football Club, to Selwood Academy, where it now flourishes.

The same venues have supported the annual plant sale, which proves to be so popular, with queues forming each year.  Popular for members have been the reinstated coach trips.

Richard is himself an award winning grower both from his home garden and at the allotments of which he is also an active member, and has received the RHS Master Gardener medal for top tray, along with many cups for his variety of specialities, including vegetables, dahlias and chrysanthemums.

Richard spent many an hour in the Cheese Show horticulture marquee each year stewarding the seven foot high FSHS eye catching display of produce.  Under Richard the FSHS received a gold cup from Monty Don at the Shepton National Amateur Gardening Show.

But now, Richard has handed over to Ray Carver, a man whose feet are thoroughly rooted in horticulture in Frome.

Both men are born and bred in the town. Ray took an apprenticeship with Crays family nursery that was in Spring Gardens.  This led to study and qualifications in amenity horticulture from Cannington College and then to a position as park superintendent with the Frome Urban District Council.

Ray retired after nearly 39 years creating and tending hanging baskets and ornamental bedding in 27 beds around the town.  Laid out in a line, an estimated mile of flowers made up each summer and winter bedding.  Ray is chairman of Frome in Bloom since its instigation 36 years ago, and has won for the town Britain in Bloom and countless other district awards.

Ray has overseen the allotments in Frome, been chairman of the Frome Cheese Show horticulture committee and even been advisor for ‘Emmerdale’ on how to grow and show award winning root vegetables.  After taking a break to encourage other growers to take part, it is with delight that Ray has remained with the FSHS and will carry through to the half century anniversary next year.

If you should wish to be a part of this growing organisation, then visit www.fshs.pwp.blueyonder. or call Jane on 0777 620 8531.  Visitors and members always welcome