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Our History


OMAGH GARDENING SOCIETY

AFFILIATIONS    Royal Horticultural  Society

Northern Ireland Daffodil Growers/Group

National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies

 

BACKGROUND

Sources:    (1) Back copies of the Tyrone Constitution and the Ulster Herald. (2) Schedules and Programmes belonging to the Society.

The Formative Years.   1951-1956

The enthusiasism of the keen gardeners  of Omagh and District for “growing their own” along with the desire to show their best produce in a competitive forum were factors that led to the launch of the first Omagh Flower Show in the Autumn of 1951 during the Festival of Britain weekend. Mr. R. T. Newell Chairman of the Omagh Y.M.C.A Committee at that time and Committee Members supported the initiative by providing the venue and taking responsibility for managing  and implementing all aspects of the event.  This Show  formed the basis from which all future Omagh Annual Flower Shows evolved. Since then, various changes have occurred in content, frequency, location, management and name. Up until 2001 the Patrons of the Society were His Grace the Duke of Abercorn and his wife the Duchess of Abercorn. Both were faithful supporters of the work of the Society.

 

Omagh gardeners commemoration of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11. led to the establishment of a second Annual Flower Show.

 In July 1953 an additional Flower Show was organised  at the suggestion of Mr. R. T. Newell chairman of  the*Y.M.C.A. committee, to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 11. The Show was so successful, it was decided to hold a similiar Show in spring/early summer every year thereafter, thereby increasing the number of annual shows to two. Initially they were known as the Annual Spring Show and the Annual Autumn Show. As the level of interest iincreased , it became evident that a seperate Body was needed to undertake the organisation and management of all related events.

 

Formation of Omagh and District Horticultural Society

In September 1957 the Omagh and District Horticultural Society  was established.The Y.M.C.A continued to provide the venue and to have input into the organisation and management of the Shows until the early 1960`s.

 

The first Omagh Spring Show Daffodil Exhibition

In 1963 following the successful introduction of the first daffodil exhibition in Omagh the daffodil exhibit became a significant competitive section in the Annual Spring Flower Show. From 1963,  with the exception of a *six year period*,the Annual Spring Flower Show became known as the Annual Daffodil & Spring Flower Show and was a one day event. However, during the period *1972-1977* it was a two day event and was entitled Daffodil Weekend.

 

Change of Name

In 1995/96 the name: Omagh and District Horticultural Society was changed to : Omagh Gardening Society. The name change was (1) aimed at  attracting a wide range of the local population to contribute to and benifit from the Society`s activities, and(2) reflected the increased interest in flowers  coupled with the increased entries of Fruit, Vegetables, and Home Industries at the Omagh Annual Agricultural Show as an alternative competition venue for those categories.

The introduction of the name change occured in two phases. In 1995 the 44th. Annual Autumn Flower Show was held under the auspices of the Omagh Gardening Society for the first time.

In 1996 the 34th. Annual Daffodil and Spring Flower Show was held under the auspices of the Omagh Gardening Society for the first time.

 

1999 was the last year in which the Annual Autumn Flower Show took place. From now on the Annual Daffodil & Spring Flower Show  was the Society`s main Show event.

Twenty First Century

The Millenium Year Spring Show was held on Saturday May 6th at the Showgrounds Pavilion, Sedan Avenue, Omagh.The Guest of Honour  and Presentor of Prizes was  Dr.Haldine  Mitchell, GP and local historian

In 2002,the Society celebrated their Ruby Anniversary.The Guest of Honour and Presentor of Prizes at the Annual Daffodil & Spring Flower Show  was Dr.Dominic Pinto, FRCS.

In2007, the Society celebrated their Golden Anniversary.The Guest of Honour and Presenter of Prizes  at the Annual Daffodil & Spring Flower Show was Dr.Kieran  Deeny, GP and MLA.The Golden Anniversary dinner was held in The Village Inn Killyclogher,Omagh on 05/05/2007.

In 2010 a Pilot Art Project was launched in local Primary Schools .The Project was the idea of Mr Brian Duncan, highly acclaimed daffodil breeder and grower, and member of the Omagh Gardening Society. Over 200 entries were received. Prizes awarded included daffodil bulbs, The aim of the Project was to encourage children ,their families and their teachers to enter the Show competitions. It is hoped that the daffodils grown from the prize bulbs will be entered in the 2011 Show


Events

The Society`s Shows have been highly regarded events in the Northern Ireland gardening calendar and attracted visitors from all over the province, England, Europe, Australia, U.S.A, Russia,and New Zealand. The daffodil competition in the Annual Daffodil & Spring Flower Show has a high reputation, and competition results are widely published by The Royal Horticultural Society and the American Daffodil Society in their specialist journals. In addition to the Annual Daffodil & Spring Flower Show the Society organises a programme of Lectures, Floral Art demonstrations, Garden visits and Garden competitions.

Honoured Guests,Expert Speakers, Judges.

 

The Society has been successful in attracting many famous personalities of the horticultural world to visit Omagh and as Guest Speakers at the Society`s Annual Lecture Event, for example:

  • Julia Clements(famous Floral Artist, now deceased)
  • Harry Wheatcroft, Rose enthusiast and expert
  • Helen Dillon, Irish T.V.Gardening Personality, Auithor and Editor
  • Dermot O`Neill( Irish TV. Gardening personalitiy and Author
  • Lady Christine Skelmersdale, RHS Gold Award Winner
  • Dr.Janis Ruksans(world renowned Bulb Expert)
  • John Massey, Ashwood Nurseries, Staffordshire
  • Colin Crosby, Curator Royal Horticultural Society
  • Many of the world`s major daffodil breeders