Queensland Council of Garden Clubs Presidents’ Morning Tea
Our President, Mr Prior; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to join you all again, in a year in which we commemorate a major milestone – the Queensland Council of Garden Clubs’ fiftieth anniversary.
It is true that fifty years is no great milestone for some plants. The American saguaro (pron. sah-wah-roh) cactus might just have produced its first branch in that time.
In contrast, in fifty years the beautiful Mountain ash of southern Australia could have grown to 65 metres or 214 feet.
In Queensland, five decades would deliver a gloriously mature rainforest tree, or a single unchecked bougainvillea taking over an entire suburb.
A half-century is certainly long enough for the Council to have grown and thrived. It has gathered more than 120 clubs, societies and groups in Queensland under its umbrella.
It has gathered together an immense body of gardening knowledge and experience to share with members.
It has well and truly lived up to its motto of bringing together clubs through a mutual love of gardening.
There is no doubt about the benefits, both physical and mental, that the Council brings to communities by espousing gardens and gardening.
Everyone from the Roman orator Cicero to Thomas Jefferson has waxed lyrical on these benefits. But I’ve borrowed just two brief but effective quotable quotes to celebrate gardening today.
The first is from Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, who said: In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
The other is anonymous, and simple: Gardening is cheaper than therapy – and you get tomatoes.
Kaye and I are garden enthusiasts too. Living at Government House, we are surrounded by glorious, heritage-listed formal gardens and remnant bushland.
And we don’t have to lift a finger though, like many occupants of Government House before us, we have left a horticultural legacy, including through the planting last year of Eucharis lilies, which took pride of place at Kaye’s and my Kenmore home, and descended from plants belonging to my Mother.
So our congratulations on the Council’s first fifty years are both wholehearted and sincere.
So too are our thanks to all those who have given generously of their time and dedication to the Council, and to the individual clubs that make up the Council, over those five decades.
We wish the Council the greatest of success in the future. Thank you.