History

Otterton Garden Club’s origins date back to 1929 when it was formed as the “Otterton Chrysanthemum Fruit and Vegetable Society”. The sole purpose of the Society was to hold an annual show primarily of late flowering chrysanthemums together with additional sections for fruit and vegetables as well as other produce etc. The Show was initially held on the first Friday in November but was subsequently moved to the first Saturday in that month. No meetings were held other than an annual general meeting, which took place a fortnight after the show. Entries were confined initially to those living in the parish of Otter ton, but this was later extended to those who worked in the parish. Due to falling numbers of those growing chrysanthemums within the village, the show opened its doors to all comers in 1988. 

The Society continued in a similar format, albeit with changes to the classes in the annual show until 1990 when a group of enthusiasts thought that it would be a good idea to form a garden club along the lines of that which we have today and called a public meeting to gauge interest. The idea was well received and the club was formed. At the same time the name was changed to Otterton Horticultural Society.

At one of the early meetings it was decided to try and expand the activities of the Society and to hold a Spring Show as well as an Autumn Show and a schedule was put together for a show to be held on 6th April 1991. This proved to be a success and the show has continued ever since.

In 1993 or 1994 (I don’t have a copy of the schedule for 1993) the exhibitors of late-flowering chrysanths had dwindled even further and it was decided to move the Autumn show forward to September so as to include other flowers such as dahlias and roses.  

It was thought that the name “Otterton Horticultural Society” sounded too highbrow and was perhaps putting off potential members and so in 1992, the name was again changed, this time to “Otterton Garden Club”.

Entries in the Autumn Show started to decline to a point where after the 2005 show it was decided to abolish the autumn show and continue with just one show in the spring. However, a number of people were expressing an interest in reviving the Autumn Show and after a poll at one of the meetings it was decided to put together a schedule, but with slightly fewer classes for a show to be held in September 2008.