floral art in Linlithgow is alive and blooming after 50 years in the town.
The 69-strong group are celebrating this year after an advert put in the Linlithgow Gazette half a century ago drummed up a budding interest in flower arranging.
Molly Yates (79) is one of the founding members of the group and she remembers when the fad first took off.
She said: “Lady Clydesmuir of Manuel House put an advert in the Linlithgow Gazette to advertise the club that would meet once a month.
“The first clubs started in Scotland in 1956 and Linlithgow began in 1961. Lord Abercrombie and Julia Clements started flower arranging in the UK and made it popular.”
The first meeting took place at the Four Marys, which was then the Charlotte Tearooms, and as now, 69 turned up to experience floral art.
Molly added: “People were interested and it was something new. It was for Linlithgow and the surrounding districts, for anyone with a love of flowers that was keen to know about plants and gardening. It was popular with housewives after the war.”
As now, women and men came along to watch demonstrators showcase their flower arranging skills and try their hand at reproducing themed creations.
In 1969, Molly organised a club tour to Holland and the group still go to national shows to pick up ideas. Meeting in almost all of the town’s venues over their 50-year history, the group have been involved in shows at the Burgh Halls and celebrated the flower festival in St Michaels to mark the 600th anniversary of the Royal Burgh in 1989.
One of their most memorable events was recalled by former chair June Stevenson (1987-1991; 1994-1996) from June 1990. She said: “We had a demonstration in the Marches Marquee which at that time was down at the Low Port. We thought we would do something for the ladies of the town but there was a terrific storm. There was thunder and lightning, and wind circling the tent. We thought to ourselves, ‘never again in the Marquee!’ and of course, when the demonstrator finished, the storm stopped and it was a lovely evening.”
Current chair Hetty Redwood is delighted the interest is still strong in the town.
She said: “It’s about fun and friendship with flowers. People get a lot out of it and we have demonstrators that come from all over the country.”
Donations are given to local groups and former chair Liz Lawson (2004-2006) said: “The Christmas event is the main fundraiser and in the past we have donated to St Michael’s Day Care Centre, Burgh Beautiful and Linlithgow Link.”
The group, who meet every third Wednesday of the month from September to May in the aptly-named Rose Social Club, are celebrating their landmark anniversary in March at Glenbervie House Hotel, Larbert hoping to toast another 50 years for the popular club.