Russell Hort president Lindley MCPhail describes 2019 society projects. With many scheduled for the coming year, the society wasted no time in getting started.       Van Dusen photo

Newly re-elected Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux was on hand with wife Lynn at the 100th year launch of the Russell and District Horticultural Society. Van Dusen photo

Tom Van Dusen
Villager Contributor
RUSSELL – So, after 100 years, has the Russell and District Horticultural Society got anything new to offer in 2019? President, Lindley McPhail asked that question last Wednesday during a pre-centennial reception at Beyond the House garden design centre. “Sure we do!”

In fact, Russell Hort, as it’s affectionately known, has something a little naughty to offer in the form of a nude fundraising calendar with horticultural events already marked on it. Eight women and four men, all of a certain age, illustrate the 12 months of 2019, beginning in January with retired Russell banker Linda Duhamel.

“It’s a fundraiser and very tasteful… no, I had no problem doing it,” Duhamel said during the great calendar reveal at Beyond the House.

With all of the private bits hidden by plants and pots, the calendar has been done already… but not in Russell where it has created a bit of a titter over who’s in and who’s out. It’ll no doubt sell out its inaugural run of 92 at $20 each, recovering costs and making a modest profit. If it’s a hit, another print run will be ordered and, hopefully, another 90 sold, said McPhail… who’s in.

She thanked local photographer Christina Stapper for her part in creating the calendar entitled Exposing Russell Gardeners.

Stapper said the best part was working with the wonderful women who volunteered as models. What about the men? Not so much, the photographer replied, particularly since one of them was her father.

Some 200 members strong, Russell Hort decided to kick off its 2019 centennial now to get a head-start on the many projects it has planned for next year and to raise its profile within the community.

The calendar is the sizzle. But the Hort will also offer the steak next year with projects such as “100 Trees for 100 Years” intended to increase forest cover in the depleted township, a draw for an original metal garden sculpture, a Christmas house tour, 11th edition of the wildly successful Living Locally Fair, recycling project March It On Out, showing of the movie Call of the Forest, and a game dubbed Where’s Rudi terminating in a draw for another metal sculpture.

In March of 1918, seven people met to discuss forming a horticultural society in Russell. It was decided to canvass the village and, four days later, 25 residents had agreed to join. The new club went to work getting ready for 1919, accumulating seeds and bulbs, holding a lecture with lantern views, and providing a canning demonstration.