BY SHANE ROBERTS
On Sunday Sept. 17 Frank Kershaw gave a presentation on the importance of the art of gardening.
Oakville Museum hosted an Arts and Crafts gardening event at Erchless Estate. Kershaw spoke to a group of 20 people about the history of the estate and the historical significance of its garden. He explained the history of the arts and crafts movement in Canada, how it helped women’s rights during the industrial revolution and its decline in popularity after the Great Depression. His presentation focused on the importance of gardening, respecting nature and using local plants and stones in garden exhibits.
Event organizer Susan Crane wanted Kershaw to speak at the event because of his knowledge of the arts and crafts.
“He speaks specifically to arts and crafts period and we have the arts and crafts architecture on our site. We thought it was a nice match so he could talk about the movement in the gardens,” Crane said.
Crane thinks that events like this have something for everyone. “Specifically gardeners are very very interested. And because [Frank’s] the author of so many books and he talks everywhere, he’s written articles for newspapers. He’s well known and has a good following,” says Crane.
Kershaw wanted to be a horticulturist from a young age.
“I was inspired partly through my parents, but also through a lot of nature. I truly enjoy the outdoors and nature,” he said. Kershaw likes the creative elements of gardening the best. He sees gardening as an art form, just like drawing and painting.
“With gardening, it’s ever evolving. You buy a picture and put it on the wall. You go back five years, 10 years, the picture is hopefully there but it’s the same picture. Look at the tree out there. It didn’t look like that three years ago, five years ago 50 years ago! It’s an ever evolving with spring, fall, winter… It’s an ever changing picture and that makes it very rewarding and different from some other things. It’s not a sculpture, it’s a tree, its the flower, its the shrub that changes over the years,” Kershaw said.
He loves doing events like these and can see the benefit they have in the local community. “Not only does it give them familiarity with this tremendous resource, but also, hopefully, gives them the stimulus to perhaps read up on the arts and crafts,” he said.
As to the future of horticulture?
“I think the qualitative aspects of it will always attract people who are looking for that bridge, not only to the past but to the future. It’s timeless in my view, timeless. It’s not trendy.”