Whiteoak Trophy


You may recall that Theresa received the Unsung Hero Award last year. Not only has she continued to fulfill all the many volunteer duties that were recognized then, but she has continued to take on even more responsibilities. In addition to her “regular” jobs heading up our Programs team, liaising with the Garth Homer Centre, updating and managing our website and participating in the ongoing work of the board, Theresa has organized field trips, hosted a driveway plant sale, and introduced electronic point-of-purchase transactions for our plant sales and online membership forms for the VHS and the Hardys, which have proved a great convenience to us all. She has also had a large hand in purchasing decisions for much of our other technical infrastructure. On top of it all, she has been the main organizer of our current and last year’s holiday celebrations.


I would like to nominate the entire Centennial Committee collectively for their exemplary work over the past several years. In fulfilling the mandate given to them by the members, the Committee engaged the membership in several ways, including plant sales in support of our legacy project, and tree planting by individuals and larger entities. They forged or strengthened relationships with many municipalities and also created partnerships with non-profit organizations working to advance and support learning and doing, environmental awareness, Indigenous culture, food security and land stewardship. These efforts leave lasting legacies contributing, through tree planting, to urban forests and enjoyment of parks, and inspiring a new generation of growers. The exceptional template and application process they developed for the micro-grant program provides the VHS with all the tools needed to continue this program on an ad hoc or ongoing basis, should the members approve such expenditure in future budgets.


The Whiteoak Trophy was awarded to Maureen Adams, in recognition of the incredible work she has done this year as Chair of the Centenary Committee, as well as her numerous contributions to the Executive and the Society as a whole.

As well as the trophy, I presented Maureen with a commemorative vase, a permanent reminder of her achievement.

Whiteoak Trophy 2021

Unsung Hero Award


We honour Ruth Howell for her many years of dedicated service to the VHS as Secretary, maintaining excellent records of our activities and decisions, and especially for her quiet insights and thoughtful counsel to the board. Although she resigned that position in 2021, Ruth remained on the board as a director-at-large, where she gracefully and graciously served as a backup to our most recent past secretary and as a mentor to both her and our current secretary.

During her tenure Ruth has also fielded the many messages and requests we receive via our public email address, which range from the mundane through the esoteric to the genuinely bizarre. She is often the first line of contact with the VHS, and has always represented the Society with great diplomacy, and frequently a touch of warm-hearted humour. She continues to perform that service as a non-board volunteer, for which we are very grateful.

The board presented Ruth with a beautiful crystal vase engraved with the VHS logo at a separate gathering later in December.


Theresa Scholes has been working behind the scenes for us since 2018 — on website design & maintenance, software & e-commerce solutions to help make our work more efficient and much more. Website/hosting “stuff” truly is unseen and under-appreciated by many (most?) of us, but our website has become the backbone for the services we provide to our Members and, without Theresa’s help, it would be much less useful, I am certain. She has helped with many other tasks over the years, most recently taking over as Programs Director.


The Unsung Hero Award was presented to Carol and Tim Smith, for their long-standing contributions to the Society over the years. They received a gift certificate and a commemorative vase.

Unsung Hero

Mariev Wade was awarded a Lifetime Membership in 2021.

Executive Recognition Award

Alimay and RobinLast year we introduced a new award, to be given out at the discretion of the Executive – a beautiful crystal vase engraved with the VHS logo. The Whiteoak Trophy and the Unsung Hero Award are usually only given to a volunteer once, but that does not mean that ongoing volunteer work should not be recognized. This award is intended to be a permanent token of thanks to those who continue to contribute to the Society year after year. I am very pleased to announce that, this year, the executive has decided that Alimay and Robin McNeil should be recognized in this way.

They have done so much for the VHS that it’s hard to know where to begin…suffice it to say that, on behalf of the entire Executive, I offer them our heartfelt thanks.

The Victoria Horticultural Society would like to thank all members for contributing to the success of our workshops, lectures, plant sales, parlour show, open gardens, library, mentoring programs, snack and tea services, multimedia and computer services, and numerous other activities.

Every year the VHS recognizes individuals who go above and beyond to help the Society’s continuing success.

Our Dick Bullard receiving a VERA (Valued Elder Recognition Award) award from the UVic Institute on Aging and the Eldercare Foundation, in honour of the International Day of the Older Person (Oct 1st).

Dick was nominated for this award by the Abkhazi Gardens folks and the VHS, where he has been volunteering for many years as our Membership Director.

Dick Bullard

Unsung Hero Award

This award is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to VHS operations.

2023Ruth Howell2022Theresa Scholes
2021Carol and Tim Smith2020Monica Kaemmerer
2019Mariev Wade2018Susan McWhirter
2017Gail Miller2016Fred Pishalski
2015Jennifer Howard-Gibbon2014Ellen Wellborn
2013Len Jaffe2012Laura Proctor
2011Wen Gao2010Judith Young and Linda Duncan
2009Dick Bullard2008Jacqueline Bradbury
2007Patty Brown2006Francis Fink
2005Patty Brown2001Joan Jamieson/Valerie Murray
1999Bobbi & Don Johannessen1998John Veillette & Gary White

Whiteoak Trophy

This trophy goes to a member who has made exceptional contributions to several areas of VHS operations.

2023Theresa Scholes2022Centennial Committee
2021Maureen Adams2020Gail Miller & Fred Pishalski
2019Mike McHugh2018Jennifer Howard-Gibbon
2017Alimay & Robin McNeil2016Margaret Hantiuk
2015Rafe Mooney2014Gordon Robe
2013Bill Spriggs2012Ann Widdowsen
2011Jacqueline Bradbury2010Dick Bullard
2009Kathy Palmer2008James Leigh & Fred Kramer
2007Francis Fink2006John & Delphia Scratchley
2005Tom Leahy & Denise Brown2004Mike Hutchins
2003Chris Palmer2002Joan Jamieson
2001Don & Bobbi Johannessen2000Mark Wright
1999Gary White & John Veillette1998Jill Stewart Bowen
1997Pat Robertson1996John Ewing
1995The Elliotts1994Carolyn Herriot
1993Geli Bartlett1992Jean Williams
1991Freda Loro1990Hector Bussiere
1989Diane Plant1988Bryce Fradley
1987Diane Bussiere1986Jean Webster
1985Rowly Inglis1984Rodger Whitlock
1983Neil Knowlton1982Win Foubister
1981Walter Williamson1980Tom Hutchinson
1979Primrose Stevens1978John Linnell
1977Elizabeth Whitlock1976James Smith
1975Miss M. Laing1974Mrs. J.R. Bell
1973Harry Leake1972Ken Barnes
1971Miss E. Sartain1970Mrs. G. Reid
1969Mrs. S. McMinn1968D. G. F. Barton
1967Harry van Dyk1966F. Blakeney
1965Mrs. R.S. Bevan1964T. Weekes
1963A.R. McMinn1962Alan Littler
1961Mrs. T.T. Vaulkhard1960D.A. Weir
1959Miss Doris Page1958Mrs. E.W. Carey
1957W.J. Roper1956S. Lang
1955C.J. Freeborn1954Mrs. Ena McCabe
1953Alex Gray1952T.J. Sawyer
1951Miss M.S. Hamer1950Mrs. C.J. Freeborn
1949K. Robinson1948T.E. Perry
1947Alex Main1946F.E. Boulter
1945not awarded1944F.W. Waller
1943W.H. Warren1942Mrs. R.H. Ludbrook
1941M.O. Mayhew1940Alex Mitchell

Parlour Show Rose Bowl

Judged by Jacqueline Bradbury, this award goes to the individual earning the most points for the year, whose consistent entries offer colour and variety.

2019TBA2018Marion Parker
2017Marion Parker2016Pauline Power
2015Marion Parker2014Brian Rowe
2013Brian Rowe2012Brian Rowe
2010Carole Todd2009Judith Young
2008Judith Young2007Judith Young
2006Judith Young2005Judith Young
2002John Veilette2001Margaret Leeuw
2000John Veilette1999Margaret Meehan
1998John Veilette