The future of one of Britain’s oldest gardening groups in is jeopardy as the supply of budding members withers on the vine.
The Royal Horticultural Society of Perthshire has been around for more than 200 years but leaders have warned it may be forced to disband if more people do not join in the coming months.
The group is behind a programme of activities to promote the growing of flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables, but despite high attendances at its twice-yearly shows, membership numbers are dwindling.
Bosses say four out of every five members is over 70 and its future will be unsustainable unless it can attract new blood.
The Perth society was one of the first in its kind in the UK, formed in 1806, just three years after the Caledonian Society in Edinburgh and two years after the original Royal Horticultural Society in London.
Chairwoman Gillian Sharp said: “I am very concerned about the future of the society now.
“When we were celebrating the bi-centenery we had a lot of older male members but sadly they have now passed on.
“What was the younger generation has become the older generation but who will replace us? It just does not seem to interest younger people.
“We have just under 100 members but around 90% of them are over 60 and around 80% are over 70 which is not sustainable. It’s now at the point that we don’t know if we can keep the society going following our annual general meeting in December.”
The society needs help with secretarial duties, as well as physical work such as setting up displays for shows.
Gillian said she had tried to attract younger members by setting up a website and Facebook, as well as changing records to a digital system, but fears this may have put off people who are not computer-savvy.
“We have support from exhibitors and visitors to our shows but it is the actual running and organising of the shows we are struggling with,” she said.
“The bulk of members are elderly and they struggle with the physical side of setting up for events but also with the things like social media and promoting events.
“As people have left I have absorbed their roles but I can’t do any more than I already am,” she added.
“We have a strong floral art section and they sometimes get involved with the main body but I’m wondering where all of the gardeners are in Perth? We could really use them.”
Anyone interested in getting involved can find out more on the society’s website, www.rhsofperthshire.co.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.