Ancient Free Gardeners of Scotland
Rose of England Lodge
Initiation Ritual in the Apprentice Degree


Opening of the Lodge
The Worthy Master gives Three Knocks, Repeated by the Deputy Master.
Worthy Master:
Worthy Deputy Master, what is our first duty?
Deputy Master:
To see that none but Gardeners are present.
Worthy Master:
Then I would thank you to ascertain that none, but such are in the room.
Deputy Master:
Worthy Master, I believe all are correct.
Worthy Master:
Worthy Officers and Brothers.
The Laws of our Order have once more called us together for the purpose of learning the condition of our sick and fully considering all matters pertaining to the Welfare of this Institution, whether concerning Member, Lodge, District, or the Society, which shall be brought forward in a lawful and proper manner.
These important duties, with your calm, candid, and impartial assistance, I hope and trust you will help me to perform.
I, therefore, declare this Lodge Duly Opened.
Deputy Master:
So it is.
Chaplain Opens Bible - Old Testament at Genesis Chapter 1.

Business of the Lodge

Worthy Master Knocks Once (Not Repeated).
Worthy Master:
Bro. Secretary may we have the Minutes from our Last Meeting.
Bro. Secretary reads Minutes.
Worthy Master:
Brethren, you have all heard those Minutes, all those who deem them
worthy of confirmation will signify in the manner usually observed amongst Free Gardeners
Worthy Master:
To the contrary?
Worthy Master:
I Declare those Minutes Confirmed
Bro. Conductor collects Minute Book from Secretary for WM to Sign.
Worthy Master:
Bro. Secretary may we have the Apologies for this Meeting.
Bro. Secretary reads Apologies.
Worthy Master Knocks Once (Not Repeated) and Asks the Following Questions:
Worthy Master:
Has any Brother anything to state for the good and welfare of this Lodge or the Oder in General?
Question to be Closed by W.M. by Three Knocks, answered by the D.M.
Worthy Master:
Are any of our Members sick, or in distress, or suffering any calamity?
If so, what is their condition? And how can we best assist them?
Question to be Closed by W.M. by Three Knocks, answered by the D.M.
Worthy Master:
Has any Brother any charge, grievance or complaint to lay before this Lodge according to Rule?
Question to be Closed by W.M. by Three Knocks, answered by the D.M.
Worthy Master:
Bro. Secretary do you have any other business.
Bro. Secretary deals with any other business.
Question to be Closed by W.M. by Three Knocks, answered by the D.M.
Worthy Master Knocks Once (Not Repeated) and Ask the Following Question:
Worthy Master:
Has any Brother a friend to propose to become a Free Gardener?
Bro. Secretary Reads out Candidates names.
Question to be Closed by W.M. by Three Knocks, answered by the D.M.

Apprentice Degree

Worthy Master:
Bro. Conductors you will Retire and Bring into the Lodge the Candidates.
Bro. Conductors Retire and Bring into the Lodge the Candidates and Seat Them.
Nominated Brother Stands in front of D.M. and Reads Introductory Address

Introductory Address to New Members

The Ancient Order of Free Gardeners is of Scottish Origin with the earliest record being a Minute of a Lodge of Free Gardeners in Haddington, East Lothian dated 16th August 1676.
The earliest Lodges were Operative, being made up of Gardeners employed in Large Estates and Country Houses.
At that period Country Houses were particularly fashionable and both plants as well as Gardeners themselves were imported from the Continent.
Within the Lodge, Free Gardeners would look after the sick and needy, and also care for the welfare of a deceased members’ family.
These early Operative Lodges gradually admitted into membership non-operative gardeners and the structure was similar to other Fraternal Organisations.
In the 19th Century membership expanded greatly, and thousands of Lodges were formed. These were the days prior to the Welfare State and the organization was very much a Friendly Society. These Friendly Societies flourished until 1946 when the Welfare State was created in the United Kingdom. Overnight Friendly Society’s folded and by the Mid-Fifties Free Gardeners Lodge were all but extinct.
However, in 2002 a revival took place with the development and creation of a small number of Independent Lodges, out of this development Ayrshire Bluebell Lodge No.7 was Instituted on Thursday 20th November 2003, and that Lodge Instituted the ‘Rose and Bluebell Lodge’ on Saturday 24th August 2019 in Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland and on the 29th August 2020. The Rose and Bluebell Lodge Instituted this Lodge, the ‘Rose of England Lodge’ in Stoneleigh Surrey.
It was agreed from the outset that the Ritual be read and not recited, this will ensure that all Brethren are equal, and none shall have any advantage over another.
You will now retire with the Bro. Conductors and on your re-entry, you will be Admitted to the Three Degrees of Free Gardenry namely – Apprentice, Journeyman and Master Gardener.
Bro. Conductors Retire with the Candidates.
Outside Tyler Knocks Once on the Door.
Inside Tyler Opens Door, Sees Bro. Conductors with Candidates, Closes Door.
Inside Tyler:
Worthy Master a Brother with a friend/s for initiation, wishes entrance here.
Worthy Master:
Admit him.
The Bro. Conductors enter and lead the Candidates in front of the Deputy Master
Bro. First Conductor:
Worthy Deputy Master, here are friends who wish to become a partaker of the benefits arising from a knowledge of the principles of Gardenry.
Deputy Master:
Friends you have now entered the precincts of our Garden, and you will take notice that you will be required to observe three things.
First: That you must diligently study the principles of our Order that you must become proficient in the practice thereof. Second: That you must not, on pain of expulsion disclose any secret connected with the Order, by which you may give opportunity to evil disposed persons to impose upon and take advantage of our benevolent Institution.
Third: That you will at all times consider Brother Gardeners as persons bound to you by one common tie of true friendship, and that you will in no way act deceitfully toward them, but the you will visit them while sick, advise with and assist them in their hour of sorrow and distress, and like the good Samaritan, pour into their mental and bodily wounds that healing balm which springing from the principles of Gardenry, soothes and heals the cares and miseries inherent to this life’s pilgrimage.
Are you prepared to do this?
I Am.
Deputy Master:
I now recommend you to our Worthy Master, Who will further instruct you in the principles of the Order. Bro. Conductors, you will conduct the candidate/s to his/their seat/s before our Worthy Master.
Bro. Conductors seat the Candidates.
Chaplain stands and Reads from Genesis Chapter 1 Verses 1-13.

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Worthy Master then addresses them as follows:
Worthy Master:
Respected Brothers, the principles and precepts of our Society teach us to unite together in the bond of brotherly affection for the purpose of promoting each other’s temporal and moral welfare, and under all circumstances in life to be faithful to each other. We have, therefore individually bound ourselves in a most sacred covenant to keep the secrets of this order a mystery from the rest of the world, and we trust that no circumstance will ever induce you to violate the pledge you have thus voluntary made: for should you prove a traitor to the Society, and bring dishonour upon this Institution, by betraying the trust we now repose in you, you would forfeit all claim to our future confidence: it would render you a contemptible being, and unfit for any society. But if you conduct yourself with propriety and act in accordance with the rules and precepts of the Order, you will gain the esteem and affection of all your brethren. You will render yourself happy and useful in promoting the benevolent objects of this Institution, and become a blessing to the Community at large.
Our order may be called a social fraternity, an unlimited number of individuals mutually united together by virtue and affection in the social bonds of brotherhood. "Do unto others as you would wish that others should do unto you" It is our first and leading principle. To diffuse peace and happiness amongst each other and to disseminate the principles of charity and benevolence amongst mankind generally is our chief delight. This is our duty as united brethren to inform each other’s minds, to assist each other in distress, to console and support each other in the hour of sickness and affliction, and to nourish and protect the destitute orphans, and dry up the tricking tear, and comfort the bereaved widows of our deceased brethren: and thus to teach the human mind the delightful exercise of the social principles of virtue by the practice of benevolence, affection and truth. Our Order has no religious or political association, it teaches no sectarian creed, it assumes no control over the religious tenants of the Christian faith, its rules and precepts are subservient to the established laws or our country, and it compels its members, under pain of expulsion, to act justly in their intercourse with the world and each other. We trust that the practice of these principles will acquire for the Order your esteem and affection, that in you will be found a worthy and faithful member, ready at all times to defend its principles. Thus, every sphere of life which you may have to pass, will be adorned with virtue, your integrity of conduct will secure the approbation of your brethren: and acquire universal esteem by disseminating the sacred principles of Friendship, Love and Truth.
Worthy Master:
I will now entrust you with the Grip and Word of this Degree If more than One Candidate with the Assistance of the Deputy Master.
GRIP: Normal Handshake Three Times.
WORDS: Dig deep for Knowledge.
Candidates are Seated.

The Apprentice Lecture

Worthy Master:
For what purpose are we assembled? Deputy Master: For pleasure, profit and instruction.
Worthy Master:
In what doth our chief pleasures consist? Deputy Master: In the enjoyment of an unsullied conscience, in a faithful discharge of our duty, and I seeing each Brother happy.
Worthy Master:
By what method do you insure to the Members profit from this Order?
Deputy Master:
By providing while in health and strength for the urgent need and misfortunes of life.
Worthy Master:
Why is our Lodge compared to a Garden? Deputy Master: As a Garden receives plants, shrubs and trees of various forms, natures and virtues, so doth our lodge receive men of various sentiments, dispositions and affections: and as a garden requires the hand of the cultivator to destroy all useless and pernicious weeds, and to train up with tender care the more valuable and useful plants, so doth the mind of man require aid from philosophy, precept and example, to root out and destroy all these unruly passions evil desires and degrading dispositions that debase the character of man, and to cherish with peculiar tenderness the more exalted sentiments of virtue, philanthropy and brotherly love. In these and many other particulars doth our Lodge resemble a garden?
We therefore call ourselves Gardeners. We must, therefore, ever remember that it is not merely the title, but the virtuous principles which adorn the conduct, that constitutes a true Gardener.
Worthy Master:
Respected Brothers, I have now to introduce you into this community as an Apprentice Gardener. This post, humble though honourable, is the lowest in our profession: but by obedience and diligence by care and circumspection, by the cultivation of brotherly love, charity and benevolence you will soon attain the degree of a Journeyman Gardener.
But you will have to dig deep for knowledge, to pull up and destroy the rank weeds of pride and self-conceit and walk in the paths of humility with a demeanor that becomes your profession. You will be under the Officers of the Garden, to whom you must owe submission and allegiance, and to whose reproof and correction you must submit with patience meekness and humility. You will have to pay due respect to the Officers of the Garden, if for nothing else, for the sake of their office, in as much as you may hereafter be called upon to fill the same yourself. Render therefore that respect and submission to others which the same situation you would wish to receive yourself. The mind of man is like a seed or bud, in which is concentrated a principle of vitality, capable of expanding into luxuriant growth, and bearing flowers and fruit: but then it must be cultivated. For no faculties of the mind are more generally neglected than those of observation and reflection: mankind sees and hears things without proper attention, without allowing them time to make an impression on their minds. Worthy Master: Hence the defection of their ideas, and the imperfection of their memories. Let your observations be close and attentive, so shall your minds become a rich treasury of ideas, a storehouse of the past, available at every future period of your life. If possible obtain an acquaintance with every tree, plant and flower within the range of your observation, their systematic arrangement. The beautiful relation that subsists between them, and the dependencies by which they are connected in one vast chain of being.---You will thus associate yourself with universal nature, and in your morning and evening walks the object of your acquaintance will greet you as friends, calling forth associations and pleasurable emotion unknown to minds less cultivate. Let no vicious propensity take possession of your mind: but let the broad and heaven-born principle of doing unto others as you would wish that they do unto you be the law of your minds, and the principles of your action. Be honest sober and industrious: be so for your own sake, and for the good of your country.
By this line of conduct your life will be virtuous and happy, you will secure "A WEALTH, that ne’er encumbers, nor to baser hands can be transferred: A HAPPINESS above the smiles and frowns of fate" "Then Onward! Onward! Let us press in paths of duty: VIRTUE is true happiness Excellence true beauty"
You will now retire with the Bro. Conductors and on your re-entry, you will be Admitted to the Degree of Journeyman.
Bro. Conductors Retire with the Candidates.