A lively and entertaining group of local gardeners. We usually meet on the 2nd Thursday of the month in the Amberley parish rooms (under the Church) whilst in the Summer months we have various trips to gardens and shows. New members or drop in guests always welcome.
Officers and Committee Members
Chairman - Christopher Bailey
Treasurer - Matthew Jackson
The Gardening Club meets in the Parish Room on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7:30pm for a glass of wine and a chat before an 8pm start. For further information, please contact the Secretary.
Annual Subscription Rate £15 per person, £25 per couple. Guests welcome for £4 per person
We have had a wonderful series of lectures from experts and passionate plantspeople:
- January: saw a talk from the Cotswold Canals Trust
- February: our AGM and photo competition
- Mach: a fascinating talk on the ancient post of the Hayward Mark Dawkins who looks after the beasts on our common
- April: a joint meeting with Box garden club to hear from Nick Macer the plant collector on global plants for local gardens
- May: the 2 Sues with a walk on the Common followed talk on the flora and fauna of the surrounding area.
The next talks will be:
12th September: Bees and things by Dr Brian Bertram
10th October: Colour throughout the year by nursery women Felicity Down (joint with Box garden club at Amberley)
14th November: Mistletoe, fact myth and legend by Dr Michael Jones
after a very successful plant sale on 30th March with the annual book sale, out main plant sale will be on Saturday 18th May on the green outside the village school (next to Amberley Inn). Do come along for that rare bargain or plant from someone elses garden. 10am to 1pm
Upcoming trips include:
13th June: Wortley house, Wooton under Edge
4th July: Oxlease farm and Eastleach house, Eastleach
And don't forget the Garden Safari on evening of Thursday, 20th June, in Amberley - members only. A tour around 4 or so village gardens.
Trips to Rockliffe Gardens and Eyford House (redesigned by Graham Stuart Thomas), both near Stow, where we were the privileged guests of the owners. We were given personal tours round the extensive estates and then relaxed with tea and cake in their beautiful gardens.
Tues 20th June High Glanau Manor and Veddw House. The garden was designed by H Avery Tipping and spans twelve acres. While Veddw House is praised as a modern romantic garden.
Tues 25th July Kew Gardens.
Tues 3rd Oct Picton Gardens and Little Malvern Court. Picton Gardens houses the National Collection of Asters and October will be the ideal time to see them in full display.
14th Sept Creative gardening with bulbs
12th Oct Life as a gardening editor
9th Nov NGS and the gardens of Gloucestershire
SUMMER GARDEN SAFARI
Thurs 16th June -
VISITS and TALKS
Tues 21st June - David Austin Roses
Tues 12th July - Highgrove
Tues 13th September - RHS Wisley
12th May - A Local Artist and her Garden - Alison Vickery
8th September - Gardens of Italy: Ancient and Modern - Duncan Coombs
13th October - Conservatory and House Plants, A Survival Guide - Philip Aubury
10th November - Christmas from the Garden
We had a real treat when Gareth Davies, a renowned rose grower and the chair of the last remaining rose society in Wales, came to speak to us about The Magic of Roses in April. The talk was most intersting and we were encouraged to think 'outside the box' where roses are concerned. He used slides to illustrate how roses can be used as ground cover for awkward banks, shady area wall climbers, to accompany ivy or clematis or simply lined up in rose beds. As Gareth, assisted by his wife, skilfully named the roses on the slides, many of us took notes, planning to find and grow these beautiful specimens. Gareth also mentioned David Austin Roses (see below). There was a good crowd and we welcomed around 9 new members.
Our speaker on Thursday 12th May is Alison Vickery with A Local Artist and Her Garden. Everyone is welcome. Visitors pay £3.
On Tuesday 21st June there is a trip by coach to David Austin Roses, on Tuesday 12th July to Highgrove and on Tuesday 13th September to RHS Wisley. Please call Simone Pennie on 01453 873887 should you wish to join the group for the trip or why not come along to one of our talks at the Parish rooms.
In March our Club joined with Box Gardening Club at Box Village Hall. This was a most interesting evening where Charles Dowding talked to a very full audience about No Dig Gardening. This was something that many of us had not considered previously!
Charles showed us a number of slides comparing vegetable beds on his holding in Somerset which had been prepared using both 'dug' and 'no dig' methods and various types of compost dressings. Improved production resulted from his 'no dig' method. His presentation was followed by an enthusiastic question and answer session.
Amberley Gardening Club would like to take this opportunity of thanking Box Gardening Club for hosting such an enjoyable event.
Our next meeting will be on Thursday 14th April at Amberley Parish Rooms with Gareth Davies speaking about The Magic of Roses.
The Club will be holding its main plant sale this year on Saturday 7th May at The Black Horse, Amberley (front Garden). This is from 11am - 2pm.
The snowdrops are up and it won’t be long until Spring arrives. If you’re interested in what’s happening in your own or other gardens, the Amberley Gardening Club has a full and diverse programme of events for 2016. Membership costs only £10/year (trips extra) or come as a guest to any meeting for £3. Our programme for the remainder of 2016 is below – we hope we can tempt you to join us.
Speakers – in Parish Rooms starting at 7:30, except March meeting
*15th Mar No Dig Gardening Charles Dowding [at Box]
14th Apr The Magic of Roses Gareth Davies
12th May A Local Artist and her Garden Alison Vickery
8th Sept Gardens of Italy: Ancient and Modern Duncan Coombs
13th Oct Conservatory and House Plants: A Survival Guide - Philip Aubury
10th Nov Christmas from the garden
* Joint meeting with Box Gardening Club 7:30 at Box Village Hall, no March meeting in Amberley
Fri 15th April – Cardiff Spring Show
Tues 21st June – David Austin Roses
Tues 12th July – Highgrove
Tues 13th Sept – RHS Wisley
Please contact Jacky Staff, Club Secretary, to find out more about membership (07809 565724), or Simone Pennie if you want to know more about our planned trips (01453 873887).
The Club last met on 11th February and Nick Macer, from Pan Global Plants, spoke to us about Plant Hunting in the Temperate Mountains of Vietnam. This talk included slides of the terrain in Vietnam and leaves and plants. Some of these plants were familiar to us in the UK. Many were very unusual too.
Our next meeting will be on 15th March at Box Village Hall, please see above. We will not be meeting in Amberley during March.
Our January speaker was Martin Hayes from the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust.
Apologies, no review as I was away!
In December we held our Christmas Social. A good time was had by all!
Our last speaker meeting on Thursday 12th November was very well-attended. We were treated to a fascinating talk on Islamic Gardens by Natalie Mignotte. As well as showing us photographs of different types of gardens, from those surrounding grand palaces to the much more humble areas of simple dwellings, Natalie gave us an insight into why, although these gardens vary enormously in scale, they all are designed using simple geometric shapes and the same three colours (green, blue and brown). These features are very important as they form part of the teachings of the Koran. Many of these gardens are in desert-like conditions, so water retention is important as is also providing areas of shade from the sun. Some of the grander gardens have buildings, open to the skies, to be used as astrological observatories.
Our next meeting is the Christmas event on Thursday 10th December (7.30-9.30pm) where there will not only be a food and drink quiz but also we have resurrected this year two competitions for 'the best homemade beverage' and 'the best homemade produce'. Winners will be awarded silver cups to be held for the year.
Should you wish to become a member please contact The Secretary.
The first meeting of next year will be held on 14th January.
September / October 2015
At our September meeting, David Swinson, a volunteer guide for over 10 years, spoke of The Wonders of Westonbirt. As well as giving a brief history of the Arboretum and its relationship to Westonbirt House, he gave an overview of the many seasonal highlights to look out for (it's not all about the autumn!). He also reminded us of the important work the Arboretum does in terms of plant conservation and research. Regular visitors will be aware of the many significant changes to the Arboretum over the past few years, one of the most dramatic - a treetop walk - is nearing completion. Although many of the club are also members of the Arboretum, most agreed the talk inspired them to visit the Arboretum more regularly.
Our Annual General Meeting took place on 8th October. The Committee were all re-elected and the business part of the meeting was followed by Gardeners’ Question Time. This is the second time we have all sat in a circle and discussed some of the problems and successes that we have experienced in our local gardens. We passed round refreshments as food always helps the thought process! A good time was had by all.
Our next meeting is on Thursday, 12th November. Our speaker, Natalie Mignotte, will talk about "Islamic Gardens". She will discuss the structure and influences affecting the design of Islamic gardens as well as the plants used and their symbolism. We are hoping to visit Highgrove next year and this may be particularly relevant as one of the areas: the Carpet Garden is based on Islamic design principles. The doors open at 7:30pm and the talk starts at 8:00pm. Visitors are welcome and we hope to see you there.
Our Speaker on 14th May was Davina Wynne-Jones, daughter of the famous garden designer Rosemary Verey. Davina's presentation was entitled Herbs for Healing and was based on the plants she grows in her 2-acre nursery in Barnsley near Cirencester. She started her medicinal herb business some ten years ago and she now produces a range of creams, tinctures and tonics to assist with all types of ailments and medical problems.
Many of the herbs have more than one use. Meadowsweet is good for arthritis and Dandelion is a diuretic containing beneficial potassium, unlike the usual prescription remedy which has no potassium. Dandelion sap from the stem can be used to treat warts, sometimes with rapid results. Silver Birch sap is good for ridding the body of toxins and cellulite if collected and applied early in the year. Elderberry cordial is antiviral, so good to drink in the winter and Comfrey is used for wounds and skin complaints. There are many more natural remedies which can be investigated.
We thanked Davina for a most interesting presentation and wished her well with her entry in the Barnsley Open Gardens (Barnsley Festival) competition on Saturday 16th May. The Barnsley Herb Garden is open on Wednesdays until September, on Sunday 26th June (2-5pm) and Sunday 28th July (2-5pm).
This was our last speaker until September when David Swinsen is coming to speak to us on The Wonders of Westonbirt. Our Garden Party this summer is on 18th June and is safari-style as we will be visiting 3 gardens in Pinfarthings. To date there are still some places available (all welcome) for our trip to Jekka's Herbetum in Alveston, north of Bristol (£12). New members for 2015 now pay the reduced rate of £5 for the remainder of the year. Hope to see you!
At our April meeting we welcomed some new members, some visitors and current members. Our speaker was Bill Howe from Howe's Horticulture. Bill and his wife, Pauline, run a small Horticulture business growing seasonal cut flowers and flowering plants on a small market garden in Tutshill near Chepstow, close to the River Wye.
Bill explained how there has been a resurgence of flower-growing during the last few years. Some people who traditionally grew vegetables have decided to grow flowers for cutting. In 1995 Bill and Pauline bought a field which they fenced, dividing it into two plots: 1 acre and half an acre. They grow flowers in polytunnels and outside.
We were shown many colourful slides with rows of flowers growing on their land and in the tunnels. These included Daffodils and anemones in early spring, with Tulips and Irises to follow. Summer flowers include Alstroemeria, Asters, Pinks and Sunflowers. Dahlias and Chrysanthemums are grown to flower in the autumn. Many others are grown but there are too many to mention here.
Bill mentioned problems they have with slugs, mice and pigeons, so it's much the same as here. He didn't mention the ever-hungry deer! Bill urged us to be careful of the sap from Campanula as it can cause a long-lasting nasty rash. Members bought some of their very healthy-looking plants at the end of the meeting.
At our next meeting on Thursday 14th May, the speaker is Davina Wynne-Jones from Barnsley Herb Garden with Herbs for Healing. Please see www.amberley.org >local groups>Gardening Club, for details of our organised trips and events for this year. There are some spaces available on 2nd June to the Walled Gardens of Cannington in Bridgewater and Hestercombe in Taunton and the trip on 7th July to Jekka's Herbetum in Alveston.
Our March speaker was Mr Chris Smith of Pennard Plants who came to speak about Heritage Vegetables. Chris explained about the history of vegetables and how, if we wish to save the seeds from our home-grown plants, we should save the very best. You can mark runner beans with, for example, string to ensure that they don't get picked and eaten in error. Recent changes in Seed Regulations have meant that we are now able to grow more of the varieties that were grown many years ago. Chris told us that there was a good reason for having many varieties of vegetables: to ensure survival of the species and to produce plants which were not susceptible to blight.
Chris made us think about how few varieties we find in supermarkets. Most potatoes in supermarkets are Maris Piper and are bred to be easy to peel. Have you also noticed how supermarket tomato skins are tough and home-grown tomatoes' skins are thinner? Tougher skins protect tomatoes when required.
He told us that many varieties have now been lost as they didn't confirm to EU Regulations. With the relaxing of the Seed Regulations, you should see more varieties available in seed catalogues. Dwarf varieties were also mentioned. They were introduced so they could be forced in frames.
Slugs are always a problem and Chris said to add 4-6 ounces of lime per square yard to the potato bed in October. You can also plant Calendula Marigolds nearby, but not close or it will slow the growth of potatoes. Old carrots can be hung on canes to prevent wireworm.
We thanked Chris for a most interesting talk and expect to welcome him again in the near future. At the end of the evening we swapped seeds - a new idea for our Club.
The speaker on Thursday 9th April is Bill Howe from Howe's Horticulture with Growing Flowers for Cutting. On Saturday 18th April 09:30 - 12:30, the Amberley Parish Room is the place to be for our PLANT SALE at the Book Sale. We hope to see you there!
On Thursday 12th February we welcomed several new members and many regular ones who filled the hall to hear Mark Draper from Graduate Gardeners speak. Mark has worked for Graduate Gardeners for some 22 years. The talk was about the creation of their Gold Medal and Best in Show awards at The Malvern Show. They are very proud of the high standard they consistently achieve. Mark told us that they only work in domestic gardens. Their base is a 3-acre purpose-built site in Bisley from which they design, plan, build and maintain gardens, mostly in the Cotswolds. They are also asked to go further out into Oxford, Bath etc.
The team start planning for the May Malvern Spring Show in December the previous year. A Gant chart is used to plan the numerous tasks and the Malvern Show site is approved 4 weeks before the show. Mark was inspired by wild flowers in the countryside when designing the latest award-winning garden. He started to plan as he was running in the countryside! Mark worked out how to make the thousands of wild flowers in the show garden flow into the structure of the 7m x 12m plot. Wild flower turf was protected and its growth encouraged in a polytunnel for a few weeks. Trees which come into leaf early in the year were chosen for the garden.
Mark showed us many drawings and photos of the progress of the garden, the planning of a pond area, wild flower lawn, a rusted metal structure (and explained how to rust it within a fews days, if necessary) and the creation of a wooden bench. He described how this garden needed to 'flow', 'peter out', be 'balanced' and how plants were 'bleeding' into other areas. Mark explained that at the end of the Show, the site needs to be left level, as it was found. Take a look at their website to see some of their beautiful gardens http://www.graduategardeners.co.uk/portfolio.
On 12th March, we have a return visit: Mr Chris Smith of Pennard Plants. He is going to speak to us about Heritage Vegetables. Before and after the talk we are having a 'Seed Swap'. All welcome, visitors £3 and annual membership is only £10 per member. Hope to see you!
The January meeting was an insight into Pruning by Jenny Bailey, former Chair of Stroud in Bloom. We all arrived armed with sharp secateurs and hoped we didn’t get arrested en masse! Sharp secateurs are necessary as blunt and damaged ones can otherwise cause infection and disease in plants and shrubs. Jenny cleans hers with Jeyes Fluid and sprays her tools with WD40. Jenny told us that fruiting buds are fat and pointed ones become leaves. She also said that with variegated shrubs, we should remove any non-variegated shoots or the whole plant will eventually turn green. Always cover Blood, Fish and Bone fertiliser to prevent it being eaten by dogs and badgers.
Jenny said that careful pruning can rejuvenate most shrubs and that they often need pruning from the lower (underneath) part of the plant to keep the plant’s shape. We saw examples of bad pruning! Topiary is again fashionable in our gardens. For details of a local topiarist, contact the Secretary.
Our next meeting is on Thursday 12th February with Mark Draper from the Graduate Gardeners. Mark’s talk is on how they built their show-winning garden at The Malvern Show 2014 plus predictions for 2015 and the future. All welcome: Members £10 p.a., visitors £3 per meeting.
In the first part of the meeting we were given a talk and slide show about The Restoration of Hestercombe Gardens. David Usher told us of how deer parks were converted into parkland in the 1700s then that the estate was sold in the 18702 to the Portland family of Portland Square in London. In 1851 it became part of The Crown Estate and 3 more gardens were created: The Victoria Garden, The Lutyens/Jekyll Garden and the Parkland Garden. In 1990s a 30-year lease was obtained from The Crown Estate. Much restoration has taken place with 3.5km of stone walling, an Italian garden, various flower beds and a reestored fountain. Lots of information can be read via www.hestercombe.com There will be a trip to Hestercombe in 2015, should you wish to join us!
The Club's Christmas Social evening then followed with a quiz and desserts / cheese and biscuits and a good time was had by all.
Our meeting in November was cancelled due to a small fire in the Parish Rooms. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the speaker for our December meeting. David Usher will speak about The Restoration of Hestercombe Gardens. We plan to visit these gardens in Taunton next year so the talk will be an interesting taster.
Our December meeting on Thursday 11th December is usually our Christmas Social evening for members but because of the November cancellation we will also have a speaker this year. We will start a bit earlier at 7.30pm to make sure we have time for some festive cheer with desserts and cheese / biscuits as well as the usual social side.
Our first speaker in 2015 is Jenny Bailey who will give a practical demonstration and talk about pruning. All are welcome at this meeting at 7.45pm for 8pm start on Thursday 8th January in the Amberley Parish Rooms. Annual subscriptions are due at this meeting: £10 per member and £3 per meeting for visitors. We look forward to seeing you there!
The AGM at October's meeting of Amberley Gardening Club marked the end of another year. We agreed that it has been a good year despite floods and drought! Our fund-raising events have been well-attended and this year we sold plants on our stand at the March Book Sale and the School's PTA Fair in July. It was good to work with the School to raise funds jointly.
Members have enjoyed visits to the Malvern Spring Show, The Laskett Gardens and the Three Choirs Vineyards. Trips are open to non-members when spaces are not all filled with members. It was decided to keep the annual subscription at £10 per member with £3 for visitors. We have had talks about Flowers in the Pyrenees, Wildlife Gardening and Spring Gardening Tips. We enjoyed a talk about Hens and tried to admire Lily Beetles and Slugs! We also had a delightfully fragrant talk in September called A Scented Garden's Year with many flowers and herbs to challenge our senses. We will again be having a Christmas Social in December and Summer Garden Party. Our final speaker this year is in November: David Usher for The Restoration of Hestercombe Gardens. All welcome.
There are many exciting speakers, practical evenings and visits planned fo next year so if you would like to join our friendly Club please contact the Secretary. See back inside cover for contact details.
At Amberley Gardening Club's September speaker meeting we welcomed Gail Plant who gave a talk entitled A Scented Garden's Year. The top tables were covered with beautiful scented flowers and herbs which were passed around the Club members. Many of us were scribbling plant names as an aide-memoire for the next trip to the garden centre. Gail has a nursery in Much Marcle and designs scented gardens. Gail explained that fragrant plants often attract us humans, birds and insects and assist with pollination. Aromatic leaves can deter pests and the oil in the leaves often prevents evaporation and keeps the plant cool. Most aromatic plants are not eaten by insects. Rosemary and lavender keep the flies away, so hang a bunch in rooms in the house. Grow Penny Royal in the garden and rub it on mosquito bites to give relief (not if you are pregnant). Alternatively put it on pressure points to prevent bites.
Gail also told us how to prune some fragrant climbers and when to feed them. Flowers smell stronger in the evening, having had a chance to warm up during the day. Sadly our sense of smell usually gets weaker as we get older but can improve with practice. Take time to smell the flowers in your garden. We were also told which herbs make good paths.
Gail answered many questions and we eventually let her go, leaving us better informed and inspired.
Our AGM is on Thursday 9th October 8pm in the Amberley Parish Rooms. After the official part of the meeting, the social part will include the opportunity to share some Gardeners' Question Time. Please advise the secretary if you would like to join the Committee.
In July the Club re-visited The Laskett Gardens, the home of Sir Roy Strong in Much Birch (Herefordshire). We gained inspiration from the many themed areas and it was a lovely sunny day. We went on to The Three Choirs Vineyard for a talk on their wine-making process. We tasted 3 wines, followed by a restaurant lunch. Many thanks to Simone Pennie for organising this great day out.
The Summer Garden Party was held at Whitemoor in Amberley. The 'bring and share' nibbles, lots of Pimms and non-alcoholic drink, a tour of the garden and lively conversation made a sunny Sunday afternoon even better! Many thanks to Nicki Schmiegelow and husband David Thomas for hosting this party.
Our next meeting in September is entitled A Scented Garden's Year with Gail Plant. All are welcome as are new and potential new members. We are grateful to all our members in recent months for taking such an active role in the Club and as a result new ideas have emerged for consideration.
On 8th May Roger Umpleby re-visited our Club, this time with a presentation entitled: How to Love Lily Beetles and Admire Slugs. Roger described the options we have for pest control: spraying everything, spraying selectively, using cultural methods or with biological controls.
We were shown slides listing the 'Top Pests' over the last few years. These included the obvious ones such as slugs, snails, vine weevil and lily beetles. There are also viburnum beetles, ants, woolly aphids, rosemary beetles and the red spider mite. Harlequin ladybirds have dramatically inreased in numbers over the last 20-30 years. Rabbits are also on the list!
Slugs and snails are both male and female (hermaphrodite) with both laying eggs. We were shown slides of the very common black slugs, which despite the name actually come in various colours including black, orange, grey and brown. Some have stripes and vivid colours.
The section most of us were awaiting was about disposal methods.....the most humane way being the put them in the compost bin where they can munch away and do no harm to our plants - whilst creating compost. Some people tread on them. It is pointless throwing them into your neighbour's garden as they have a homing instinct and will be back within a few days. Roger went on to talk about various beetles: the good and the bad.
The Chairman thanked Roger for a most interesting talk on a subject which affects us all.
In our Notices the Chairman thanked Robert Jennings who has retired from his position on the Committee and was also responsible for wine. We are looking for 1-2 volunteers to take on this role by our next speaker meeting on 11th September, where our talk is A Scented Garden's Year with Gail Plant.
Have a great summer!
The Chairman thanked Alice Adams for organising a great day out to Ashwood Nurseries for the Winter in Bloom Hellebore Tour, where we saw an amazing colourful display of hellebores for sale amongst a multitude of other colourful Spring plants.
Keeping Hens in the Garden was the title of our talk in April, given by Charlotte Popescu. Charlotte grew up loving animals and as the daughter of Christine Pullein-Thompson, the famous pony book author, she was lucky to experience ponies (and chickens) at close quarters, unlike many children who enthusiastically read the books! Charlotte has also kept chickens since she married, is an author of books about chickens and writes for 'Your Chickens' magazine. She also writes cookery books.
With the assistance of slides, Charlotte described some chickens' habits, for example that they like sunbathing and take dust baths. We saw various types of shelter, some quite ingenious and aiming to deter predators: badgers, foxes, hawks and mink. There are a huge number of hen owners in the UK, some simply 'rescuing' chickens and others keeping special and rare breeds. We were made aware of some of the ailments chickens have and ways of dealing with the problems encountered.
Charlotte showed us photos of some beautiful large fowl and bantams, saying that the Rhode Island Red hens lay large brown eggs and that these and Light Sussex chickens are the best layers. Gold Silkies make good mothers - to almost anything! The Silver Dorking chicken has 5 toes; the Scots Dumpy has short legs and is very rare. The Polish Bantam has a beautiful crest of feathers, making an unusual top knot. There are so many breeds from which to choose.
Bantams are around a quarter of the size of a large fowl, so often more convenient for smaller gardens; however they lay smaller eggs too. Chickens have been known to favour strange places to lay their eggs or to nest. One used a sack of leaves and another, the lawnmower grass box! Charlotte even had a hen who would march into her house and up to the bedroom - cleaning was required after the visitor had been marched out...
Some of our group hope to keep chickens so you could be seeing some colourful birds around the village. Wish them luck! Charlotte brought a selection of books about caring for chickens and some lovely fresh eggs which were very quickly sold. The Chairman thanked her for an enlightening talk.
We meet again on Thursday 8th May for Roger Umpleby's talk entitled: How to Love Lily Beetles and Admire Slugs. Be intrigued and come and be convinced.
Our speaker for March was Jon Mason from Highfield Garden World in Whitminster. Jon gave a talk entitled Spring Gardening Tips and brought a colourful range of plants from the nurseries and many products which can be used to improve our gardens. Highfield is one of the biggest mail order Nurseries in the country and is still growing whilst also selling products which keep the centre busy, even during the cooler times of the year.
Jon is an enthusiastic speaker and we all listened intently as he advised us how to improve our lawns, remove weeds and fertilise areas of the garden. He brought some of his own garden tools, decades old, the type which are still being sold in the centre today.
Prior and during Jon's talk, we glanced towards the wonderful range of priced plants displayed to the side of the room. The big surprise came at the end when Jon declared that everything was half price for us lucky Club Members! There then followed a sprint, the equivalent of a 'trolley dash' to the plants, which emptied rapidly from the tables! I admit that I forgot all about putting chairs away......
We thanked Jon for a most enlightening and helpful talk. I'm sure he will return again soon.
For anyone who glances at this magazine prior to Saturday 29th March (AM) - don't forget the Plant Sale at the Book Sale in the Parish Rooms.
Our speaker on Thursday 10th April is Charlotte Popescu with 'Keeping Hens in the Garden'. Please come along if you have considered keeping chickens or have any questions for Charlotte. Meetings are a source of knowledge, which can be passed on to others so we hope to see you all for a glass of wine prior to the talk and to hear about future trips, currently being planned. Visitors welcome - £3 per meeting.
On Thursday 13th February we welcomed Ellen Winter from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who gave us a fascinating talk on Wildlife Gardening as well as showing us slides.
Ellen started off by telling us about the Trust, which has some 28,000 members in Gloucestershire and looks after over 60 reserves in the county - 10 of which are near Stroud. The full time staff is assisted by more than 500 volunteers with an aim of protecting the wildlife and environment of our county.
We heard that living gardens are as important as nature reserves in providing a habitat for our wildlife and they also form corridors which allow insects, mammals and birds to move freely around an area. The main factors which make a garden attractive for wildlife are food, water, shelter and a quiet place to read. So a garden with a good source of nectar in all seasons is essential - with evening scented flowers being especially attractive for bats and moths. Ellen explained that pipistrelle bats can eat up to 3000 insects in one evening. If possible leave a sunny spot with stinging nettles to provide an area where butterflies will congregate to sunbathe and lay their eggs. Of course the caterpillars are then collected by mother birds feeding their nestlings - as they have no other source of moisture.
We saw how to build residences for insects to over-winter and Ellen told us the difference between a 'cold' and a 'hot' compost heap and explained the differing wildlife that compost heaps shelter. Pests are always a common garden nuisance and we heard how snails and slugs are a food for hedgehogs, shrews, thrushes, slow-worms, frogs and toads.
The falling number of common garden birds is very worrying and researching the preferred habitats for sparrows, wrens and thrushes will help provide nesting places. If you have space, digging a wildlife pond will bring many visitors to the pond will also help to keep down garden pests.
Ellen finished off a most interesting presentation by showing us the various leaflets on identifying wildlife in our gardens.
We next meet at the Parish Rooms on 13th March for Spring Gardening Tips with Jon Mason. As always, new members and visitors are welcome.
The Club welcomed returning speakers, Sue Dodd and Sue Smith to the first meeting of 2014 with the title: The Pyrenees in June, Butterflies and Flowers. On this trip abroad, the ladies were expecting that lovely weather you usually get in the south of France. However, up in the mountains the June temperature is often 5 degrees and there is still snow in the dizzy heights!
We were shown photos they had taken of flowers spotted on the tracks including Bee and Elderflower Orchids, Butterwort, The Greater Yellow Rattle (which was recommended for wild flower meadows in the UK), Snakeshead Fritillaries and the Pyrenean Rose.
Butterflies were harder to spot but these included the Dappled White Butterfly, the Grizzled Skipper and the Clouded Yellow Butterfly. Many butterflies seen in the Pyrenees are very rare in the UK. We thanked the two Sues for another interesting talk.
Club annual subscriptions have increased by £1 to £10 per member which we believe to be very reasonable for 8 speaker meetings, 2 social events and visits available too. Please contact the Secretary if you wish to join our jolly group or come to our next meeting on 13th February: Wildlife Gardening with Ellen Winter from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
Due to popular demand, a return trip has been booked to Sir Roy Strong's Laskett Gardens, near Ross on Wye (a.m. Thurs 24th July) with a view to visiting another garden nearby in the afternoon. This trip is open to non-members as is our visit on Friday 9th May to The Malvern Show. Please let us know soon if you wish to join us by contacting Simone Pennie on 873887.
The Club met for a Christmas Social evening with a quiz and desserts / cheese and biscuits. A good time was had by all.
On 14th November the Club met to socialise. Duncan Coombs, a returning speaker from Pershore College, came to make a presentation to us about the gardens of Bagatelle and Giverny, both in the Paris area. It is surprising that the gardens of Bagatelle cover around 60 acres and are located in the centre of Paris.
Duncan told us that around 1772 Bagatelle was sold to the Comte d'Artois, who had a wager with his sister-in-law (Marie Antoinette) that he couldn't demolish and rebuild the house in 2 months! Amazingly he was successful and won the bet. The house was in French hands until 1835 and was then purchased by Lord Seymour which began 'The English Period'. The property and grounds were extended and Lord Seymour's adopted son, Sir Richard Wallace, was responsible for the famous rose and iris gardens and the pond which inspired the impressionist Monet with his water lily paintings. We were advised to arrive very early if visiting the gardens.
Giverny is known as 'Monet's Garden' and for its colour combinations, rather than unusual plants or fragrances. The water lily series, consisting of over 500 paintings, started in 1906 and Monet painted up to his death in 1926. There are many Japanese plants and bamboos. The overall effect is stunning and the garden is the most visited garden in the world. Take a look online at some of the visitors' photos. We thanked Duncan Coombs for this interesting, well-attended talk.
The Club next meets for its Christmas Party on Thursday 12th December. There will be a short quiz and refreshments of desserts and cheese/biscuits. Please contact the secretary for further information if you missed the November meeting.
We welcome the return of Sue Dodd and Sue Smith to our first meeting of 2014 on 9th January. The talk is entitled 'The Pyrenees in June' (flowers and butterflies).
The Club met on 10th October for the AGM, following a successful year. The Chairman thanked and presented gifts to two retiring Committee members: Kate Page and Jackie Mitchell and welcomed three new people to the Committee: Simone Pennie, Nicki Schmiegelow and Jennifer Molyneux. Other Committee members were re-elected. Refreshments were provided by Committee members for the social gathering which followed the business meeting. Membership remains at £10 per annum and visitors pay £3 per speaker meeting. Our next meeting is on 14th November with a talk entitled Bagatelle and Giverny - Gardens of France with speaker Duncan Coombes. A Christmas Party for members will be held on 12th December. New and current members are warmly welcomed to the Club.
The speaker on 12th September was Mr Chris Smith from Pennard Plants, who came to tell us how to create plants with minimal or no cost. Plants for Free covered the techniques of propagating plants, collecting seeds from some plants and cuttings from others; 'dividing' plants a well as 'layering' to get the more tricky plants to root. Layering can be done successfully with Wisteria, Acer and Clematis. Many successful methods of propagation were shared with a room full of Club members and it was a very informative and enjoyable hour.
Did you know that Hellebores need the cold to germinate and poppies need the light? Chris showed us how to take tip, shoot and side shoot cuttings of shrubs and the benefits of using an oasis (normally used for plant arrangements) for rooting cuttings - as well as the merits of different composts. We learnt that if you are considering collecting runner bean seeds you should be selecting seeds from your best beans and not necessarily the pods that are left on the plants at the end of the season. Your best seeds will give the best new plants. Likewise you should always propagate new plants from your best stock.
The AGM will be held on Thursday 10th October and new members are, as always, welcome. In November our speaker is Duncan Coombs from Pershore college and he will talk about The Gardens of Bagatelle and Giverny. In December we are planning to have a Christmas Party after last year's enjoyable event.
Summer 2013 Events
One visit this Summer took place in May and was to Forde Abbey in Somerset by coach. This was an all-day trip and a good time was had by all. The next was in the evening at the beginning of July to the University of Bristol Botanical Gardens. Peter Girling came to talk to us from the Gardens in September 2012 and inspired us to visit them. Our group was given a tour guide who was most informative about the Botanic Gardens and their move to the current site in recent years.
The last event this Summer was the AGC Garden Party, which took place in July at the home of Jacky and Peter Staff. It was very hot and the Pimms and light refreshments were very welcome.
At the last meeting we were fortunate to have a presentation entitled A Blaze of Glory by Timothy Walker - the Director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum.
Timothy explained that he actually started his career as a trainee at the Botanic Garden and then left to gain experience for a short time. He retuned in 1986 and was promoted to Director in 1988 where his job currently entails a mix of administration and fund-raising. He still finds time to continue his teaching. The gardens are a national collection of euphorbia.
The evening took the form of a light-hearted presentation of Timothy's own photographs from around the world showing that it is possible to have colour in the garden right up to the first frosts and even then, with planning, there are trees, plants and shrubs that can give colour throughout the winter months. Members were given ideas of colour combinations to consider and we were advised that there are many non-native plants that can be grown to give colour. It was obvious that Timothy has a thorough knowledge of the subject and he entertained us with stories of events from his career.
We were lucky enough to again be allowed to sell plants at the annual Book Sale and this raised nearly £400 for the Club. Thank you to all who contributed in any way.
New members and guests are always welcome to meetings and to join our visits. The next meeting is on 12th September and is entitled "Plants for Free".
On 11th April Marcel Floyd came to speak to us from his nursery: Floyd's Climbers and Clematis near Chippenham where they produce 20,000 Clematis per year. His talk: Floyd on Clematis was both entertaining and instructive. Marcel gave a demonstration on how to prune, propagate and take cuttings from various Clematis and promptly chopped a lovely specimen in half! There are three groups of Clematis, each requiring different styles of pruning and some clematis are even evergreen. This demonstration was followed by amazingly colourful slides. Marcel recommended adding banana skins when planting your Clematis as the plants benefit from the slow release of Magnesium. Deer are a great concern in our area and Marcel said to plant Heuchara nearby as a deterrent. Deer adore Heuchara and will nibble on them by preference! See www.floydsclimbers.co.uk for information about their open day in Septemer.
At our next meeting on Thursday 9th May we welcome Tim Walker, Director at the Oxford Botanic Gardens with a talk entitled A Blaze of Glory. Please arrive at the Amberley Parish Rooms from 7.30pm and join us for a glass of wine prior to the 8pm start. See www.amberley.org to read all about AGC. Visitors are always welcome (£3).
We were delighted to have a presentation at our March meeting by Don Everitt who gave a most interesting talk followed by slides on Lilies and Late Flowering Bulbs. Don has spent a lifetime in horticulture, having originally trained at Wisley. He retired from teaching rural studies 25 years ago and since then has toured the country making presentations to Garden Clubs and judging flower shows as far away as Cumbria and Cornwall.
His main theme was about putting colour into the garden and his slides showed how this can be done with bulbs, corms and tubers. Don started by telling us about the early plant collectors who travelled the world looking for new species. One of these collectors was E H Wilson, known as Chinese Wilson who was born in Chipping Camden in Gloucestershire.
Moving on, we were told how to grow and propagate lilies as well as how to keep them healthy. Slugs are a pest as is the scarlet lily beetle. There are 80-100 species of lily in the wild and all are identified by having 6 leaves, 6 petals and 6 stamens.
We were treated to a number of slides showing just how diverse in colour, size and shape lilies are, with some plants having flowers the size of dinner plates. To ensure that you have enough colour in your garden, Don showed slides of Alliums, Dahlias, Begonias, Cannas and many more with brightly coloured foliage and flowers.
We completed a most enjoyable evening with a lively question and answer session. The next meeting is on Thursday 11th April and includes a talk entitled Clematis by Marcel Floyd. Please arrive at Amberley Parish Rooms from 7.30pm in time for a glass of wine and an 8pm start.
The February meeting was called Not so Common on the Common and was an excellent presentation by Sue Dodd and Sue Smith on the rarer wild flowers that we could expect to see in Gloucestershire. The "Two Sues" as they are known, had numerous slides showing rare and little known flowers from the Forest of Dean to Cricklade's 108 acres of Water Meadows with its Snakeshead Fritilleries. We were told of the Badgeworth Buttercup - only found in Gloucestershire - and the surprising numbers of stunning orchids that are found on the local Commons of Rodborough, Amberley, Minhinhampton an Selsley - such as the Bee Orchid, Wasp Orchid, Frog Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, Lesser Butterfly Orchid and the White Helleborine (again a type of orchid).
We are blessed with Herb Paris, Meadow Cranesbill, Rest Harrow, Field Scabious, as well as many types of flowers withthe word 'wort'. We were told that this is the old English name for plant.
We are fortunate that near us we have areas such as Daneway Banks, Swifts Hill and Clattinger Farm (just across the border in Wiltshire) with rare flowers for all to see. Even Stroud Town Cemetery is a nature reserve. The next meeting will be held on 14th March and Don Everitt will talk on Lilies and Late Flowering Bulbs. Please arrive at Amberley Parish Rooms from 7.30pm for an 8pm start.
January's talk was by Tom Williams, a renowned Gloucestershire bee-keeper, entitled Bees and Bee-Keeping. Tom showed us the practical aspects and brought along hives and accessories.
Members enjoyed a Christmas Party with a quiz and bring and share supper in the Amberley Parish Rooms on 13th December. The quiz included questions about gardening and general knowledge.
We were delighted to welcome back again Michael Leech who gave us an excellent talk entitled Winter Colour in the Garden.
Michael has been a long-time supporter of Amberley Garden Club and set off from Herefordshire early to give himself time to have a meal at the Amberley Inn before joining us.
The presentation consisted of slides from his collection of photographs. We were shown examples of flowering trees and shrubs for Autumn through to Winter - with Michael explaining that with planning there was no need to have an empty colourless garden during the colder months.
We were treated to stories from his long experience, such as how to grow mistletoe in your own garden. Apparently the male mistletoe has no berry - only the female. He advised us to take berries in mid March and put them in a sieve, wash and push out the seeds, then take a Stanley knife, fold back the bark on the underside of an apple tree branch and insert one seed. You may need to wait several years before the seedling takes hold. We were shown vigorous examples of mistletoe from the grounds of Pershore Horticultural College.
On the topic of seeds, Michael is an advocate of collecting his own seeds wherever possible. He commented that you can sow seeds fresh - they don't have to arrive in a packet!
On the subject of propagating, he explained that you cannot plant the seeds of a variegated shrub and get the same results. The variegation will not be true on the new plant. To ensure you get variegated offspring, you have to take cuttings.
Michael regaled us with interesting stories of his time in Scotland and Leicestershire - always with a gardening theme. As Michael is an entomologist, he is a great believer in using and creating leaf mould, not only for its wonderful properties when added to your soil, but also for the habitat that it provides for wildlife. He went on to say that it is very important not to dead head everything but to leave somewhere for the bugs and insects to overwinter.
We were shown photographs of the RHS Garden at Wisley in Winter. One of his tips was regarding winter Honeysuckle which flowers from December to January. Take some indoors as the scent improves in a warm environment.
Other photographs showed some of the 250 varieties of snowdrop flowering at Colesbourne, the home of his friend Sir Henry Elwes, the ex Lord Lieutenant of Gloucesterhire. We were amazed to hear that recently one snowdrop bulb sold for £750.
Peter Staff has taken over as Chairman and thanked Wendy and Bob Sharpe for their hard work and dedication during their term. Please note that there is a Christmas party for all members and partners. Contact the Secretary for more details.
The Indian summer did not materialise and so our AGM evening was again wet and windy but it did not deter our hardy members, who turned out in force. We have had a very successful year with some excellent speakers and wonderful outings and are pleased to report several new members. A high spot was the trip to Roy Strong's garden in May, which was fascinating, followed in July by an afternoon trip to Camers garden on a hot and sunny day. The garden party at St Georges was again lucky to receive some sunshine after a pretty bleak, wet summer and many members joined us to stroll around and enjoy a drink and nibbles.
We are now signing off as joint chair after 8 years and look forward to relaxing at the meetings. We are lucky that Peter Staff has enthusiastically agreed to fill the post and we are sure he will do a wonderful job supported by the rest of the committee.
Our last meeting of 2012 is on 8th November, when Michael Leech, an old friend, will return to give a talk on 'Winter Colour in the Garden'. We hope you will able to join us and look forward to seeing you there.
Bob and Wendy Sharpe
We arrived at the Parish Rooms on a cool, blustery evening and were delighted at the number of members and visitors that attended our September meeting. Our speaker, Peter Girling, who spoke about the New University Botanical Gardens at Bristol, where he is a volunteer guide, was interesting and informative with an excellent selection of slides. He took us on a tour around the site which has been developed over recent years and is still an ongoing project. It has many unique features, ranging from Mediterranean beds to groups of rare native plants and from a Chinese medicinal herb garden to areas divided by the types of pollinators, bees, butterflies, beetles and flies. Please note that our October meeting, which is our AGM, is on Thursday 11th October (not Wednesday 10th), when we will conduct a short business meeting followed by a social gathering.
Wendy and Bob Sharpe are retiring as joint chairmen this year. They have both given the club years of enthusiastic and hard work. Do come and join us to give them a good send off.
Hope to see you all there.
Unfortunately the long hot summer did not materialise but we had some special events during July that were lucky to have the sun shine on us, almost too hot on one occasion.
On 18th July we hosted a Garden Party here at St Georges for all members of the Gardening Club and a lovely group of people enjoyed a wander round the garden and relaxed with a glass of wine and nibbles. A surprising variety of plants were in flower in spite of the wet weather we had experienced during June and early July.
Just a week later we went to Camers near Old Sodbury, after a pub lunch nearby. It was a very hot and sunny afternoon and although we enjoyed the unique setting and amazing gardens, we also appreciated relaxing with the wonderful tea and cake provided by the hosts. The gardens were divided up into many different areas and everyone found something to inspire them especially the many unusual sculptures mingled amongst the planting, including a scene representing 'The Owl and the Pussycat'.
Our next meeting is on 13th September, when we welcome Peter Girling to talk on the new Bristol Botanic Gardens. Alice Adams hopes to be selling a selection of bulbs for planting in the autumn for a display next year. Hope to see you there.
A large audience greeted Tony Titchen to our May meeting and his talk revealed many facts about the National Trust property of Tyntesfield in Somerset. Tony took us on a slow ramble through the numerous trees planted during the nineteenth century by the Gibbs family, who acquired the estate in 1843. Only a part of the original parkland was bought by the Trust on their acquisition of the property but this includes some wonderful specimens of trees from all around the globe. Not much of the original planting design can still be seen as trees mature and die and ideas change through the years. However it was a fascinating insight into the grand ambitions of a wealthy family for an outside area to entertain friends and family, when money was no object.
A busy summer lies ahead for the Club as we are having an extra meeting on 14th June, when we have a return visit from Paul Hervey-Brookes to give us the talk on 'Design and the Garden' which was promised earlier this year. In July all members are welcome to St Georges in Theescombe on Wednesday 18th, when we hope the sun will shine on us for a Garden Party and we can enjoy nibbles and a glass of wine in pleasant surroundings. The following week we will be having a car outing to Camers, a rarely-opened garden near Old Sodbury, where for £7.50 (all of which is donated to charity) we have the opportunity to wander around their lovely garden, have tea and homemade cakes and also buy a plant or two if we want to. About two and a half acres are divided into 14 different garden areas from formal to rainbow and bog garden to Japanese plus a Millennium Wood planted with native woodland as a shelter break. More information on the last two events will be distributed to members shortly.
We always welcome visitors to our meetings so why not come and join us?
The week following Easter Sunday was marked by sunshine and showers, typical for April perhaps and guaranteed to make everything grow rapidly in the garden. Our speaker, Philip Aubury, concentrated on the plants that we grow on our window sills or in a conservatory. He brought a huge range with him and gave a comprehensive talk on all aspects of houseplant care from watering to pests and propagation.
Philip's plants are lovingly cared for by him and his wife and have the occasional shower, whilst sitting in the bath to keep their leaves clean! As former director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Philip obviously was used to handling many plants from different regions of the world but his talk was concentrated on the ones that are widely available from nurseries in this country. We were given the choice of a wide assortment of plants to buy for our homes and gardens, that were grown or propagated by Philip and also some beautiful cards produced by his wife.
On 10th May we will be welcoming Tony Titchen from Tyntesfield, who will be telling us about the trees on the estate and also a little of its history.
We are delighted to announce that our Plant sale raised the grand total of £347.40 which is well above anything raised in previous years; this means we have good funds in reserve to pay the ever increasing fees of our speakers.
Our coach outing on 17th May has been fully booked for some time and we hope we will have a sunny day to totally enjoy the two gardens we are visiting. Another outing is planned for 26th July by car to Camers garden near Old Sodbury, about 10 miles from Amberley. It is an enchanting garden surrounding an Elizabethan farmhouse, with varied areas and a wide range of shrubs, perennials and garden art only rarely open to the public. They will serve tea and cakes and we are arranging lunch at a nearby pub for those who would like to eat prior to our visit.
We look forward to seeing you and your friends in the near future.
We are delighted to report that Paul Hervey-Brookes will be returning on Thursday 14th June to present his talk on Garden Design that he failed to deliver in February. This is an extra talk not featured in our programme so please make a note of the date.
Our March speaker was Roger Umpelby whose talk on vegetables was extremely comprehensive. As a lecturer at Pershore College and a judge for the Royal Horticultural Society, Roger is very experienced and knowledgeable , particularly concerning vegetables and their cultivation. It was a beautifully presented talk and Roger told some amusing anecdotes to enliven what some might have considered a fairly boring subject.
Please remember to visit us at our Plant stall which will be in the Parish Rooms with the Book Sale on Saturday 24th March at 9:30 am. We should have a good selection of plants for sale at reasonable prices but welcome any potted plant donations, which can be given to any committee member prior to the sale.
Our next meeting is on 12th April and Philip Aubury will be giving a talk on Conservatory and House Plants. Now retired, Philip was Director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens from 1987 to 2007 so has a vast knowledge, which we hope will provide a fascinating talk.
An evening full of surprises! The first was that the dreadful snowfall as forecast by the BBC and the dire weather warnings that were frequently broadcast were very exaggerated. Perhaps not that surprising after all as these days any weather seems predicted to be more extreme than any in the past! More surprising was the number of people who turned up on a miserable, cold February evening to join us at the meeting; we were very pleased to see them all plus a couple of visitors. A less welcome surprise was that the speaker Paul Hervey-Brookes had forgotten that he was presenting a talk Design in the Garden and came prepared with one entitled Plants. He was an entertaining speaker but we were disappointed that we did not hear the presentation we were expecting, especially as several people joined us to hear one on design.
As Paul is a well known garden designer we were given glimpses of what might have been and he has promised to return at the earliest opportunity to present his ‘Design’ talk. He had some excellent slides and interesting facts about his favourite plants although it was a very unusual choice with many plants not being generally available and also huge. Regardless of his thoughts not many of us would be happy to accommodate many six foot plus plants in our gardens let alone an eighty foot tree!
Box Gardening Club have extended an invitation to our members to join them at their meetings on the 3rd Tuesday of the month in Box village hall at 7.30 pm with the talk at 8 pm. On 20th March, one of our favourite speakers Val Bourne will be presenting ‘How to grow Vegetables Organically’. The fee for visitors is £5 per person unlike ours of just £2 a head.
Our next meeting is on 8th March when Roger Umpleby will give a talk on ‘Vegetable Growing’. At this meeting Alice Adams will be selling summer bulbs and if the ground has thawed we can plant them with the expectation of a colourful garden later in the year. Hope to see you there.
What a wonderful audience arrived for our first meeting of 2012 and also the first on a Thursday evening. We were all inspired by the fantastic photography that Stephen Harley-Sloman showed us to illustrate his talk: Flowers in my Garden. The majority of the pictures were of the garden surrounding a charming thatched cottage in Haresfield, that had been the home of Stephen and his partner for many years. He has recently moved to a small village near Ledbury and is busy constructing another delightful garden, which will provide a new challenge and the opportunity to buy many more plants.
Stephen likes to cram every corner of the garden with plants and reckons that the slugs and snails are confused by the plethora of vegetation and cause little damage. Every year he buys over 200 tulip bulbs to replace the ones that fail from previous years and he also has a special love of hellebores and hemerocallis. In fact he has so many favourite flowers that very few are not welcomed by him, although he mentioned a dislike of large summer flowering gladioli. It was a very entertaining talk and at the end Stephen also had a selection of his photographs produced as cards at bargain prices.
Our next meeting is on 9th February when we welcome Paul Hervey-Brookes for his talk Design and the Garden. Paul is a well-known designer and has won many awards for gardens at Chelsea and Malvern Shows; he is based at the Rococo Gardens near Painswick. If you want any ideas for designing part of your garden or would just like to join us for a pleasant social event, do come along.