Dear Members,


Here we are again in the middle of the second lockdown when social meetings are banned. With this situation liable to be on/off till we all get vaccinated, last month the Club  purchased a Zoom licence and on the 6th November, we had a trial evening when our good friend and member Derek Dexter gave us a talk on Overwintering Fuschias. The talk was much appreciated by the 26 households who joined in. At the end, we said that we would be looking for a speaker for our evening on the 4th December.


Louise has spent some time looking for a special speaker and has come up with a brilliant one. His name is Matt Biggs who will be familiar to those who listen to Gardeners Question Time on Radio 4 and also those who follow the books that the RHS publish where he is one of their leading authors. Learn more about him on his website -  We first met him when he was a host on a Gardeners World Cruise that we went on 18 months ago. We spent 10 days in the company of both Matt and David Hurrian, visiting gardens and listening to formal talks as well as informal social gatherings. Both were witty and knowledgeable hosts as well as being excellent speakers - informative and entertaining. Matt will be talking about ‘The Wonder of Plants’. A resume´ of this talk is at the end of this Newsletter.


The link will open at 7.15pm on Friday 4th December and the presentation will start at 7.45. This link is only for members use and there is no charge for the evening. However, if others wish to join in, they can become a member of the Club for 2021 for the usual fee of £6 and get this presentation as a joining bonus. Please tell them to get in touch using the Contact page on the website to sort out joining.


Attached again is the guide for joining a Zoom conference for those of you who have yet to take this step. Please contact us if you need any more help.

In addition, as a consolation for all the socials you have missed this year, we will have a Free Christmas Draw – one ticket allotted to each of the 2020 Club members and the prize will be a Christmas Hamper. This will be drawn at the end of the presentation on the 4th December.

In the run-up to Christmas, we will be holding an online competition for you to show your skills. The categories are as follows:

  1. A Homemade Wreath

  2. A Homemade Christmas Table Decoration

Prizes are on offer - £10 for first and £5 for second place in each category. One entry per household per class only! Photos must be sent in by 6.00pm on Friday 18th December to with judging and publication before Christmas. Please send them as an attachment if possible. Any caption is limited to 6 words. You have plenty of warning so we are looking forward to seeing what creations you can conjure up both for your own table and for your front door. Please let us know if you need any technical help with photographing and sending your pictures.

Keep safe and stay healthy!



The Wonder of Plants - Talk Resume


Have you ever wondered how cacti survive the extremes of the desert, how the ‘Venus Flytrap’ captures its prey or intricate orchid flowers are pollinated? This talk takes the opportunity to look closely at the complex survival mechanisms of plants and to marvel how they survive in extreme climates throughout the natural world.

You will be introduced to amazing plants from some of the world’s most extreme habitats, from the high-altitude Andes to the humid Amazon rainforest and arid American deserts. With the focus on plant pollination, he reveals the secrets of the ‘Giant Water Lily’ and the smallest waterlily in the world, the unusual diets of ‘carnivorous’ plants, survival strategies of cacti and much more.  There’s much more to the botanical world than meets the eye. Welcome to the wonderful world of plants!






We live in confusing times with the arguments between staying healthy and staying wealthy being put forward each day. Lockdown is proposed as the only way forward while others argue that we need to get going again. The one consistent message is to “Stay safe”. With that in mind and with the current increase in cases of the virus both locally and nationally, the Committee view is that it would be prudent to cancel the November Meeting. It is a pity as the Speaker from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission would have been very topically in this, the 75th Anniversary of the end of the War and the 100th Anniversary of the Organisation. We have invited her for the November Meeting next year instead. We will make a decision on the December Meeting in early November.


Poppies. This year, the Royal British legion will not be doing door-to-door collections for the Poppy Appeal, neither will they be able to collect in Waitrose West Byfleet. However, there will be the usual stand in Asda in Sheerwater. We will be helping there so perhaps will see you then in the period from the 22nd October to Remembrance Sunday.


The Virtual Show, run online instead of our Annual Show on the 6th September, was a success. Over 50 entries were submitted from 15 members and the entries are on our website. The standard was high, and our independent judges had a difficult time choosing the best pictures, particularly in the Garden Pot Plant category where there were 13 entries. The results and the placings (1-3 only!) are included with the pictures. It is a pity that only those online were able to get the full benefit so some of the entries are shown below.


Sweet Peas. A tip from the expert: Jim Adams buys seeds from Roger Parsons Sweet Peas, who are the National Collection holders. Ten seeds per packet only £1.50. However, there are 1,300 varieties to choose from so restraint is required!


2021 Programme. The 2021 programme is being prepared – quite easy as all the speakers and events which had to be cancelled this year will be carried forward to the equivalent date next year. We don’t know what we will be allowed to do but at least the dates will be in the diary in advance.


Best wishes and Stay Safe!




Members Update 22 August

Dear Members,


  1. At the end of the Newsletter of the 27th July where the announcement of the cancellation of the Annual Show was made, it was hoped that the Covid-19 Guidelines would continue to be relaxed and that the October Meeting with Pippa Greenwood as our celebrity speaker could be the start of Horticultural Club meetings again. Regrettably, this has not turned out to be the case. While a meeting could be held, the number would be limited to 35 people, all keeping 2 metres apart with no socializing outside your own family, particularly for the over 70s and other vulnerable groups. With these restrictions in place as well as queue control, increased cleaning and sanitation controls, the Committee considered these factors to be so intrusive and limiting on the evening that it would not be the meeting that we all want to re-open the Club. It is therefore with great regret that the October Meeting is cancelled. Pippa also said that all her talks/shows have been cancelled till the New Year.


2. However, we do have some positive things to tell you:


  • We are delighted that Pippa said she would like to come and speak to us next year and we have agreed a date of the 1st October 2021.

  • All the speakers whose talks were cancelled this year are planned to come on the equivalent date next year instead.

  • We will let you know in October about the November Meeting once we have checked the Covid-19 guidelines then in place and talked to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

  • Entries for the ‘Virtual Annual Show’ are beginning to come in – please see the July Newsletter or the website for the details of what to do and how to enter. Remember you have until 6pm on Friday 4th September to get your entries in. You could find it worthwhile to take pictures now or when the flower or vegetable is almost ready and then another set later, choosing the best ones to enter (on time) and avoiding the ‘if only I had taken it yesterday feeling!’ Remember you can call us for help with the photography and submission if you are not online.


3. Many of you paid up front for the trips, visits and talk for 2020, all of which had to be cancelled. You now have two options:


  • You can leave your money where it is, securely held in the Club funds, ready to use towards next year’s activities or

  • You can reclaim your money from the Treasurer which will be by cheque.


   Either way, could you please let Louise know what you would like done.


4. Finally, Dunsborough Park in Ripley have contacted us to tell us that they are opening for ‘Dazzling Dahlias’ between the 7-11 and the 21-26 September. They can take up to 30 visitors each morning and afternoon who must have pre-booked and paid a minimum donation of £7, in aid of several charities. For details and booking, see their website



Stay safe and keep taking and entering your pictures!


Louise and David


07842 975145

Members Update 27 July

  1. When we wrote the Newsletter on the 8th July, we said that a decision on the holding of the Annual Show would be made at the end of July as the Guidelines we are having to live by were likely to change by then. Indeed, they have changed and we were pleased to read that we could now hold community and social meetings. However, they could only be held under strict limitations and conditions and these are very onerous. The Committee met on the 26th July to consider the viability of a Show under these conditions.

  2. Byfleet Village Hall is open for activities but only for 25 people in the main hall and 10 in the small hall. Along with social distancing requirements, control of access and ‘pinch points’ along with extra cleaning and toilet requirements, the holding of any type of Show by WNHHC is considered beyond what we are able to stage. In addition, over 70s are still being advised to minimise social contacts. It is therefore with great regret the Committee decided that it is not possible to hold the Annual Show this year and it is therefore cancelled.

  3. For those of you who would be interested in the government guidelines we considered, you can find them at and

  4. As an alternative, we intend to run a ‘virtual’ show for a small number of classes and you will be invited to submit pictures to be part of an on-line competition. We do hope as many members as possible will take part and enter one or more classes. The independent judging will not be based on official RHS standards as this is to be a virtual social to show what we have been growing in our gardens during these extraordinary times. Details of the classes and how to enter will be published next week. We can make arrangements for those not online to enter so all can be involved!

  5. On a positive note, looking at the guidelines, we are hopeful that we will be able to meet in October when we plan to welcome Pippa Greenwood as our celebrity speaker. A decision on this will be made in mid August.

  6. Unwelcome as the rain may be to us, it is very welcome in the garden – with hot weather forecast for the rest of the week, we look forward to the burst of growth, even if it does include the weeds!


Stay safe!

Louise and David

07842 975145


Below is an extract of a notice in the All Saints New Haw Parish Magazine for August which you may find of interest, particularly if your holiday plans have been thwarted:


From: Pat Pond, Branch Leader of the Mothers Union

The good news is that the MU Holiday is going ahead on from Monday 12th to Friday 16th October. The venue is Warners Corton Coastal Village and included are a day trip to Norwich with a guided tour of the cathedral and two half day trips, one to Southwold and one to Wroxham on the Norfolk Broads, where there will be a leisurely cruise. It is possible that there will be a few spaces so if you are interested in coming along, please give me a ring on 01932 340018.


Members are not all mothers or even all women, as there are many parents, men, widows, singles and grandparents involved in its work


Members Letter 8 July 2020

  1. The lockdown restrictions are slowly easing but obviously, we still have a long way to go before anything resembling normality is reached. In the next three months, we have three events planned – tea at Longacres, the Annual Show and the October meeting with our celebrity speaker, Pippa Greenwood. Looking at them in turn:

  • The tea at Longacres has had to be cancelled. While the restaurant is open, afternoon tea is not being served. The Manageress was very helpful and informative about their sanitation and security but social distancing and uncertainty about group seating were also factors to be taken into account. The venue will be booked for July 21.

  • The Show is two months away and the rules and guidelines are changing regularly. We are still hoping that it may be possible to go ahead, perhaps with a reduced scope, but we will make a decision by the end of July.

  • The October meeting is three months away and we do not need to make a decision yet though we are hopeful we will be able to go ahead. Pippa suggested that we wait till August before we make a decision but she has said would be able to come next year if we are unable to go ahead for 2020

2. You will recall that we had been invited to take part in the Growing Together competition at RHS Wisley at their Flower  Show. When that Show was cancelled, the invitation was changed to the re-arranged Hampton Court Show in September – regrettably that has also been cancelled but is good to know that we are recognized by the RHS as an active and positive Affiliated Society.

3. Those of you who are online will have followed the virtual Rose Competition which was on the date of the cancelled June Meeting. There were some beautiful blooms and arrangements despite the weather. The 10 entries were judged by members and the results were as follows:












1st – John Foster                         2nd Margaret and David White                      3rd Jo Graham


4. You will recall from the last Newsletter that all the money deposited for the trips/tea/Pippa is being held as a credit against your name, pending decisions on what we will be able to do for the 2nd October. It makes sense to delay the decision on reimbursement of payments for your choice of activities until the way forward is clear.


 Alternative actions are:

  • You could leave your payment on deposit for activities in 2021.

  • If you wish to be reimbursed, please let Louise know.


5. We trust your gardens are providing you with joy and pleasure and that, with the easing of restrictions, you are able to get out and about. We booked online and went to RHS Wisley which was a very enjoyable visit, particularly, the new Tropical Garden.

Stay safe!

Louise and David

07842 975145

Members Letter 21st May 2020

  1. The lockdown may have eased very slightly but as yet, there is no news on when we will be able to get together again. So meanwhile, enjoy this sunshine in your gardens and the virtual Chelsea Flower Show on the television. Good to see Daniel and Jo from Ottershaw Cacti on the 8 o’clock Tuesday evening Show talking about what their entry would have been. Adds even more to their presentation to us in February. 

  2. The May virtual tulip competition worked well with 9 entries. There was a very close race between Mary King and Margaret and David White with Mary just pipping them to be the people’s choice with Kathy McGilchrist in third place. We intend to repeat the competition with roses for the virtual meeting on Friday 5th June.

  3. Please send your photo of 5 roses in a vase, preferably as a jpeg attachment, to by midday on Friday 5th June and they will be loaded onto the website by 4pm. This time, the roses are to be in a vase and can be any combination – all the same or mixed – your choice. The roses are looking very good this year so you can have 2 entries each! When the website is updated with the pictures at 4 o’clock, please then log on and vote for your first, second and third favourites by sending your choices to Voting will close at 9.30pm and the results published by 10pm. Assuming that there are some of you not on-line who would be interested in entering this competition, please give us a ring and we will see if we can arrange for a picture to be taken, while remaining at a suitable (personal!) distance, for inclusion in the competition.

  4. As you will know, we were due to hold the Plant Sale last Saturday, 16th May. As this was not able to happen, we have been holding a different type of event. The Committee plus Neil and Keith have joined us in leaving plants at the top of our driveway for people to take away. The stall in not manned but those taking plants are invited to leave a donation. This venture which is still ongoing, has proved very successful and donations so far have exceeded some £200.  The money raised will be used to cover Show expenses, some of which have already been incurred such as the programmes and affiliation fees.

  5. As there is still no news of further relaxation of the lockdown regulations, our activities after June are still in limbo. Meanwhile, here are some other things you might be interested in:

  • Visit Bourne Valley Garden Centre who have been able to re-open under procedures similar to the supermarkets, 9-6 daily and 10-4 on Sundays though their restaurant remains closed. Their excellent Farm Shop has also extended their opening hours to match the Garden Centre. They are well stocked even having sold 3 months’ worth of compost in the last two weeks!

  • Follow the RHS suggestions for this week:

    • Top 3 gardening jobs this week

    • Divide crowded clumps of daffodils by digging them up as the leaves begin to turn yellow; replant smaller clumps in a new spot in your garden.

    • Divide daffodils

    • Ramp up your garden's colour this summer by sowing tender annuals now. You can sow directly into the garden by scattering seed or sow in drills.

    • Sow seeds

    • Give climbers such as sweet peas and clematis a helping hand by tying them loosely onto an obelisk, wires or trellis as they grow.

    • Tie in climbers

6. All the money deposited for trips/tea/Pippa is being held as a credit against your name pending decisions on what we will be able to do from July onwards and  processing cheques by visiting a bank is still an issue.

7. Continuing our themes of what members have been doing in their gardens, please do let us know what you have been managing to do in your garden or allotment and include pictures if possible. No entries this month but I am sure you have been doing more than sunbathing so please let us have some entries for the June Newsletter.

Best wishes

Louise and David

07842 975145

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