Members Update 23 April


Dear Members


  1. Hopefully you are all well into your lockdown routine, particularly now that it has already been officially extended into May and able to make the most of this lovely weather. Today, of course, we would have been at Chartwell and the weather would have been perfect to be out and about.


  1. After the success of our experimental trial with receiving  and sorting the teething or snagging problem of photos of tulips for the web site and the gratifying response, we are going for real for May on what would have been out meeting day!


  1. Please send your photo of 5 tulips, preferably as a jpeg attachment, to be ‘shown’ at the virtual May meeting by midday on Friday 1 May and they will be loaded onto the website by 4pm. 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.


  1. I have been in contact with Paul Whittle who was due to give his talk on Florence Nightingale as it is the 200th anniversary of her birth, an apt choice in this extraordinary time. He has sent a message to us and the information that he would have presented which are in the Monthly Meetings part of the website. Paul will be coming to us in 2021 but with a more escapist topic.


  1. Chelsea Flower Show. ‘Herbs from Florence Nightingale’s personal flower collection are to be grown at CFS as gardeners celebrate her life’. The garden which is being planted to celebrate the 200th anniversary of her birth, consists of an imagined courtyard for a new hospital. The plants in the garden include some found in her own pressed flower collection, as well as plants with strong medicinal properties which were used in the 19th century and are still used in medicine today.


  1. Sue Biggs (Chief Executive RHS) has sent out an email regarding their efforts to have virtual tour of the CFS. Press day would be 18 May and the virtual visits from 19-23 May. It is in the early stages of planning so check their web site for more information. There is no indication of what will be included for this experiment.


  1. Florence Nightingale used herbal treatment to look after troops in the Crimean War, and kept meticulous collection of pressed flowers. She had an interest in gardening since the age of 10, when she received an album of pressed flowers from a family friend who was an expert botanist. Her Medicine Chest (1854-56) is on display at the Florence Nightingale Museum which is next to the main entrance of St Thomas’s Hospital by Westminster Bridge. It includes quinine (from bark of the Cinchona tree) used to treat malaria. Many of the remedies can be highly toxic if taken inappropriately! The new exhibition will explore the 50 years of her life, post Crimean War, when she revolutionised nursing and transformed health care. Do look and check to see when visiting restrictions are lifted again.


  1. At this time there is still no news of relaxation of the lockdown regulations so our June activities are in limbo. Meanwhile, here are some other things you might be interested in:


  1. Derek Dexter has fuchsia plants for sale at £1 each – contact him at for stock availability and delivery options.

  2. Bourne Valley had a selection of plants for sale in their car park which are available when their Farm Shop is open (Mon, Wed and Fri 9-1). They are also doing home delivery.

  3. We have received a recommendation by one of our members for the Woodlark Nurseries in Hersham.

  4. National Gardening Week is the 27th April to the 3rd May – see the RHS website


  1. Continuing our themes of what members have been doing in their gardens, please let us know what you have been managing to do in your garden.

Here is what John Foster has achieved.

After the ravages of the wettest winter for many years, there was quite a lot to smarten up various things:


1. We started with the shed- new felt roof and repainted.

2. All side boundary fences, back gate, and pergola were repainted

3. Water softener box repaired and re-stained.

4. Herb trug sanded and repainted

5. Lawn scarified and top-dressed, and over-seeded 

6. Two (non-fruiting) vines uprooted and disposed of

7. Jet-washed and re-sanded the patio and jet-washed all ground level brick work plus front paving areas.  


Now, for some real gardening with attention to borders, shrubs and emerging perennials etc!




1.  Autumn raspberry canes pruned, fertilised and mulched

2. Cleaned and tidied shed and repainted it

3. Two rows of sweet pea plants planted out (sown under glass in October)

3. Tray of sweet peas sown under glass (early March)

5. One row of Rocket (first early) potatoes planed on St Patrick's Day - my ritual, come wind, rain, snow or hail!)

6. One row of Pink Fir potatoes planted on 3 April  

7. Sowed courgette, cucumber, parsley, basil, leeks and mange tout seeds on the 20th March

8. Three rows of Charlotte potatoes to go in, about mid-April

Having a bit of a rest today!!

All this done when the weather was still cool!


In our garden, having taken delivery of bulk bags of compost as well as specific bags for particular purposes, we have now got the potatoes, onions and  peas planted as well as the first batches of salad crops in, while tomatoes and sweet corn are already on the go. We have also dug the hole ready for the pond in a container and are waiting for the plants for it.


Best wishes

Louise and David

07842 975145


Members Update 5 April

Dear Members,


1. Thank you for your positive responses and the enviable photographs of tulips. Certainly a colourful lift to the bright and sunny weekend. The more the merrier so keep them coming. We forgot to put the email address for the website which would be more efficient than sending them to David as it would keep them together: Please use and send the pictures as a jpeg attachment if possible - this keeps the high resolution to best show off the flowers and this format is the best one to use to post the pictures on our website.


2. Derek Dexter, our member who rescued us March 2019 when we had a ‘no show’ and gave a very entertaining and informative talk about fuchsias having raced back home to collect his kit, has sent the following message:


Derek Dexter <>

Sat 04/04/2020 07:31

Hi Louise

I am posting out all my fuchsia orders at the moment.

Prices are £1 each and £4.95 p&p via Hermes delivery.

So if any members want to take advantage of this. If they send to me their email address and I would be happy to forward them a list. At the moment, there are over 100 types to choose from, both trailing and hardy ones.




I had a look at Google to see what they looked like and made my choice that way from his list. Please email Derek if you would like some fuchsias.


3. I have been informed that Clandon Garden Centre has a delivery service:

The website ask you to please email or phone 01483 222925


4. Bourne Valley have been forced to temporarily suspend their email and phone requests due to an over whelming demand. They hope to resume this service soon.


5. The RHS website has podcasts (a spoken session) covering a variety of topics. It can be quite addictive as you can hop from one item to another absorbing information.


6. As we cannot hold our Plant Sale this year, it has been suggested that members may like to grow ‘extras’ which can be left at the garden gate for friends and neighbours to benefit from in a few weeks’ time. The closing of the Garden Centres at this time of the year means plants will be in short supply.


7. I hope you are all enjoying the lovely sunny weather and making the most of your outdoor space.

Best wishes




April Newsletter




Dear Members


We hope you are all keeping well and happily occupied while coping with these extra ordinary circumstances.

It would have been our April Social Meeting tonight but we have all had to make alternative arrangements. Prompted by Christiana and the RHS Affiliates Societies representative I have had a search to see if there are any alternative activities we could make as a substitute for our social meetings. It appears from my searches I am not the only person looking for Horticultural ‘talks on line’ but haven’t found anything yet but will continue my research.


Lateral and imaginative thinking is called for and as a starter I am asking if anyone would like to share what they have been doing in their garden, or what has happened in their garden this year.


To get this under way, here is Our Story:


For 2020 I decided that we were going to have a big change so:


  1. Back in the autumn we decanted all the bulbs from every pot, container, shelf, forgotten corner onto a spare piece of ground at the top of the drive under a tree plus all the spare earth created by other projects. We were rewarded by a very colourful and attractive area and we have received many comments on how good it looks, and a request for permission to take a photograph – an unexpected reward from recycling ‘left overs’.

  2. All the secateurs (I have a large number!) have had the tomato sauce treatment! Soak your garden cutting tools in (cheap) tomato sauce then wash with soap and water, they come up sparking clean and gunge free.

  3. The compost I ordered arrived today which is handy for a promised sunny weekend. Murphy’s Law applies as the original order for the organic compost had a delivery time of 6 to 8 weeks or more – we were told today it will be delivered on Monday! We have high expectations of the garden plants for this year.

  4. Window sills have tomatoes, peppers etc seedlings on the go

  5. Greenhouse has all manner of things beginning to burst into leaf

  6. The compost bins have been emptied and sieved ready for use and the bins starting to refill.

  7. The weeding (less dandelions) and garden refuse has been dried on the lawn and mowed up so ready for the compost bins. The Hot Bin is currently at 70oC/160F today so steaming nicely.


The Future

As we have no idea when this lockdown will finish and both May and June meetings are in doubt, we propose to run the June Rose competition online. As a trial, how about sending a photograph to David (by email) now of some tulips from your garden for him to put on the web page. This will sort out any teething problems so we can run a virtual rose competition for June. Details of the Rose competition will follow in May.



National Garden Scheme

The NGS have announced that they will be launching virtual tours of some of their gardens – very soon. This is to compensate to some extent all the people who were ready to open their gardens this year, but now will not be having any visitors. They do suggest a donation as they reckon they will lose 80% of their charitable income by this lockdown.


Bourne Valley Garden Centre

I received an email to say that while the Garden Centre has been closed, the Farm Shop remains open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 09.00 – 13.00. You are aware that Paul Elding sponsors our Annual Show so if you do require their delicious produce, please support them, noting the reduced opening times. Hopefully we will be able to get to the Garden Centre again soon.


Enjoy the good weather and we hope will get back to normal as soon as possible.


Best wishes


Louise and David



A Newsletter in two halves – one good news and the other not!

1.  Another successful and well attended meeting on the 6th March when John Baker treated us to an excellent and informative talk on Hostas.  Thank you to all those who entered the daffodil competition – 21 entries covering a wide variety of daffodils – which made a lovely display though regrettably, pictures were not taken by me – did anyone else take one?  Interesting to note that the people’s choices this year were not the big in your in-your-face displays, but the smaller, more delicate ones. Your choice for the results was as follows:

  • First – Margaret White

  • Second – Jo Graham

  • Third – Jim Adams



2. A couple of points on the admin for the meeting:

a.Could members please note that the two car parking slots at the end by the Church Door, facing the main road when you turn right in the car parking area, are designated disabled bays. The markings may not stand out in the dark but could you please respect the designation and only use them if you have a Blue Badge on display.

b. A way of speeding up the service of tea and coffee has been identified (thanks Pam!).


3. Show Programme. Looking forward to the Annual Show on the 6th September, the Show Programme how been published and is available on the website for all to peruse. Hard copy is available from the Show Manager, Rupert Lambert, for those not on the internet. Please start your planning for planting and growing now for the best results!


4. Plant Sale. The plant sale is due less than 2 months away – hopefully your offerings are either in pots already or about to be put in pots – please ensure they are properly labelled.


Now for the bad news!


5. Regrettably, the Covid-19 virus situation has deteriorated rapidly over the last fortnight since the March meeting. The Committee is therefore following the recommendations given by the Government about social activities. We have therefore decided to take the following actions with the Club activities in the short term:


  • The meeting Friday 3rd April - CANCELLED. Knowing many of you are intrigued by the title ‘Say it with Poison’ we plan to rearrange this talk for when things are back to normal.


  • The trip to Chartwell – 23rd April – CANCELLED. The National Trust are closing their Houses as of this weekend. Having spoken to a member of staff at Chartwell today, we should have a phone call next week to check if it is viable for our visit to be rearranged. If no alternative date is possible, all payments made in full for this trip will be refunded. If a deposit has been made as well for Mottisfont, then it will be carried forward.


  • The meeting Friday 1st May – TBC – we will keep you informed


  • Plant Sale - Saturday 16th May – TBC – we intend to carry on as normal and see what develops. We may have an opportunity to have our fund raising session for the Show at a later date.


  • The meeting Friday 5th June – TBC – we will keep you informed


  • The trip to Mottisfont – 18th June – The National Trust have not given any indicative date for re-opening but as a comparison the RHS has stated that their (current) cancellation period is to 30 June.


  • Beyond this, decisions to follow.


6. Looking on the positive side, self-isolation offers the opportunity to spend more time in the garden – only hope the weather improves soon!


7. As a final thought, here is a picture of a happy and attentive audience at the last meeting – let’s hope we can get back to this soon

Louise and David

07842 975145

A bit of good news:

  • RHS gardens will remain open

  • National Trust houses and facilities are closed but they will keep as many gardens open as possible where social distancing can be applied – with free entry – but check the site first to see which ones are open.

  • English Heritage free to-enter sites are staying open, but not paid-entry sites.



1.  In spite of all the rain and wind, this winter has been very mild and nature has taken advantage of this. The bulbs are putting on a magnificent display and we even have tulips and bluebells in flower already! While you may recall that the ‘Beast from the East’ last year hit us in late March, let’s make the most of what we have now and enjoy it while dodging the showers.

2. This year’s exciting programme got off to a really good start with 71 people enjoying the team from the local Ottershaw Cacti telling us how they went from a hobby to a passion to a Gold Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This was our first evening in the new venue and it ran very smoothly. The Committee identified a couple of points where we could improve, the most notable being to raise the screen a bit to allow a clearer view from the back. If you have any other suggestions, please let us know. One point, could you please not arrive at the door before 7.15 – our booking starts at 7.00 at we need time to lay out the hall before people get there. The arrival procedure has been streamlined to avoid queuing at the entrance and there is no shortage of good seats!

3. The next meeting is on Friday 6th March, starting at 7.45 in the All Saints New Haw Church Hall. The talk, titled ‘Heavenly Hostas’ by John and June Baker, will cover

  • How hostas were discovered and how they have been developed.

  • How to grow and propagate hostas.

  • How to avoid slug and snail damage.

  • Where to use hostas in the garden and which companion plants look good with hostas.

  • In addition, see some of their collection of over 1700 hostas and gardens in the USA where hostas are the Number 1 perennial.


Last year their collection was awarded National Collection status by Plant Heritage so we are looking at national experts in their field.

4. At the February meeting, a couple of updates on the programme were announced:

  • The visit to Mottisfont will now be on Thursday, 18th June. This is the middle of the rose season, for which Mottisfont is renowned. The booking form for this and for the Chartwell visit (23rd April) in available on line ( Please book as soon as you are able to enable us to confirm numbers to the venues.


  • The Annual Show (Sunday 6th September) will take place in Byfleet Village Hall. We cannot use the Church hall as it is needed for Sunday Church activities.



5. When putting the programme together last autumn, the spring flowering season was not known. This early spring has brought out the daffodils very early so the daffodil competition, planned for the April meeting would be at the tail end of the daffodil flower season. It has therefore been decided to bring forward the ‘fun’ daffodil competition to the March Meeting – please bring 5 stems in a vase and try to win the ‘peoples’ prize.

6. The Sales table is now a regular feature at our meetings. Please bring anything horticultural that is surplus to your requirements and donate it so others can acquire it for a donation to Club funds. Don’t wait for the Plant Sale if you have stuff that is ready earlier.


Look forward to seeing you all on Friday 6th March – with your 5 daffodils in a vase!

Louise and David

07842 975145

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