1. At last, things are beginning to look up. The bitter cold has gone, the sun has been shining and the spring bulbs are popping up everywhere and, in addition, we have a roadmap back to normality, albeit one with caveats attached. We will have to wait and see how the rollback of the restrictions unfolds in the stages but we are working on the assumption that the March to June talks will still be on Zoom and we hope that from July onwards, our programme can get back to normal which should include the Annual Show and the talk in October by our celebrity speaker, Pippa Greenwood. We will let you know about the trips, cream tea and NGS visits and if they can go ahead. The Plant Sale will go ahead in some form so please get planting and splitting, to be ready for mid-April to end-May – the more the better!


2. In February, we held the AGM remotely and with a confirmatory meeting over Zoom to report the results of the voting. It is pleasing to report that all the votes cast endorsed the current Committee to continue in office for another year as well as to invite John Foster to be our President and for Richard Davies to continue as the Independent Examiner of our accounts. Thank you for your endorsement!


3. The main part of the February Meeting was an illustrated talk by Paul Whittle on the Best of British. At a time when ‘staycation’ holidays are more likely than foreign travel, it was comforting to be reminded of some of the glorious countryside and what the UK has to offer. As I warned at the February Meeting, Louise has been juggling the dates of the talks so that those who can present on Zoom are scheduled for the early months of this year. The updated programme for the next 3 months is therefore as follows:


• Friday 5th March, a talk by Nancy Stevens on ‘High and Mighty – Tall Trees’ Do you want to know about the Tree of a Hundred Houses, the plight of Big Mike the banana, what have trees got to do with cheese or what trees featured 2 in 2001, A Space Odyssey? then join us for an illustrated talk by Nancy Stevens on Zoom. The Zoom link will open for members at 7.15, ready for a 7.45 talk.  If you know anyone who would like to join this talk, it will cost them either a guest entry for £4 or an Annual Membership fee of £6 and they are then full members for the rest of the year. They will need to make contact with Louise through the website in the first instance using

• Friday 2nd April, a talk by Mary Braddock about Finland and Norway Deepest winter to 24 hours summer sunlight and the different species of wildlife

• Friday 7th May, a talk by Sally Cunningham on Gardening - Whatever the Weather


4. In the papers about the AGM, you will recall that you were notified that subscriptions were due by the 1st March. So far, 51 members have paid and are therefore members for 2021. If you have not paid yet, please do so quickly so that the Club can continue to cover it’s running costs and you can continue to enjoy the benefits of the Club.  In addition, please do be on the lookout for any prospective new members – they are welcome to join at any time and details are on the website.


Best wishes and see you on the 5th March

David and Louise

07842 975145




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

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