Little Waltham Gardening Club - Programme for 2018

Scroll down the page to see the 2018 programme of events. All of these events take place in Little Waltham Memorial Hall at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated.

We are a small, friendly Gardening Club. We are NOT experts, but we’re learning all the time! We look forward to meeting you at some or all of our meetings.

The annual subscription is £8.50. Visitor's entry fee is £3. Refreshments and raffle at all meetings in the Memorial Hall.

For more information phone Margaret Williams on 01245 360042.

December meeting - report

We had another good turnout at the Memorial Hall this year for the Christmas Social evening for the Little Waltham Gardening Club. We were royally entertained by the Broomfield Ukulele Group of which two are members of the Gardening Club.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with further music provided by our treasurer, Peter Lawson who played several tunes on the accordion with great aplomb. This musical interlude was followed by a team Quiz during which time we helped ourselves to the food and drink provided by the members.

The subject for the December President's Trophy was a Christmas Table Decoration which was won by Sharon Williams with Maggie Williams coming a close second.

There is no meeting in January but all will be welcome at our February meeting which will be held on Wednesday 6 February and the subject is "Bumblebees".

November meeting - report

Colin Ashby

"Cricket Bat Willows" was the title of the talk for the November meeting of the Little Waltham Gardening Club.

Colin Ashby, the fourth generation of his family to continue the tradition of growing willow, gave an excellent presentation which was both informative and entertaining. He explained that the planting of 3 years old saplings takes place from November until March/April dependent on the weather. A mesh sleeve is placed around the bottom of each to deter rabbits, hares and small deer.

Planting 12 yards apart, every tree will need trimming to remove unwanted shoots twice a year and only after approximately 20 years is ready for turning into cricket bats - certainly what you would call Long Term Planning!

It seems that the majority of cricket bats are manufactured from British willow trees which, in no small part due to our colder weather, enables them to grow slowly with narrow growth rings producing strong wood.

After Q&A, we voted on the entries for the President's Trophy. The subject matter was Homegrown Vegetables and the winner for November was Bill Bryden followed closely by Jean Hatley and Maggie Williams.

Maggie advised that Little Waltham Gardening Club had yet again won the InterSociety Quiz which this year was hosted by Boreham. Members were reminded that the Christmas Social Evening will be held on Wednesday 5 December when we will be entertained by the Broomfield Ukulele Group.

We will have the usual Christmas Quiz followed by carols and members are encouraged to bring a festive table centre which will be judged for the December President's Trophy. There will be no meeting in January so the first meeting for 2019 will be on 6 February and the talk is on Bumblebees.

October meeting - report

David Gillam, a director at Abercorn Nursery was our speaker at the October meeting of the Little Waltham Gardening Club. David is the Chair of the National Dahlia Society and having worked in horticulture for over 30 years has gained a wealth of information on the subject.

The title of his presentation "New, Different & Worthwhile" related to both products and plants that are now available in garden centres and nurseries. He covered some old favourites such as Heuchera which provide good value for money, grasses which can offer all-year-round interest and mentioned that hypericums are now available in more compact varieties with different coloured berries.

The members enjoyed a most informative talk covering subjects such as slug pellets and weed killer through to bird seed, bulbs and flowering shrubs. I for one will be visiting the newly refurbished Abercorn Nursery in Beehive Lane to check out some of the new varieties of plants and products, although as David stated, new doesn't always mean better!

Members of the Club were reminded that the Intersociety Quiz will be held this year at Boreham on 30 October. Thanks were given to Lesley and Marion for preparing the beautiful arrangement entitled "Celebrating Gardening" at the Great Waltham Flower Festival. The evening finished with the announcement that the winner for the President's Trophy for October was Lesley followed by Mary in 2nd place and Pip in 3rd position.

The next meeting of the Gardening Club will be held in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm on 7 November. The talk is on "Cricket Bat Willows" by Colin Ashby, visitors welcome.

September meeting - report

The Autumn programme of meetings began in September with a talk and digital presentation entitled "Speaking Up For Wild Plants" by Mary Smith of the Essex Field Club. Mary, herself an experienced and enthusiastic botanist, was speaking on behalf of Plantlife, a charity whose aim it is to conserve native wild plants. A great number of our wild plants are under threat of extinction due to loss of habitat, which in turn is due to building development, pollution and intensive farm management.

Mary described a number of conserved plant habitats found in Essex, including the last remaining area of lowland heath in Tiptree and the salt marshes with their unique flora.

Wildflowers, plants and fungi are the life support for all our wildlife and without the help of Plantlife and wildlife trusts they are in danger of being lost.

We gardeners felt guilty when we were shown images of peat being ripped out from the peat beds to satisfy our constant demand for peat based composts. The fragile ecosystem of plants, fungi and insects is built up over millennia and destroyed in moments. Many in the audience felt that peat alternatives must be investigated further.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 3 October at 7.30pm in Little Waltham Memorial Hall. The subject of the evening will be "New, Different and Worthwhile" by David Gillam of Abercorn Nursery. Visitors and new members very welcome.

August update

As gardeners, our members have found this Summer really challenging. Our efforts to keep our flowers and vegetables perky with as much water as was available, often resulted in sweaty exhaustion. However, we were able to relax at our meetings during the Summer months.

In June we visited Fudlers Hall in Mashbury. We were made very welcome and enjoyed our afternoon amongst the billowing rose bushes and flowers. There were many places to sit and take in the fragrance, the sunshine and the feel of a quintessentially English garden.

We visited Kings Seeds of Kelvedon in July. The scent from the sweet pea trial grounds was truly the scent of high summer. We had a very interesting tour of the factory and laboratory. Our guide, who has been involved with Kings Seeds for many years, explained the strict standards that must be adhered to within the seed industry. We saw many machines both old and new that are used to provide the customer with a packet of high quality seeds. We'll never take seeds for granted again!

In August, after over 2 months without rain, our hostess at "Dragons" Boyton Cross showed us how she had risen to the challenge of drought. Although the grass was parched, her plants, many of them very unusual, filled the garden with colour and fragrance. The clematis plants with abundant flowers were a testament to good watering technique: that is once a fortnight for 30 minutes each plant. It was good to relax in the shade with a cuppa and homemade cake in such a splendid garden.

On 5 September the Club begins its Autumn programme with a PowerPoint presentation by Mary Smith of Essex Field Club on behalf of Plantlife. The talk is entitled "Give Wild Plants a Chance". Wild plants play a large part in balancing our already fragile ecosystem. They attract pollinators and their predators and roadside wild plants provide corridors for wild life. With such a building explosion that we are now experiencing, our wild plants are ever more threatened.

On 3 October, Dave Gillam, manager of a local garden centre will review new equipment and additions to garden centre shelves and assess and advise on their usefulness. The talk is called "New, Different and Worthwhile".

On 7 November, we have a talk and demonstration on "Cricket Bat Willows" by Colin Ashby. Colin cultivates willow trees, such as we see alongside the Chelmer locally, and he will explain the challenges in producing a tree fit to make into a bat and demonstrate the first stages of bat making.

Our Members' Christmas meeting will be held on 5 December.

If any of the talks listed above are of interest to you, please come along and join us for the evening. We are a friendly group with a love of growing plants, but we are not experts . Entry is £3.00 and there will be refreshments available, Plant and Bric a Brac stalls, a raffle and A VERY WARM WELCOME.

For more information, please phone me on 01245 360042

Margaret Williams (Hon. Secretary)

May meeting - report

After welcoming members and visitors to the May meeting, Chair person Maggie Williams presented the Banksian Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society to Marion Lawson who gained the highest number of points in the horticultural classes in the Spring Show.

Details of the summer programme of outings were then announced and members were encouraged to book up. Hazel and Albert Clements ran a very busy plant stall and some of the plants were donated to the Pre-School Garden for their entry in the Little Waltham Open Gardens for Farleigh Hospice on 24 June.

Robin Carsberg gave his presentation entitled "Plants for East Anglian Gardens". Robin gave us the benefit of his many years experience of gardening in Essex. He was able to give details of trees, shrubs and plants that would not only survive, but flourish in the sometimes adverse weather conditions that gardens endure in this region. The talk was illustrated by a well thought out PowerPoint presentation using Robin's own photographs taken in his own gardens. The cultivation and pruning requirements were discussed and the members of the audience felt that greater things could now be achieved in their own gardens.

The next meeting will be on 27 June when members will be visiting Fudlers Hall in Mashbury. For more information about Little Waltham Gardening Club please phone 01245 360042.

March AGM - report

The AGM of the Little Waltham Gardening Club was well attended and our treasurer, Peter Lawson was able to advise that the number of members had increased, together with the number of guests attending our monthly meetings.

The members of the committee were voted in for another year and we were pleased to welcome another two new members to the committee, Bill and Lesley Bryden. Bill mentioned that he would be happy to arrange a Facebook page for the Gardening Club that can be used to promote future events.

After the official business of the AGM, the members took part in a team quiz based on Pointless which was won by Peter Lawson, Iris Diver, Rosina and Marian.

The winner of the PresidentÕs Trophy was Marion Lawson with Iris Diver coming second and Lesley & Bill Bryden in third place.

Our Secretary, Maggie Williams reminded us that there will be a flower arranging workshop held on 22 March to prepare us for the Spring Show on Saturday April 7.

The Spring Show will be held at the Memorial Hall in Little Waltham and we encourage entrants in our Cookery, Craft, Gardening and Flower arranging Sections. Please contact Marion Lawson on 01245 36857 or email for the Show Schedule or more information.

February meeting - report

At our February meeting it was good to welcome so many people in our audience on what must have been one of the coldest nights of the year. Very appropriately the topic of the evening was Alpine Plants. Speaker Michael Sullivan gave a colourful presentation on Alpines and explained that in order to be successful with these plants, we must try to replicate the conditions in which they naturally flourish. Drainage and good air movement are the keys to success.

It was a joy to see so many entries in our monthly President's Trophy competition. The subject was "any stem in flower in your garden" , and what a diverse display we had, from camellias, to hellebores and fragrant flowering shrubs.

On 7 March the Club will hold its AGM when everyone has an opportunity to comment on the way the Club functions and on forthcoming events. The Committee is hoping that someone will come forward in the near future to lend a hand with running the Club. A knowledge of gardening is not essential! We're a relaxed team and hold no more than 4 Committee Meetings a year and there's always tea and cake to end the meeting!

On Saturday 7 April the Club will be holding the annual Spring Show. This Show is open to non members and copies of the schedule of classes are available from Show Secretary Marion Lawson (01245 361857), or Margaret Williams (01245 360042). Show classes include garden flowers, vegetables, cookery, craft, flower arranging and photography. The village show is a social event that we want to continue in Little Waltham, so please pick up a copy of our schedule and "have a go". Notification of entries to Marion or Margaret by Wednesday 4 April please.

The Show will be open to view from 1.30pm on Saturday 7 April. There will be a plant stall and home-made refreshments available. Come along, we'd be pleased to see you. Feast your eyes and gladden your heart!

On Wednesday 2 May Robin Carsberg will be joining us to give a presentation entitled "Plants for East Anglian Gardens". Robin has experienced many years of gardening under our local conditions and will be well able to advise us on which plants will flourish for us and more importantly, which ones to avoid.

Please come and share with us our passion for plants.

Programme for 2018

7 February 2018
"Getting started with Alpines" by Michael Sullivan of Essex Group of the Alpine Society
7 March 2018
7 April 2018
Spring Show (note that this is a Saturday)
Schedules from M Williams 360042 and M Lawson 361857
2 May 2018
"Plants for East Anglian Gardens" by Robin Carsberg
27 June 2018
Afternoon outing to "Fudlers Hall", Fox Road, Mashbury CM1 4TJ
From Great Waltham, take Barrack Lane for 3 miles, Fudlers Hall is on the right after a sharp right-hand bend. Park in the drive. Our host is Mrs Meacock. Entry £4, tea/coffee and cake £3
Leave Memorial Hall Car Park at 1.30pm to arrive at 2.00pm. Lifts available
4 July 2018
Evening visit to "Kings Seeds", Monks Farm, Coggeshall CO5 9PG
Leave Memorial Hall Car Park at 4.15pm to arrive at 5.00pm. Lifts available. The tour takes 2 hours, much of the time you will be standing (take a portable stool!). The cost is £2 and discounted seeds will be available. Unfortunately there will be no refreshments on site, but the Committee will try to find somewhere local.
1 August 2018
Afternoon outing to "Dragons", Boyton Cross CM1 4LS
Our host is Margot Grice. Towards Roxwell, 3 miles west of Chelmsford on A1060; 0.5 mile west of the Hare Pub. Entry £4, tea/coffee and cake £3
Leave Memorial Hall Car Park at 1.30pm to arrive at 2.00pm. Lifts available
5 September 2018
"Speaking up for wild plants" by Mary Smith of the Essex Field Club
3 October 2018
"New, Different & Worthwhile" by Dave Gillam of Abercorn Nursery
Dave will review new additions to the Garden Centre's shelves and assess and advise on their effectiveness
7 November 2018
"Cricket Bat Willows" by Colin Ashby
Colin will take us through the planting and management of his willow trees (some of which are by our part of the Chelmer), to the first stages of making a cricket bat
5 December 2018
Christmas Social
6 February 2019
"Bumblebees" by John Taylor
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