Little Waltham Gardening Club - Programme for 2017

Scroll down the page to see the 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 £2. Refreshments and raffle at all meetings in the Memorial Hall.

For more information phone Margaret Williams on 01245 360042 or Pip Wickham on 01245 364319.

December meeting - report

For the December meeting of the Little Waltham Gardening Club, 32 of the members celebrated with a lunch at the White Hart in Little Waltham. After a busy gardening year with talks and presentations held at the Memorial Hall, covering a wide range of topics plus visits in the summer months to Hyde Hall, Apple Tree Cottage and Little Myles, it was lovely to relax and chat with fellow members.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our festive lunch and look forward to the next meeting in February entitled "Getting started with Alpines". This meeting will be held on 7 February 2018 at the Little Waltham Memorial Hall. Visitors are welcome and will be provided with a list of speakers and outings for the forthcoming year.

November meeting - report

There was an excellent turnout at the Memorial Hall for the November meeting of the Little Waltham Gardening Club. "Weeds - Bane or Bedfellows" was the subject covered by our speaker, John Taylor of Essex Wildlife Trust. His speciality is bumblebees but he gave us a wonderful overview of the relationship between man and weeds.

Weeds have the ability to colonise bare ground often poor in nutrients. John explained that when weeds die and decompose they create a humus to enable other plants to succeed. There are many edible weeds such as chickweed, sorrel, garlic mustard and burdock. Also, both weeds and wildflowers have been used for medicinal purposes since medieval times. This most interesting and informative talk finished with a Q&A session although John did ask the audience one interesting question, should we be weeding?

The end of the meeting finished with the vote on November's entry for the President's Trophy which was a photograph depicting vegetables or fruit. This was won by Maggie & John Williams.

The next meeting will be the Christmas lunch held at the White Hart on Wednesday 6 December. There will also be a flower arranging workshop held on Thursday 14 December. Please contact Maggie Williams on 01245 360042 for more information.

September meeting - report

Margaret Williams, chairperson, welcomed members to the first meeting of the Club's Winter programme.

Deb Hart gave an interesting and informative presentation on all the aspects of willow weaving. The audience learned about the many types of willow that are used in willow weaving and how it is cut and prepared for sale.

Deb used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate the wide range of ways in which willow was used in the past, from vegetable baskets and eel traps to the support of trenches in World War 1. She included a number of photographs of her own work which displayed her amazing talent. Besides many woven garden ornaments, Deb has made long garden fences, living willow tunnels and even a maze in the shape of a strawberry for a local jam factory. The RHS, National Trust and English Heritage are among her customers.

The audience had a chance to watch a willow artist in action as Deb made a 6 foot high willow obelisk which she donated to the raffle. The lucky winner was Doris Brown.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 4 October, 7.30pm, Little Waltham Memorial Hall. The speaker will be Darren Lerigo who will be advising on ways to conserve water in our gardens. Visitors and new members very welcome. For more information please phone M Williams 01245 360042.

July meeting - report

The Little Waltham Gardening Club's July outing was held at Marion & Peter Lawson's lovely garden in Chatham Green. Family and friends were invited and thoroughly enjoyed strolling around the lawns, into the Asian garden and through the orchard. The children took great delight in scooting up into the tree house and running after the chickens. The afternoon was rounded off with tea and cakes and of course a raffle. We all thoroughly enjoyed our time at Marion & Peter's and they should be very proud of their beautiful garden. Certainly, our grandson declared "it was the best garden ever". This of course could be partially down to the fact that he won 2 raffle prizes!

The next outing of the Gardening Club is on Wednesday 2 August when we are off to RHS garden Hyde Hall.

June meeting - report

The June outing of the Little Waltham Gardening Club was to the NGS garden at Little Myles in Stondon Massey. We had an excellent turnout with fair although rather blustery weather. Our host, Judy Cowan, welcomed us and explained how the garden of three acres had taken shape over the years.

We spent a pleasant hour meandering through the garden finding sculptures, a hidden Asian garden, hornbeam pergola, ornamental vegetable patch and Judy's herb garden. Stumbling upon the beach garden and exotic jungle section was rather a surprise in deepest Essex. Should you get the chance please try and visit this lovely peaceful garden which is open on Sunday 2 July.

At the end of our tour of the garden, Judy gave a short talk regarding her handmade herbal cosmetics which had been inspired by the creation of their herb garden. Many of us took the opportunity to purchase some of the lovely smelling creams and lotions - a nice reminder of a very special garden.

The next summer outing for the Gardening Club is on 5 July when we will be visiting Peter & Marion Lawson's garden, leaving the Memorial Hall car park at 1.45pm. Lifts available.

May meeting - report

The May meeting of the Little Waltham Gardening Club was a talk by Margot Cooper concerning Food & Flower Customs around the World. Margot is a very well travelled lady having flown to the States when just a young woman. She flew into New York, down to Florida and then across to San Francisco, then Boston and finishing at Niagara Falls before returning home. Margot mentioned that all the cherry blossom trees in Washington were originally gifted by the Japanese. She has spent a considerable amount of time travelling with her husband around Japan and stated that you must not show the soles of your feet as this is considered disrespectful. Margot brought epimedium, alstromeria and phormium with her which she included in a flower arrangement which she kindly donated to the raffle prizes.

Margaret Williams finished the evening off advising that the next meeting would be on Wednesday 7 June and is an afternoon visit to NGS garden Little Myles at Stondon Massey. Open Gardens at Little Waltham in aid of Farleigh Hospice will be taking place on Sunday 25 June and will be opened this year by Peter Seabrook.

Spring Show - report
The sun shone on the day of the annual Spring Show for the Little Waltham Gardening Club. Possibly partly due to the lovely weather, we had an excellent turnout at the Memorial Hall, selling quite a number of plants and our ladies on teas were kept busy all afternoon.

Thanks to Marion and Peter Lawson who were busy organising the event but were unable to attend due to a prior engagement. Nevertheless, Marion still managed to win the Banksian Medal and two cups for her Narcissi. Peter won the Club Certificate in Craft for a carved model of his Austin 7.

Our Chair, Margaret Williams, won the Silver Jubilee Cup for her tulips and two trophies for her flower arrangements. Margaret Taylor received Best Entry for her tulips. Bill Bryden won the Club Shield and the Don Diver Cup for best entry in the vegetable Section and his wife, Lesley, won the Garden Club Cup. Vicky Weavers did well in the cookery section winning the Club Cookery Shield and a Rosette for Best Entry. Peter Phillips was presented with the Margaret Rose Cup in Craft and Jean Hatley excelled in the Photography section receiving a Rosette for Best Entry.

The next meeting of the Little Waltham Gardening Club will be on Wednesday 3 May and is a talk on the "Food & Flower Customs of the World" by Margot Cooper. Visitors welcome.
Spring Show

AGM - report


The AGM of the Little Waltham Gardening Club was well attended with thanks given to the President, Iris Diver, who manages the plant stall at each monthly meeting at the Memorial Hall. Thanks were also given to Betty & Nicky Wilsher who organise the raffle each month. Our Chair, Margaret Williams, also gave thanks to Pat, Peter and Jean for helping with the teas and coffees at each meeting. Thanks to Bob for helping tidy up after each meeting and Margaret's husband, John, for all his help throughout the year.

All committee members agreed to stand for a further year and our Treasurer, Peter Lawson, explained the accounts stating they were a little lower than last year due to the Club hosting the Inter Society Quiz. With costs increasing, it was voted that the annual membership would increase to £8.50 with immediate effect.

After the formal proceedings of the AGM, Sarah Dickie and Julie Everard hosted their own version of "Pointless" with various questions and a picture round. The winning team were Keith & Jean Hatley, Bill & Lesley Brydon, Marion Lawson and Iris Diver, who received a box of chocolates and a Pointless Trophy. The meeting finished with a reminder of the Flower arranging workshop to be held at the URC on 23 March which will be followed by our annual Spring Show on Saturday 8 April held at the Little Waltham Memorial Hall. This will be open to non-members and a Schedule is available from Marion Lawson on 01245 361857 and Margaret Williams on 01245 360042.

February meeting - report

Our speaker for the February meeting of the Little Waltham Gardening Club was Peter Miller of Kings Seeds. He is the third generation of his family to work for Kings and kept us entertained and informed throughout his presentation.

Kings, who specialise in sweet peas, started in the 1700s in Coggeshall as brewers and seed merchants and expanded quickly exporting seed all around the world using their own farm plus many small farmers and smallholders around Essex to produce seed. America, however, imposed a tariff on seed imports in the early 1900s which prompted the States to start growing their own seed. Then came the 1st and 2nd world wars which was a busy time for seed growers with land mainly set aside for vegetables.

Peter explained that seeds will last for many years as long as they are kept in cool and dry conditions. You can freeze seed for 20 years and it will still be viable. So long as you ensure that the soil is warm enough for the seed, donÕt sow too early, use good compost and water with tap water, not from your water butt. Good advice from a company that has stood the test of time.

Our secretary Maggie Williams rounded off the evening with a presentation of a birthday cake to our President Iris Diver who had recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Mention was made of the Show Schedule which is now available for the Spring Show, which will be held in the Memorial Hall on 8 April. An additional class will be included for our male cooks. Our next meeting will be the AGM in the Little Waltham Memorial Hall on Wednesday 1 March.

Programme for 2017

1 February 2017
"King's Seeds", by Peter Miller
1 March 2017
AGM plus LWGC's version of "Pointless"
8 April 2017
Spring Show (note that this is a Saturday)
3 May 2017
"Food & Flower Customs of the World" by Margot Cooper
7 June 2017
Afternoon outing to "Little Myles", Stondon Massey
5 July 2017
Afternoon Garden Social at "Apple Tree Cottage", Chatham Green, courtesy of Peter & Marion Lawson
2 August 2017
Afternoon outing to RHS Hyde Hall
6 September 2017
"Willow" - talk & demonstration by Deb Hart
4 October 2017
"Gardening for Wildlife" by Karen Kenny (broadcaster on radio Suffolk & in charge of Suffolk County Allotment Association)
1 November 2017
"Wildlife of the Essex Village" by Sylvia Jiggins, Essex Wildlife Trust Warden
6 December 2017
Christmas Meeting
7 February 2018
"Getting started with Alpines" by Michael Sullivan of Essex Group of the Alpine Society
7 March 2018
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