Recent and coming treats for gardeners!
image Haslemere Gardening Society was formed in 1947 to promote the cultivation and appreciation of gardens and gardening. The Society has the same aims today, encouraging gardening for all ages by holding talks and outings to notable gardens throughout the year.

Please click here for the 2022 Programme

For the third and last coach outing of the year members of the Haslemere Gardening Society boarded the coach for a trip to Syon House and Gardens on Wednesday, 13th of July 2022.
image It was a lovely Summer's Day, not quite as hot as it is at the time of writing this, and the journey was quick and without holdups. The area outside the Estate was a mass of roses in full bloom which was a nice start after driving up the motorway and so near to Heathrow.

We were taken on a guided tour of the House by a very well-informed and interesting young lady who pointed out the architecture designed by Robert Adams and all the many portraits of members of the Percy Family and the many famous people who had visited there. The house is built on the site of Syon Abbey and after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and Edward VI the present house with its white exterior was built by Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector and when he was executed acquired by the Duke of Northumberland and it has been in the same family ever since. It was there that Lady Jane Grey was offered the crown on Edward VI's death. After the Jacobean era and the civil war, the Estate was inherited by Sir Hugh Smithson who was created 1st Earl and Duke of Northumberland and it was then that the interior of the house was transformed into an amazing and beautiful place that we can visit today. It reflects the wealth of the leading families of the time with its Doric columns, statuary and walls adorned with so many masterpieces. image After we toured the house, we had the option of walking around the acres of gardens with the centrepiece of the Great Conservatory with its lily pond and collection of exotic plants or going first into the associated Hilliers Garden Centre for refreshment.

We had missed the large wildflower meadow by one week as it had come to the time for cutting but there was a smaller area devoted to native hedgerow plants near the Conservatory which was alive with bees. It is wonderful to see so many acres of green so near to the centre of London and know that it has been like that for many centuries. Before boarding the coach for home many of us visited the Garden Centre which had a tempting display of plants and quite a few of us went home with at least one souvenir of the visit. Our thanks to Georgina for organising another great day out and to Steve the driver for his good care of us. With Summer sadly now behind us it is time to look forward to the Autumn Lectures at the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road. The first one on 28th September 2022 is by Mark Saunders who is a writer and photographer and Head Gardener at Fittleworth House and starts as usual at 7.45 pm. This promises to be a very interesting talk and is free to members and just £2 for visitors. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be on offer at the end of the evening and we look forward to seeing many members and their friends.

It was a busy June for members of the Haslemere Gardening Society with two events within a week. On Saturday 11th June 2022 the annual Coffee Morning was held in the beautiful secluded garden of our President Madelaine Boxall. It was a lovely sunny day, not too hot, and when members began to arrive at around 10am the Committee and some helpers had laid out the tea, coffee and a delicious selection of cakes and the plant stall with lots of interesting small and large items for sale. The garden looked immaculate with beautiful roses in full bloom, colourful herbaceous borders and hostas with not a slug hole in site. The event was well attended and the sale of many plants boosted the Society's Bank balance. A big 'thank you' to Madelaine for her hospitality and to all those who helped to make the morning such a success.

On the following Wednesday 15th June 2022, we were off on the second coach outing of the year to Cliveden Gardens and Bledlow Manor Gardens. This outing was originally planned for 2020 and had been postponed twice due to Covid and re-arranged by Georgina. This time it went ahead but sadly without its organiser who was not well enough to come. Regrettably several members of the Committee were also unwell and Madelaine stepped into the breach keeping us in order and shepherding us on and off the coach at the right times. We arrived at Cliveden Gardens after a trouble-free journey and had 3 hours to explore. It was a beautiful Summer's day and there was plenty to look at and admire. Looking over the South Terrace we could see the extensive parterre laid out beneath us. Sadly, the alliums which had filled it were now finished and we were told that the gardeners were having a lot of trouble with rabbits eating the young plants. In the distance was a view of the Thames and those who walked down to the river were able to take advantage of a boat trip between the two locks. Very tempting on such a lovely hot day. There were so many red kites flying overhead and the boatman warned that they are now becoming like seagulls and pinching food from picnickers' hands but with the added advantage, to them, of large sharp talons. After climbing back up the hill the rose garden was not to be missed and the herbaceous border, just coming into full flower, was interesting particularly looking at the way the plants were supported with woven twigs.

imageAt 1.30pm we were off again and this time to a very different garden, that of Lord Carrington. It was a delightful experience in every way. We were treated to tea and very tasty cakes on arrival at Bledlow Manor and then Lord Carrington told us about the garden's history and design and took us on a tour himself. It was obviously a much loved and personal place for him and a joy to be allowed to admire it. The garden is divided into different 'rooms' each brimming with flowers. There was an alpine garden where we were warned to watch where we put our feet as in between the paving stones were lovely little treasures. Roses were a strong feature in most of the gardens and seemed to be having a good year. There is a sculpture garden which is very interesting and formal ponds with vegetable dye in them to make them look deeper. The afternoon ended with a walk around the Lyde Gardens, which is open to the public and goes down into a valley with narrow walkways and paths and interesting trees and shrubs with a stream running through it. We were all very grateful to Lord Carrington for allowing us to see his beautiful garden and for sparing the time to share it with us. The journey home was smooth and uneventful and once again we all thanked Steve, who seems now to be our regular driver, for a pleasant and comfortable trip. Thanks were also sent to Georgina for organising it all and wishes for a speedy recovery

On Friday 6th May members of Haslemere Gardening Society boarded a coach early in the morning to visit the first RHS Flower Show of the year at the 3 Counties Showground in Malvern. The journey went well until the last 7 miles where a new roundabout was being constructed and that took us an hour.
Once we reached the showground, we were pleased to find that the weather was dry, if cloudy, and although there were so many cars parked there was no crush and it was pleasant to be able to wander around comfortably. There weren't as many show gardens as usual at these events but this was compensated by the amazing displays in the floral marquee and the expert knowledge of the people selling the plants. There was also a large pavilion with beautiful handmade artefacts for sale - pottery, glass, woodwork and prints - all very tempting. We did make a few small purchases.
At 4.30 we set off for home and sadly the homeward journey was a mirror image of the outward one and, although it was frustrating for the passengers after a great day out, it must have been so trying for poor Steve the driver who coped with it very well. A big "thankyou" to him and to Georgina for organising the outing so well as she always does.

On Wednesday, 27th April, members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered at the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road at 7.45 pm to hear a talk entitled "National Trust Gardens", given by David Hunt a long standing and knowledgeable National Trust Volunteer. This was the last talk of the Spring Season.

On Wednesday, 23rd March, members of the Haslemere Gardening Society had great pleasure in welcoming back Barry Newman to the Catholic Church Hall to hear his talk entitled "The Modern Kitchen Garden". It was well attended by many of the Society's members and guests all anxious to get the best from their own vegetable plots this Summer. Barry, who is Vice Chairman of the RHS Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee, and also on the judging team of Britain in Bloom, started by talking about the old fashioned way of growing in large beds with the vegetables well spaced and the need to walk on the beds to access the produce thus compacting the soil and making neccessary annual deep digging. Next he talked about growing in pots and troughs and how successful that can be. He is very much in favour of planting potatoes in individual bags and finds this very successful. He also reminded us that vegetables such as courgettes and squashes can be grown as climbers and showed us a picture of squash plants scrambling up a hedge very enthusiastically. If wanting to grow courgettes up a pole he recommended Venus, Ambassador or Defender as being the best suitable varieties. The raised bed method of vegatable growing is the one he favours most as the soil is easily tended without need to walk on it and so doesn't need lots of digging, paticularly good for us as we get older and not disturbing the natural organisms in the soil. He stressed that the rows of vegetables should be planted North/South, this made me look at my own the next day and realised that my lines were East/West. I will correct this next year. The talk was illustrated with many lovely slides of vegetables with no slug damage in site just what we all hope in the coming season. Whatever happens this Summer we will have been given good advice and are very grateful to Barry for such an informative and amusing evening.

At last, after nearly five years in the planning, members of the Haslemere Gardening Society and many friends and guests gathered in the Catholic Church Hall on Wednesday 9th February to hear Chris Beardshaw give his talk entitled " Painting with Flowers". It was well worth waiting for. Chris who is the winner of 35 prestigious awards including 13 RHS gold medals and several Best in Show and Peoples' Choice. He has designed many award winning gardens all over the world and is a frequent contributor to Gardeners' Question Time and many television gardening programmes. He started by showing pictures of the first recorded garden from around 1500 BC, pointing out how the aspect of the garden was controlled by the life giving properties of the Nile and the Sun with the central southern entrance, straight paths, central water and the Sun rising from the East and travelling over the garden to the West at the end of the day. It was a Paradise garden to represent what the owner would like for eternity. This basic plan has been adopted by many of the great gardens throughout the centuries, especially the formal gardens of Italy and France. He came back to this principal of design several times during the evening. One of the chief points he made to us was that we should have what we want and what means something to us in our gardens and not be afraid to discard plants we had either inherited with the plot or been given and never really liked. He pointed out that men and women actually see colours differently and that men are nearly always keen on the solid hard landscaping with firm edging while women more generally like to see plants softening the hard lines. He reminded us that although the herbaceous border is thought of as being very English in nature, the plants that actually fill it come from all over the world, brought back by the great plant hunters such as Fortune, Banks and Mason to grace the gardens of the wealthy. The first such border was, and still is, at Arley Hall in Cheshire the home of the Egerton-Warburton Family since not long after the Norman Conquest. He talked about some of the well known gardens such as Hestercombe designed by Luytens, for the formal parts and Gertrude Jeykill for the drifts of flowers, following ideas of their contemporary Thomas Mawson who designed many gardens including Rydall Hall and The Smokey Mountain National Park Gardens in America. The garden surrounding Gravetye Manor, now a hotel, designed by William Robinson is a glorious example of this relaxed style of gardening . Chris said don't be afraid to put a clump of something vibrant in a pastel bed to draw attention. Something Gertrude Jeykill did quite often. He finished by going back to the point that our own gardens should always be a joy to step out into first thing in the morning giving the feeling that this is where we would like to spend eternity. At the end of the talk the audience asked a few questions and David, the Chairman. thanked Chris for his enthusiastic talk showing his obvious love for his subject. After the talk ended a glass of wine and cheese were enjoyed everybody. It had been a most enjoyable and informative evening.

On Wednesday, 12th January 2022 there was a very good turnout of members of the Haslemere Gardening Society for the AGM, which had been a very low-key affair last year. This time it was back to our usual format, apart from the mask wearing, social distancing and ventilation, and held at the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road. The proceedings started with the Chairman, David Trout, welcoming everyone and giving a report on the 2 outings, 3 lectures and the very successful Christmas Dinner we had managed to achieve in the past year. He thanked everyone on the Committee who had made these things happen. Then, after the business of the Meeting he thanked Roger Smith who is retiring as Hon.Secretary after many years in the position and Wendy Smith who is also retiring from the job of Membership Secretary. He asked for a volunteer for Secretary but as nobody put their hand up the position is still vacant. After the formal part of the evening there was a selection of refreshments brought by the members and wine provided by Anthony Day, the Hon. Treasuerer. This was a lovely chance to catch up with old friends and compare notes on our gardens and the festive season. When everyone had finished eating we sat down to hear a talk by Tim Winter entitled "Woodland Industries in Southern England. Tim has lived all his life in Haslemere and his interest in the many industries which have been carried out in the area started when he began collecting old postcards. We all know of the Chestnut Fencing industry which still happens in many locations in our area but there were so many more that few had heard of. He told us about the oak bark which was harvested for its tannin properties in the making of leather, done mostly by women and he showed us a barking spoon which they used to scrape the bark from the trunk of the tree. Next there were pictures of charcoal burners and their huts shaped like an Indian Teepee and told how whole families were involved in the production. Another industry was the production of thousands of barrel hoops from hazel wands which were used for packing cases for herrings in brine before modern packaging replaced them. Other Woodland Industries were the making of clogs, hop poles, sheep hurdles, walking sticks and faggots for firewood. He pointed out how beneficial for the biodiversity of wildlife the coppicing and management of the woodland is and that Chestnut Fencing is still an importment industry on notably Henley Hill. He finished by showing us a short and facinating film on the making of Beson Brooms. It was amazing to see how fast the workers completed their task. His talk was, for me, among the most interesting ones we have been lucky enough to have and has added interest to my daily dog walking. It really was a most enjoyable evening. The next gathering of the Gardening Society will be on the 9th February at the Catholic Church Hall, as usual, and wlll be a talk by Chris Beardshaw, the well known Chelsea Medal Winner and broadcaster, who will be giving his talk entitled "Painting with Flowers". It starts at 7.45pm and there are a few tickets left at £10 for members and £15 for guests.

On Wednesday, 24th November 2021 members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered for the third of the Autumn Lectures in the Catholic Church Hall in Weydown Road by a Senior Member of the Surrey Wildlife Trust entitled "A Different Field". It was a talk on conservation and different from the usual lectures on a specific plant. Conservation is such an important topic at present so it was very interesting for members and guests. The evening concluded with tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to have a chat.

On Wednesday 27th October 2021, members of the Haslemere Gardening Society were delighted to welcome Dave Royston, a retired anaesthetist from Harefield Hospital, to talk about "Gardens in Health Care". Dave started by telling us about the length of time we have known about the healing properties in certain plants. He mentioned the citing of plant remedies as long ago as 3000 BCE in the Sumerian Tablets and the continuing mention of often the same families of plants right up to Medieval times with the monastery hospitals and the monks growing the herbs and flowers they needed for their treatments in the gardens. They thought four humors dictated how to treat a person. They were blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm. A patient's condition was diagnosed by whether they were cold, hot, moist or dry and the appropriate plant mixture administered. Often the plant chosen to treat the person's symptoms resembled the part of the body causing the distress, e.g. walnuts for trouble with the brain. In Italy, there were many gardens connected to the monasteries and in London, there was, and still is, the Chelsea Physic Garden devoted to growing plants for medicinal purposes. During the 18th century, Carl Linnaeus worked on the taxonomy of plants putting them into various families. Throughout history, herbs and flowers such as Roses, Calendula, Aloe, Feverfew, Garlic and Echinacea have been used by, mainly women, to treat their families and neighbours as the ordinary person could not afford qualified medical help. These same plants have continued in use throughout the ages. Now there is scientific proof that they help. In Shakespeares time, we know Ophelia's saying, "There's Rosemary, that's for remembrance". It is still today used to treat memory loss. He told us of the discovery of Asprin, Hydrocortisone, Digoxin and many other commonly prescribed medicines all derived from plants. Dave then moved on to tell us about the known benefits of fresh air and contact with growing things in the past and again very much to the fore in present times. He mentioned the hospitals where tuberculosis patients were wheeled outside onto balconies every day for the fresh air to cure them. Many hospitals right up until the NHS in 1947 were self-sufficient, having gardens that provided food for the patients. He, interestingly, had an aerial picture of Milford Hospital with its surrounding gardens. Today there are Healing Gardens attached to hospitals, where there are grasses and sweet-smelling plants to help the healing process. There is proof that daily walking or gardening helps a person's speed of recovery from illness or surgery by a large percentage. The talk was fascinating and well attended by existing and some new members. We are very grateful to Dave Royston for generously giving his time and the payment being a donation to Harefield Hospital.

On Wednesday, 22nd September 2021 it was a question of "Here we are Again", at last, when members of the Haslemere Gardening Society met in the Catholic Church Hall in Weydown Road to hear Mr Everett Leeds, who is a past president of the British Clematis Society, give a talk entitled "Clematis through the Seasons". He pointed out that until the reign of Elizabeth I there was only the hedgerow plant, Old Man's Beard when three new varieties were introduced from the Mediterranean. It became more popular in the 17th century but it was not until 1858 that the still outstanding Jackmanii was produced and the race was on for all other breeders of the species to compete for better and more spectacular examples. Mr Leeds told us how and when to take both hard and softwood cuttings and recommended perlite was a good medium for them. He talked about clematis wilt which is prevalent among the larger flowered varieties and recommended cutting the affected growth down to the ground and it should recover and appear again. Another problem can be mildew and black spot, particularly on the texensis varieties which include the popular red coloured Princess Diana and Etoile Rose. He talked of the rampant Montana varieties and pointed out that they are not as hardy as one would think and may need Winter protection. There is one Montana that is suitable for a pot Montana Freda but he thought that clematis is better off in the ground on a North, West or East wall particularly for paler coloured plants. Others will grow on a South facing wall and the scented varieties do like full sun. If growing in a pot it is essential to keep the roots cool, perhaps by lining the container with a double layer of plastic wrap. He told us about the Buckland varieties which he had bred himself and the shrubby plants that scramble through the borders. It was a very interesting and informative talk and we are very grateful to Mr Leeds for coming. The evening was topped off by tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to catch up on old friends we hadn't seen for a long time.

At last, on the 12th May 2021, after waiting nearly two years since the last coach trip, members of Haslemere Gardening Society were able to meet and enjoy an outing postponed from last Summer. We obeyed the rules at present in force and so the coach had fewer passengers, socially distanced and all wore masks.

imageThe coach set off from Haslemere Hall at 8.30 am en route for Compton Acres in Poole, Dorset, a privately owned garden set on a steep hill and including a wooded valley. The weather was very much better than had been forecast with some lovely sunny spells making imageexploring the many and varied elements of the garden very enjoyable. Each corner held a new and delightful view where the plants seemed to have been placed exactly in the right place.
Water runs all through the garden and it includes an atmospheric Japanese Garden, a rocky water garden and a more formal Italian garden planted with beds of uniform tulips supported by amazing bright blue forget-me-nots. After a very enjoyable morning, we were back in the coach for Abbotsbury Subtropical Garden. A great contrast to the first visit with unusual shrubs and plants which although coming from sub-tropical regions of the world seemed very happy in the warmer sheltered climate that prevails in that part of the south coast. The garden had originally been planted as long ago as 1765 and has developed since then as new plants have been brought back to this country. The fact that the threatened rain did come during the afternoon did not spoil the visit as the warm damp made it feel more tropical. At both gardens, there were fine selections of well-priced plants for sale and many members went home with lovely souvenirs of the trip. We are all very grateful to Georgina Trout for arranging and re-arranging this trip and for the two more which we hope will go ahead in June and July. The June trip has been moved twice to comply with various regulations at the venues and will now take place on 30th June at Cliveden and Bedlow Manor Gardens. We would also like to thank Steve the coach driver who drove us so comfortably and coped very well with a change of route for the homeward journey due to an accident on the A3. It was a most enjoyable day and everyone was very grateful for the opportunity of getting back to some normality.

On Saturday, 5th June members of Haslemere Gardening Society met in the lovely garden of Chris and Lynn Lemar in Farnham Lane for their Coffee Morning held each year in different member's gardens, although not last year, of course. The garden was beautiful and immaculate and glittering after the previous day's rain. The weather was very kind to us and the sun shone brightly but not too fiercely and a total of 39 members attended, making sure that only 30 were there at once the usual finish of noon was extended to 1 pm. Chris and Lynn provided coffee and tea and members brought a wide selection of delicious cakes to serve. One of the most striking sights in the garden were spectacular tall red tulips which had been cleverly placed in large pots behind low box hedges. On the other side of the lawn was a lovely show of purple allium and tall red poppies blooming near the Summer House. Framing the conservatory door into the house was a pair of white wistaria at their glorious best. Peeping into the greenhouse one could see fine stocky tomato plants looking strong and healthy and ready to bear a good crop later in the year. The morning was very much enjoyed by all who came and we took away some good ideas to try to copy in our gardens. The Committee would like to thank Lynn and Chris on behalf of the Society for their generous hospitality.

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Happy gardening to you all.

David Trout (Chairman)