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.

For a number of reasons, not least of which the Church Hall is not available, the Committee has decided to cancel the remaining talks this year but does aim to have a normal programme next year. As far as we can, this year's intended outings will be rebooked on the equivalent dates next year and this year's missing speakers will be invited once again.

Despite the cold and stormy weather, on Wednesday 26th February the Catholic Church Hall saw lots of members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gather for a talk by David Millais, from the Millais Nurseries in Churt, entitled "Rhododendrons from the Himalayas to Chelsea. He started by telling us that his Grandfather had started the Nursery and it had been in his family for 70 years He began by explaining where rhododendrons came from and what their natural habitat was. He said he had trekked in the Himalayas sometimes for a month at a time and it was interesting to note that the higher the altitude the paler the flowers became, with red on the lower slopes through pink and at their highest point they were white. He said he had seen dwarf examples growing on boulders in the middle of glaciers. His talk was illustrated with colourful slides and he brought some examples of the different types with him, from deciduous azaleas, dwarf and compact plants to ones that would, in time, grow into magnificent feature plants. One interesting specimen had very large leaves and we were told preferred a more sheltered spot in the garden. Generally, rhododendrons like a free draining soil, particularly the yellow flowered ones, but he had seen some quite happy in flowing water. On the care of our garden plants he said it was generally advised to dead-head after flowering but this was not always practical, although he did recommend that doing so would help a sickly plant to recover. David told us that the Millais Nurseries usually exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show about every three years where we could see a selection of their beautiful shrubs, but if going to Chelsea was not possible the Nursery is just six miles from us and in May their five acre woodland garden is open to visitors at the peak of the flowering season. As with all the talks it was a very enjoyable and sociable evening and we are looking forward to the March lecture which will be on Clematis.

On Thursday, 30th January 2020 members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered at the Catholic Church Hall in Weydown Road for the Annual General Meeting. The business of the evening included the usual Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary's reports, the Chairman announced that Laurie Brown who had been on the Committee for many years had decided to resign and he was thanked for the service he had done for the Society and it was hoped we would still see him at various events in the coming year. David also noted the death of Robin Boxall, the husband of the President, Madelaine, and was joined by all the members in saying how much he would be missed. The rest of the Committee Members agreed to stand for re-election and were unanimously elected. The Chairman told the meeting that there were lots of interesting talks and 3 outings to look forward to in the coming year and hoped that they would appeal to the members and be well supported. The formal part of the evening concluded with Madelaine thanking the members of the Committee for their hard work and for the kind words and sympathy on the death of her late husband. After the business of the meeting was completed it was time for the enticing buffet provided by the Committee and many members and a glass of wine generously donated by Anthony, the Treasurer. Next it was back to the main hall for a most interesting talk on bee keeping by Neil Mariner who has his own hives but also maintains hives in gardens around the area, including in Angela's garden in Haslemere. He said that if he visits all his hives in one day, he does a sixty- mile round trip. He talked enthusiastically about the different bees in the hive and their roles in maintaining it and the production of honey, explaining that if new queens formed then the original one would leave - swarm- followed by the workers and scout bees would fly round looking for a suitable new home. He described the different flavours of honey and how on one cone you could get different flavours depending where the workers had been foraging. It was a most interesting talk and there were many questions from the floor and honey to sample. The Meeting ended with a raffle with prizes donated not only by members but by many local businesses including, Brook Garden Centre, The Georgian Hotel, ASK Italian, The Haslemere Bookshop, Pizza Express, Cook, Chilli Nights and Objets d'Art, to all of whom we would like to express our gratitude for their generosity. With the raffle concluded it was time to go home. It had been, I can definitely say, a most enjoyable evening.

On Thursday 5th December 2019 members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered at the Georgian Hotel for their Christmas Dinner and Party. The occasion was well attended and, as always, the Chef at the Georgian did us proud, offering a menu of three choices for each course including a traditional Christmas dinner, a fish dish and a vegetarian option. The meal ended with a choice of 2 different desserts or cheese and biscuits and followed by seasonal mince pies tea and coffee. After the meal the members were entertained by William Godfrey at the keyboard singing a mixture of songs, mostly comic, by Flanders and Swan, Noel Coward and Cole Porter. The cabaret was very much enjoyed and it was a lovely way to round off the year of great talks and outings and wish our friends a Very Happy Christmas and Good Gardening in 2020.

With the end of the year fast approaching Members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered in the Catholic Church Hall on Wednesday 20th November 2019 for the final lecture of 2019 entitled "Beautiful Borders" and given by John Negus who is a member of the Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Kent Federation of Judges and Lecturers. The talk took the form of an informal quiz with the audience divided into two teams. Accompanied by slides displaying some well-known and some more unusual plants he fired questions at us as to what they were and told us more about each one and where it would be suitable in the border. He stressed the importance of having plants which would look good not only in the Spring and Summer flowering season but through the Autumn and grey days of the Winter. The talk was well attended and it was good to see so many members there on such a cold evening. The programme of talks and outings is now out for 2020 and many people were already renewing their membership. The evening ended as usual with tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance for catching up on each other's news.

On Wednesday 16th October 2019 the Members of the Haslemere Gardening Society were pleased to welcome Steve Bradley, who is a freelance garden writer and broadcaster for a talk entitled "Making the Most of Bulbs". This highly topical subject was approached both with great knowledge and experience and a fair sprinkling of humour. He talked about planting bulbs amongst other perenials as well as in "lasagne" style in large pots with bulbs of different sizes and flowering times in layers. He did warn, however, never to plant any other bulbs under hyacinths. The talk was accompanied by colourful slides to demonstrate his advice. He showed us how to increase our stock of lilies by removing the outer scales and nurturing them in a bag in a warm place until little bulblets appeared and then they could be planted in a pot to grow on and mature until after three years they would grow into a size to plant out and expect flowers. Steve said it was a myth that bulbs must be carefully planted the right way up and assured us that they would always find the surface whatever way they started. He did stress that bulbs should be handled gently and not to firm them in with your feet, but to water, whatever the weather, to bring the soil around them. Two tips which seem to be worth trying for anyone who loses most of the bulbs they plant to wildlife, to either plant alliums near them or to grate a strongly scented soap over them to hide the enticing smell of the bulbs or the worms in the newly loosened soil. These are just a sample of the bulb related subjects covered, and after questions from members the evening ended with tea, coffee and biscuits and time for a chat.

On Wednesday 18th September 2019, with the start of Autumn, the members of the Haslemere Gardening Society returned to the programme of talks, held as always in the Catholic Church Hall in Weydown Road. The first lecture of the season was entitled "Gardening on the Wildside" and given by Paul Patton who is a Plant Pathologist, writer and broadcaster. The talk, illustrated with colourful and informative slides, started with an autumnal picture of colourful berries which make wonderful food for the the birds and small mammals. Paul stressed the importance of getting a balance in our gardens and the help of adding organic matter to the soil. He mentioned the decline of pollinators, not only bees, but wasps, hoverflies etc. and how vital it was to fill our gardens with flowers suitable for these insects to enjoy. As well as talking about good things in the garden he mentioned the black spot on roses and the powdery mildew on things like courgettes, and the importance of not composting infected foliage. Keep one step ahead of pests was his message. Paul encouraged us to have water of some sort in our gardens for wildlife of all kinds and how beneficial it was to have a native mixed hedge to provide food and shelter for them. The evening ending as always with tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to catch up on how other members had been enjoying the Summer.

On Wednesday 17th July 2019 the Haslemere Gardening Society visited Houghton Lodge Gardens & Waitrose Water Gardens at Longstock Park, Stockbridge, Hampshire.
Houghton Lodge Gardens have been described as 'the jewel of the Test Valley'. It is a Grade II* listed "Cottage Orné", surrounded by mature trees and lawns sweeping down to the banks of the famous River Test. The walled garden boasts vast espalier fruit trees including 32 different varieties of apple tree. There is a wonderful herb garden and the fruit cage is home to both golden and red raspberries. Vegetables grow in raised beds, and you will see wild flowers, sweet peas and dahlias providing a kaleidoscope of summer and autumn colour. At Longstock Park the Water Gardens cover around seven acres and have been nurtured and developed to become 'The finest water garden in the world' The garden is a true spectacle, hosting an array of plants from around the world with over forty different waterlilies alone. On the day the water gardens were open solely for our members.

On Monday 17th June 2019 members of the Haslemere Gardening Society headed off on the second coach outing of the summer. We were so lucky that the pre-arranged day was the one and only fine and sunny one sandwiched between 2 weeks of almost continuous rain. We drove to Kent where our first destination was the beautiful 7 acre garden of Great Comp which was lovingly restored and tended by Roderick and Joyce Cameron during the later years of the last Century. It is now curated by William Dyson and showcases his love and knowledge of Salvias, many of which were for sale and went home on the coach with us. The garden is designed with sweeping lawns making paths between the beds packed with many and varied shrubs and flowering plants. It was a very peaceful setting disturbed only by the delightful chirping of the many birds. After a very nice, freshly prepared lunch we then headed for a very different garden at Lullingstone Castle, the Family Home of its designer Tom Hart Dyke. We were lucky enough to be shown around his creation by Tom. He started by telling us the story of how the idea for the garden had come to him when, as a young plant hunter in Colombia, he had been held captive for the best part of a year with a price on his head. Luckily he survived this terrifying experience and lived to come home and put his ideas into practice. He guided us through the 19th century Moon Gate into an amazing walled area devised as the different continents and plant areas of the world and full of some the most unusual and exotic specimens collected by the renowned plant hunters of the past. Apart from the open beds there were polytunnels, one filled with cacti and succulents and another with rare orchids. His enthusiasm was so infectious. We were able, again, to purchase plants for our own gardens, which of course we did, and on the way back to the coach to look in the Church with family tombs dating back to the 15th century. The whole day was really enjoyable and we were most grateful to Georgina Trout for finding us such exciting venues and, of course, to the coach driver for making it such a comfortable journey.

This outing was the second happening of the Gardening Society in June. Nine days previously was the annual Coffee Morning, this year held at 'Robins'. Sadly the weather was not as kind but a very pleasant morning was had by the many members who came, and while looking round the extensive and pretty garden was not as comfortable as it should have been, the coffee and cakes, the raffle and the plant sale were all a great success.

On Tuesday 14th May 2019 members of the Haslemere Gardening Society visited Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens recently re-opened after a long closure. social event The gardens were first planted in 1801 and contain an outstanding collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, magnolias and a beautiful rock garden.
In the afternoon we moved on to Standen House Gardens which is a beautiful 12 acre estate near Ashdown Forest under the care of the National Trust.

Discounts are available to HGS members, at some local stores.
The Committee are always looking at adding benefits for our members.

Please click here for a list of stores offering discounts.

Join the Society
For an annual fee of £8 single and £12 for joint membership I am sure you will recognise the value for money.
Please click here for a Membership Form,

Happy gardening to you all.

David Trout (Chairman)