Newsletter 2020

Ruddington Gardeners’ Association has again increased its membership during 2019 with more than 40 members and visitors attending many monthly meetings.

The congenial atmosphere at the beginning and end of meetings undoubtedly reflects new friendships within RGA.

Hopefully, everyone has acquired new gardening knowledge and plants for their gardens.

Our finances are in excellent order, with interest gained from the bond invested in The Kingdom Bank contributing towards speakers’ expenses.

Our programme for 2019 again covered a range of topics. On 30th January, Corin Tomlinson, an internationally and nationally renowned expert from Greenwood Bonsai Studio near Nottingham, snipped, wired and bent young conifers to transform them into “aged” specimens. His talk entitled “An introduction to Bonsai” certainly kick-started our year.

The Annual General Meeting (27th February) provided the opportunity for members to voice their opinions relating to the organisation of RGA and to vote for their Officers and Committee for 2020. Many thanks to the Chairman of the Parish Council, Allen Wood, for presiding over the election of the new Committee. Allen Wood commented on the positive attitude of everyone in RGA and the excellent progress of RGA during the last three years. A social with wine and a cheeses completed the evening.

Ruddington is very fortunate in having a beautiful country park. In her presentation entitled “Bombs to Butterflies: Rushcliffe Country Park” (27th March), Jean Gray discussed the history of the park from a munitions factory during WWII into the present-day leisure amenity.

Peonies are stately garden plants as emphasised by Jo Bennison (24th April), who has her own nursery at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire. Jo showed the extensive range of plants in her talk “Peonies”, the beauty of their flowers and talked about their cultivation.

Composting on 29th May was the subject by Master Composter Rod Weston from Hugglesthorpe in Leicestershire in his illustrated talk “Garden and Allotment Composting”.

The first half of the year concluded with “From Jungle to Paradise” by Alan Clements (26th June) who introduced us to the development of his amazing Cascades Garden in Bonsall, Derbyshire from a neglected site to a peaceful place for meditation and relaxation. Alan emphasised what can be achieved where there is a natural source of running water in a garden.

Activities outside formal monthly meetings during the summer have also varied. RGA staged a plant stall at the WI Spring Fayre in St Peter’s Rooms on 6th April, followed by plant sales at St Peter’s School on 6th July.

Twenty members were made very welcome when they visited Six Acre Nursery at Costock on the evening of 15th May, where they enjoyed home-made cake, tea and coffee before leaving with newly purchased plants for their gardens. The continued affiliation of RGA to the Royal Horticultural Society enables members to enter RHS gardens at no charge.

On the hottest day of the summer (20th June), 45 members and friends visited the extensive gardens and sales areas at RHS Wisley. Many thanks to our driver, Colin, from Sharpes Coaches of Cropwell Bishop for a safe journey.

In contrast to the hot day at Wisley, a change in the weather brought torrential rain just before the RGA afternoon tea on 20th July at 200 Loughborough Road. However, the rain did not deter 32 members from sitting under gazebos until the sun returned to give sauna-like conditions. Dampness was forgotten with quizzes, plant sales and a wonderful selections of sandwiches, cakes and fruit.

Unfortunately, torrential rain and extensive local flooding prevented our scheduled visit to Dotty and Tony Howse’s super garden in Sutton Bonington on the evening of Wednesday 14th August. Another visit will be arranged as soon as possible.

RGA staged the Village Show on 14th September with 260 entries from 60 exhibitors filling St Peter’s Rooms with vegetables, flowers, pot plants, baking and craft items. The show also provided the opportunity for the newly formed Ruddington and District U3A to advertise their activities, with Peter Johnson-Marshall being their “Artist in Residence” for the day. Allen Wood manned the stall for Nottingham Country Markets selling home-made produce, Alex Thomson represented Nottingham Bee Keepers with his honey and bee-friendly plants, while Tony and Kate Cox from Great British Outdoor Fires Ltd. demonstrated ways of keeping warm outside in the summer. Thanks to the WI for providing refreshments throughout the day. Our thanks also to Malcolm Fisher from Hoveringham and Dotty Howse of Sutton Bonington for judging our show. An article and photograph of some of the exhibits appeared in “The Rudd”.

The next Ruddington Village Show is on SATURDAY 19th SEPTEMBER 2020, so please enter this date in your diaries. The Show Schedule will be similar to that of previous years with some new entries.

September 25th was the return of formal monthly meetings, with Dr Christopher Terrell-Nield from Nottingham Trent University providing an interesting insight into our local ancient woodland and its wild-life with his talk “Bunny Old Wood: Its History and Flora”. A wonderful place to visit, especially at bluebell time.

Herbal remedies was the theme of the talk “Save your Weeds” on 30th October by the Medical Herbalist Tracey Beaty from The Oak Leaf Herbal Clinic in Loughborough. Tracey emphasised the benefits of home-made concoctions from many common garden plants.

Our own David Russell (27th November) described the trials and tribulations of taking on a new garden and an allotment to provide flowers and quality seasonal vegetables. He also talked extensively about his beloved wormery and its inhabitants! David’s illustrated presentation was followed a short but lively Members’ Forum.

The Christmas Social on Friday 13th (!) December was a faith supper with a wonderful spread of savoury and sweet foods enjoyed by 47 members; no one left The Hermitage hungry that evening! David Russell was again our very own Santa. Quizzes were arranged by Harold Swift and Kath Oakley and “Ding Bats” by Honor and Clement Dixon. An extensive raffle and a very lively atmosphere contributed to a fitting end to the RGA year.

A 50% discount on catalogue prices was offered to members by Kings Seeds with a local wholesaler giving special discounts on seed potatoes, peas, beans, shallots and onion sets. The monthly displays provided a focal point for discussion and everyone is encouraged to contribute by bringing their favourite plants to add to the displays. Plant sales at monthly meetings and events have ensured a steady income.

The RGA Committee in 2019 consisted of Mike Davey (Chairman; Programme Organiser), Tom Lister (Secretary), David Russell (Treasurer), Shirley Dorman, Clement Dixon, Liz McAdam, Kath Oakley, Harold Swift and Barbara Venes. Kirsty Guy maintained the RGA Web Site. Ruby and Steve Allen were Show Managers; June McConnell organised the tea rota. David and Joan Russell hosted our Committee Meetings with special thanks to Joan for her endless supplies of delicious home-made cakes. Thanks to all members who supported RGA throughout 2019 by providing raffle prizes and for assisting with setting up and clearing the meeting venue. Sale plants and raffle prizes will be very much appreciated in 2020!