Ruddington Gardeners’ Association – Newsletter January 2016
2015 has been another successful year for RGA with a varied programme of activities. Graham Wagstaffe, an expert grower of high quality exhibition vegetables and a Fellow of the National Vegetable Society, started our year in fine form with his talk “Vegetables in Confined Spaces” (28th January). His illustrated presentation showed how it is possible to have a continuous supply of seasonal vegetables for shows and the kitchen even from the smallest garden plot. February 25th was the time of our AGM to elect the new Committee for the year. A lively session on gardening questions and answers, with plenty of audience participation, followed the business meeting. Our thanks to Chairman of the Parish Council, Allen Wood, for chairing the session on the election of the new Committee. Historic gardens and allotments was the theme of Mo Cooper’s excellent lecture (25th March) about the history of Nottingham’s Historic Community Gardens and their relevance to past and present day city dwellers. St Ann’s Allotments (Hungerhill Gardens) are well worth a visit when open to the public. Rose lovers enjoyed an evening with Ann Bird’s and her “World of Roses” on 29th April. A former President of the National Rose Society, Ann described her experiences of growing roses in her own garden and interacting with other rose growers globally. One of Ruddington’s claims to fame is its many “secret gardens” and buildings which are hidden from public view. Our member, the real David Russell (there are others of the same name!), enthralled us with “Joan’s Secret Garden” (27th May). David’s slide presentation illustrated the development of their garden from a derelict site behind the Bricklayers Arms (now renamed The Frame Breakers!) public house, and showed how colour can be achieved year round with a careful selection of plants. Vegetables are also an integral part of Joan and David’s plot. Geoff Hodge, an author, editor, TV presenter and assessor of garden products, talked about “Happy House Plants” on 24th June. He encouraged members to give their favourite plants more tender loving care, to read carefully the labels on products, especially agro-chemicals and to use only the correct doses. Geoff’s donation of several useful garden tools and products to our raffle was much appreciated.
On September 19th, RGA organised a very successful Mini-Horticultural Show, display and plant sales in association with the Womens’ Institute Centenary Celebration Event in St Peter’s Rooms, with 100 entries from 46 participants. The childrens’ exhibits were particularly original and all deserve full marks for their entries. This event was also to assess the interest in the village as a prelude to a more extensive horticultural show on 17th September 2016 in St Peter’s Rooms, in an attempt to resurrect an annual Ruddington Village Show. In his talk “The Garden at Clumber Park” (30th September), Chris Margrave, the Head Gardener at Clumber, gave details about the restoration of the glasshouses and kitchen garden. Chris, with his extensive knowledge of the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants and his enthusiasm for the wok at Clumber, encouraged members to visit Clumber Park in 2016 with a conducted tour of the walled garden. Herbs are an important ingredient of culinary dishes and medicines. Jan Greenland, a Fellow of the Herb Society and its main lecturer and demonstrator, gave her presentation entitled “Edible Herbs” (28th October). Her talk depicted the historical uses of herbs, including the production of alcoholic beverages. It was privilege to listen to Jan as this was her last talk of her long career in herbs. We wish her well in retirement. The Woodland Trust, like the National Trust, relies heavily upon volunteers. Ian Retson, a volunteer with the Trust since 1992, presented “The Woodland Trust in the National Forest” (25th November). Ian gave a short history of woodlands in the UK, with details of the flora and fauna of Willesley Wood near Ashby. Members should now be aware of the location of The National Forest in The Midlands, and of the new woods and meadows being created by the Trust. The RGA Christmas Social Evening on 4th December 2015 in St Peter’s Rooms was enjoyed by about 30 members with an splendid buffet, Harold Swift’s annual quiz, a manic beetle drive and an extensive raffle. Sadly, several members were ill and missed an excellent evening, initiated by the appearance of David Russell in full Santa outfit (a very convincing Father Christmas as well!). The photographic display with the theme “Life in the Garden” reflected the photographic expertise of many of our members, and it is hoped that more of you will participate in the display in 2016.
In addition to the Christmas Social, several other social activities were held outside the programme of open meetings. Members braved a cold day to see the snowdrops at Easton Walled Gardens near Grantham (14th February), and were welcomed to The Herb Nursery at Thistleton on the evening of 20th May where they selected plants of their choice from the extensive nursery. Refreshments completed a very pleasant evening, with the RGA donation for the visit contributing to Thistleton Church Wall Restoration Fund. RGA had a plant stall at the GCRN Family Fun Day (16th May). Unfortunately, this resulted in limited sales, due to inadequate advertising by the organisers and poor public attendance. Renishaw Hall Gardens in Derbyshire was the venue for a visit by RGA members and friends on 4th July. Perfect weather enabled us to see the formal gardens, the lakes and woodland areas, to purchase plants and to take refreshments in the stable yard. Excellent transport and a friendly driver from Sharpes Coaches at Cropwell Bishop resulted in a most enjoyable day. July 25th was the date for our annual BBQ, this year with Tollerton Gardening Club, and very generously hosted by Keith and Doris Soden-Barton. Summer weather enabled us to enjoy the garden, while the outdoor games revealed the competitive nature of many of our members. On the evening of 11th August, RGA had an evening Garden Walkabout to 3 gardens, starting at 3 Kirk Lane (the “Secret Garden” of David Russell’s talk!), 19 Flawforth Avenue (the garden of Liz Wills, a real plants woman) and finishing with refreshments at 200 Loughborough Road. A perfect evening enabled members to socialise al fresco until dusk.
An important link for RGA has been its liaison with St Peter’s School. Members assisted with the preparation of new mini-allotments on 14th March and the planting of more than 400 mixed saplings to create a woodland hedge on 14th November. RGA also contributed to a watering system for the polytunnel at the school to ensure that plants such as tomatoes continued to be watered at weekends and during the summer vacation. Many thanks to June McConnell who helped the students with their plants and plots at lunch times throughout the year. Hopefully, with encouragement, some of the students and their parents may become Ruddington’s future generation of gardeners. Several members have again taken advantage of the 50% reduction on catalogue prices offered by Kings Seeds. The monthly display of garden plants has created interest and a focal point at open meetings.
The RGA Committee in 2015 consisted of Mike Davey (Chairman and Programme Organiser), Tom Lister (Secretary), David Jones (Treasurer), Liz McAdam (Membership Secretary), Kirsty Guy (Website Manager), Barbara Venes, Clement Dixon, Shirley Dorman and Harold Swift. Steve and Ruby Allen were Show Managers. Many thanks to Keith Soden-Barton for hosting some Committee Meetings at Oxford House, and to all members who have supported our activities by attending meetings and social events, organising refreshments, providing extra raffle prizes, sales plants, setting out the meeting venue and assisting with general administration. Any plants and produce for sale will be very welcome again in 2016. Please keep propagating, and also bring interesting plants for the display at our monthly meetings.
27th January – Alan Tyler The National Trust in the East Midlands
24th February – AGM; garden questions and answers
12th March – RGA Plant Stall, St Peter’s Rooms 10.00am
30th March – Peter and Jackie Murray Tibet- Plant Hunting on the Roof of the World
27th April – Mary Matts Wild Flowers and Waterways
18th May – Evening visit to “Capability Barn”, Hoveringham (NGS Garden and Nursery); depart The Hermitage 5.45pm
25th May – Alec Thomson The Year in the Hive
25th/26th June – Ruddington Open Gardens, 2.00-6.00pm; Details in the Ruddington Village Newsletter
29th June – Tracey Akehurst Passions, Potions and Poisons: Love and Death in the Garden
2nd July – Visit to the Walled Gardens at Clumber Park; depart The Green 9.30am
9th July – Keyworth Open Show; take along your entries
30th July – Summer Social BBQ at “Woodside”, Landmere Lane, Ruddington; 2.30pm
17th September – RGA Horticultural Show, St Peter’s Rooms; 10.00am
28th September – Andy Hubbuck Sweet Peas; Display/Competition – A flowering and/or foliage pot plant
26th October – Sally Smith Myths and Mysteries of Organic Gardening
30th November – Mick Freakley My Hide, My Patch; Bring your photographs for next month’s display
2nd December – Christmas Social; St Peter’s Rooms. Photographic Display – Theme – “Water in the Garden”
Monthly Meetings – 7.00pm for 7.30pm, The Hermitage, Wilford Road, Ruddington NG11 6EL; Annual Membership £5, £2 per member per meeting with a free raffle ticket and refreshments. Visitors £3 per meeting. For further details contact 0115 9841687; email@example.com
Enjoy your garden and allotment in 2016!