Newsletter 2018

Ruddington Gardeners’ Association – Newsletter January 2018

2017 has been another busy year for RGA.  The buzz and general chat at the beginning and end of meetings has indicated, hopefully, that the Committee has been “getting it right” for members. RGA has also attracted members and visitors from Keyworth, East Leake, Sutton Bonington and Kegworth.

Graham Piearce, a retired forester, started our programme on a dreary January 25th with his beautifully illustrated talk “The Rose Family of Trees”. Graham focused on trees that add Spring colour to the streets and parks of Nottingham and its surrounding areas. The phamphlet that he has produced showing the location of flowering trees in University Park, is particularly useful in planning Spring walks on the Campus, as the park is open to the general public.

Our planned visit to Hopton Hall in Derbyshire on 11th February to see the snowdrops and aconites was cancelled because of impassable roads following heavy snow. Hopton Hall remains a venue for a future visit.

The business part of the AGM (22nd February) was followed by “Vines and Wines” with Judd Bryer, who owns Bryer’s Coffee House and Delicatessen in East Leake.  Judd talked about the ways in which location and climate influence wine quality and taste. An excellent evening with the noise level increasing to accompany the amount of wine sampled.

Many folk adore bats; other hate these flying mammals. Michael Walker, Nottinghamshire’s resident bat-man, told us about their habitats and activities in his talk “EcoLocation Location: Finding the Bats of Nottinghamshire” (29th March).  Another very informative presentation.

Ruddington WI is always keen to involve other village groups in their activities, with RGA being invited to have a plant stall in St Peter’s Rooms at the WI Spring Fayre on 1st April.  This event enabled us to advertise our activities, in addition to adding income to RGA funds.

An English garden is not complete without sweet peas.  Based on many years of growing and showing, Andy Hubbuck’s talk “Sweet Peas” (26th April) included useful tips to produce the best blooms of these beautiful plants in our gardens.

Devon Croft Nurseries on the Farndon Road just outside Newark is a delightful, small business run by James and Susan Richardson.  They welcomed us during an evening visit on 17th May, providing a demonstration of making hanging baskets with top quality perennial and bedding plants also for sale. Why bother with the impersonal larger garden centres selling imported, often poor quality plants, when there is a friendly service offering quality home-grown plants not far away? A visit to their nursery can be combined with a wander round the historic town of Newark, which now has the Civil War Museum and other attractions.

Our speaker for 31st May failed to keep his appointment, but with less than 24 hours notice Patsy Rayner very kindly filled the gap with “Plants in Literature: Origins and Anecdotes”. Another excellent presentation enjoyed by everyone. Many thanks Patsy for stepping in at the last moment!

Gardens are usually in full swing by June and bursting with colour. Our speaker, Hilary Hutson (28th June) is a Botanist  from Sheffield with a special interest in “Climbing Plants”.  Hilary provided us with many examples of these plants, where to see them, and the ways in which they have become adapted to their habitats. She also kept the botanical terms very simple.

The summer time provides the opportunity for social activities. Lady Ursula Cholmeley took us on a fascinating, conducted tour of the 400 year old Easton Walled Gardens (15th July), which are still under restoration. This was followed by a stop on the way home at Rasell’s Nursery at Little Bytham for tea and to purchase plants. By the time we left the nursery, much of the luggage space in the coach was filled with plants both large and small!

Afternoon tea at 200 Loughborough Road (29th July) was enjoyed by about 30 members from RGA and Tollerton Garden Club, while local historian Gavin Walker led us on a village walk on the evening of 23rd August. Gavin gave us another very informative tour of the back streets and buildings of the village. He really should compile a book of the history of Ruddington! The evening ended with a visit to the new orchard at Rushcliffe Country Park, organised by Jean Gray, followed by a sumptuous buffet supper at Sally Bryer’s house. Folk who did not come on this evening missed a real treat, so look out for our next summer evening event in 2018.

The Village Show organised by RGA is now, hopefully, an annual event. September 16th saw St. Peter’s Rooms filled with an amazing display of vegetables, flowers and home produce. Fifty eight persons entered 216 exhibits into the show. Income from our plant stall and raffle enabled us to cover the cost of hiring the venue; we are also grateful to Ruddington WI for organising the refreshments. The Nottingham Bee Keepers were represented by Alec Thomson, while the Nottingham Country Markets Stall selling home baking and preserves was manned by Allen Wood and Ruth Hunt. Our write-up and photograph with children and their scare crows claimed the front page of the Village Newsletter! A disappointing aspect of the Show was the reduction in the number of children entering from 20 in 2016 to 10 in 2017. Hopefully, we can encourage more children to enter in 2018. If you have not entered the Village Show before, then why not consider joining in the fun and taking part next time? Your entry will help us fill the display tables.

Our open meetings recommenced on 27th September.  Tony Lee, an experienced grower of alpine plants, was scheduled to be our speaker with “Alpines: Growing and Showing” but went to the wrong venue and then returned home. However, members rallied round and took part in a quick, impromptu banter-laden “Gardeners’ Question Time”.

Shady areas exist in most gardens, prompting us to invite Colin and Karen Ward from Swines Meadow Farm Nursery near Peterborough to introduce us to “Shade and Semi-Shade Plants” (25th October). Their lively presentation was followed by rapid sales of the plants used in their talk.

Mick Freakley from South Leicestershire was our final speaker for 2017 (29th November) with “My Hide, My Patch”. Mick showed us how he had set up a pond and bird hide in a farmer’s field and, with patience, obtained stunning photographs of wild birds and animals. Many of his photographs have been published in wild life journals. Mick provided a superb end to our programme of open meetings.

The end of the year would not have been complete without our Christmas Social on 15th December in St Peter’s Rooms attended by about 36 members. The “Faith Supper” resulted in tables filled with a huge selection of interesting goodies. Several members contributed to our photographic display with the theme “Flowers”; our Treasurer, David Russell, opened the celebrations wearing his Santa outfit, followed by Harold Swift’s quiz, a session of “Dingbats” and a very extensive raffle. A fitting end to our year.

The link with St Peter’s School was maintained again in 2017 thanks to June McConnell and David Russell helping the students with their plots. RGA members judged the mini-allotments in the pouring rain on the afternoon of 30th June, followed by our plant stall at the School Fayre on 1st July.  Some RGA members have again taken advantage of the 50% discount on catalogue prices of seeds offered by Kings Seeds. Plant sales at open meetings have maintained a steady income, while the plant display has provided a focal point for discussion at monthly meetings.


The RGA Committee in 2017 consisted of Mike Davey (Chairman; Programme Organiser), Tom Lister (Secretary), David Russell (Treasurer), Liz McAdam (Membership Secretary) assisted by Shirley Dorman, Barbara Venes, Clement Dixon and Harold Swift. Kirsty Guy maintained our Web Site; Steve and Ruby Allen were show managers. David and Joan Russell kindly hosted our Committee meetings with excellent refreshments! Thanks to everyone who supported RGA by attending meetings and social events, helping with refreshments, providing raffle prizes and sales plants, setting out the meeting room and assisting with general administration. Any plants, produce and books/journals for sale will be very welcome in 2018.

Programme 2018


31st January  –  Mike Davey, (RGA) – The Wonders of Plant Propagation

28th February  –  AGM, plus Cheeses and Wines

17th March   –  RGA Plant Stall at WI Spring Fayre, St Peter’s Rooms, 10.00am

28th March  –  Andrew Ward, (Norwell Nurseries, Norwell, Newark) – Perfect Perennials

25th April  –  Lesley Taylor, (Recycling and Education Officer, Veolia, Mansfield) – Lesley Taylor Talks Rubbish

Saturday 12th May – Visit to Harlow Carr Gardens, Harrogate, Depart Ruddington 8.45am, £20 per person

30th May  –  Richard and Leigh Woods, (WhisperingTrees Nursery, Shardlow) – Lilies and Companion Plants

Saturday and Sunday 23rd & 24th June – Ruddington Open Gardens, 2.00 – 6.00pm

27th June  –  Neil Timm, (The Fern Nursery, Market Rasen) – The World of Ferns

Saturday 21st July  –  Afternoon Tea, 200 Loughborough Road, 2.30pm onwards

Wednesday 22nd August  –  Evening Meeting with Refreshments, 6.15pm; details later

Saturday 15th September  –  Village Show, St Peter’s Rooms; judging commences 9.30am

26th September  –  Michael Fisher, (Plant Revelations, Nottingham) – Giant Perennials and Exotic Plants

31st October  –  Stella Exley, (Hare Spring Cottage Plants, Yorkshire) – All I Ever Wanted To Do Was Grow Plants

28th November  –  Nigel Slater, (Beeston, Nottingham) – Gardening for Wild Life

Friday 7th December  –  Christmas Social, St Peter’s Rooms, 7.00pm for 7.30pm. Photographic display – Theme – “Trees”


Monthly Meetings – 7.00pm for 7.30pm, The Hermitage, Wilford Road, Ruddington NG11 6EL; Annual Membership £5, £2 per member per meeting; visitors £3 per meeting. Complementary refreshments.  For further details contact 0115 9841687;

Good Gardening in 2018!