Newsletter 2019

Ruddington Gardeners’ Association – Newsletter January 2019

Two thousand and eighteen has been an excellent year for RGA. Our membership has exceeded 70, and meetings have attracted visitors from Sutton Bonington, East Leake, Gotham, Keyworth and Tollerton.

Our programme commenced on 31st January with the Chairman introducing “The Wonders of Plant Propagation”, which he hoped would encourage members to multiply plants for their own gardens and for our sales tables at monthly meetings and other events.

The AGM (28th February) provided the forum for members to express their opinions about the organisation of RGA, before everyone indulged in a fine selection of wines and cheeses. The latter were from Ruddington Butchers who now stock an excellent range of local cheeses and those from further afield.  The plant stall at the WI Spring Fayre in St Peter’s Rooms on 17th March raised funds which contributed to the cost of hiring speakers.

At the meeting on 28th March, we welcomed Dr Andrew Ward from Norwell Nurseries near Newark with his talk “Perfect Perennials”, accompanied by many unusual plants for sale. Andrew’s beautiful garden and nursery have featured in several recent journal articles.

One month later (25th April), Lesley Taylor provided an interesting insight into the recycling of waste materials by the Nottinghamshire Company Veolia through her excellent presentation “Lesley Taylor Talks Rubbish”.

RGA booked Richard and Leigh Woods for “Lilies and Companion Plants” on 30th May, just before they departed to revamp an old watermill as a base for their new plant nursery in Cornwall.

Neil Timm, a nurseryman from Market Rasen in Lincolnshire who has a special interest in ferns, simplified the complex life cycle of these plants in his presentation “The World of Ferns” (27th June). Neil also came with interesting specimens for sale at very reasonable prices.

Following the summer break, Michael Fisher from Plant Revelations of Stapleford arrived with his van packed with material which he used for the basis of his talk “Giant Perennials and Exotic Plants”. Brisk sales followed his very informative presentation.

All I Ever Wanted To Do Was Grow Plants” was the title of the lively talk by Stella Exley (31st October) who owns Hare Spring Cottage Plants in Yorkshire. She grows a wide range of plants and specialises in her favourites, Camassias. She has provided plants for award winning displays at Chelsea Show, particularly displays designed by the gardening celebrity Chris Beardshaw.  Stella’s enthusiasm and her illustrated talk were well received by all members.

Our programme of talks was concluded on 28th November by local speaker Nigel Slater from Beeston who introduced us to “Gardening for Wild Life”. Nigel suggested several ways in which we can make our gardens more wild-life friendly.

As in previous years, RGA members have enjoyed several social events. Affiliation to the RHS gave members free entry to view stunning displays of Spring flowers at Harlow Carr Gardens, Harrogate on 12th May, while on the evening of 1st June, Gordon Dyne kindly gave a conducted tour of the local Whilwell Farm Nature Reserve, the highlight being the hundreds of orchids flowering in the meadows. A fish and chip supper in The Hermitage was enjoyed by members after the visit to the nature reserve. A “posh” afternoon tea was attended by 30 members on 31st July at 200 Loughborough Road, while 15 members visited the garden at Home Farm House in Keyworth on 22nd August for an evening walk-about.

RGA again organised the Village Show on 15th September in St Peter’s Rooms. In spite of the wet, cold Spring followed by the hot summer drought, there were excellent displays, with 52 persons entering 210 exhibits of quality vegetables, flowers, pot plants and home baking. We were most grateful to Ruddington WI for organising refreshments. Allen Wood manned the stall selling preserves and home baking for Nottingham Country Markets, while Alec Thomson represented Nottingham Bee Keepers and sold honey and bee-friendly plants. His hive of “travelling bees” also attracted much attention, although they became rather lively by mid-afternoon and had to be returned to their home site. A photograph of the vegetable section of the show, with a short write-up of the event, was published in the Village Newsletter.  As in previous years, income from the raffle and plant stall enabled us to cover the cost of hiring the venue. An important remit of gardening clubs is to attempt to encourage children to enter the shows, as the younger generation are, hopefully, the gardeners of the future. We would like to see more children and their parents taking part in the next Ruddington Village Show on Saturday 14th September 2019 in St Peter’s Rooms. The show schedule will soon be available on the RGA Web Site.

Our year finished in fine style with the RGA Christmas Social on 7th December in The Hermitage. A faith supper resulted in a wonderful spread of food, ensuring none of the 48 members who attended went home hungry at the end of the evening.  David Russell, with his usual enthusiasm, filled the role of our own Santa. Harold Swift’s quiz was easier than usual, although naming all the gates in Nottingham challenged everyone! A giant sized raffle with excellent prizes, a photographic display of the theme “trees”, a session of “Dingbats” (thanks to Clement and Honor Dixon), and a Celebrity Picture Quiz (thanks to Kath Oakley), concluded the evening.  Overall, a very fitting end to our activities in 2018.

Some RGA Members again took advantage of the 50% discount on catalogue prices offered by Kings Seeds, while a local garden centre gave us special discounts on seed potatoes, peas, beans, shallots and onion sets. Sales for plants at monthly meetings and other events maintained a steady income. The plant displays provided a focal point for discussion; all members are encouraged to contribute by bringing their favourite plants to add to the displays.

The RGA Committee in 2018 consisted of Mike Davey (Chairman; Programmer Organiser), Tom Lister (Secretary), David Russell (Treasurer), Liz McAdam (Membership Secretary) assisted by Shirley Dorman, Barbara Venes, Clement Dixon and Harold Swift.  Kath Oakley was co-opted as a Committee Member. Kirsty Guy maintained the RGA Web Site; Steve and Ruby Allen were Show Managers and June McConnell organised the tea rota. Many thanks to Joan and David Russell for hosting our Committee Meetings and for Joan’s excellent home-baked refreshments.  Thanks to all members who supported RGA throughout the year, by helping with refreshments, providing raffle prizes, sales plants, and setting and clearing the meeting venue. Plants, produce and books for sale will be very much appreciated in 2019!