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Past Newsletters:

April 2022 Newsletter

 

Talk on Tuesday 19th April 2022: The English Love Affair with the Iris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday 19th April, we welcome back Sue Marshall. 

Sue owns and runs Iris of Sissinghurst: a nursery in Marden specialising, unsurprisingly, in irises! A regular exhibitor at Chelsea, Sue won a gold medal for her Iris display in 2015.  She will be bringing plants for sale with her and as it will be very nearly peak Iris time in April, I anticipate plenty of interest! 

Memorial Hall, 7.30 for 8.00 pm start. FREE to members, non-members £2. 

 

 

Summer Coach Outing, Tuesday 14th June to Arundel Castle Gardens

 

Arundel Castle has nearly 1000 years of history and its glorious gardens have magnificent views over the Sussex countryside and the river Arun. There are a wonderful variety of landscapes to explore from the Stumpery to the Collector Earl’s garden. Planting interest includes fruit and vegetables, lupins, delphiniums, irises, roses and wildflowers.  There are paths wide enough for wheelchairs with a gravel surface and moderate slopes.

 

Refreshments can be obtained at either the Refectory or Coffee Shop or you are welcome to bring your own picnic.

 

SCHEDULE: 10am pick up in Mayfield High Street. Leave Arundel at 3pm and arrive back in Mayfield about 4.30pm.   COST: £25.00 per person for the cost of a coach and admission (NOT including the castle).  Places are limited to 50 people and are open to MHS members as well as non-members. 

 

NB The castle is set on a hill and there are steep paths from the car park to the entrance. Those needing mobility assistance should indicate to Claire when booking so that prior notice can be given to the reception staff who have a small motorised buggy.

 

If you would like to come on this interesting outing please confirm and pay with claire.montagu@icloud.com  or ring Claire on 01435 872648 by no later than 16th May 2022.

 

Tessa Crowe 

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March 2022 Newsletter

Tuesday 15 March, AGM and Steve Edney - Succession Planting

 

Join us in the Memorial Hall for a glass of wine or a soft drink and nibbles on Tuesday 15 March. Doors open at 7.00 pm, the AGM will start at 7.30 (normally a brief and snappy affair!) and Steve Edney will talk at approximately 8.00pm for an hour on Succession Planting.  Planting for year-round interest in our gardens can be one of the most difficult aspects of gardening to achieve, but with Steve’s expert guidance we’ll all pick up lots of ideas.  Free to members, £2 for non-members.

 

Steve was the head gardener at the famous Salutation garden in Sandwich for many years, has exhibited at Chelsea, is a great speaker and one of the UK’s most dynamic gardeners. He now runs his own nursery, The No Name Nursery in East Kent, and I understand will be bringing some plants for sale.

 

We will also be announcing the June 2022 coach outing that night. This year’s promises to be a cracker!

 

If you are renewing your membership on the night, please allow some extra minutes as we can get quite busy. You can also renew your membership now by bank transfer (Mayfield Horticultural & Gardeners Association, 20-88-13, 10685259, reference ‘fee’ and your surname).  If you are using this method, however, and will be attending the AGM, we ask that you pay by the 14th March at the latest so that we can have a printed record available on the evening to hand over your new membership card.

 

Tessa Crowe

February 2022 Newsletter

 

Charles Dowding (King of No-Dig) Zoom talk on Friday 18th February 2022

 

We are honoured to have Charles Dowding, the undisputed king of No-dig vegetable growing in the UK, talk to us for an hour on Zoom at 7.30 pm on Friday 18th February on Skills for Successful Growing.  He has been a lead innovator of organic and no-dig gardening since 1983, so there is no-one better to give us tips on starting or improving our vegetable plots. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned grower, there’ll be lots of useful information in this talk.

 

Charles grew up on a dairy farm, graduated from Cambridge and subsequently spent time in France and Zambia before settling up a vegetable growing business on no-dig principles in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. He runs a very successful local market garden from there as well as a YouTube channel, has made numerous television appearances and written several books on the subject.

 

No-dig is a method of cultivation where you don’t use a fork or spade to disturb or loosen the soil in any way.  Charles also maintains that this method gives him bigger and better crops of vegetables.  Intrigued? Make sure you don’t miss this talk by registering on our website, www.mayfieldhorticulturalsociety.org.uk and scrolling down to Upcoming Event. As Charles is one of the very best speakers in the UK and very much in demand, a small fee of £5 is payable to receive the link for this talk, please reference your payment as Dowding. All the details are on our website. Non-members are welcome too, so please tell your friends about it!  The link will be sent out a few days before the talk.  We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Dates for your diary

 

Our AGM in the Memorial Hall is on Tuesday 15th March with Steve Edney, one of  Britain’s most dynamic gardeners, talking on Succession planting: how to keep  your garden looking beautiful all year round.  Doors will open for registration and membership renewal at 7.00 pm.  The AGM will start at 7.30 and Steve’s talk at 8.00 pm.

 

On Tuesday 19th April at 7.30 for 8.00 pm Sue Marshall of Iris of Sissinghurst, will talk to us about The English love affair with the Iris. More anon.

 

Our renowned Plant Sale will take place in the Memorial Hall car park on Saturday 7th May, starting at 9.00 am. This is our main fundraiser of the year so please support us by coming and buying some plants, and in the meantime please also have a think about what you could grow for us to sell on the day.

 

Tessa Crowe 

January 2022 Newsletter

Podcast

 

The weather in January often precludes much gardening, and there aren’t many gardening programmes on the telly, so it’s worth checking out gardening podcasts for entertainment and inspiration during the long, slow winter months.  Good things about podcasts are that you can download them to your phone or computer and listen to them at a time to suit you and as often as you like.  Many offer a new episode every week. I know a lot of people also listen to them while they’re gardening!

There are old favourites like Gardeners Question Time (GQT) and Gardeners World, but also lots of newer kids on the block.  Try these:

  • Grow, Cook, Eat, a half-hour chat once a week with Sarah Raven and Arthur Parkinson

  • Get Gardening - Talking Dirty with Alan Gray of East Rushton Old Vicarage and Thordis, they have some great guests

  • Organic Gardening, especially the November 2021episode 

 

Calling all Vegetable Growers! February’s talk with Charles Dowding 

 

In January and February, our thoughts turn to planning our vegetable plots and allotments for the coming year, and so on Friday 18th February at 7.30 pm, I am really looking forward to watching Charles Dowding for an hour on Zoom, talking to us about ‘Skills for Successful Growing’. 

 

Whether you’re a seasoned grower or just a beginner wondering when and how to get started, there will be plenty for you to take from this talk.  Charles is a celebrated market gardener and the undisputed ‘King of No Dig’ in the UK.  As well as TV appearances on Gardeners World and the like, he has written many bestselling books on the subject. 

 

You will need to register on our Upcoming Events page to join in the Zoom talk, press the RSVP buttons to allow us to forward the link to you.  A fee of £5 is also payable, bank details will be shown on the Upcoming Events page.

 

Registration will be open from early January 2022. 

 

Tessa Crowe

December 2021 Newsletter

On behalf of your committee, may I wish all our members a lovely festive season and a happy and healthy 2022.  

Once again, the year has not been without its challenges, but thanks to your  continuing support, I believe we have made a pretty good fist of it!  Some great talks on Zoom and in the Hall, a supremely successful Plant Sale in May and a  joyous Summer Show in July means we’ve generated enough funds to survive another year!  

 

We do need your support though, and I urge you to participate as often as you can in our organised events and a few may even like to join the committee!  Please get in touch if you would like to join our small but friendly band.  Your committee works long and hard to put events on in a Covid-safe environment, but if only a few join in or turn up it’s very disappointing and, indeed, demoralising.  Numbers for the Summer Show in particular were well down on previous years.  On that note, please make sure you visit the Christmas tree festival in St Dunstans church from 28th November to the 5th December, where we have also entered a themed tree, and vote for your favourite! It’s always a very beautiful event.

 

John Logan’s tips are taking a break here for the month (although they will be on our website) but I will just say keep planting tulip bulbs whenever you have a spare moment away from Christmas preparations. There are some great bargains to be had from on-line bulb suppliers and garden centres right now.  You can plant tulips right up until the end of December - they look great in pots - it gets you out into the fresh air and you will really appreciate your efforts come Spring!

Tessa Crowe 

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Novembers 2021 Newsletter

 

November’s Zoom talk - Friday 19th November at 7.30

We are very lucky to have Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener at Great Dixter, talk to us once again in the comfort of our own homes, this time on Getting the Garden Ready.  Once again, we will be inviting other local societies to join us for this event which will be a fundraiser for Great Dixter, all proceeds going to them, so please give generously.

 

This look behind the scenes takes us through the planning and preparation involved in getting a garden like Great Dixter ready through the winter for the spring and summer seasons ahead, and will include amongst other things: the garden timetable, composting and soil preparation, timing of seed sowing and pricking out, choosing annuals for adding to the display plus when and how to prune.  I notice that the course on this at Great Dixter costs £150, so our suggested minimum donation of £10 is an absolute bargain!

We hope as many of you as possible will join us. These talks from Fergus have been really enjoyed by everyone, I have had so much enthusiastic feedback, and it is very kind of him to donate his time.

Tessa Crowe

October 2021 Newsletter

 

We had to swap the speakers around for September and October 2021 due to availability; here is October’s talk:

 

Friday, 15th October 2021 - Tulips of Amsterdam 

 

Kathrine Lynn, 7.30 for 8.00 pm in the Memorial Hall.  Hailing from Ticehurst and formerly a lecturer, Kathrine is a popular local speaker. She’ll be talking about the tulip’s history and take us on a tour of the world-famous Keukenhof gardens in Amsterdam. Prepare for a riot of colour!

September2021 Newsletter

 

The weather as I write in August is feeling distinctly autumnal, especially in the mornings when we have had heavy dews and overcast skies. Let’s hope that by the time you read this in September the weather has improved a bit and we have a well-deserved Indian Summer to end the growing year!  We haven’t seen much of summer thus far but some of our perennials like phloxes and hydrangeas have really enjoyed the deluge and are having their best year in many.

 

We have been busy this past month trying to sort out an autumn and winter  programme and some of our proposed speakers are very exciting, but a bit slow in coming forward to confirm their slots, I’m still waiting. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ve been on holiday! The autumn dates and provisional speakers/subjects currently are:

 

Friday 17th September in Memorial Hall, 7.30 for 8.00 pm: Katherine Lynn ‘Tulips in Amsterdam’

Friday 15th October via Zoom, 8.00pm Chris of Edibleculture in Faversham ‘Using less plastic in the garden’ (rescheduled from 2020, now on Zoom at the request of the speaker)

Friday 19th November via Zoom, 8.00 pm: Fergus Garrett, Great Dixter. Subject to be confirmed.  Like last year, this will be a fund raising event for Great Dixter with a donation being required to watch the lecture.

 

These may be switched around according to availability. We have some more exciting speakers pencilled in for next year, including an additional Zoom event in February with the King of ‘No Dig’, Charles Dowding, which will also be ‘pay per view’.  More anon.

 

Tessa Crowe 

August 2021 Newsletter

 

Summer Show 

 

“We’re waiting for the hen to lay another egg!” was the reply to our question as to why their entries weren’t in yet - and it did! - just one of the reasons why we love the Summer Show!  It was a glorious summer’s day (thank goodness!) on Saturday 17th July and our COVID-safe arrangements worked beautifully: “Are we entering an exam?”  asked one entrant in the morning as they were asked to sit at a row of socially distanced tables in the car park to fill out their entry form. A one-way system around the Hall with separate entry and exit ensured that there was no overcrowding and there was plenty of space for everyone to appreciate the exhibits. Tea and the prizegiving were enjoyed outdoors.  Donations raised over  £150, which will help towards the cost of putting on the Show.

 

Although entry numbers were down a little for a variety of reasons, not least this year’s weather, the quality was exceptional.  A big thank you is necessary to not only Shirley Holland and her Show Team for seamlessly organising the event for us, but to all of the committee and our volunteers on the day who worked so hard to make it an emphatic success.  Thanks also to the Friends of Mayfield Primary School for the wonderful tea and cake in the afternoon; their efforts at various local events this year is helping to renovate the school’s library, and so far with some match funding, they’ve raised about £9,000! We’re very pleased to play a small part in this worthy cause.

 

The 2021 cup winners were:

 

Banksian Medal: Shirley Holland

Perpetual Challenge Cup (Vegetables): Ken Audsley

Shelmerdine Cup (Garden Basket): Shirley Holland 

Perpetual Challenge Cup (Fruit): Graham Holland

Perpetual Challenge Cup (Sweet Peas): Tessa Crowe 

Hulbert-Powell Cup (Best vegetable exhibit): Ken.Audsley

Sneyd-Kinnersley Cup (Best flower exhibit): Sarah Ratcliffe 

Margaret Walsh-Atkins Bowl (Roses): Sarah Ratcliffe

Wolstenholme Cup (Roses): Barbara Norman 

Monteith Cup (Floral Art): Suzanne Bowe

Allchin Cup (Craft): Jennifer Redfern

Children’s Cup: Esme Cook

George Day Memorial Bowl (age 5-16): Arwen Huxtable

William Wickens Cup: Arwen Huxtable

Perpetual Challenge Cup (Children’s Miniature Garden): Rex Wood

 

The Mini saga, won by Amanda Robinson, will appear in the September magazine

 

 

Tessa Crowe

July 2021 Newsletter

The Show Goes On!

The Mayfield Horticultural Society is delighted to say that the Summer Show 2021

on 17th July is still going ahead. It opens at 2.30pm.

The show committee planned a slimmed down schedule just in case of Covid

restrictions still being in place and it will be run in line with the guidelines from

the government and from the Memorial Hall and Scout Hall, both Covid secure

premises. So, if you have not yet got a copy, pick up a schedule from The Shopping

Basket, Truffles, The Flower House, Post Office or MAYFACS Office or we can email

you a copy. Contact the Show Committee at showcommittee@mayfieldhorticulturalsociety.org.uk

 

There are categories to suit everyone, special cups for anyone to win who has never won one before. It's free to enter and children can enter everything.

We are encouraging people to send in their entry forms ahead of Saturday 17th as it is just really helpful, but it is not essential. So if you wake up on Saturday 17th and find, for example,your flowers are open beautifully, or your veg have ripened just that bit more, bring them along!

We do have to have the mini sagas before and if you want us to print your photographs, they too have to be emailed to us before. The deadline for both of these is Friday 9th July, but full details are in the schedule.

Tea, coffee and cake will be available, organised by Friends of Mayfield Primary School.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

We hope to see you there!

Shirley, Sarah, Nicky & John

Show Committee

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June 2021 Newsletter

Saturday 17th July - Our annual Summer Show!

Members should have received by now their copy of the Show schedule either by email or by post.  Hard copies for members and non-members are available from the Shopping Basket, Flower House, Mayfacs office and the Post Office.

We hope to build on the success of last year’s Virtual Show and have a bumper number of entries. It’s FREE and is open to ALL residents, not just members. Please hand your entries in to the Shopping Basket or Mayfacs office by 4.00 pm on 15th July, or you can enter on the day.

 

Some examples of classes to enter include :

‘My Secret Garden’: flowers and foliage from your garden - for Novices only (someone who has not previously won a cup at our show)

‘WOW’: a single, decorated cake

‘Best of the Bunch’: an arrangement of any home-grown vegetables, your selection of fruit and flowers

For children: a photo ‘An animal or animals’

PLUS the famous Mini Saga: ‘They think it’s all over’ (deadline 9th July)

There are also craft and photography categories: something for everyone in this year’s Show.

Tessa Crowe 

May 2021 Newsletter

Plant Sale on Saturday 15 May 9.00 am

 

As I write this with snow falling in early April it seem the summer is still far away! But - our annual plant sale is just a few weeks away on Saturday 15 May.  This year, it will take place in the Memorial Hall car park from 9.00 to 1.00 - please note the change of venue.  This is our biggest fundraiser of the year so please support us!

 

We are planning to have our usual wide array of home-grown vegetables, bedding and perennial plants for sale at bargain prices!  Most will have zero food miles. Vegetables will include: tomatoes, lettuce, various beans, courgettes, kale, cucumber, etc. There will also be a selection of homegrown herbs: mint, chives, sage, rosemary and more.  Lots of flowers will be on offer: annuals and bedding plants such as geraniums, marigolds, lobelia, cosmos, snapdragons and more, plus there will be many perennials which will brighten up your garden every year.

 

Donations of plants for the sale are very welcome too, if you have any plants you think you can spare, please email chair@mayfieldhorticulturalsociety.org.uk to let me know what you will be donating. Please bring your plants to the Memorial Hall between 10.30-11.30 on Friday 14 May or early on the day of the sale (there will be someone around at the Hall from 8.00 am), or contact me to arrange collection.

 

This event is aways very popular, as you know. This year please queue in an orderly manner, one person per table at a time, respecting social distancing guidelines. Thank you!

 

Summer Show Saturday 17th July

 

It won’t be long now until our Summer Show on 17th July and if you are a member you will be receiving the Schedule of classes soon by email or through the post.  Copies of the Show Schedule will also be available at the Plant Sale on 15th May, plus in local shops such as The Shopping Basket, The Flower House and others. 

 

We have tried hard to make the Show very  ‘user friendly’ this year, spreading it over the Memorial and Scout Halls, and there will be plenty of classes appealing to everyone of all ages. It’s FREE again to enter, and this can be done on the day rather than in advance, so no excuses not to participate this year! It’s always one of the most popular events in the Mayfield calendar.

Tessa Crowe 

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April 2021 Newsletter

 

April’s Talk - What makes a good garden plant?

We are very fortunate indeed to have Ed Flint, head gardener and former Christopher Lloyd protégée stepping back in to talk to us on Zoom on Friday 16th April at 8.00  pm about ‘What makes a good garden plant?’  Ed is highly qualified to spout about such a subject, as for the past twenty years, he and his small team have been making a beautiful garden at Tidebrook Manor just down the road from us - you may have even visited it when it opened for the National Gardens Scheme in the past.  He also lectures at the English Garden School in Chelsea and at Great Dixter on ‘the Art and Craft of Gardening’ course, and makes an appearance in this March’s issue of the wonderful Gardens Illustrated magazine.  Never scared of voicing an opinion(!), he is an enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable speaker and one of our most talented gardeners.

In this hour-long new talk, he will take us through how to avoid mistakes and what to look for in making good choices when buying plants. There will be an opportunity to ask questions afterwards. Whenever he’s talked to us before, there has always been very good feedback, so I would say ‘Don’t miss this one’ on the 16th. He has also given us a very generous discount on his usual fee to help us out in these difficult times, so it would be good to repay this generosity with a full house.  Free to members, a donation please is welcome from non-members (non-members please register on our website to receive the link and our bank details are also on our website under Membership Form).

 

Future Events 

Plant Sale - Saturday 15th May from 9.00 am in the Memorial Hall car park (note the change of venue for this year)

Summer Show - Saturday 17th July - Memorial and Scout Halls, details to follow 

 

Hopefully we will be back in the Hall for talks from September 2021, although November’s and February’s talks are planned to be on Zoom. If you are not yet on Zoom, download it! It’s easy to do and FREE! Just google ‘download zoom’ and follow the instructions.

 

Plea for Pots!

We urgently need plant pots for our Plant Sale on 15 May. All pots and modules in good condition (and clean please!) accepted. Feel virtuous, do your bit for the environment and recycle them in the box outside The Oast in Fletching Street next time you’re passing.  Many thanks.

March 2021 Newsletter

 

AGM via Zoom - Tuesday 16 March, 7.30 pm

 

As you know, we weren’t able to hold the AGM in March 2020 due to Covid.  This year we will be holding it via Zoom, starting at 7.30 pm, and followed by Jacqueline Aviolet at about 8.00 pm, who will be talking to us about Herbs: their cultivation and folklore, for approximately an hour. This is a free event. We hope you’ll be able to join us.

 

Anyone who paid their membership fee last year will be automatically renewed as a full member for the 2021/22 year without further payment necessary.  If you did not pay last year, however, please renew your membership now by downloading a membership form and sending it off to Louise Pitcher, membership secretary at 17 Bruce Manor Lane, Wadhurst TN5 6FN together with your cheque for £5 payable to:   Mayfield Horticultural Society;  or by bank transfer to Mayfield Horticultural & Gardeners Association,   sort code: 20-88-13, account no. 10685259 (ref ‘Fee’ and your surname).

 

We anticipate we’ll be able to hold a full programme of events this year, but of course this will be subject to any Covid-19 restrictions. 

 

Dates for your diary:

 

Friday 16 April - Edward Flint, head gardener at Tidebrook Manor, ‘What makes a good garden plant?’ via Zoom at 8.00 pm FREE

Saturday 15 May (provisional date) - Plant Sale, Mayfield High Street starting at 9.00 am

Saturday 17July - Summer Show, times & format to be confirmed 

 

Check out our new section on Seasonal Gardening Tips from our President, John Logan.  We hope you enjoy them. 

 

Tessa Crowe 

February 2021 Newsletter

Fergus Garrett on Biodiversity zoom lecture 

 

We had another spellbinding talk from Fergus on Friday 15th January.  It is so important that we remember we share this planet with a multitude of organisms other than ourselves, many invisible to the naked eye, and garden with them in mind by providing a variety of habitats and plants: leaving some grass long in summer, not cutting everything down in autumn, etc. In this way we can help to preserve a rich biodiversity (and it can still look pretty!)

 

Friday 19 February 2021

Lewis Normand will talk to us on We forgot about shrubs. Plantsman, garden designer, horticulturalist, lecturer, gardener, “Plants are my life”.  Lewis reminds us that shrubs are an incredibly diverse, low maintenance and versatile way of providing year-round interest in our gardens. Get some inspiration for planting up your own garden this Spring. 8.00 pm on Zoom. The link will be sent out to everyone a few days before the talk, no need to register for this one.

 

Tuesday 16 March 2021 and AGM

 

Jacqueline Aviolet, owner of Rosie’s Garden Plants in Aylesford will talk to us about Herbs, Cultivation and Folklore. Hopefully we can combine this with the AGM this year.  

 

If the Hall is not open by then, we hope to hold this talk and the AGM via Zoom.

 

Plea for a new committee member

If you have an interest in gardening (you don’t need to be an expert!) we would love you to join us on the committee from March this year.  We’re a small, friendly bunch and the work is not too taxing! Please contact me via the email below.

January 2021 Newsletter

 

An additional date for your Diary

 

Just before Christmas, Fergus Garrett confirmed he would conduct another 1 hour lecture on Friday 15th January 2021 at 7.30pm. This time he will be talking on Biodiversity, showing how gardens can play a role in conserving some of our most threatened species.

We shall not be charging a fee but we invite donations for this event, bank details are on the Upcoming Events Page.

 

 

Friday 19 February 2021

 

Lewis Normand from Bernard Nurseries will talk to us on We forgot about shrubs. Plantsman, garden designer, horticulturalist, lecturer, gardener, “Plants are my life”.  Lewis reminds us that shrubs are an incredibly diverse, low maintenance and versatile way of providing year-round interest in our gardens.  7.30 for 8.00 pm

 

Tuesday 16 March 2021 and AGM

 

Jacqueline Aviolet, owner of Rosie’s Garden Plants in Aylesford will talk to us about Herbs, Cultivation and Folklore. Hopefully we can combine this with the AGM this year.  

 

We are hopeful that the Hall will be open for these events, but if not, then both of these will be held via Zoom.

 

Plea for a new committee member

If you have an interest in gardening (you don’t need to be an expert!) we have a new vacancy and would like you to join us on the committee from March this year.  We’re a small, friendly bunch and the work is not too taxing! Please contact me via the email below.

 

Tessa Crowe 

December 2020 Newsletter

 

On behalf of your committee, may I wish all our members a lovely festive season and a happy and healthy 2022.  

 

Once again, the year has not been without its challenges, but thanks to your  continuing support, I believe we have made a pretty good fist of it!  Some great talks on Zoom and in the Hall, a supremely successful Plant Sale in May and a  joyous Summer Show in July means we’ve generated enough funds to survive another year!  

 

We do need your support though, and I urge you to participate as often as you can in our organised events and a few may even like to join the committee!  Please get in touch if you would like to join our small but friendly band.  Your committee works long and hard to put events on in a Covid-safe environment, but if only a few join in or turn up it’s very disappointing and, indeed, demoralising.  Numbers for the Summer Show in particular were well down on previous years.  On that note, please make sure you visit the Christmas tree festival in St Dunstans church from 28th November to the 5th December, where we have also entered a themed tree, and vote for your favourite! It’s always a very beautiful event.

 

John Logan’s tips are taking a break here for the month (although they will be on our website) but I will just say keep planting tulip bulbs whenever you have a spare moment away from Christmas preparations. There are some great bargains to be had from on-line bulb suppliers and garden centres right now.  You can plant tulips right up until the end of December - they look great in pots - it gets you out into the fresh air and you will really appreciate your efforts come Spring!

Tessa Crowe

November 2020 Newsletter

 

As you know, we have sadly had to cancel this year’s Autumn Supper, but instead on Friday 20th November 2020 at 7.30 pm we have arranged an exciting live one-hour Zoom lecture exclusively for Mayfield and other local Horticultural Societies. In this way, those of our members who have not yet been able to share in our programme this year will also be able to participate. If you have Zoom at home, please watch it there, but if not, up to 30 members can watch the talk in the Memorial Hall (Covid restrictions permitting).

Painting with Plants

the Great Dixter Way

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Our talk is with the legendary Fergus Garrett, entitled ‘Painting with Plants the Great Dixter Way’. In his inimitable style, Fergus will take us through how he composes the world-renowned borders at Great Dixter, and anyone interested in gardening cannot fail to be inspired. There is always something to take away from one of Fergus’s talks and they are all different. Attached to this email is a stunning poster that Gt Dixter has created for us to publicise the event.

The speaker for the Autumn Supper is always well-known and therefore considerably more expensive than our regular speakers. The cost of the speaker is factored into the cost of the event. Fergus Garrett is highly in demand as a speaker around the world. We have however arranged this hour-long talk for just £10 a head - and for the first 50 members to book and pay, your Society will subsidise your payment and the cost to you will be just £5! A course at Gt Dixter would have cost at least £130 per person this year, so this talk is an absolute must!

As you know, Great Dixter is one of the nation’s great gardens and has been instrumental in educating and inspiring gardeners young and old across the world in the Dixter Arts and Craft style. Although the garden has been open since July, numbers of visitors have been severely down due to to Covid restrictions. As with all charities, income is well below normal levels. They need our support now more than ever. All the proceeds from this event will go to the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.

Tessa Crowe

Chairman

Plant List – ‘We Forgot about Shrubs!’

 

Mayfield Horticultural Society – 19th February 2020, 8-9pm

 

© Lewis Normand (iPlantsman) 2020

 

Firstly, I’d like to thank you all for welcoming me digitally into your homes. Talks by Zoom are a great boon in these Covid dangerous times and open up a world of opportunity, with me some 500 miles away from you. They are, however, a lot less personal and intimate than I’m used to in talking to groups in a village hall or theatre, where reaction is easy to gauge, questions easy to answer from both sides of the lectern and a general confidence in knowing that your audience can hear you and understand your message well. I am someone who relishes the human response, so it is difficult to feel as connected to your experience last night. All I can say is that I really hope that you enjoyed it and that you each got something from it. I’m happy to answer any questions that you might have. Please either direct them through Tessa, or email me directly on hello@iplantsman.com. Always happy to help as best I can and to hear your opinion on the talk.

 

Hopefully in the not to distant future I can be with you all again for another talk, this time in person, as I will be visiting England regularly with work. If not, then hopefully you will see plants that I have supplied to a number of show gardens at RHS shows in 2021 and beyond.

 

Keep safe and have a great year.

 

We Forgot About Shrubs!

 

General images from the following Gardens were used.

 

Show Garden designed by Freddie Whyte for RHS Hampton Court, Wakehurst, Chartwell, RHS Wisley, Pinehurst in North Carolina, Powis Castle, Topiary Garden in Funchal Madeira, A private front garden near Wakehurst, Hidcote, ST. Andrews Botanic Gardens, Hadlow College Grounds, Camperdown Park, Sissinghurst.

 

Plant Images

 

Hebe ‘Carey Pink’ Cover image, not discussed in the talk.

 

– A new introduction for 2021, raised by legendary plant hunter and breeder of New Zealand Flora Graham Hutchins of County Park Nursery (Hornchurch, Essex.) Sadly, Graham is no longer with us. I spotted this seedling on his nursery in 2005 and he let me name it after my mum. It is being included in a new RHS Wisley Plant Trial of the Genus Hebe starting in a couple of months and will be available for sale from a number of places this year as a testament to a great Plant Hero of mine and my darling Mum.

 

Cercis chinensis ‘Avondale’

Buddleja x bicolor (Syn. ‘Flower Power’) 

Anisodontea ‘El Rayo’ – Amazing plant! – Also described in Unsung Heroes Larger Shrubs

 

Seasonal Colour

 

Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’ (Syn. ‘Senkaki’)

Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ and Cornus alba

 

Variety

 

Ribes gordonianum

Ribes sanguineum

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albescens’

Ribes laurifolium

Ribes sanguineum

Ribes odoratum

Ilex aquifolium ‘Rushmore Gold’ – mentioned more ‘Ripley’s Gold’ and ‘Lawsoniana’ as more commonly available similar forms.

Ilex verticillata – don’t forget you need males and females for berrying. You can have one male for every 3-5 females (a busy guy!)

 

Texture

 

Aralia elata

Santolina rosmarinifolia ‘Primrose Gem’

Colettia paradoxa

 

Flower Power

 

Berberis valdiviana – Also mentioned in Unsung Heroes Larger Shrubs

Daphne gemmata (Syn. Wikstroemia)

Camellia ‘Desire’

Ceanothus ‘Cynthia Postan’ – Plant in a tripod of three if freestanding to get a stable and impressive shrub. Also mentioned in Unsung Heroes Medium Sized Shrubs

Callistemon viridiflora

Hebe ‘Midsummer Beauty’ – Also, don’t forget to join the Hebe Society www.hebesoc.org. A great, inexpensive, small plant society for lovers of Hebe and other New Zealand plants.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Green Shadow’

Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’

Chaenomeles ‘Moerlooseii’

Cercis chinensis ‘Avondale’ – As per first slide

Prunus laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’

Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’

Kolkwitzia amabilis ‘Pink Cloud’

 

Uses of Shrubs – Fruit

 

Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’

Viburnum opulus

Viburnum nudum

Viburnum davidii

 

Successful Shrubs – The Bulletproof Bombshells and the Modern Dandies.

 

Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’

Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’

Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

Rosa glauca – mentioned again in Unsung Heroes – Larger Shrubs

Rosa ‘Penelope’

Rosa ‘Ballerina’

Rosa ‘Lady of the Lake’ David Austin (DA) modern variety bred with health as a major feature unsung bulletproof older varieties and species

Rosa ‘The Lark Ascending’ DA, another modern variety. As beautiful, in my opinion as the Vaughan Williams music is.

Rosa ‘Summer Song’ DA

 

What should we plant?

 

List of native shrubs as below with pics of Euonymus europaeus, Corylus avellana and non-native Buddleja davidii. 

 

UK Native Shrubs and a few small trees

 

Cornus sanguinea 

Corylus avellana 

Euonymus europaeus 

Hippophae rhamnoides 

Cytisus scoparius 

Ilex aquifolium 

Juniperus communis 

Ligustrum vulgare 

Prunus spinosus 

Rhamnus cathartica 

Rosa caesia 

Rosa agrestis 

Rosa arvensis 

Rosa mollis

Rosa caesia subsp. glauca 

Rosa canina 

Rosa micrantha 

Rosa obtusifolia 

Rosa stylosa 

Rosa tomentosa 

Salix myrsinifolia 

Salix phylicifolia 

Salix purpurea 

Rosa pimpinellifolia 

Rosa rubiginosa 

Rosa sherardii 

Sorbus anglica 

Ruscus aculeatus

Salix herbacea 

Salix lanata 

Salix lapponum 

Salix myrsinites 

Salix repens 

Salix reticulata 

Salix aurita 

Sambucus nigra 

Sorbus leptophylla 

Sorbus leyana 

Sorbus minima 

Viburnum lantana 

Viburnum opulus 

Ulex europaeus 

Ulex gallii

 

Unsung Heroes – Larger Shrubs

 

Rosa glauca

Berberis valdiviana

Anisodontea ‘El Rayo’

Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’

Salix purpurea ‘Nancy Saunders’

Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’

Weigela ‘Dart’s Colour Dream’

 

Unsung Heroes – Medium Sized Shrubs

 

Abelia x grandiflora

Dichroa febrifuga – not 100% hardy

Mahonia ‘Cabaret’

Corylopsis pauciflora

Dodonea viscosa ‘Purpurea’ – Use a Purple Pittosporum in slightly less sheltered spots

Enkianthus campanulatus

Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’

Ceanothus ‘Cynthia Postan’

Fatsia polycarpa ‘Green Fingers’

Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’

Unsung Heroes – Smaller Shrubs

 

Cistus x skanbergii

Pseudowintera colorata ‘Marjorie Congreve’

Poncirus trifoliata Fuchsia ‘Silver Lining’

Any other Lavandula angustifolia or x intermedia type than Hidcote or Munstead as all too often used. Visit Downderry Lavender Nursery for ideas.

Leucothoe ‘Carinella’

Hebe ‘White Diamond’, pictured partnered with Acaena

Hypericum inodorum Magical Series ‘Flame’, ‘White’ and ‘Beauty’ pictured

 

Enjoy plant hunting!

 

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Also, if you believe, as I do, that Horticulture needs better representation in Parliament, please consider supporting my change.org campaign to make the UK government install a Minister for Horticulture as part of their Defra department. Both professional and Amateur Horticulture have been ignored for too long! https://www.change.org/p/uk-cabinet-office-establish-a-minister-for-horticulture-position-inparliament or search on the Charge.org website for Minister for Horticulture.

 

Thanks and happy gardening,

 

Lewis Normand MCIHort FLS

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A Resume of Friday, 15th January 2021 talk from Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter

byRos Maggs of Sandhurst Horticultural Society

Before he died, Christopher Lloyd had set up the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, and because the garden had always been managed sensitively “with a handshake to the wild”, Fergus had been satisfied with the range of diversity and took for granted the range of wildlife that shared the garden - the badgers and butterflies and woodpeckers.  Christopher’s dynamic style embraced the big and bold and it was described as an overblown cottage garden with a dollop of exotica.  However Fergus was aware that the biodiversity could be improved, so stopped spraying the weeds and allowed self-seeders to flourish, in particular the cow parsley, whilst recognising that it needed careful management. The old porous brick and wood of the buildings provided a rich and wide habitat for all sorts of living things. He created a mosaic of meadows just outside the garden, using different meadow mixes and these were managed in varying ways - some were cut once a year, some twice, and some every two years. The thatch from the cuttings was spread over the meadows.  Encouraged by his ecologist wife Amanda, he decided to have a proper biodiversity audit conducted to see what they really had, so they could plan the way forward. 

Fergus invited the British Arachnological Society to visit the garden and after somewhat sniffily declining his offer as in their experience gardens provided little of interest to them, they were persuaded to hold their AGM there. And they were astonished!  They found 35 species of spider just on the compost heap and one rare resident that had only been recorded in three other places in England and another one that had not been recorded in Sussex since 1903.  They were so impressed it made the front page of their magazine and they returned to look for beetles!  

 

So following this success an audit, supported the Heritage Lottery Fund, was carried out by lead ecologist Andy Phillips who described Great Dixter as “a garden nature reserve” and one of the richest eye-opening sites he had surveyed in 30 years.  The survey found over 2,300 different species, with over 100 different lichen and bees. Several species were naturally endangered and 7 were rare.  They found the long-horned bee, not just in the meadows but in the formal gardens making the most of the long season of succession planting, providing pollen and nectar-rich resources. And as the wildlife web feeds itself, so the diversity increases. The layered planting regime, and the use of umbellifers and alliums and the backbone of the old buildings, has enabled the wide range of insects to grow.

 

Fergus hopes that the “mosaic system” will be replicated in many other gardens and in city centres too so that living spaces can be created instead of large areas of dead concrete.   He also recommends reading Jennifer Owens book from the 1970’s, called the Ecology of a Garden.

 

And the excitement continues, as only last week Fergus found a lichen called the Cobalt Crust (terana caerulea), like vivid blue velvet on a twig, and pretty rare, having been first identified in 1779  by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. I’m looking forward to my next trip to Great Dixter more than ever.

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