Ropley Horticultural Society



News

September 2020

As you will know we held our Summer Challenge ‘on-line’ with Geoff Hawkins kindly agreeing to judge the entries. For those of you who haven’t seen it here are the results:

Congratulations to the winners but also congratulations to all of you for taking part! There were some magnificent entries and Geoff certainly had a ‘challenge’ to choose the winner!

We have now had our first Committee meeting since lockdown, and I would like to update you. The Sports Pavilion is effectively not available for our meetings, probably until 2021, and we agreed meetings before then would not be viable anyway given the Covid regulations. As a result of this our meetings for September, October and November will be cancelled and it is hoped they will be able to be rearranged for 2021.

We are planning for success and putting our Programme for 2021 together effectively using the same speakers and format as this year. We are discussing how to use our website to communicate our AGM and, possibly, a talk rather as we would normally do. More news on these ideas nearer the time but basically, we are going to try and keep to our Programme somehow. Our Spring and Summer Shows are booked and we will have a Plant Sale in May either in the Sports Pavilion or ‘On Line’ as we did in May 2020. Again, we will keep you informed as plans and circumstances develop.

It was also confirmed that those of you who have paid your 2020 Subscriptions will not have to pay anything more until January 2022.

I hope you have been able to really enjoy your gardens this Summer and they have given you great comfort and satisfaction. I know Maurice and I have been able to catch up on jobs that have been outstanding for a long time! The only sad thing is that sharing our gardens has been more difficult and, indeed, visiting gardens has meant booking in advance. Let’s hope 2021 will be very much better!

In the meantime we will keep you updated as our plans develop over the next few months and we will look forward to being able to be together once more for our members’ meetings which I have missed so much this year. Most importantly stay safe, well and continue to enjoy your gardens!

August 2020

With cancellation of our Summer Show, August is going to be unusually quiet this year. However, you should all have received a geranium plug plant for our ‘Summer Challenge’ and we would like to assess the best in show via the internet.

If you are able to post or email us a photo of your geranium (see the details from Maurice below) we will do our best to judge them all and announce the results later this month.

Summer Challenge Cup

Geranium “Aurora” (Colour Orange) from the plug plant distributed in March/April 2020. See Programme and Show Schedule 2020, Page 9, Class 75. Maximum pot size 23cm internal diameter.

As mentioned in the Ropley Horticultural Society June Newsletter, despite having to cancel the Summer Show we still wish to hold the Summer Show Challenge and I would ask you all to please send a photograph of your geranium by Saturday 15th August by email.

To enable us to appreciate the scale of your entry please also provide either the height of the pot, or its diameter (or both). After down selecting the best entries our Summer Flowers judge Geoff Hawkins has kindly agreed to decide the winning and runner up entries.

Results will be announced in our next newsletter. The cup and prize monies will then be distributed.

Good Luck!
Best wishes

Maurice Shakespeare
Show Secretary

Free Water Tank

We have received the following kind offer of a large plastic water tank if anybody has room for a quick static watering can filler. Details are as follows:-

water tankPaul Prowting has an old plastic main cold water tank, previously installed in his loft, which he wishes to dispose of. Paul thought a keen gardener might appreciate it as it is a quick way to fill a watering can. It will need two 28mm and one 15mm stop end (caps) which can be bought cheaply from Toolstation, details below.

28mm end stop

15mm end stop

If anyone would like the tank free of charge Paul would be very pleased to hear from you. A photo is attached and if you are interested email Paul.

In the meantime, we look forward to hearing from you with your Summer Challenge photos and as soon as we have any news about our three remaining members’ meetings for the year I will let you know.

Continue to enjoy your gardens and stay well!

Summer 2020

We made an amazing profit of £680 and provided members and village friends with the plants they needed for their gardens. I hope they are all thriving and your gardens are looking wonderful!

Unfortunately the Coronavirus restrictions continue although slightly lifted but we are still not going to be able to hold our meeting on 27th July when Ray Broughton was coming to host the ever popular Gardener’s Question Time and judge our Sweet Pea Competition and stay within social distancing requirements. We hope we will be able to rearrange his visit for 2021.

The Committee have also made the decision to cancel the Summer Show scheduled for 22nd August as we do not think we can hold the show with social distancing and certainly not be able to serve our usual tea and cake which everyone so enjoys. Some may say this is a little premature but we felt it was better to make the decision now rather than leave it until later when people have grown their plants only to find they will not be able to exhibit them. However we would still like to hold the Summer Challenge and I would ask you to please send a photograph of your geranium by Saturday 15th August to our email address: jillandmaurice@btinternet.com and we will arrange for an independent judge to choose the winner.

We have also been advised that our visit to Longstock Water Garden at Stockbridge on 8th September has been cancelled as they have decided to close the garden for the rest of the season because of the difficulty of social distancing. Again, let’s hope we can rearrange this visit for next year.

It’s all very disappointing but we are not alone and as long as we stay well and continue to enjoy our gardens we must be thankful.

With the excellent financial result from our Plant Sale the Committee have agreed that the subscriptions paid for this year will be rolled over into next so that those who have already paid their subscriptions will not need to pay anything more until January 2022. We still hope to be able to hold our last three meetings of this year in September, October and November but we will have to confirm this nearer the time.

Whilst in touch with you all, we have received an email from Marcus Dancer of Marcus Dancer Plants who came to speak to us about clematis last year saying that he is offering a mail order service and full details can found on his website: clematisplants.co.uk. So if you are thinking of adding a clematis to your garden it would be well worth investigating what is available as his plants are of a high quality.

Spring 2020

We hope you enjoyed our last members’ meeting “Flowers of Reserves and Roadside” with Gerald Ponting who described so many flowers I knew but could not name, their history, and use with such wonderful photography!

When I wrote this Newsletter a few days ago little did I imagine that I would have to change it and announce that our members’ meeting on Monday 30th March when Wilf Simcox was going to talk to us about “Looking after your Lawn” will not be able to take place because of the Social Distancing Guidance issued by the Government.

This also will affect our Spring Show on Saturday 4th April. Sadly, this too is cancelled.

This brings me to a discussion the committee have been having about our Show Programme for both the Spring and Summer Shows which have changed little for many years. There are several duplications as the show has developed and for 2021 we would like to simplify the schedule. Do you have any suggestions for new classes or changes we could make? Please let us know your thoughts so we can incorporate your ideas on how to improve the arrangement of the classes to make the Shows reflect what we grow today and to introduce new ideas. We would really appreciate your comments and suggestions which can be sent to me on jillandmaurice@btinternet.comor passed to any committee member.

Please see details of our two smaller competitions which explain more fully the Sweet Pea and Flower of the Month Competitions and we hope this will encourage you to take part! The Sweet Pea competition is held at the Members’ meeting on 27th July when Ray Broughton is giving one of his very special ‘Gardeners’ Question Times’ – Ray will be judging the competition for us. We hope by then the Covid-19 virus will be over or at a point when normal life can begin once more. So please, if you grow sweet peas bring an entry to the meeting! The Flower of the Month competition will also be held on that evening so if you have a spare sweet pea – bring that for the Flower of the Month as well!

There are many benefits from being a member of the Society and a leaflet has been prepared listing these. We hope it will enable you to enjoy your membership to the full!

As you know our big fund-raising event is our Plant Sale which is being held on Friday 15th May in the Sports Pavilion – not the Parish Hall as printed in the Programme. It will be for ONE DAY ONLY and will start at 12 noon until 7pm. A full day, but we hope you will all come and buy your bedding, perennials and vegetable plants. We will have a large selection from professional growers and most importantly ask you, our members, to donate plants which you have grown from seeds, cuttings or divisions. These donations are so important as they give us 100% profit! We are delighted that our successful Garden Bric-a-Brac stall will be there again so if you have any unwanted gardening related items please bring them along!

It will be a long day and we will need lots of volunteers to help sell the plants. If you would be able to help us for a couple of hours during the day, please let me know together with for how long you would like to help and I will put together a rota. We would very much appreciate any help you can give us. One thought, if this event does sadly also have to be cancelled, please keep taking cuttings and splitting plants from your gardens as they can be sold on our Sales Table at our meetings.

We look forward to seeing you at our meetings and other events when they start again and hope you will be able to enter the Summer Show on 22nd August. The Shows are great fun and there are people who can help you so please don’t be apprehensive if it is your first time. Once you have ‘taken the plunge’ there will be no stopping you!!

Let’s hope the Spring will bring some good gardening weather so we can all enjoy our gardens to the full and help us to forget about the sad state of the world at the moment. I will keep you informed about what is going to happen with our April meeting and the Plant Sale as the situation develops. In the meantime, I hope you and your families will all stay well and I will look forward to seeing you soon.

Winter 2019

We have had a very successful year and are now looking forward to growing the Society still further and achieving even greater success in this our 125th Anniversary year!

Our Tea Rota has been a success and we are very grateful to the kind members who have already offered to help. It would be very much appreciated if we could have at least one more volunteer, but more if possible, so we have an even number on the rota and more helpers would mean longer gaps in between! If you would like to help please let one of us know.

It has been suggested that we could consider changing the name of the Ropley Horticultural Society to Ropley Garden Club to make it seem more inclusive and less specialised. The committee feel this is a question for the members to vote on at the AGM. Therefore ballot forms will be sent out by email with the AGM papers in January in advance of the meeting. There will also be ballot forms available at the AGM. In the meantime please give some thought to this proposal.

We are very grateful to Rem and Frances who have put our 2020 Programme together. They have created a varied and very interesting selection of speakers together with three visits to some lovely gardens. This year we have decided to publish the Programme in advance of the AGM and we thought you should see it too!

One last thing – if you haven’t already, don’t forget to buy 5 Tete-a-Tete bulbs for the Spring Challenge while they are available in the shops!

Summer 2019

Thank you all for your wonderful support for our Plant Sale!  We made just over £900 which means that our subscriptions can remain at £10 for longer and we can afford to book slightly more expensive speakers for 2020.  It was a very successful day and great to see so many of you and the village supporting us.  Even the weather was kind and the rain just about kept off!

Our next event is our Summer Party on Monday 24th June to be held at 6.30 pm at Tichborne Park, Alresford when we will walk around an easily accessible, truly beautiful garden after a glass of wine or a soft drink and refreshments.  If you haven’t put your name down already and would like to come (it costs £10 per person) please let Rem Moser know Tel: 01420 588579.  Directions are as  follows:

From Alresford turn left at the bottom of West Street onto the B 3046.
Go past the golf club on your left.
Past Alresford show ground on your right.
The entrance to Tichborne House is immediately on your right on a right hand bend. It will be signed with balloons.
It is accessed by an automatic wooden gate with a surrounding picket fence.
At the end of the lime tree drive car parking will be signed.

Let’s hope for a fine evening for what I am sure will be a lovely visit.

Our next event in the Ropley Sports Pavilion will be our members meeting on Monday 29th July at 7.45pm when Marina Christopher is coming to talk to us about Late Summer Borders.  As many of you know, Marina runs Phoenix Perennial Plants in Medstead and has an excellent reputation as a plants-woman.  Apart from her fund of knowledge she will be bringing plants for sale and other gardening sundries. 

At this meeting we will also be holding our Sweet Pea Competition.  Just bring three stems of annual sweet peas (not everlasting ones) in your own vase and put your name face down on the piece of paper provided.  The winner will be awarded our Sweet Pea Cup!

We will also be having our Flower of the Month competition so please, if you can manage it, bring flowers for both!

Jenny and Sheila, the two ladies who have been making tea and coffee at our meetings for so many years, would like to take a break and I would be very grateful if one, two or more of you would be willing to take over from them.  It’s probably a good idea to have more than one person so holidays and illness is covered not to mention that sharing a job is always much more fun than doing it on your own.  Having a rota would be a good idea so the job is shared between several people.  Our members always seem to enjoy finishing the meeting chatting over a cup of tea or coffee and I do hope we can find some willing helpers to keep this very social way to end our meetings.

Our Summer Show on 17th August is not far away so please look through the Show Programme listing and see what you might be able to enter.  I hope your Challenge Geraniums are all growing well and that they will make a wonderful show in August!   I know a lot will depend on weather conditions and how plants grow in the garden but there are lots of different things to enter which are not affected by the weather such as floral art, cookery, craft and photography.  Also please encourage your grandchildren to make and decorate some biscuits or to make an item of fabric, string, wood and/or metal.  There are two classes in each category, one for the under 7s and the other for 7-11 years.  There are certificates and prize money for the winners!  It is always a much enjoyed afternoon rounded off with a welcome cup of tea or coffee with a piece of home-made cake.

We have our outing to West Dene Gardens in Sussex on Monday 30th September.  We will be leaving the Parish Hall at 9.30am by coach and returning there at 4.30pm.  There will be a board going round at our July meeting when you can put your name down for this outing.  If you can’t come to the July meeting, and would like to go on this visit, please contact Patricia (01962 773419) or myself (01962 772425.

West Dene

The restoration of the garden to get it to its current state began after the storm of 1987. Since then, Gardens Manager Jim Buckland and Gardens Supervisor Sarah Wain have carried out a bold re-development programme designed to bring the nineteenth century gardens into the twenty-first century. Tom Brown has joined West Dean Gardens as the new Head Gardener. He comes from nearby Parham House, where he became Head Gardener in 2010. Prior to that, he worked at RHS Wisley Gardens for 10 years, latterly running the plant and vegetable trials.  The gardens at West Dene are beautiful and the restoration of the glasshouses is quite amazing so we are sure you will thoroughly enjoy your visit.

With the sudden blip in the weather may all your barrels be full ones and I hope you will enjoy your gardens for the rest of the Summer!