Ropley Horticultural Society


April 2024

Summer is certainly on the way and our next meeting on Monday 29th April at 7.45pm in the Parish Hall, Ropley is entitled ‘Summer Bulbs’! Tim Woodland is coming to talk to us and he will be bringing bulbs for sale (cash only) so come prepared!

At the meeting we will have boards for our visits in June – we have a Garden Tour at Hinton Ampner on 13th June and a double garden visit on 24th June to Apuldrum Rose Nursery, Crouchers Farm, Birdham Road, Chichester and Lordington House, Chichester.

First on 13th June, is a Garden Tour at Hinton Ampner starting at 1.30pm. Roy Gentry, our Treasurer, has kindly offered to guide us through the garden. Roy is an extremely well-respected volunteer who is responsible for the Hinton Ampner input to the National Trust’s nationwide database of all plants in their gardens. The tour will start at 1.30pm and there are only 30 places available. We will break for tea which you can buy yourselves in the café and then have the second part of the tour.

There will be a board at our next meeting on 29th April for you to put your name down if you would like to go. There is no cost if you are a National Trust member but if you are not, Hinton Ampner have said that on production of a Ropley Horticultural Society membership card they will make a 5% reduction on the entrance fee of £14.

The second visit on 24th June is two visits! You can just do one or both of them as you wish but there will be a board for both at our next meeting.

In the morning there will be a visit to Apuldrum Rose Nursery, Crouchers Farm, Birdham Rd, Chichester PO20 7EQ. There is no limit on numbers as Elizabeth Sawday is happy to give her talk to as few as two! Apuldram Roses is a family business set up by Diane Sawday in 1979. They have been growing and selling roses for more than 43 years. The visit will begin at about 10.30/11.00 o'clock and the talk will last about 45 minutes. The cost will be £7.50 per person, including refreshments. There is nowhere undercover to shelter so remember to bring a waterproof or umbrella if it looks like rain!

Then in the afternoon there is a visit to Lordington House, Lordington, Chichester, Sussex, PO18 9DX. Lordington House is part of the National Garden Scheme and it is a private visit. Early 17th Century house (not open) and walled gardens in South Downs National Park. Clipped yew, lawns, borders and fine views. Vegetables, fruit and poultry in the kitchen garden. 100+ roses planted since 2008. Trees both mature and young. Lime avenue planted in 1973 to replace elms. Wild flowers in field outside walls, accessible from garden.

The visit will begin at 1.30 p.m. and end just before 4 p.m. She is happy for us to bring a picnic. If it's wet, there is a large open garage with tables and chairs we can sit in to eat it. The cost is £6 per person and £6 for refreshments if required. The maximum number of visitors is 30.

Imelda will bring sign-up sheets on clipboards to our members’ meeting on 29th April. As there is a maximum number for the afternoon visit, payment will guarantee your place. If you don't sign up on Monday evening you can ring Imelda Simons on 01962 773487 before 8th June.

As you know we are having a Plant Stall at the Pram Race on Monday 27th May on the Ropley Recreation Ground. We need lots of plants from you please! If you can bring them to us from 9am that would be much appreciated so we can put the Stall together. This is our major fund raiser so please remember to divide your plants, grow some extra seedlings to bring on and bring us any plants you can spare from your garden! Then come and buy what you haven’t grown!

Our Summer Challenge plug plants have just arrived and they will be available at our next meeting on Monday 29th April.

Occasionally I receive flyers for forthcoming events and I attach one for the GOLD Garden and Craft Fair on 8th May which you might be interested to visit.

We look forward to seeing you at as many of the events mentioned above and, in the meantime, enjoy your gardens as they begin to bloom beautifully!

Our Spring Show is on Saturday 23rd March at 2.30pm in the Parish Hall!!

I hope as many of you as possible will come and, even more importantly, enter the classes!! Have a look through the Schedule in your Member’s Handbook and then take a look at your garden to see what you could enter. If you are not sure about the classes of daffodils there is a Classification of Narcissi on the second to last orange page of the Handbook to help you. The show starts at 2.30pm but full guidance is given in the Handbook of how to enter classes.

Its not just daffodils though, there are classes for tulips, Spring flowering bulbs, our Spring Challenge, pot plants, floating Hellebores, foliage and 2 vegetable classes!

Could you make an arrangement for the Floral Art classes or bake an Easter Bunny cake? Are you a chutney or marmalade maker? Perhaps a card maker or you can make an Easter Chick or Bunny? Do you have children or grandchildren who would like to make an Easter Card or a Spring Garden or maybe they would like the cookery classes.

There really is something for everyone and the Show is always a lovely village event with a cup of tea, a cream tea or home-made cake to enjoy. We will look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Two days after all this we have our March members meeting on Monday 25th at 7.45pm in the Parish Hall. Martyn Cox is coming to talk about Vegetable Growing - perfect timing for the Spring! Don’t forget to bring any gardening problems to discuss at our informal forum during tea.

And lastly, I hope you are all busy dividing your plants for our Plant Stall at the Pram Race on Monday 27th May! We will need lots of plants to sell! This event is our major fund raiser, and it helps to keep our annual subscriptions at £10 so please, when sorting out your borders, pot up any unwanted plants for the stall because our customers love them!!

February 2024

Have you noticed bees in your garden recently, buzzing around flowering shrubs? Our speaker on Monday 26th February, Pauline Weeks, is coming to talk about ‘Understanding Solitary Bees in your Patch’ so we will be able to learn more about the life of bees and all they do for us. The meeting starts at 7.45pm in the Ropley Parish Hall and we are looking forward to seeing you and hearing more about bees!

Our Spring Show is on Saturday 23rd March, again in the Ropley Parish Hall and the doors open at 2.30pm. We will need stewards on the day and helpers with the teas so if you are asked, please support us if you can. We would also be very grateful if some strong men could help us putting up the tables in the Parish Hall on Friday 22nd March at 6pm and then help us to take the tables down after the show on Saturday at 4.30pm. If you or a strong member of your family could help us please let our Show Secretary, Stella, know. Her telephone number is 07732 082079. We would really appreciate it as many of us are getting older and less able to move and carry heavy tables.

Most important of all though is for you to enter classes which, of course, will make the Show. Please look through the Schedule in your 2024 Members Handbook to see what you can enter. Take a look round your garden and I am sure you will be amazed at what you have and could enter! Would you like to have a go at the Floral Art classes all of which are geared to Spring flowers. Are you a jam maker? Look at Class 32, or Chutney – Class 31. Lots of options plus an Easter Bunny cake! Why not make an Easter card or do you have a knitted, crocheted or fabric Easter chick or bunny you have made? They would all be wonderful to have in the show!

Then the children’s section – do you have children or grandchildren who could make a Spring Garden in a tin lid – what fun that would be to make! Or maybe an Easter card? There are two age groups for the children’s entries. Likewise, they could make cupcakes or Easter biscuits – lots of choice and I’m sure they would enjoy the excitement of taking part!

The Show is for you and for others to enjoy so please do support us by entering and coming to see all the exhibits and enjoy a cream tea and homemade cake!

February 2023

Our gardens are coming to life with snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and hellebores and our Spring Show on Saturday 1st April, is just five weeks away! So please look at the Show Schedule and survey your gardens to see what you can enter! Don’t forget the Floral Art and Cookery classes which you can enter as well. The Children’s Classes with three different age groups cover Flower Arranging, Design & Create and Cookery so do encourage the younger members of your family to ‘have a go’! Its great fun and we will love to see what they produce.

Once again we will be offering cream teas at the Spring Show and we will need scones and cake. If any members would like to make some scones or a cake please can they contact Christine Drewienkiewicz on 01962 772353 or who is coordinating this. The teas are always much enjoyed and provide a valuable income stream towards financing the Show. As does the raffle, and if anyone has a prize which they could donate that too would be greatly appreciated.

‘The Answer Lies in the Soil’ is the title of our next meeting on Monday 27th February in the Parish Hall at 7.45pm with Geoff Hawkins and it should be an excellent meeting! Geoff is always an entertaining speaker and the topic is such an important one at the moment with the peat free issue to the fore. We will have the opportunity to discuss this further with Geoff in our Garden Clinic during and after our coffee so please come prepared with your questions.

This is the time of year when we can divide our plants so please do pot up any spare plants for our Plant Sale Stall at the Pram Race on Monday 29th May. Also if you are sowing seeds, please sow some extras and bring on the plants for the stall - we would be very grateful. It would help enormously if you could let us know what you are growing so we don’t have too many of one thing!

A reminder to those of you who may not have noticed the error in some Members’ Handbooks (and not read Louise’s subsequent email) that the Spring Challenge is for Five Miniature Daffodils or Narcissus (excluding Tete-a-Tete) and NOT five Tete-a-Tete as last year.

Louise has also asked for members who are holding Cups and Trophies from last year’s Spring Show to please give them to her at the February meeting on 27th February OR drop them into her house (Meadowside, Church Street) by Friday 17th March at the latest.

Our May Garden Visit has now been arranged for Thursday 18th May when we will visit The Pepperpot Herb Nursery in Selborne Road, Alton. Further details will be available shortly.

On Wednesday 28th June we will visit The Manor House, Upton Grey to see the beautifully restored Gertrude Jekyll garden. We will arrive at 1.30pm to look around the garden and have tea afterwards for a cost of £10.

As many of you will already know, there is to be a Coronation Flower Festival for St. Peter’s in the church as part of the local Coronation celebrations. This will be a community initiative and all funds raised will go to the Churchyard Pathways and Lighting Appeal. It will begin with a Preview Reception on the evening of Friday 5th May and the Festival will be open all day on Saturday 6th May, Sunday 7th May and Monday 8th May. Refreshments will be available throughout and a Coronation Celebration Service will be held on Sunday at 4pm with the Ropley Coronation Choir. The Horticultural Society will be decorating one of the window sills and if anyone would like to help with the design, arranging or with providing flowers and foliage, please contact Imelda Simons on 01962 773487 who has kindly agreed to co-ordinate our contribution.

A diary date for next month’s meeting! Monday 27th March at 7.45pm in the Parish Hall entitled ‘Making the Most of What You’ve Got’ with Ben Pope. Again more good advice on how to improve our gardens. Ben is head gardener for a private estate in West Sussex maintaining the gardens whilst growing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. He gives talks to many organisations and enjoys teaching at the English Gardening School and West Dean College.

It's going to be a busy few months and we look forward to sharing all these events with as many of you as possible.

October 2022

Autumn has arrived but it still feels a bit like Summer – apart from the rain! I hope you are enjoying all the extra colour in your gardens which is helping to delay the onset of Winter. There is still lots to do though in preparation!

We will have plants for sale on our Sales Table and don’t forget to bring your best garden flower for Flower of the Month! There will be a raffle as usual but our stock of prizes is diminishing! If you have any suitable prizes you could donate we would be very grateful as the Raffle proceeds are an enormous help towards our costs.

Looking ahead to our Spring Show the Spring Challenge will be a little different this year. It will be for 5 Miniature Daffodil/Narcissus bulbs, NOT including Tete-a-Tete, grown in a pot. Now is the time to buy these bulbs while they are available in the shops so have a look at all the different types and try something different but remember, they must be miniatures!

The Plant Sale is going to be different in 2023. We will not use the Parish Hall as last year but will have a large stall at the Pram Race in May where we will sell our plants. In addition we are also going to have an Open Garden at Kitwood Cottage in June when we will also have plants for sale.

With this in mind please continue to divide as many perennials as you can and pot them up with a label for the Plant Sale. We will also have a selection of bought in plants as usual but as you know, our ‘home grown’ plants are so much more profitable so please do grow as many as you can!

April 2022

We are delighted to let you know that our next meeting on Monday 25th April at 7.45pm will be in the Parish Hall, Ropley! The hall has now become available and, with our membership increasing, we have decided to take the opportunity to change venue. We have been very grateful to the Sports Pavilion for giving us a home for these last few years but now we are almost back to normal it is becoming a bit of a squash with all their new furniture in place.

At this meeting Ray Broughton will talk about “Easy Plants for Difficult Places” and we are sure it will be a very interesting, informative and entertaining talk as Ray’s always are! Please remember to bring your Flower of the Month. The raffle will be available as will the Sales Table.

Our Plant Sale is getting close so please don’t buy all of your plants just yet! We will have bedding plants, perennials, vegetable plants and herbs available. All we ask is that you bring your own bags or boxes to carry your plants home in! The Sale is on Saturday 21st May from 11am to 4pm and this will also be in the Parish Hall, Ropley. Please bring any plants you have which we can sell to the side door beside the kitchen on the morning of the sale. If they could also be labelled with the name of the plant, its colour and height, that would be very helpful. Also don’t forget to turn out your sheds for any unwanted garden tools etc. which could be sold on our Garden Bric-a-Brac stall!! Tea, coffee and cake will also be available throughout the day. We look forward to seeing you and all of your contributions because this is our major fund-raising event for the year and donated plants achieve 100% profit!

We have places available for our coach trip to RHS Wisley on Wednesday 29th June which will leave the Parish Hall, Ropley at 9.15am and return at around 5pm having left Wisley at 4pm. There will be space in the coach boot for any plants you may wish to purchase in the Wisley Garden Centre! You can either buy food in the various restaurants at Wisley or take your own. There are lots of places to sit and eat sandwiches in the garden and particularly in and around the new Hilltop building, the UK’s first dedicated horticultural scientific centre of excellence which was opened in 2021. The total cost for the day is £10 per person and you are very welcome to bring a partner or a friend. If you would like to come with us please let us know on Monday and pay for the ticket so we can book the correct size coach. Any queries, please phone me on 01962 772425.

One of our members has notified us of the following items, available to collect from Monkwood:-

If you are interested, please contact Louise on 07711 405107.

We have also been sent details of two local events:

The Garden Craft Fair at Headbourne Worthy, Winchester on Wednesday 11th May 2022 and the Newton Valence Open Gardens on 29th May 2022. Copies of the flyers have been sent to members.

Our Summer Show is on Saturday 20th August in the Parish Hall, Ropley from 2.30pm – 4pm. Have a look at the Classes or in your Members Handbook now and see what you can enter!! Taking part in the Show is great fun and encourage your children and grandchildren to enter the Children’s Classes as well!

Whilst mentioning the show Maurice has been asked for a fuller explanation of the Summer Challenge Fuchsia cultural instructions. In response he copied and sent an extract from one time local Fuchsia grower David Clark from his Fuchsia care manual, which has been sent to all members. We look forward to lots of entries in this competition under Class No. 62 on page 11 of your 2022 Show Schedule.

One final thing to mention is that although we had been told the required spend by members at Garthowen Garden Centre was £20 to be eligible for a 10% discount, that has now been increased to a £25 spend with special offers being excluded. Please also remember to show your Ropley Horticultural Society Membership card to be given the discount.

March 2022

Spring is nearly here! We are almost back to normal and looking forward to resuming face to face meetings plus all our usual events!

Thank you for renewing your memberships and I hope you will enjoy the Programme for 2022. If you haven’t renewed yet, all the details can be found on the home page.

For our first meeting in the Sports Pavilion at 7.45pm on Monday 28th March we will be welcoming Wilf Simcox who is coming to talk about ‘Looking after your Lawn’. Perfect timing to prepare your lawn for the Summer and we look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible. There will be a raffle as usual and Flower of the Month. We will space the chairs out and have windows slightly open to ensure a flow of air so please come dressed accordingly. Sanitiser will also be available.

As you know we are planning a visit to RHS Wisley on Wednesday 29th June leaving the Parish Hall, Ropley at 9.15am and returning at around 5pm having left Wisley at 4pm. There will be space in the coach boot for any plants you may wish to purchase in the Wisley Garden Centre! You can either buy food in the various restaurants at Wisley or take your own. There are lots of places to sit and eat sandwiches in the garden and particularly in and around the new Hilltop building, the UK’s first dedicated horticultural scientific centre of excellence which was opened in 2021. The cost of the day will be £10 and if you would like to come, please will you bring the money and sign up for the event at the meeting on 28th March. This is so we can book the coach and complete all the arrangements. We are sure it will be a splendid day. If you can’t be at the meeting and would like to come to Wisley please phone me on 01962 772425.

Our Spring Show is on Saturday 2nd April in the Parish Hall from 2.30 until 4pm when we will also be offering Cornish Cream Teas! The hall will be full of flowers and produce, floral art, cookery, and Children’s classes. Please do encourage the young people in your families to enter, there are Children’s classes for flower arranging, design and create and cookery so lots to choose from! It’s always a lovely afternoon and you will be very welcome. We will have a raffle and, on that subject, if you have any unwanted gifts which you could donate to the raffle, we would be so grateful as this helps to offset the cost of the show.

The Plant Sale returns to the village on Saturday 21st May from 11am to 4pm in the Parish Hall. We will be selling bedding plants, perennials, vegetable plants and herbs. Again, anything you can donate from your own gardens would be very welcome. When you are splitting that clump of perennials which has grown too large, please pot some up and bring it on for the Plant Sale. Members’ donations are so valuable as we make 100% profit from their sale. This year we are are also going to repeat the Gardeners’ Bric-a-brac stall which was so popular in 2019! Our only proviso has to be that if your donation isn’t sold on the day we will have to ask you to take it back after the sale. As we are holding the Plant Sale in the Parish Hall, we can offer hot drinks and cake as well, so it will be better than ever! In the interests of reducing waste, it would be helpful if you could please bring your own boxes or bags to put your plants in to take them home.

Hanging Basket Hanging Basket

These beautiful baskets are available from Carolyn North of Bloomers, the nursery who grow most of the plants for our Plant Sale. As a guide, for a 14” basket the refill cost would be £25 and the basket would be ready for collection from the polytunnel at Colemore towards the end of May. If you would like to have a basket filled you will need to provide Carolyn with an empty basket in early April so she can plant it up and bring it on in the polytunnel. If you would like to arrange to have a basket filled, please contact Carolyn on 07799 187872.

You may remember as part of the Auction in aid of the Restoration of St. Peters Church, Ropley that there will be a private garden opening at Lovington House, Ovington on Tuesday 14th June 2022 from 2pm until 4 pm. The Estate Manager will host a tour of the garden after which a delicious tea will be available. Tickets may be purchased here for £20 per person. I am sure it will be a very special afternoon.

We are an affiliated Society of the Royal Horticultural Society and receive a copy of their excellent magazine ‘The Garden’ each month. It is passed among a few members already but if anyone else would like to be included in the circulation, please contact me or any committee member so your name can be added.

There is lots happening as you will see but it will be great to be able to enjoy all these things together once more and I look forward to seeing you!

November 2021

Our Christmas meeting is on Monday 29th November at 7.45pm in the Sports Pavilion when we are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible to hear all about ‘Death in the Garden’ and share mulled wine (of the non-alcoholic variety!) with mince pies. There will be a raffle as usual and Flower of the Month. We will space the chairs out and have windows slightly open to ensure a flow of air so please come warmly dressed. Sanitiser will also be available and please wear a mask if you wish.

You may remember me mentioning at a previous meeting a visit to the gardens at Lovington House, Ovington to include a cream tea, which the Friends of St. Peters were arranging for next year in aid of the rebuilding of the Church. Details are as shown and tickets can be booked now. The Friends of St. Peters have kindly given us this early opportunity to book tickets so if you would like to go, please make your booking. A Refund Protection payment is also offered.

Our first meeting of the New Year will be our AGM on the 31st January and we have decided to hold it by Zoom which will save you having to venture out on what will probably be a cold Winter night. Our speaker will be Geoff Hodge and his subject ‘Scented Plants and the Scented Garden’. All the papers will be sent to you by email together with details of how the subscription may be paid and your Members Handbook obtained.

If you are not able to come on Monday the Committee joins me in sending you our very best wishes for Christmas and a Happy New Year enjoying our gardens!

August 2021

Our July Gardeners’ Question Time meeting with Ray Broughton on Monday 26th July was a great success with members bringing many examples of sick plants for him to identify. Ray is always an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker and everyone very much enjoyed the evening. We also had our annual Sweet Pea Competition which was won by Imelda Simons. It was lovely to see members together again.

During his talk Ray mentioned a fungal treatment called Invigorator which can be bought on the web or Garthowen Nursery have said they will stock it if sufficient people want it, so do visit Garthowen and ask!! His other recommendation was for a plant fertiliser called Vitax Q4 which Garthowen and most other garden centres do stock.

The Summer Show is on Saturday 21st August and we hope lots of you will enter the classes and, of course, come to the Show!! We hope lots of villagers will support this our first Show for 2 years. We are particularly anxious to encourage lots more children’s entries so please ask your grandchildren and friends’ children and grandchildren to become involved. There is a wide range of things to enter with age grouped classes for Flower Arranging, Photography, Design & Create and Cookery. All children under 16 enjoy FREE entry! Full details are in your Members Handbook including entry forms. Additional entry forms can be downloaded here and entry forms are also available from The Courtyard Shop.

As usual there will also be a raffle so if you have any unwanted gifts or items which would be suitable for raffle prizes we would be very pleased to receive them. These can either be handed to a Committee member or brought to the hall on the morning of the Show. The raffle helps to offset the cost of hiring the hall and the other expenses of putting on the Show so it is a very important part of the afternoon.

Our visit to Houghton Lodge Gardens on Tuesday 14th September has proved difficult to arrange because of the high cost. We now propose going on the 14th September as advertised but paying as individual visitors which will cost £9 per person and to buy refreshments there if required. We can meet at 1.30pm as originally planned and walkaround the garden at our leisure. There is plenty of parking on site. It is a lovely garden which includes a walled kitchen garden with heritage fruit trees, several different borders outside the walls, a pond, grotto, fields with alpacas and sheep, parkland and water meadows and a riverside walk along the River Test. There is an option to pre-book but this isn’t necessary and it carries an extra charge of £1.30.

We hope you will agree this is a realistic compromise. You can see what beautiful gardens these are by taking a look at the details on the web Their address is Houghton Lodge Gardens, Stockbridge, Hampshire, SO20 6LQ. We hope to see as many of you as possible on the 14th September and look forward to visiting these lovely gardens together. If you need a lift please can you contact Imelda on 01962 773487.

We have entered the Hampshire Federation of Horticultural Societies Quiz again this year and our team, Dilys Warwick, Imelda Simons, Jeremy Carruthers and Rodney Skinner will take part in the first round at Otterbourne on Sunday 26th September. We wish them every success!

Our next Members’ meeting will be held on Monday 27th September at 7.45pm in the Sports Pavilion when our speaker, Susanna Jarrett, will talk about “Dressing your House for Christmas”. This will ensure we are fully prepared to make our homes look beautiful for the festive season and give us all some inspiration!

Please look through the Show Schedule to see which classes you can enter and flower arrangers – please support this section as sadly since our last show we have lost two members who always entered arrangements. It is a part of the show which visitors particularly enjoy and we must continue to provide the impact which the class provides.

July 2021

It looks as if we may be able to have a REAL face to face Members’ Meeting this month! However I realise that some of you may still wish to be cautious and we are hoping to be able to record the meeting and put it on our website so you can enjoy it later, but this will have to be confirmed with the agreement of our speaker, Ray Broughton, who is coming to give us a ‘Gardeners Question Time’ at 7.45pm on Monday 26th July in the Sports Pavilion. The wearing of masks will be optional but I think most people will want to continue to be protected with one. It would help us if you could please let us know if you will be coming to the meeting by emailing so we can get an idea of how many people to prepare for as this will be our first face to face speaker meeting for so long.

This meeting will also include our Sweet Pea Competition. To enter just bring three stems of annual Sweet Peas, which you have grown yourself, in your own container with you to the meeting. The winner will be announced on the night and the cup will be awarded at the Summer Show.

The Sweet Pea Competition will be in addition to our usual Flower of the Month Competition which we will start again on the 26th. For new members who have not been able to come to a ’live’ meeting before, we bring in a flower of our choice, which we have grown in our garden, in a vase, to the Competition Table. Entries are judged on the evening and points accumulated at all meetings through the year up to December. The Winner receives the Bert Clanfield trophy at our AGM in January.

Our Garden Party at Kitwood Cottage was great fun and it was lovely to see members and be able to sit and chat once more. The weather was reasonable, and we all enjoyed the tea and cake provided by the Committee.

We are now preparing for our first Show in two years! The Summer Show will be at the Parish Hall on Saturday 21st August at 2.30pm when you will be able to enjoy and hopefully enter, the VEGETABLES & FRUIT, FLOWERS, FLORAL ART, EGGS, COOKERY, DESIGN & CREATE and PHOTOGRAPHY and a much-enlarged CHILDREN’S section with classes for FLOWER ARRANGING, PHOTOGRAPHY, DESIGN & CREATE and COOKERY. Please do encourage the young and very young people in your families to enter, with all children under 16 enjoying FREE entry! We are hoping for a large entry which we can all enjoy. Full details are in your Members Handbook including entry forms. Additional entry forms can be downloaded here and entry forms will also be available from The Courtyard Shop from Monday 26th July 2021. See attached advertisement which will soon appear around the village. Please spread the word!

We hope you will all find a class which you can enter in the Show! There is a huge range which we know will appeal to all interests quite apart from the horticultural ones! There is a very helpful section in the Members’ Handbook which explains how the Show is run and if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact either a committee member or a long standing member who, no doubt, has entered classes many times before! The more people who enter will provide more interest on the day and give a huge buzz to those who take part!

On Tuesday 14th September we are planning a visit to Houghton Lodge Gardens at Stockbridge with a guided tour followed by tea/coffee and cake and some free time to explore on your own. We will be travelling by our own cars arriving at 1.15pm so the tour can begin at 1.30pm. There is plenty of parking on site. It is a lovely garden which includes a walled kitchen garden with heritage fruit trees, several different borders outside the walls, a pond, grotto, fields with alpacas and sheep, parkland and water meadows and a riverside walk along the River Test. We are hopeful that it will be a wonderful day out which will make up for the cancelled events. As soon as we know definitely that this visit can take place we will let you know.

I do hope that we will soon be able to get ‘back to normal’ so that we can enjoy all our events to the full. I will look forward to seeing you all again on a more regular basis!

In the meantime, enjoy your gardens!

January 2021

We are looking forward to rolling out our Programme for 2021 starting with our Zoom Members’ meeting on Thursday 25th February at 7.45pm when Adam Pasco will give a talk entitled “Spring into Action & Get Ready for Summer”. Very appropriate! Please do note the date THURSDAY 25TH FEBRUARY as this is not our normal meeting day but the closest to it the speaker was available.

For those of you who have not used Zoom before, please don’t worry. All you need do is to load the Zoom programme onto your computer which you can do without any cost. A meeting invitation will be sent to you nearer the time with full explanation of how to join the meeting. We are sure you will very soon become Zoom experts!

On Monday 29th March at 7.45pm Nancy Stevens will give another Zoom talk entitled “Elizabeth Blackwell: Herbalist, Botanical Artist & Love Story”. Full details of both talks are listed in the Programme. Please put both these dates into your diary!

Our Members’ Handbook and Show Schedules will shortly be delivered to Members' doors by the Committee. Members will know that this year the subscription you paid in 2020 will be carried over into 2021. If you or anybody you know of anyone who would like to join the Society please download the Membership Form complete it and send to Imelda Simons, Ropley Manor Cottage, Petersfield Road, Ropley, SO24 0DX.

Some of you who collected plants from Bloomers Polytunnel at our Plant Sale last May will remember the beautiful baskets which were hanging inside. Several people asked if they were available to buy but they were all pre-ordered. Carolyn North of Bloomers has asked me to let you know that she is currently taking orders for basket and container refills which will be available later in May. If you would like her to prepare one for you all you have to do is contact her and arrange for her to have your empty basket or container which she will fill. Carolyn can be contacted either by Mobile: 07799 187872 or Email: We will be having our Plant Sale at Bloomers on Saturday 22nd May 2021.

I look forward to joining with you for our first Zoom Members’ meeting on Thursday 25th February.

December 2020

The Committee and I have been planning for next year and I would like to update you. Our Programme is almost complete but, of course, is ‘Subject to change’!

We have decided to send the paperwork for the AGM to you all by email and ask that any questions relating to the Reports be sent to us by email. If you have any nominations for Officers, please let us have them as soon as possible.

We have arranged for our February and March Members’ meetings to be Zoom meetings. The two speakers we have booked are both experienced with Zoom and we will give you full instructions on how to join these meetings. For those of you who haven’t used Zoom before, please don’t be alarmed! It’s an amazing tool and not difficult to use. It also saves you from leaving your warm house on a cold, dark night!

The February meeting will be on THURSDAY 25TH February. I know this is not our normal meeting day, but this was the closest date to it that we could arrange for our speaker, Adam Pascoe, to give the talk. Then on Monday 29th March Nancy Stevens will give another Zoom talk. Full details of both talks will be listed in the Programme which will be available here in January. Please put both these dates in your diary! As you know, this year the subscriptions you paid in 2020 are carried over into 2021 and as there won’t be a physical AGM the Committee will deliver your 2021 Programme and Show Schedules to your door. If you know of anyone who would like to join the Society, please ask them to contact me and I will put them in touch with our Membership Secretary.

You will see the Show Schedules have been completely changed this year! Lots of different classes have been created and the Children’s Sections have been expanded. We hope you will enjoy the new format and start preparing your entries! Obviously, we don’t yet know whether we will be able to have our Spring Show on Saturday 10th April but if it is at all possible, we will put a show together.

The Plant Sale is arranged for Saturday 22nd May and as last year it will be based at the Polytunnel in Colemore with orders being taken on-line. More details later.

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: 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: 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!