The closing month of the year, again a difficult year for gardeners, with long spells of hot dry weather during the summer and periods of very wet weather during the autumn, but judging by the entries at our autumn show in September our members struggled through & produced some amazing exhibits. Jobs in the garden this month, fortunately not so many as previous months, keep on top of clearing up the fallen leaves, and if there is any snow , remember to shake this off your shrubs as the added weight can deform branches and spoil the plant. If during cold weather your Winter flowering pansies do not look too special, just leave them and once the temperature goes above 5 degrees C. they will soon pick up and give you a good showing in the early Spring. With the unseasonably mild Autumn, pleasant though it might be, it did not kill off all those garden pests allowing them to thrive, search them out and destroy them as soon as possible. Another, not too pleasant, task that needs your attention is washing down the greenhouse, inside and out removing all algae and dirt, when this has been done give the base a good soaking of diluted Jeyes fluid paying particular attention to all the corners, nooks and crannies where bugs like to hide. On a more pleasant note, on cold wet days, nothing is better than being in the warm planning next years planting, our seeds order system, I am pleased to say is again available this year, please contact committee member Julie Dowsett, for the Dobbies catalogue, same system as last year, with your seed catalogue you will be give a unique ref. number, quote this when ordering & you will get a big discount on seeds, and a lesser discount on plug plants & garden sundries, remember with the ref. Number, you can use this throughout the coming year, you save money on your order & the club benefits financially from money spent by you, our members, every ones a winner!
On Monday 19 of October, our speaker for the evening was Christina Stapley, from Calne, the subject being “Herbs” although there were problems with the projector, it was a very interesting evening with the various herbs being passed round to members Christina was a very accomplished speaker and held everyone’s interest, we hope we can get her to come back next year with further information on these interesting plants. We have a full programme for the coming year so do not forget to renew your membership at our January meeting, no meeting as such this month, but do not forget our Christmas social, competitions, quiz an American style supper & of course great company. As I mentioned earlier, a busy year coming up, here are a few special dates for your diary; 7th of March, a “special” evening with our guest for the night Pippa Greenwood, that well known TV, radio broadcaster & writer, with a talk entitled, “grow great veg. —-& have fun” tickets are £10 each, sorry no concessions, tickets available at club nights, better hurry as theses are selling out fast! There will be plenty of free parking, refreshments a raffle & book signing. Further dates for you, Spring show on the 9th of April, plant sale on Saturday 14th of May, visit to an open garden on Monday evening, 20th of June & our Autumn show on Saturday 17th of September.
Well I think that is all for this article & for this year, so it only remains on behalf of the committee members of Wroughton & District gardener’s Society to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy gardening New year and I hope your continued interest in these series of notes throughout the coming year.
on Saturday, the 19th of September we held our annual Autumn show, we were very lucky with the weather, bright & sunny all day, this usually helps with the attendance figures, the day got off to an early start, with many exhibiters staging the exhibits from opening the hall doors. There were sixty four entrants, including children, with close on four hundred exhibits between them, the main hall & the stage looked very impressive, with a high standard of all the entries. As many of you will know the weekend of July the 4th & 5th we held our very first Wroughton front garden competition, organised by our sub committee, Chris Cossey, Jess Bailey, Julie Dowsett & Glyn Blackwell, & judged by Jeff Bolton & Noel Williams. As previously reported it was a very successful event & the results were eagerly awaited by those who entered. the committee decided to award the certificates to the winners & present a cheque for six hundred and fifty pounds to Wiltshire ambulance during the show. The best front garden was won by Oliver & Josie Payne, Alexander Park, the best private garden planter was won by Christine Barlow, Swindon Road, The 3rd Wichelstowe Cubs & Beavers won the award in the schools & community group, while the Orchards residential home, in Perrys Lane won the award in the business & care home category. Full results can be found on our website www.wroughtongardenerssociety.co.uk at the end of the afternoon our vice chairman John Smith presented the awards & trophies to the winners, amongst the many winners, too many to mention, here are just a few; Roy Giles won the RHS “Banksian medal”, with the RHS bronze medal going to Richard West, Richard also went on to win the National dahlia society silver & bronze medals, the National Vegetable Society medal went to Clive Dards, the Chairman’s choice this year being awarded to David Herbert. The member’s class, for a pot grown chrysanthemum, purchased at the Spring plant sale, was won by Glyn Blackwell. Another great show our thanks go to our hard working show secretary, Debbbie Jordan & her team of helpers, special thanks for those who gave up their time on the Friday afternoon & evening setting up the show, plus special thanks to all who helped clear up afterwards. Joy Wheals and her team provided yet another excellent judges lunch, Molly Western & her team for providing an endless supply of teas , coffees & cakes to our visitors throughout the afternoon , many thanks to Julie Dowsett for running the auction & Chris & Sarah Cossey booking in the entries & collating the results, not forgetting John smith for writing out all those prize winner’s cards. For those not aware of the fact, the two flowerbeds outside the hall are planted & maintained by the gardening club & very good they looked too, giving a good impression to all visitors to the show, we are grateful to those members who help maintain these flowerbeds keeping them looking their best.
On Monday the 21st of September our speaker for the evening was Dr. Lee Hayward, with a talk entitled “The kingdom of fungi”, Lee’s talk illustrated the huge variety of fungi in the UK, and Lee had brought along a large selection of fungi, picked earlier that day. We were told how fungi clear up all organic matter & just how many everyday products simply would not exist without fungi, from food, drinks & medicines . The fungi we are all familiar with is in fact not the actual fungi, this a thread like structure under the ground, the part we see is just the fruiting bodies. A very interesting talk by a speaker passionate about his subject. The member’s monthly competition, “a herb”, was jointly won by Molly Western & Holly Barrand, following the chairman’s report & raffle the meeting closed at 9-45pm. Our meeting this month, on Monday 16th of November, will be our AGM with our member’s competition will be “any Winter shrub”.
Some advance information for you , on Monday March the 7th, we will be holding one of our special guest evenings, with our guest will be Pippa Greenwood, well known TV & radio broadcaster, Pippa will be giving a talk entitled “Grow great veg……..& have fun”, following her talk Pippa will be doing a book signing, tickets cost £10 per head, inclusive of light refreshments. This will be a popular event so get your name down early for tickets, initial ticket sales will be restricted to Club members, following that, will be on sale to the general public.
A final thought, be your garden large or small, the following quotation from Gertrude Jekyll is very appropriate, “The size of a garden has very little to do with it’s merit, it is the size of the owner’s heart, brain & goodwill that make his garden either delightful or dull”.
I will keep the gardening tips short, this month, as there is a lot of Club news to report. The month of November, the weather can be very variable, so take advantage of good days and do as much Winter digging as possible, for there will be long periods , in Winter, when the soil will not be workable. Tidying up at this time of the year a garden can transform it’s appearance, hoeing off the weeds & lightly forking over flower beds, where appropriate, will make everything look so much better. Urgent jobs this month; cover vulnerable outdoor plants with horticultural fleece. Clear out and move under cover decorative containers that are not frost resistant without delay, plant rose bushes if conditions permit, otherwise just heel into the ground if the weather looks frosty. On a dry day make one final cut of the lawn, clean off, oil and store away the mower for the Winter. Prune wisteria, for increased flowering next year. Clear up all fallen leaves, leaving nowhere for slugs & snails to overwinter, use fallen leaves to make leaf mould, just gather them up, put into a black dustbin bag, cut a few air holes & put behind the shed & forget all about them until next Spring. Harvest winter vegetables, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, spinach, turnips & swedes.
We held our monthly meeting on the 17th of August, when our speaker was Carl Saddler with a talk entitled, “Making trugs, by a miserable trugger”, Carl while making a trug, took us through the history & the regional variations of these useful items interspersed with interesting & amusing anecdotes. After the talk various size trugs were for sale and these were eagerly snapped up by members. The member’s monthly competition “a useful small garden tool” was won by Noel Williams with an antique daisy grubber. The meeting closed with the Chairman’s report, notes and the raffle. Our speaker for our this month, Monday the 19th of October, will be Christina Stapely giving a talk on “Herb cultivation” and our member’s monthly competition will be “the best seed head”. On Sunday the 23rd of August, 28 members and guests travelled to Heale House & Wilton House Gardens, after a rather wet start, within three quarters of an hour of arriving at Heale House the rain stopped and we enjoyed the rest of the day being warm and sunny. The two gardens could not have offered a greater contrast Heale House compact full of interesting plants, fruit, vegetables & trees, the mulberries were delicious! Plus a welcoming cafe and plant sales, all on the banks of the river Avon. In contrast Wilton House a very large stately house set in rolling park land, with the river Nadder flowing through the grounds & crossed by the famous Palladium bridge. All those who went on the trip thoroughly enjoyed their day, I must also mention and say a big thank you to Brian Richards, a Club member, who arranged the coach & drove it for us, the outward trip took us past Stonehenge returning across Salisbury plain, passing through Tidworth, Marlborough eventually returning to Wroughton at 6-30 pm, a full day, a boot load of plants as well! My closing thought for this month is “Every man reaps what he sows in life, except the amateur gardener”.
October, this is one of the loveliest months of the year, as the leaves change colour and the garden puts on it’s final show before the return of Winter. Give priority to those jobs that won’t wait , try and get the Winter digging done while the soil is not too wet and the soil gets maximum benefit for being turned and left exposed throughout the Winter, weathering this not only helps breaking down the soil, but exposes soil-born pests for hungry predators, such as birds. This is an ideal time if you are laying new turf. Tidy round the garden clearing up all fallen leaves and other rubbish such as branches, discarded labels and old flower pots. Leaves left on beds and borders encourage slugs & snails. Clean all garden canes free from soil & giving the end that has been in the ground a good soaking in a preservative, this will not only make them last longer & also reduces the risk of harbouring pests. Old soil or compost in pots and seed trays should be washed off with a garden disinfectant, better now than on colder days later in the Winter. Harvest remaining fruit & vegetables, sow hardy annuals, sweet peas and lettuces under glass. Plant Spring flowering hardy annuals and biennials as soon as possible. Plant up window boxes & hanging baskets for Winter interest. Plant Spring flowering bulbs, in the garden & in containers. Plant garlic, Spring cabbage and Japanese onions. Lift corms & tubers such as gladioli and dahlias, store in a frost free place. Bring in pelagoniums and half hardy fuchsias growing in pots and containers.
Our speaker for our July meeting was Matt Simpson of “Simpsons seeds” a small family run business, in an old walled garden, near Longleat, Matt’s talk took us through taking over the garden clearing & developing it after years of neglect. Simpsons seeds specialise in capsicums, tomatoes & cucumbers, although they stock a large range of other seeds & plants, developing many new varieties, some of which Matt brought along for us to taste, also available was a range of sauces manufactured as a by-product using fruit pulp left over after extracting the seeds. The sauces ranged from the quite mild to , as he put it, “the totally “insane” at 1.3 million on the Schoville scale, as against 10,000 Schovilles for a Jalapeno pepper! We all enjoyed Matt’s talk & were very pleased to hear that he wished to donate his speaker’s fee for the evening to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance service, a very thoughtful gesture. The member’s monthly competition “A bowl of soft fruit” was won by the author of these notes with a dish of tayberries & strawberries, which were quickly eaten on returning home. The meeting closed with the Chairman’s notes, who thanked all those committee members who organised the Wroughton Front Garden Competition and all those people who took part, it was generally agreed this had been a very successful event for the village, bringing people together & got so many going round the gardens to vote. The evening was rounded off with the raffle and the meeting closed at 9-25pm
Our speaker for September will be Dr. Lee Hayward, with a talk entitled “The world of Fungi”, hopefully Lee will be able to bring along some examples if the weather is right for them to appear. The member’s competition will be “A herb” so let us have a lot of entries please, nothing could be simpler!, lets make it a good competition. Do not forget it is our Autumn show on Saturday the 19th of September, plenty of classes for all, beginners, experts & children alike, so please have a go and enter something, but if you are not entering, please come along in the afternoon for a cup of tea & a slice of home made cake & catch up with old friends. Please see in this edition of the Wrought monthly our poster for the Show.
As a last thought I will share this statement with you, “An addiction to gardening, is no bad thing, considering the other choices one has in life”.
This month after a couple of restful months there are suddenly lots of jobs to be done in the garden, some of which need to be done now. The summer borders will be past their best & now is a good time to think about your Spring borders, planning for a good display. If we are unlucky and have an early frost the transition between Summer & Autumn can seem very abrupt, but alternatively the fine weather can continue through until the end of the month, with some fine sunny days. This is the month when you need to be alert to the weather forecasts and the changing weather conditions and be one step ahead, so that everything is in place before that first frost. Autumn is a good time to take late cuttings and for planting trees, while the soil has some residual warmth. Jobs that will not wait; harvest fruit & vegetables, store apples and pears for Winter use, sow hardy annuals that are to be overwintered, although they may need some protection during harsh winters. Plant out wallflowers & forget-me-nots to give them time to establish before Winter sets in. Plant spring flowering bulbs giving priority to the daffodils, as they begin their root growth earlier than most other bulbs. Before that first frost, lift tender perennials, such as fuchias & pelargoniams, store under cover to overwinter. Move late flowering chrysanthemums, that are in pots, into the greenhouse or conservatory for protection, a quick reminder here, those of you who purchased chrysanthemums from the club I hope these are now growing well & you will be able to bring them to our Autumn Shown, this month & the AGM in October. Maintain pest & weed control so that you are not storing up problems for next year. Now is also a good time to prune and train summer fruiting raspberries & their hybrids, stems that have fruited this year, cut down to just above the ground, tie in all the new growth, for this is where next year’s fruits will form, I always give mine a good mulch of old manure as this both feeds the plants & helps protect the roots during harsh weather, plant out new strawberry plants, leaving it any later will result in poor fruiting next year.
Club News: On Monday the 15th of June, instead of our monthly meeting at the Ellendune hall, we visited an open garden taking part in the National open gardens scheme Yellow book,. Thanks go to Jess Bailey for all her hard work organising the evening to the Old Mill at Ramsbury. Sixty eight people travelled to Ramsbury & it was well worth the trip, the Old Mill formerly a watermill situated on the river Kennet running through the garden, feeder streams & the mill race provided a stunning backdrop to the garden with a lot of informal planting, an orchard, kitchen garden and wild flower meadow complete with life size statues of two deer. Or host for the evening was Mrs Dallas who was very accommodating with so many visitors to her garden, we must thank Jess Bailey again & Mrs Dallas for all their help dispensing the teas, coffees & cakes many of which were generously donated by members, we were very fortunate with the weather, the perfect English Summer evening, this will be hard to improve on next year.
On the subject of gardens, do not forget the Club trip to Heale House garden & Wilton House garden we are organising on Sunday 23rd of August. Cost; members at £20 & non-members at £22 per head respectively inclusive of coach travel & entrance fees to both locations, for booking or further information please contact me, Peter Wheals on 01793 875509 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Our meeting this month on Monday 17th of August will be Carl Saddler a woodsman, who will be giving us a talk entitled “Making trugs by a miserable trugger” with I am sure plenty of interesting tales & anecdotes.
Our member’s competition for this month will be “A useful small garden tool” so let us all try & think of something interesting to bring along to the meeting, there must be something lurking at the back of the shed! Over the weekend of the 4th & 5th of July we held our Wroughton garden competition, with proceeds to being divided between the Wiltshire Air Ambulance & the Gardening Club. The competition was open to 1 Private properties,2 Businesses, Shops, Public houses & Nursing homes, 3 Community organisations & Churches, 4 Schools & youth groups, with the competition covering the Parish of Wroughton, which covers Wroughton, Thorney Park, Langton Park, Alexander Park, & Wichelstowe. The weather over the weekend was very good with the Saturday being particularly hot, it was very pleasing to see so many people touring round the village with their voting sheets, welcome relief was available at two locations in Baileys Way where drinks & cakes were available. There were many varied & imaginative gardens & planters on display, & entrants were to be applauded for all the hard work they had put in & for taking part in the competition. Thanks go to our judges Noel Williams & Jeff Bolton who toured round every exhibit taking photographs and arriving at their results. Results and winners will be reported in the September edition of the Wroughton monthly.
Some advance notice for you, we will be holding our annual Autumn show on Saturday 19th of September, schedules available from Debbie Jordan, our Show Secretary, tel 814153 or electronically for download on email@example.com so plenty of time to get something ready to exhibit, remember without your entries we would not only, not have a show or most probably not have the best Autumn show in the area!
On a final note “Weather means more when you have a garden. There is nothing like listening to a shower & think how much good it is doing the garden”.