The Summer Holidays are over but the veg garden is still going strong. This is my first attempt at growing pumpkins for Halloween and the weather must have been ideal this year. Planted the seeds back in June and when I cut the leaves back last week this is what I found! All that rain has resulted in some rapid growth. There are only two pumpkins but they are whoppers. They are a bit pale but hopefully now the leaves aren’t covering them they will start to turn a lovely orange. I’m not sure if they will grow any more but I will take my bathroom scales out and weigh them soon. I’ve put them on roof tiles so they won’t rot and put Panda there for scale!
After the seemingly endless downpour for 5 days over the Easter weekend, and with lawns and flowerbeds sodden, patience needs to be the name of the game. Combined with the cold spell, everything appears to be 2 weeks behind, but nature has a habit of catching up.
Don’t rush to plant out potatoes or sow seeds at least until the soil has returned to ‘normal’.
Harden off seedlings of plants sown last month eg. lettuce, onions and cauliflower. Prick out others as they reach the first true leaf stage. Later in the month sow runner beans, leeks, courgettes, marrows and cucumbers under glass. French beans can also be started off in the greenhouse now but don’t be too hasty to plant out in the garden as they hate cold soil. Make successive sowings of lettuce. Pot on sowings of tomatoes.
Outside, when conditions allow, sow crops of peas, broad beans, cabbage, beetroot, spinach, parsnips. Cover strawberries with fleece or cloches for an earlier crop. Trim and feed rosemary. Sow hardy annuals where they are to grow. Plant gladioli corms in groups of 5 or 6. Pinch out the dead heads of daffodils; Feed and mulch roses. Keep the hoe moving to keep weeds down.
Wood ashes should be preserved as they are invaluable, especially when mixed with heavy soils, when planting out sweet peas, gladioli and many other flowering plants that are put out in Spring.
Having had a very successful plant sale in April – many thanks to all those who supplied plants and cakes and who came to buy – our next event is the Annual Show! The Plant Sale raised over £1,000 to help cover the cost of the Show and we owe a debt of gratitude to the Co-op and its members for a further contribution of over £2,000. Further details are elsewhere in this Newsletter.
Whatever the weather between now and then, I hope everyone will have something to exhibit in the Show; and, also that we will all encourage our friends and neighbours to look in their gardens and allotments to see what there is that is worthy of being exhibited in the Show. We may be surprised to find things that are ready at the right time.
Entries can come from wider afield up to a 50 mile radius, so if you know keen gardeners, please tell them about the Show, let them know that they can see the schedule on our newly designed website, www.hortsoc.org and enter online.
For further information contact Pat Rofe on 01753 662695 or e-mail email@example.com
Also, please spread the word about the children’s classes, the art, crafts, home economics, photographic and other classes, there is sure to be something in the schedule that appeals.
Janet Cottrell, Chief Steward for the Show, has provided further information. As she has said the Show doesn’t just happen, we need volunteers to help make the event as enjoyable and successful as last year. If you have time to spare and would like to help in any way, please get in touch with Gaby Battrick on 01753 663522 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Best wishes Ruth Rooley – Chairman
START YOUR PREPARATION FOR THE ANNUAL SHOW NOW!
After a cold start to May, the warmth and rain of the last couple of weeks has resulted in a burst of activity in the garden. Everything is growing at a fast pace, including the weeds! With the Schedule for our Annual Show available on-line and in paper format, you can browse through and start to plan your entries. We have expanded our Floral Art Section to include an exhibit suitable for a table decoration and a miniature exhibit, both of which could be prepared at home and brought along on the day. This year our Men-only and Women-only cake is Date and Walnut Whiskey cake – to the recipe in the Schedule, which can be made a day or two in advance to avoid that last minute rush. For those members nurturing the fuchsia plants kindly handed out by Ray Birt at one of our lecture evenings, don’t forget to bring them along to the area set aside for this competition to see who has grown the best specimen.
Class 1 is a Horticultural Display 1500mm x 1000mm staged against the marquee. Traditionally this has been an inter-society competition, but it is also open to individuals. If anyone would like to take on the responsibility of preparing this exhibit on behalf of our Society, we would be very pleased to hear from you. Contributions for the display will be provided by Society members (so don’t discard those spare veg., fruit and flowers), but we need someone with an artistic flair to put it together.
Our Show cannot go ahead without a willing band of volunteers to set up, run round and then take it down again (don’t worry this doesn’t apply to the marquee), but we do need to support those of advancing years with some younger legs. There are lots of jobs that Graham Battrick and his team have to complete, starting on the Wednesday afternoon before the Show and finishing on the Sunday morning afterwards. Can you help for just an hour or two?
Inside the marquee I particularly require helpers on Thursday 27th July from 2pm to cover all the tables with white plastic prior to laying out the various sections for the classes. Immediately after the prize-giving I require people to wipe down the plastic covering and roll it up again. The more volunteers we have the quicker the job can be done. Our Annual Show always runs at a loss (due to the cost of hiring the marquee) so we need to generate funds to cover this. One activity is our Spring Plant Sale, but another is the Bottle Tombola at the Show. The more bottles we have donated, the more profit we make. If every member donated at least one bottle I wouldn’t have to buy any (I generally spend nearly £200 on bottles). Any type of bottle is acceptable, but obviously better quality bottles are a bigger crowd-puller. Please ensure your bottle is within its sell-by date. If anyone would like to help on the bottle stall or coconut shy for an hour or two, please get in touch with me. See you in July!
Janet Cottrell – Chief Steward T: 01753 646811
As some of you will know, the Paulownia that we planted in memory of former President Emeritas Jim Ireland, was badly vandalised recently, to the point where it would not be possible for it to be repaired.
It is our intention to acquire a new, more established specimen, however this will come at a significant cost. As a result of putting this sad episode on Facebook, donations have been offered by shocked residents and a collection box placed in the coffee shop has raised £39.97 in two weeks for which we are enormously grateful. Further donations will be gratefully received (please contact Ruth Rooley or Jon Homan).
The Hortsoc website has been completely redesigned and re-launched and is available at www.hortsoc.org. In addition to details of events, a photo gallery and membership, the website now has the Show Schedule, Exhibitor Entry Form, Stallholder Application and Membership Application Forms available to view, print or complete as necessary.
A considerable amount of effort has been involved in creating the new design and content, and our grateful thanks go to my Son-in-Law, Robert Silverton – who lives in New Zealand, for his time and work. We urge you to have a look at the website which contains some useful information and links. Seasonal tips will be added monthly and we would be delighted to receive contributions for inclusion – please contact Jon Homan.
THE MOBBS MEMORIAL TROPHY
This new trophy is awarded to the individual or group that has made a significant difference to the Show or the Society in the past year. It is to be judged by popular vote but if the votes cast are for an individual or group that has won the cup in either of the last two years, it will be awarded to the next eligible contender.Voting is open to all members and votes should be submitted in a sealed envelope to the Chairman in the week leading up to the Show, or at the Committee tent at the Show and will be counted at 4pm on the day of the Show.
CO-OP LOCAL CAUSES FUND
The Society was recently presented with a cheque for the amazing sum of £2,064 from the Co-op Local Causes Fund by Justin and Danielle of the Co-op Store. We are immensely grateful to the Co-op and the wonderful villagers who support the Society. This money will help towards the costs of the 124th Annual Show on 29th July. A photograph of the presentation can be seen below and in the gallery on our website.
The trip to the Chiltern Hillside Garden at Bledlow Ridge will take place on 18th July. The next lecture is scheduled for 20th September.
Roger Beauchamp – President
A very warm welcome to our newest members – Gwyneth De Camps, Felicity Hawkins, John Field, Graham & Susanne Hayes. We look forward to seeing you at future meetings.