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Gardening Club News & Activities


Chris Beardshaw At Middleton Cheney: Gardeners Book From Saturday - posted 27 June 2017

A reminder that the Garden Designer, TV and Radio personality, and multi RHS Gold medal award winner Chris Beardshaw will be giving an illustrated talk at Chenderit School, Middleton Cheney on Thurs 5th October 2017 at 7.30pm. The talk is entitled “100 Plants that Almost Changed the World”.

Tickets, at £15 each, are available from 1st July from Middleton Cheney Library or online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/MCLSG

They are expected to sell out quite quickly, so get yours soon (from this Saturday) if you wish to go.

Extended Deadline For Hanging Basket and Patio Display Classes - posted 24 June 2017

Congratulations to all those who entered the Garden classes of the Flower and Produce Show last week. The entries were of a very high standard. The judge had a hard time deciding on the winners who will be unveiled at the Show on 26 August. 


It is not too late to take part in this year’s show. The Closing date for entries to the Hanging Basket/wall Trough and Patio Displays has been extended to 21 July with judging on the 25th.

Entries can be made in writing using the entry forms in the show schedule or by emailing ward@btinternet.com and paying at the show on 26 August.


Entries for all other classes close on 22 August.

First Entry Deadline for Flower Show Approaches - posted 06 June 2017

The first Flower and Produce Show deadline is approaching. Entries for the Garden categories close on 14 June. The garden categories this year are:


1. Garden Bed or Border

2. Cottage Garden

3. Vegetable Plot

4. Water Feature

These will all be judged on Saturday 17 June

5. Hanging basket or trough display

6. Patio display

These will be judged on the evening of 25 July


Entries can be made in writing using the entry forms in the show schedule or by emailing ward@btinternet.com and paying at the show on 26 August.


We know there are some beautiful gardens in Helmdon so please enter and help to make the show successful.

May Gardening Club News - posted 14 May 2017

Our next meeting is on Thursday 18th May, when we will be having a talk, with plants for sale, from Swines Meadow Farm Nursery. 7.30pm in the Reading Room as usual.

Please remember that I need names for the June outing before the end of this month, and payment too if possible. I still need to fill a few more places to make the outing viable so do pass the message around if you know anyone who might be interested in joining us.

Incidentally – a slightly unusual request! If anyone has a garden pond and can spare me a few pond snails I would be grateful. We had to empty and reline our pond this year, and although most of the wildlife has returned (including the newts), I am still sadly lacking in snails. They seem to do a good job of clearing up the detritus so I could do with a few to repopulate. Land snails not required – I have plenty of those!!

(01295) 760539

The Flower & Produce Show Is Here Again - posted 14 May 2017

Details of the 2017 Flower and Produce Show are now available. Show Schedules will be posted to all homes in Helmdon over the next few days. If anyone doesn’t receive a copy or wants another copy it can be downloaded here.

An innovation this year sees judging for the garden categories split: Garden Borders, vegetable patches, cottage gardens and water features will be judged on 17 June 2017 when many people believe their borders are at their best. Last year we saw this was too early for hanging baskets and patio displays so those will be judged on the evening of Tuesday 25 July.

Another change is the abolition of the separate baking class for men only. The general feeling was that this was a bit outdated. Instead there will be a a baking challenge for all novice or occasional bakers over the age of 12. The recipe for this is a Banana Bread. For the more advanced baker the challenge will be to bake a Lemon Curd Layer Cake.

Entry forms are included in the show schedule but additional forms can be downloaded here: (PDF Version, MS Word Version).

This year we are grateful for sponsorship from Material Change, the operators of the Blackpits Compost and Renewable Energy plants.

Last year’s show was a success with an increase in the number of entries. More entries means more enjoyment for everyone: please join in.

Phillip Ward for the Show Committee

April Gardening Club News - posted 17 April 2017

Our next meeting is on Thursday April 20th, 7.30pm in the Reading Room as usual. This month, with our gardens all springing into life, Andrew Mikolajski will be coming to talk to us on:

“Topical tips for April” which covers aspects such as plants to enjoy, gardens to visit, pruning (or not!), likely pests, etc., specific to this time of year.

I will be bringing a list to sign up for the outing on June 22nd , to the Swiss Garden and Kathy Brown’s garden (£30 for members, £35 for non-members). I know lots of people enjoyed Kathy’s talk last month so I hope many of you will be able to come and enjoy her garden too. I think it is well worth a visit!

(01295) 760539

Flower & Produce Show 2017 - posted 15 April 2017

This year’s Flower and Produce Show will be on 26 August - Bank Holiday Saturday.

Once again we are looking for Sponsors. Sponsorship helps to fund separate competitions for school aged children and by covering some of the organising costs increases the donations we can make to our local charities, which this year will be Katherine House Hospice and Dogs for Good.

Some other dates for your diary are:
  • Entries for Garden Classes will close on 21 June
  • Judging for garden borders, cottage garden, vegetable patch and water features will be on 24 June
  • Judging for Hanging Baskets and Patio Displays will be on 29 July
  • Entries for all other show classes will close on 22 August

Full details of the competition classes will be in the show schedules which will be circulated in May.

Phillip Ward for the Show Committee

New Discount & Bell Plantation Event - posted 05 April 2017

Good news for those of you who use Buckingham Garden Centre. We are now being added to their list of Gardening Clubs entitled to a discount on joining their own club scheme. This means you can join their garden club for £5 instead of £10, and then be entitled to the discounts and offers this provides. You will need to show your current membership card to get this discount.  Information available here: http://www.buckinghamgardencentre.co.uk/gardencard.html

Also, I have recently received a message from The Bell Plantation about an event next week, Thursday 13th April 6pm-9pm.

They have James Alexander-Sinclair coming to give a talk offering inspiration and advice and he will also be doing a Q&A session. James is an award winning writer, a compelling speaker, frequent broadcaster and an elected member of the Council of the Royal Horticultural Society. It is completely free to attend and you will also get the opportunity to shop the new spring plant selection and enjoy a complimentary glass of prosecco. There are more details about The Bell Plantation and the event here - https://www.bellplantation.co.uk/portfolio/springlaunch/

Hope these may be of interest,


(01295) 760539


Outing To Swiss Garden and Steventon - posted 29 March 2017

Plans are coming together for our Summer outing on Thursday June 22nd. The idea is to go, by coach, first to the Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth near Biggleswade. There we will have a couple of hours to explore the garden. There is a restaurant where lunch can be purchased, or you may prefer to bring a picnic. After lunch, we will go on to the village of Stevington to visit the garden of Kathy Brown (who gave us the talk on containers in March). As Stevington village has very small lanes, there will be a short walk to the garden from the coach stop. There we will have a guided tour of Kathy’s fascinating and beautiful garden, and I hope we can sample some of her delicious cakes before making our way home again.

The cost for the day is likely to be £30 for members (£35 for non-members). This will include the coach travel, entry to the gardens and the tour and afternoon tea cost. Lunch is payable separately, so that you are free to choose what you wish to eat.

This is all dependent on getting sufficient numbers. I will be bringing a list to sign up at the next meeting on April 20th, but it would be very useful if members could let me know if they intend to come as soon as possible.


(01295) 760539


"Distinctive Containers" For March Meeting - posted 14 March 2017

We had a successful outing to Evenley in February, a good group of us managed to avoid the worst of the weather and see a lovely selection of snowdrops, crocus and narcissi. In March we are back in the Reading Room for a talk:

Thursday March 16th, 7.30pm:  Kathy Brown will be speaking on “Distinctive Containers: Spring and Summer”.

Kathy Brown has a lovely garden in Stevington near Bedford, which she opens to the public. She has written books on Container Gardening and Edible Flowers amongst others, has been a Silver Medal winner at Chelsea, and makes wonderful cakes! I am hoping to arrange a Club outing to her garden in the summer (provisional date June 22nd).      Non-members also welcome at a charge of £3 on the door.

Hope to see you there,


(01295) 760539


Talk At Sulgrave - posted 23 February 2017

Village Hall.  Monday 6th March @ 7.30pm. 

Tickets £4.00pp 

available from Ingram Lloyd, Tel 760520.  Shrimp Christy, 760214. 

or Sulgrave Village Shop 

Dream Gardens.  Dr Chris Mortimer 

About Chris: I have taught Chemistry as a Career, long retired but I have always liked gardening and major D.I.Y.  Some 45 years ago I moved from Manchester with my wife Jess and two small boys to Samlesbury Bottoms, between Preston and Blackburn where we bought a derelict building which had been industrial stabling and 3/4 acres of river bank in a narrow, deep, valley of the River Darwen.  There were interesting ruins in the river bank as there had been an early cotton spinning mill on the site.  This had been demolished and covered with a few feet of cinders from another mill. 
Here I have developed a garden which I have extended a few times as adjacent land became available.  I work on the principle that gardens should be fun and not involve too much fiddly maintenance.  I have opened for the N.G.S. for some 25 years. 
(see. ngs.org, Lancashire, Mill Barn and millbarn.net) 

Hywel and Ingram Lloyd have seen this garden evolve and extend for at least 40 years.  It never fails to amaze us as to the next civil engineering project Chris takes on, nothing seems impossible to him.  Combined with this unbridled enthusiasm and deep understanding of plants is his wonderful planting to complement and enhance the site. 

His garden is open for the NGS on Saturday/Sunday June 3.4 & 10.11 

Evenley Wood Outing To Go Ahead  - posted 11 February 2017

The most popular date for the outing to Evenley Wood garden is Wed 22nd Feb, so I have booked a guided tour for us then. We will meet at the entrance to the garden at 2pm, and the cost will be £10 each, payable on the day.

We need at least 10 people, so if anyone on the list can no longer come then please let me know, and if anyone else would like to come along they would be most welcome to join us. I hope we can car share as much as possible, so if anyone would like a lift do ask me.


(01295) 760539


February Gardening Club Outing To Evenley Wood - posted 28 January 2017

The Gardening Club event for February was planned as an outing to Evenley Wood Garden to see the wonderful snowdrops there. There did not seem to be a great deal of enthusiasm at the last meeting for the suggested date of Wed 22ndFeb, so I wondered if a weekend date might be more popular? It is only really worth going as a Club outing if at least 10 people go, as then we can book a guided tour (£10 each). Otherwise anyone who wants to go could do so at their own convenience for the normal entry of £5.

If you would be interested in a guided tour then please let me know as soon as possible and indicate which of the following dates/times would be suitable for you. Please include as many possible dates/times as you can to increase the possibility of matching up with others.

Evenley outing dates/times. Please delete any that are not suitable:

Wed 22nd Feb     am/pm

Sun 19th Feb       am/pm

Sat 25th Feb         am/pm

Sun 26th Feb       am/pm


I will then see if there is a time when at least 10 of us can get together!

Many thanks,


(01295) 760539


Successional Planting at January Meeting - posted 15 January 2017

This month we welcome Chris Day from Buckingham Garden Centre to our meeting on Thurs Jan 19th (7.30pm in the Reading Room as usual). His talk is entitled: Successional Planting (year-round).

“Maximising the productivity of the vegetable plot or garden border is one area of gardening techniques which often passes us by. There are a number of techniques we can employ to keep the colour and the crops moving throughout the seasons. Chris highlights some of the plants which make this possible as well as look at some of the latest developments in the world of gardening.”

Now is the time to renew your membership if you haven’t already done so - £15 for the year. This covers entry to at least 5 talks and our garden party, plus preferential rates for our 2 main outings. You can also take advantage of the Dobies seed discount scheme, please ask Ros for details at the meeting.

I am trying to arrange an outing to Evenley Wood Garden in February (possibly Wed 22nd Feb), more details at the meeting.  If you are interested in this but cannot come to the meeting next week then please let me know so that I can keep you informed.

Julia McAuliffe




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