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Gardening Club News & Activities




November Meeting: Where Did All The Trees Go?   - posted 14 December 2010

Andy Patmore of the Forestry Commission, based at Salcey Forest just outside Northampton. (http://www.forestry.gov.uk/salceyforest)  gave us one of our best talks so far.

He guided us from ancient woodlands and their makeup, through the Stone Age, Romans, the domesday book, Nelson, the enclosure acts, Victorian neglect, the World wars and to the present day and the future.  With the felling of many of the mature conifers, the forest is being replanted with oak and ash to return it to deciduous woodland, and is very important for conservation of native species such as butterflies and birdlife (nuthatchs and woodpeckers) and many deer. The forest at Salcey is a wonderful place to visit, with it’s amazing tree top way (visitor numbers have increased fourfold since its opening in 2005, Andy knows as they use 4 times the toilet rolls!) and great café.  There is a visitor guide available, and many walks around the forest.  The future of the Forest and the Forestry Commission is a little unclear, with a danger that some of our forests and woodland may fall in to private ownership which could be a disaster.  Visit their website for other places to visit    www.forestry.gov.uk/    and enjoy.

Peter Payne gave us his topical tips which included cleaning out your cold frames and greenhouses, plant spring cabbage for Christmas, check plant and tree ties, do some digging when conditions are right, and it was a good time to plant bare root stock before the frosts we have been suffering!

Our next meeting is Thursday 16th December, which will be our Christmas Party, with a Gardeners’ Question Time (not too serious I hope) and mulled wine and nibbles to end our year, we look forward to seeing you. 

Steve Wheeler (Media and Publicity Secretary)

October Meeting: Recipes, Allotments, Chickens and Muck!   - posted 14 November- 2010

A good crowd (with some new faces) enjoyed a very interesting and enjoyable club  night with some great contributions from some of our talented members.

Margaret Reardon started things off with a cookery demonstration, and produced a wonderful apple cake, which was demolished by everyone who had been teased by the great baking smells whilst it was cooking. And in the second half, Caroline King put a marrow to good use making marrow rum (which has since had a mishap, going mouldy), but I hope to taste the finished product from others that have given it a try. Other recipes for chutneys etc are all available.

Peter Payne gave us a talk on his ‘allotmenting’ over the years, from a small patch in the school field then off Weston Road, to his present patch in Wilson’s.   He grows a wide variety of crops beetroot, runner beans, leeks and root crops – and eats the lot! Recommendations for beginners would be salad crops and runner beans – if you need some advice I’m sure Peter will be pleased to help.

Douglas Hadfield was next with some insights into organic gardening. Showing how to make comfrey feed, and produce usable compost in 2 weeks using his designed compost bin. He explained that organic gardening is more about what you don’t do than what you do – no pesticides/herbicides, no walking on plots, no digging etc. More advice on all things organic can be found at http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/

Julia McCauliffe shared her joy of keeping chickens, which she has been doing for over 12 years. You need to be able to move the hutches around as they do trash the area they are on, and they need good protection from foxes, but the muck is very good as manure. 6 chickens for 2 people produce far too many eggs, but they are great for cooking. Here is a good place for more chicken related info http://www.keeping-chickens.co.uk/

Lots of people renewed their membership, and there will be a chance to do that again at the next meeting on 22nd November. Our speaker then will be Andy Patmore, ranger from the Forestry Commission telling us all about Salcey forest.

Steve Wheeler (Media and Publicity Secretary)

16 September Meeting  - posted 12 October 2010


Jenny's flower arranging demonstration

             Jenny's flower arranging



Hoorah … now we are 2! – and after the Club’s AGM (covered below) – members enjoyed some very nice cakes, and looked forward to another year of great meetings, and interesting talks.

Danny Moody gave us a tour of the Helmdon Primary School Wildlife Area using some excellent slides and video, which gave us a real flavour of what’s happening there. Geoff Gulliver gifted the area to the school in 1989, with the intention that it be used to teach children about wildlife and their environment. The area has had a lot of work done over the years, clearing the ever present blackthorn, nettles etc by various groups (e.g. HAFWEG), erecting a ‘dipping’ platform (sadly in a place where there is nothing to dip) and in January 2009 the area was laid out in its present design, with clear areas and paths.  There are many plans to carry on future development to the area, with bug boxes, sculptures, benches and it would be wonderful to have a pond.

Children of Helmdon have said that they loved the wildlife in the village, so hopefully the school will continue to encourage their involvement (certainly looking at the signup list for a revived HAFWEG at the recent ‘future needs day’ there is a lot of interest there). Money and people’s time are always a constraint, and hopefully the club will be able to help Danny with some person power in the near future.

Peter Payne then gave us some topical tips for the garden and allotment.  Time to organise spring onions and cabbage, prune rambling roses, reduce your buddleias by half to stop wind rock, plant your daffodils deep, plan to plant some tulips in November, and source your Carol Klein pin-up calendar for Christmas (or is that just Peter!)

Jenny Saunders made flower arranging look like something even I could do, and I’m sure it gave us some confidence to give it a try and put a little thought into things we could use to bring a bit of our gardens inside.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 21st October, with a Helmdon Cider Club presentation, recipes to use our produce, marrow rum making, and organic gardening, with a bit of chicken keeping for good measure.  Also a chance to re-join the club (still only £15!) and take advantage of all those discounts and saving on the entry to meetings – you know it makes sense, and looking at what’s planned for next year, they are going to be very good.


Steve Wheeler (Media and Publicity Secretary – very grand!)

Smartwater: A Clever Way Of Protecting Your Property   - posted 24 September 2010

               click for poster

A Chance To Join The Royal Meterological Society's New 'Weather Club'   - posted 14 September 2010

Following the Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society's lecture to the Gardening Club last month, I've received an e-mail from them telling me about a new internet weather club they've just launched.  Having looked at their website briefly, it looks very interesting.  As a member (which costs a rather hefty annual £25) you would have the chance to ask the experts questions, take a look at some of their fascinating videos about extreme weather, help The R.M.S. in recording weather patterns, a free magazine, a free thermometer etc. etc.   If you are interested, take a look at their website which is www.theWeatherClub.org.uk and see if this is for you.

Caroline King


The Helmdon Gardening Club

Top Meteorologist Talks to The Gardening Club About Climate Change   - posted 6 September 2010

With a certain sense of dread I write this report about the fascinating lecture we heard at the gardening club meeting in August from Professor Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society.  I use the word 'dread' advisedly because I tried to concentrate and jot down notes as our guest speaker progressed through his lecture ... but a scientist I most definitely am not!

Anyway, Professor Hardaker begun by describing the first attempts at weather forecasting (one of the first times being from Darwin's 'The Beagle') and ending up with the current sophisticated system used today.  The Met Office use a computer valued at approx. £30,000,000 - which only lasts for five years!  This computer anlayses data from around the globe ... whether it be from weather ships, aircraft, radar, buoys, satellites and good old fashioned thermometers.  In fact most of the data (98%) comes from the rest of the world.

To make matters more complicated Paul Hardaker touched on the world of statisics and probabilites and how they can represent different things to different people ie. the 40% chance of Scotland receiving rain tomorrow will be greeted up there with joy, whilst the 40% chance of London receving rain tomorrow will not go down so well.

We finished the lecture by learning about climate change and the effect of the CO2 gas (not necessarily the worst thing, but there is so much of it) volcanoes - which actually cool the planet, emissions, the greenhouse effect and much more.  Again the League Tables of the worst offenders for emissions can be interpreted in different ways.

The gardeners might want to go to the following website to find out about how the weather has and is affecting our gardens:  www.naturecalendar.org.uk

Needless to say it was pure joy to listen to such a brilliant scientist who communicated so wonderfully.  It was a really great evening and I'm not quite sure how we follow on after this!  I'll end by giving you the marvellous quote from Mark Twain: "Climate is what we expect.  Weather is what we get"!

Caroline King


Flower & Produce Show Very Successful    - posted 29 August 2010

The Gardening Club held its first Flower and Produce Show on Saturday 21st August. A wonderful display of vegetables, flowers and home cooked goodies were assembled in the Reading Room to be judged by Ernie Wheeler (fruit, vegetables and flowers) and Ali Templeton (home cooked produce). Both judges were impressed by the number and standard of entries for our first show, and took quite some time coming to their decisions on the winners!

In the afternoon a steady stream of people came to view the entries, see who had won, enter the raffle and enjoy a cup of tea and some home-made cake.  At the end of the day, any produce that had been donated was sold to add to the overall fund-raising effort.

Those of us on the organising committee were delighted with the support of so many people in entering and visiting the Show, and the effort that had been put into the many lovely entries. Our thanks to everyone who took part, and to all who gave us such great feedback. We will be taking note for next year…


2010 Trophy Winners

Overall Winner Vegetables: Rex Jessett

Best Individual Entry Vegetables: Rex Jessett

Overall Winner Flowers: Margaret Reardon

Best Individual Entry Flowers: Margaret Reardon

Overall Winner Fruit: Jean Brookhouse

Overall Winner Produce: (Joint winners) Margaret Reardon and Jo Turnham

Best Individual Entry Produce: Margaret Reardon

Youth section 7 years and under: Alex Hart

Youth section 8 to 11 years: Katherine Hart


Raffle winners were: Sue Lidgely, Doreen England, Sally (The Bell), Sylvia Richardson, Bill England, Alex Hart, Michael Ayres, Alex Corrin and Ros Stroud.


Posted by Julia McAuliffe (Secretary, Flower and Produce Show organising committee).

Summer Garden Party  - posted 13 August 2010

Members had a very good time at Alex’s house and garden on Saturday 31 July.

Enjoying the chance for a chat in the evening sun, with a glass of Pimms in one hand (I lost count how many jugs were served!), and some excellent food prepared by Sarah and Wiggy in the other!  Like our other socials in The Bell, it’s nice to have time to get to know each other. 

Many thanks to Alex for her hospitality (at late notice!) – and I’m sure everyone will agree despite what she says, the garden’s not that bad!

(p.s  And it was even so sunny, that my pictures were spoilt by glare, sorry). 

Steve Wheeler

Helmdon Flower & Produce Show 2010 - posted 7 August 2010

The Flower and Produce Show 2010 is taking place on  Saturday 21 August in the Reading Room, 1 pm until 5 pm.   Entry forms went to every house in the village: if you have mislaid yours contact Julia McAuliffe, 19 Wappenham Road, (01295) 760539.  These must be returned by Monday 16 August.

All are welcome to the show. Raffle, teas, and an auction of some of the items at 5 p.m.

July Meeting - A Three Speaker Night!   - posted 5 August 2010

The club had another good attendance for a varied and interesting meeting.

After a few notices – Jean Spendlove talked about the Church Harvest Festival, and has observed that the amount of ‘home produced’ produce appearing at the Church has declined in the last few years.  She explained the idea of ‘The first fruits for the Lord’, and that the festival was all about giving thanks for the things that had grown as well as passing them on to those less fortunate. So hopefully the members of the club can fill the Church with produce and flowers on the first weekend in October.

Our main speaker Dr Glyn Jones was next, with a light-hearted – but information packed talk about botanic plant names. With lots of examples and pictures, Glyn made sense of this tricky topic, and I’m sure we will all now take more interest in the ‘proper’ names knowing that there is much to learn from them. Here’s a link that you may find interesting:http://www.ipni.org/

Lastly, a visiting ex-Helmdonite  of 10 years – Joan McCann, gave us a short incite to life in Australia, with its varied wild and plant life. The heat, and lack of water being the main problems to gardeners wishing to grow even grass – not to mention the spiders and snakes that lurk under everything it seems! Although native species, such as Eucalyptus cope with their leathery leaves and peeling bark.  Joan kindly donated a book on Australia to the club, which will be available for loan. 

Mr Paine’s top tips ended the meeting (cut back those geraniums for a later flush of flowers, baking powder for blackspot, and daglock fertilizer for onions – but I haven’t spotted anyone following sheep around as yet).

Thursday 19th August, is our next meeting, which promises to be very interesting, is a lecture on weather forecasting and climate change by  Professor Paul Hardaker,the chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society. Tickets (including supper are £5 – from Bungalow Stores, or Caroline).

Steve Wheeler

Margaret Reardon's Open Garden   - posted 3 August 2010


Margaret's lovely garden Margaret's lovely garden

Over 30 people visited Margaret’s open garden, despite the heavens also opening just in time for the start!  However this didn’t stop anyone from enjoying a glass of wine, grabbing a brolly, and wandering round the very interesting garden created from scratch by Margaret and her late husband John. Some photos were on display showing the garden's development, and it shows what can be done with a good vision and lots of hard work.

Margaret raised over £160 from the evening, which will buy 4 chairs for the Reading Room, and she would like to thank everyone for braving the elements and those that helped make the evening such a success.

I have taken a photo (not on the night!) – to give a taste of the garden for those that couldn’t make it.

Steve Wheeler

UK's Weather Man Is Coming To Helmdon  - posted 17 July 2010

                                       click for poster

Members Go On Mystery Visit  - posted 8 July 2010

Jenny's garden

Jenny's beautiful garden


This month’s meeting was a club night, with a visit to a very local garden, and a quiz.

After a few notices (regarding our Garden & Produce Show, Smartwater, a watering rota for members – please contact the committee if you need details) – the first group set off for the visit, while the remainder took part in a tricky garden quiz (unless you knew national flowers that is!).

The visit was across the road to Jenny Saunders beautiful garden.  I have often admired the display at the front of the house, but was very impressed by the rest of the garden, containing a huge variety of different plants and clever features, and a vegetable patch with featured cat deterrents.  We all enjoyed the visit very much, so many thanks.

Peter’s topical tips finished the meeting (feed that bedding and baskets and remember to deadhead!).

Our next meeting promises to be very interesting, with Dr Glyn Jones giving  an amusing talk about plant naming (followed by a short talk by Jean Spendlove about harvest festival) – look forward to seeing you there.

Steve Wheeler (Media and Publicity Secretary)


Open Garden On Thursday 22 July - posted 1 July 2010

                                        click for poster

Helmdon Flower & Produce Show 2010 - posted 23 June 2010

The Flower and Produce Show 2010 is taking place on  Saturday 21 August in the Reading Room, 1 pm until 5 pm.   Entry forms went to every house in the village: if you have mislaid yours contact Julia McAuliffe, 19 Wappenham Road, (01295) 760539.

The Gardens only (not the produce section) are to be judged on Saturday 10 July  and all entries need to be in by Saturday 3 July.

The Gardening Club Visit to Peter's Farm on 5 June - posted 10 June 2010

Those of us lucky enough to visit Sue Wallace’s wonderful garden at Peter’s Farm last Saturday had a great treat.

Sue has been working especially hard in the garden recently, getting ready for the Gardening Club’s visit ... and it wasn’t time wasted!  It was quite awe-inspiring how  much effort had gone into Sue’s garden and I, for one, left feeling guilty about all the huffing and puffing that goes into creating my own very much smaller patch.

Anyway, it all looked absolutely lovely.  Early June is a tricky time to exhibit your garden: spring flowers have just vanished and the summer delights are yet to come.  Which makes Sue’s garden the sign of a true professional.  Even in this in-between phase, it all looked breathtaking.

We all had a look at the wonderful view Sue has from the back of her house and pondered on how it might look if the fields are dotted with massive wind turbines.  Bit depressing to say the least.

Thank you Sue for being such a great hostess and for arranging the weather so beautifully (how did she do that?).  We would all love to come again if we are invited!

Caroline King


Garden Security, Worms and Containers - posted 24 May 2010

The May meeting of the Helmdon Gardening Club was a mixed bag of the police, worms and container plants!

Brackley Police kindly came to give us an interesting talk on how we could protect our gardens, plants and equipment.  They gave us some fascinating information on a product called  'Smartwater’ which when painted on to any object gives that object its own unique 'DNA’ which means that if it is stolen, it can be traced back to its proper owner.  Even better for us, and less fortunate for the thief, is the fact that this substance rubs off on to their hands or clothing and can be used as conclusive proof that they are the culprits.  The police are allowed to sell this substance at a greatly reduced price (£15 rather than £60 which the manufacturer charges) and if anybody would like more information about it, please contact me and I’ll give you a leaflet.

Moving swiftly on to worms, Claire Bryant gave us a fascinating insight into her wormery which provides her with liquid plant food and wonderful compost. Although a little

wiggly worm

expensive to set up, Claire is now completely won over to this great way of turning household waste into a treat for the garden.  If you want more information please go to www.wigglywigglers.co.uk, or ask Claire for her advice.  Thanks Claire!

Mick Somerton then talked about container gardening.  Anybody who has peeked over Mick’s fence will know what a glorious garden he has achieved using mainly pots and tubs.  He showed us a new type of hanging basket which is much easier to plant up and brought with him some photos of his garden and I think most of us ere going to go home, dig up our gardens and start all over again.

Peter Payne rounded off the evening with his monthly topical tips and then we got to to shopping at our Annual Plant Sale  …  the proceeds of which go to the Club.

A really mixed  bag and a great fund evening.  Our June 17th meeting includes a mini mystery garden visit.  Absolutely not to be missed! Even if you aren’t a member you are most welcome: just £2 on the door.

Caroline King


Next Club Meeting 20 May - posted 11 May 2010

Just a reminder that our May meeting is one not to miss!  On the menu we have the following:

  • A short talk on garden security by Brackley Police
  • Claire Bryant will tell us about her wormery
  • Mick Somerton will give a talk on his wonderful container plants
  • Our Annual Plant Sale will take place on this evening: please could you bring along any plants, cuttings, seeds, garden tools or equipment that you don’t want.  This is always a lovely boost to Club funds (and a good opportunity to do some shopping!)
  • Also this will be your last chance to put your name down for our visit on the afternoon of Saturday 5th June to Sue Wallace’s magnificent garden at Peter’s Farm on the Sulgrave Road. Definitely not one to miss.

        We’ll round off the evening with Peter Payne’s topical tips.

Please do join us.  We have some exciting things planned for the summer so come and browse through the notices and leaflets before the meeting.  Guests more than welcome - just £2 on the doorl

Caroline King


April Meeting Is A Great Success   - 11 May 2010

We Garden Club goers usually enjoy our monthly meetings, but April was an outstanding success!

Mr Timothy Walker, Curator of the Oxford Botanic Gardens, came to talk to us about the problems of creating his own small garden.  We chose this subject, rather than asking Timothy to talk about the Oxford Botanic Gardens, because it was more relevant to most of us.


Timothy gave us a beautifully presented, funny and factual lecture.  Despite his immaculate credentials (as Curator of the Botanic Gardens), he – like all of us – made some basic errors when designing his own.  Never one to flinch from admitting a mistake, he often dug up the ‘evidence’ and did a spot of replanting … such as his lavender border which grew, was chopped down and then replanted!  On another occasion Timothy’s wife was scornful of his idea to throw unwanted poppy seeds onto his compost heap and she probably said “I told you so” when that area of the garden suddenly became a mini Afghanistan with poppies running riot everywhere.

One of the important things we did learn was that we all get things wrong sometimes and – with a bit of extra work – we can put them right.

We all giggled at Timothy’s attempt to lay a brick border around his lawn … which was either too high or too low.  But … this gardener’s self deprecating comments were really hiding the fact that he and his wife have created an absolutely beautiful garden.

To those of you who missed this talk, don’t worry.  We are very keen to invite Mr Walker again; he has a whole range of different topics to choose from and I know we will have a ‘full house' on his next visit.  Be sure not to miss it!

More details about Oxford Botanic Gardens can be found at www.botanic-garden.ox.ac.uk

Our next meeting is on Thursday 20 May – with a talk on garden security and a plant sale, look forward to seeing you!

Caroline King 

Gardening Centre Discounts For Gardening Club Members - posted 10 May 2010

Just a reminder about the local nurseries who will give you a discount when you show them your Helmdon Gardening Club card  (available to members only):


THE BELL PLANTATION (not cafe or already discounted/going cheap plants)


PAYNES OF TOWCESTER (shrubs, plants, bulbs and seeds only)


DAVID WILCOX:  Brackley Market only - on Saturdays ... (and possibly another day too)


APPLEGARTH NURSERIES (Chipping Norton ... long way to go but lovely nursery)  (plants only)


BARN FARM PLANTS (please take your personal Barn Farm Plants card with you.  I gave them out to members at the last meeting but if you haven't claimed yours yet, please either collect it from me at 28 Church Street or at our next meeting on the 20th May).


Caroline King



Flower & Produce Show   - posted 29 April 2010

The Flower and Produce Show will be held on Saturday 21st August in Helmdon Reading Room. The garden classes will be judged earlier, on Saturday 10th July. Judging will start at 11am so entries must be ready by 10.30am. Look out for the Schedule which will be distributed in mid-June or contact a member of the Show committee for more details.

March Social At The Bell   - posted 27 March 2010



daffodils - part of the

narcissus family


An excellent turnout for our now annual visit to the Bell for a social night.

Caroline provided us with a tricky quiz, covering many aspects of gardening (I blame the poor light for poor plant identification!), and even she was surprised that every team sang for bonus points (something even more daring required next time maybe!).

Richard and Sally provided a wonderful spread as usual, and we are happy to support an asset to our village.

Several happy members returned home with a raffle prize (except those who ate theirs in the pub!).

We return to The Reading Room on Thursday 15 April , when Timothy Walker (Director of Oxford Botanic Garden) talks to us about creating his own small garden, which should be interesting.

Steve Wheeler (Media and Publicity Secretary)

Flower & Produce Show  - posted 7 March 2010

The Helmdon Gardening Club is going to host its first Flower and Produce Show this summer (probably August).

If you can offer any help or ideas, please come to the next meeting of the Committee on Monday April 19 at 7.30 p.m. in The Bell.

Caroline King

Flower & Produce Show Becomes More Of A Probability  - posted 2 March 2010

An informal meeting was held last night (1 March) to discuss the question of holding a Flower and Produce Show this year. It all seems very possible and a  committee has been elected to organise things.

The Committee is:
Chairman: Rex Jessett & Peter Payne
Secretary: Julia McAuliffe
Publicity: Steve Wheeler and Margaret Reardon

The show will probably take place some time in August and the next meeting of this Committee will be held in The Bell Inn, Helmdon on the 12th April at 7.30 ... so please drop in and see what's going on.

Caroline King

Flower & Produce Show Committee  - posted 22 February 2010

As we discussed at our Gardening Club meeting on the 18th February, we have decided to hold some sort of flower and produce show this year.

If you would like to become part of the committee who will organise this event, or would just like to help out, please come to a meeting on Monday 1st March at 7.30 pm in The Bell Inn, Helmdon. We will discuss the proposals further and elect a committee who will run the event. Although this is being organised by the Gardening Club, anyone with an interest in contributing to this project is more than welcome.

Richard Phillips will be serving pizzas on the night (prices start at about £5) if you feel hungry!

Caroline King

Helmdon Gardeners Brave Arctic Conditions  - posted 19 February 2010


winter jasmine

Jasminum nudiflorum - winter jasmine


Despite blizzard conditions, about thirty dedicated gardeners turned up to the Helmdon Gardening Club meeting on the 18th February. They had been looking forward to listening to a talk about bees and our gardens but, sadly, Mrs. Holland who was to give the lecture, was stuck in her car (with her bees) on the way from Silverstone and had to turn back.

Instead we had a general discussion about whether or not the Club should hold its first Garden Show this year. The general opinion seemed to be that we should and all (?!) that needed to be done was appoint a committee to run the event. Despite dire warnings that this would be a very time-consuming affair, quite a few people volunteered their help and we are going to hold a separate meeting to vote in a committee. So ... not quite the Flower and Produce show that we used to enjoy at the Helmdon Carnival, but a start anyway.

Peter Payne gave us some topical tips about things we should be doing in our garden now ... including soaking beans in paraffin before sowing them! Moles in the garden came under scrutiny and many a helpful – and weird - suggestion was offered.

After a break where everybody could look at the lists of exciting outings, speakers and competitions we are having this year, we had a plant quiz with the usual heckling and queries as to the quiz-master’s competence and then (with no great hurry despite the massive snowfall) we sauntered home. A really fun evening ... even without the bees!

Caroline King
February 2010

January Meeting  - posted 14 February 2010


snowdrops (galanthus nivalis),

harbingers of spring


Over twenty members and friends and a few new faces enjoyed our meeting on Thursday 21 January.

We firstly had a visit from Anne Pullen and Ivor Floyd from the Silverstone Gardening Club. Anne gave us an idea of how their club has developed, activities and lectures they have had and have planned. They meet on the 1st Monday of the month and usually have a paid speaker which they can afford with a much larger membership, and the fact they have been going a lot longer. Last year a trip to Barnsdale was enjoyed by over 50 members, and even a weekend awayto East Anglia visiting gardens both private and RHS. Visit the Silverstone website for more information www.silverstonevillage.org/index.php  Ivor then ran through in great detail, how their club organises two Flower and Produce shows a year. It was interesting to hear the hard work and planning that is required – all very good information for us to decide if we want to run one (or two!) for our village, a subject for further discussion at our next meeting.

Simon Harris then gave us a short talk about the work of The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. With lots of data available showing how wild bird numbers seem to increase in areas that are managed for game shooting, where natural predators are controlled. More information can be found here - www.gct.org.uk/default.asp

Owen prepared a plant identity quiz again, with all the teams scoring equal marks it was down to spelling I think! – always good fun. Caroline stood in for Peter Payne and gave us some information on snowdrops and how to keep our Poinsettias going for a year – with the general consensus that they should be composted and buy a new one!

Next meeting we have Margaret Holland presenting 'A Fascinating Look Into The World Of Bees & Our Gardens', and a discussion on the garden show – hope you can make it.

Steve Wheeler (Media and Publicity Secretary)

RSPB Bird Watch  - posted 28 January 2010

Just a reminder that it is the RSPB's 'Big Garden Birdwatch' this weekend (30th-31st Jan).  If you want to take part, please go to their website and you will be able to print off a form where you can record the number of birds in your garden.  I think some of us did this last year and it's a nice lazy way to spend an hour over the weekend!

Good watching!

Caroline King

Chairman The Helmdon Gardening Cub

                          click to pre-2010 news here



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