Winter Newsletter 2014
Too wet, too cold, too windy! This can be a frustrating time of year for gardeners; the shortage of daylight coupled with the challenging weather means that quite a lot of our gardening is done on the inside, either in the greenhouse, the home or in our imaginations. It is a good time to take stock and plan for a new season. Some of our members have already begun by ordering Thompson and Morgan seeds through the society. T & M offer a 50% discount if we have an order of more than £150. This year we easily achieved the target as our order totalled £228. This is now the only seed ordering service the society offers as there were insufficient orders from members to support both Suttons and Thompson and Morgan. I usually send the order in by the end of November and the seeds arrive before Christmas. If
you are interested in ordering next autumn please contact me and I will make sure that you receive a catalogue in October.
I wonder what kind of growing conditions seeds will have this year. Last summer was glorious and the Morning Glory and Gerberas that I sowed did very well. (O.K the Gerberas were a more hardy strain from Thompson and Morgan!) The lovely weather meant that our entries for the autumn show fruit and vegetable classes were up by 55% on the previous year. The wet summer of 2012 proved disastrous for many crops but who knows what 2014 will bring.
Our Bovingdon Bake Off (at the autumn show) was quite well supported but perhaps with the growing popularity of The Great British Bake Off on T.V. more people will be inspired to try their hand and enter something in either the summer or autumn show. Our spring show is on the 12th April and we have a new class in Section VII – Children’s exhibits. Class 257 is for a pot of daffodils grown by a child. Bulbs were given out in the autumn but there is still time to buy and plant some if they are quick. So encourage your children or grandchildren to have a go.
Last year’s events ended with our social evening in November. After a tasty two course supper we enjoyed a lively game of skittles. The alley was set up down the centre of the Memorial Hall and teams were very competitive in their bid to make the highest score. Techniques varied from brute force (mainly
adopted by the men) to cheeky spin shots. Getting all 9 skittles to fall proved more difficult than we thought but it was fun trying and we raised £700 for the Hospice of St. Francis.
Our first event for this year is the talk by John Branham which unfortunately was cancelled last year due to him being admitted to hospital. The talk is entitled “How to Feed A Family Of Four From A Modest Vegetable Plot”. John is a prize-winning grower and I am sure that we could all learn some tips from
him. This will be in the Baptist church at 7.30 on 13th March. We have more events planned for this year including a talk by Helen Yemm, gardening writer for the Daily Telegraph, in May and a guided walk at College Lake nature reserve in June. More details of these events will be in later newsletters.
This year we will not be opening the supplies hut at the back of the Memorial Hall. Over recent years there has been a steady decline in numbers of members using this facility and on some Saturdays the person manning the hut had no customers at all! More members are using the bulk order which is
delivered at the beginning of March. You should have a list and order form with your 2014 year book if you wish to make an order.
So far our winter has been snow free but if we do have a fall it will bring the birds flocking to our gardens. After plants birds are probably the most essential items for an interesting garden. Many of us put out food and by offering a variety of seeds, nuts and fat a wide number of different species
can be attracted. There is no more beautiful sight than watching a group of Long Tailed Tits hanging on a feeder. Sadly several of our native species such as Sparrows and Starlings are in decline but in the part of the village where I live there are groups of both of these. The cheeky Sparrows use my pond to
bathe as well as visiting the feeders. On the weekend of 25th and 26th January the RSPB is running the Big Garden Birdwatch. To take part you need to spend one hour recording the number of each species that comes into your garden. You then enter your results on the RSPB website. This is an interesting activity and an excuse for parents to have an hour of relaxation or an engaging task for the children. If you are lucky you may see some interesting winter visitors such as the exotic looking Waxwings and Fieldfares which both feed on berries. So why not take part in this important survey?
A Happy New Year to all our members and we hope to see you at one of our events in 2014.