Winter 2016 Newsletter

December 21, 2016


Winners of prizes in our shows deserve their moment of glory as their achievements are hard won. After the wettest June on record followed by a dry August the Autumn Show attracted 240 entries from 30 dedicated competitors. Despite the challenging conditions the standard of vegetable and flower entries was high. There were two spectacular entries, the enormous pumpkin grown by members of the Sunnyside Trust and May Parker’s magnificent gladioli. Once again Bovingdon Academy proved to have some very promising “future gardeners” who grew cucumbers, not an easy crop. Our Bovingdon Bakeoff saw a record entry of thirteen compete for the Horwood Bakery cup. This most popular class is one where a set recipe is followed. This year the ever popular lemon drizzle cake was the recipe and the judge voted Stephen Rickard’s cake the best beating twelve ladies to the cup. It proved to be Stephen’s show as he also won the Copse Hill cup for preserves and baking and the Eva Stone cup for homemade drinks.


Fun, games and food made our social evening in November memorable. Four years ago we had borrowed from the London Olympics and staged the “Bovingdon Games” as our theme. So after the Rio Olympics we decided to reprise this idea and once again members enjoyed an indoor games evening. Admittedly there was little physical activity, unless you count eating and drinking, but there was lots of mental stimulation.” Know the tube stations” would have been useful advice as the most intriguing quiz round was to identify London tube stations from a picture containing rather obscure clues.


This Autumn we sent an order of over £300 for seeds to Thompson and Morgan. They have a fantastic range of flower and vegetable seeds on which we get 50% discount. We also get 20% off sundries and plants. Sadly very few members take advantage of this. I usually send in the order before Christmas as later orders sometimes get substitutes as stocks of the most popular varieties can run out. However as there may be new members or others who missed the first order I am planning to do a second order at the beginning of February. If you are interested please ring me on 01442833520 for a catalogue and order form. Discounts apply only to orders through the society.


Vegetable growing is very popular with many of our members and there are always new varieties as well as old favourites in the catalogue.  On T.V. before Christmas I saw one of the results of recent vegetable breeding – a fascinating new Brussel sprout/Kale cross. It looks like a purple tinged, exploded Brussel sprout and is called a Kalette. Quite by chance I found them a few days later on sale in Waitrose and decided to try them. They are delicious and take only 3 minutes to cook. The taste is not at all “sprouty” but sweet and tender, child friendly perhaps? It may be some years before seeds for these are available to gardeners but it is good to see innovation in vegetable growing.


Until the recent excavations in Hemel Hempstead many people may not have realised that we have a famous listed garden on our doorstep. Designed in 1962 by Geoffrey Jellicoe, considered to be one of the greatest 20th century landscape gardeners, the water gardens were based on a serpent design. The lake at the Riverside end represented the head with the fountain as its eye and the curving water formed the body of the serpent ending in a tail at the mound by Combe Street. The recent restoration is to be welcomed but it remains to be seen if the design is still truly serpent- like. The new plantings are looking interesting and by next summer weary shoppers will be able to rest on a bench in the flower gardens opposite Bank Court.


We are now into Winter and looking forward to a new gardening season. Already snowdrops are pushing through the earth and hazel catkins look ready to bloom. Our society has an interesting programme of events for 2017 beginning with the first of our annual talks on 22nd March. Chris Chadwell will be giving an illustrated account of his plant hunting adventures in the Himalayas. Entitled “Lilies, Llamas and Leeches” it will be in the Baptist church at 7.30 pm.


 On the 5th April Val Bourne, a well- known gardening writer (she often writes for The Telegraph), photographer and lecturer will be giving a talk entitled  “Gardening with the Well Beloved”. This talk describes how her cottage garden was transformed from weed ridden plot to organic productivity and beauty.


On 28th June we have an evening visit to The Plant Specialist a lovely nursery in Great Missenden. We will be given a guided tour and talk followed by refreshments. Details will be in the Spring Newsletter.


Until then a Happy New Year to all our members.       Doreen Woods.

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