Recent and coming treats for gardeners!
Haslemere Gardening Society was formed in 1947 to promote the cultivation and appreciation of gardens and gardening.
The Society has the same aims today, encouraging gardening for all ages by holding talks and outings to notable gardens
throughout the year.
Please click here for the 2023 Programme
On Wednesday 13th December 2023
the Haslemere Gardening Society will be running a Christmas Outing to the
Wisley Christmas Lights
. We will have the chance to experience the RHS Gardens in a whole new light,
the twinkling winter walks will be unique and highlight some of the season's most spectacular sights after dark.
Please click here for details and booking information.
On Wednesday 22nd November 2023
members of the Haslemere Gardening Society and friends met for the last time this
year at the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road to listen to a talk from David Standing entitled "Cottage Gardening". David is the retired Head Gardener at Gilbert White's Garden in Selborne, where he worked for many years, after having quickly decided that his intended profession in Town Planning and working in an office was not for him. He started there in 1979 doing odd jobs for £1.25p an hour but was promoted later to Head Gardener and eventually left the post in 2017.
He started the talk by saying that Cottage Gardening was a mixed and personal concept, being rustic and featuring plants from Old Roses, hollyhocks, shrubs, perennials to bedding plants and sometimes with vegetables mixed in. Many of the plants used are self-seeding and so a very informal look is achieved. To get the desired effect the border needs to be as deep as possible and divided by paths of either local stone or even better foraged bricks. Of course, the effect is more picturesque if you happen to have a cottage with a thatched roof but as this isn't possible for all, the Cottage Garden look can be achieved with a pleasing mixture of 'old fashioned' cultivars which are allowed to fill the space quite randomly. The look is more plants jostling each other than set out with space between them. He brought with him, for sale, some seedlings which he finds work well including sweet rocket, campanula and yellow foxgloves. As it was approaching Black Friday, they were a special price and were quickly snapped up with thoughts of exciting things happening in our gardens next year.
The talk was very well attended and the tea, coffee and biscuits provided were enjoyed while we chatted and discussed plans for Christmas.
On Wednesday 25th October 2023
the members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered for the second talk of
the Autumn in the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road as usual. This time the subject was "Fruit for a Small Garden" and
was given by Jim Arbury, Fruit and Trials Specialist at the RHS, so it was a very informative and useful evening for us
amateurs. It was followed by sociable tea, coffee and biscuits.
On Wednesday, 27th September 2023
, members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered at the Catholic Church Hall for the first lecture of the Autumn Season. This year we started with a talk by Paul Gallivan on the local garden of Woolbeding just outside Midhurst. Paul knows the garden very well as he was head gardener there for more than 13 years working for the National Trust who now own the property. He is no longer there as he has been promoted to Regional Garden Consultant for the charity.
He started by telling us about the history of Woolbeding from the 18th century to the present day when it was given to the NT in 1957 by the then owner Edward Ponsonby Lascelles and later let to Simon Sainsbury and his partner Stewart Grimshaw who transformed the interior of the house while leaving the exterior and the approach recognisable from early paintings and photographs.
The colours in the garden are kept to a pallet of mainly blue and white with a little touch of yellow now and then and the Victorian bedding has been replaced by perennial herbaceous borders in those colours. The vegetable garden is caged against thieving wildlife and the damage from slugs is lessened by beer traps and nematodes. No chemicals are used there.
Sadly, the old cedar tree in the centre of the lawn, after storm damage. had to be removed but was replaced by an amazing Water Feature like a Champagne saucer which was made in Essex and is a focal point of the garden. Recently a new and very modern glass house has been added to the garden, looking a bit like the nose cone of a rocket as it opens.
Leaving the formal parts of the garden there is a walk by the river Rother to follies including a " ruined abbey" and a grotto featuring a large figure of Neptune.
The garden is now closed until next April and has to be booked through the NT during the open season as there is no private vehicle entrance allowed, but is well worth a visit and with the added bonus of a tasty sandwich or cake from the cafe.
It was a very enjoyable evening and we thank Paul for his time and enthusiasm.
The next talk will be on Fruit for a Small Garden by Jim Arbury who is Fruit and Trials Specialist at the RHS and is on 25th October.
With all the regular summer activities such as Wimbledon and the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival being in full swing,
it was time on Wednesday, 12th July
,for the members of the Haslemere Gardening Society to enjoy the second outing of the year.
This time it was fairly local, being to Upton Grey Manor House in Hampshire. This very special garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1908 for Charles Holme, a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement, was bought by John and Rosamond Wallinger in 1984, the house being almost derelict and the garden a jungle. They were novice gardeners but were given the help and advice of Penelope Hobhouse and acquired copies of Miss Jekyll's original plans from Berkley University in California and with a great deal of hard work restored the garden to its present glorious state with the plants intended by the designer. The colour scheme in most of the formal beds was predominantly shades of pink and white backed by many magnificent hollyhocks.
Besides the formal beds at the rear of the manor there was a nuttery leading to the wilder part at the front with a lovely lily pond. To the other side of the house is a well-stocked kitchen garden inhabited by a flock of hens.
We were made very welcome by Rosamund and John Wallinger, the former giving us an interesting talk on the garden and then offering us tea, coffee and cake before we explored. It was lovely to get such a personal introduction to the garden.
We left Upton Grey at around 1pm and headed to West Green House where lunch was available, served on chinaware decorated with pictures of the very pretty manor house. The garden is divided by a series of box hedges which seem to have survived both box blight and moth infestation and contained lots of roses, perennial plants and annuals as well as some amazingly whole rows of frilly lettuce. Does someone pop out and replace them every morning before the visitors arrive? Just as we were having tea the rain came down but we were extremely lucky to have had such a fine day in the midst of a rather damp and chilly July.
Thank you to Georgina for arranging this and all the other outings for us and to Kenny, our driver, for a pleasant journey there and back and his skill at negotiating the very narrow lanes with the various parked hazards. It was a lovely day out.
During a busy week for members of the Haslemere Gardening Society,
we were firstly up early on Tuesday 13th June 2023
to board the coach for the Cotswolds.
It was quite a long journey but well worth the effort. We arrived at Sudeley Castle Gardens just after 11am and had plenty of time to explore. There was much to see including formal gardens with lovely roses, borders containing nepeta and other bee friendly plants, the ruins of a banqueting hall once owned by Richard III, the tomb of Henry VIII's last wife Catherine Parr and a selection of wild animals along the paths, very realistically made mostly of willow. I loved the elephants they looked so natural and free.
After a chance for lunch and a drink in the cafe we were off again to Sezincote House and Gardens, a very different venue from the castle. We were lucky to have the garden specially opened for the Society and were given a tour around the house in small groups. The house was built in the late 18th century having been a whim of Col. John Cockerell on his return from years in India. Sadly, he died before it could be done but his wishes were carried out by his brother Charles who inherited the property. It is said to be the inspiration for the Brighton Pavilion after the Prince Regent's visit in 1807.
The garden was divided into two separate areas with the formal Persian garden and orangery at one side of the house, and to the other a water garden with streams planted with rare damp loving plants and stepping stones under the drive bridge to grassy mounds and more trickling streams. On a very hot day it was quite enchanting.
We were sad to leave such a lovely spot but were very grateful to Georgina for arranging it all and to Steve our driver for the smooth and comfortable journey.
Then on Saturday 17th June
it was the Society's annual coffee morning held each year in one of the member's gardens. I would like to say the garden rivalled the ones we had visited in the week for its spectacular planting and beauty, but I can't because it was my garden. All I can say is that I had worked hard and carried many cans of water to keep the flowers, shrubs and vegetables alive over the five weeks of no rain and most were not looking too parched and the terracing and steps done by Sean who does the heavy work were very much admired. Sadly, the two pond levels were well down but still enough water in them for the numerous newts and tadpoles.
As always tea, coffee and cake were much enjoyed and the plant sale was very popular. Thank you everyone for coming and saying such nice things about my garden it was lovely to welcome you all.
As I am finishing this report, we have had heavy, long awaited and much appreciated rain in the early hours. It's great, but I am so glad it wasn't last Tuesday or Saturday and am very grateful to whoever controls the weather. Thank you!
On Wednesday 26th April 2023
members of the Haslemere Gardening Society met in the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road for a most interesting talk by Darren Everest on the growing of sweet peas. Darren is a champion grower of this ever-popular summer garden plant and he has won many gold medals with them and this year is exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show.
He told us that he always sows his first lot of seeds in October which is good when it is a cold Winter but if it is mild, they are inclined to be ready for the outdoors before their right time, so he aims to sow a second batch between November and January. He advocates watering once and warns that they need to be protected from mice who love them. As they grow, he advised pinching out the growing tip and planting them out in a square frame and not a wigwam as they like to fan out and not go up to a point.
He told us about the time he had been filmed for TV, demonstrating how to produce winning plants and the repeated takes from different angles there had to be to get the perfect picture for the viewers.
Darren had brought some sweet pea seedlings with him for sale and they were purchased enthusiastically by the members. The evening finished with tea, coffee and biscuits and we all wish Darren good luck with his preparations and a successful time at the Chelsea Flower Show.
On Wednesday 22, March 2023
, members of the Haslemere Gardening Society and guests gathered for the monthly talk at the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road. Although it was a wet and windy evening a lot of people turned out to hear the lecture by Dr. Peter Herring entitled "Magnificent Magnolias". Simon in introducing Dr. Herring started by apologising for advertising him as Head Gardener at Winkworth Arboretum instead of Enthusiastic Volunteer there. Dr. Herring accepted the apology and said the real head gardener had forgiven us.
Peter started by telling us about the origin of magnolias and saying that they were first introduced to this country in 1689 and came from the Americas and later selections arrived from the Far East. The specimens were propagated and the stock increased by layering in the early days as the magnolia has pollen and not nectar to attract the bees and needed pollinating beetles.
He talked about the many differing types of magnolias from the large evergreen magnolia grandiflora to the small deciduous magnolia stellata with its delicate star-shaped flowers. Some of the most popular and those just coming out in local gardens are the hybrids of the magnolia soulangiana, most of which are white and shades of pink and purple. In more recent years yellow varieties have been developed. The magnolias blooming at this time in the Spring are often subject to late frosts damaging the flowers but Peter said there are varieties that come into flower in early Summer when the risk of frost is over.
After the talk there were questions from the floor and Simon thanked Peter for his inspiring talk and sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with us.
Tea, coffee and biscuits were served and there was a chance to catch up on friends' news and arrange to see each other again at the next talk which will be about sweet peas.
On Wednesday, 22nd February 2023
there was a full house at the Catholic Church Hall of members of the Haslemere Gardening Society and their friends to enjoy a talk by Cherrill Sands entitled "Arts & Crafts Gardens" and we were not disappointed as Cherrill's knowledge on the subject was extensive. She is a consultant garden historian, member of the Painshill Park Trust and Surrey Gardens Trust and has obvious enthusiasm for her subject.
Cherrill started by explaining to us that the Arts and Crafts movement began in the 1850s when already half the population lived in cities and had little access to green spaces. At the time most public parks and gardens were filled with bright coloured annual bedding plants in geometrically arranged beds and people like William Morris and his long time collaborator Philip Webb wanted gardens to be filled with more sustainable plants in paler and more romantic colours. Together they built many outstanding houses with surrounding gardens laid out on the principal of a straight path with garden "rooms" of croquet lawns, pool gardens, vegetables and orchards all joined by paths with pergolars and climbing plants. They were also in favour of trellises on sides of their houses with climbing plants softening the appearance. These ideas can also be seen in the designs for fabric and wallpaper by William Morris. The houses were often placed at the top of a hill so that the views from inside were inspiring. One such is Standen, which was visited members of the Society in 2019.
Cherrill also mentioned Gravetree Manor in Sussex, now a hotel, which was laid out by William Robinson with lots of trees, natural plantings with meadows of wild flowers allowing things to self seed.
Of course, Arts and Crafts could not be discussed without talking about the most famous garden designer of the era, Gertrude Jekyll, and her house Munstead Wood in Godalming. Again the design is for a long and colourful herbaceous border and "rooms" which feature different aspects of gardening. Unlike William Morriis, Miss Jekyll was very keen on bright colours but with white flowers in the beds with them I wondered whether this was because her eyesight was failing and the brighter shades were more pleasurable to her, or perhaps she thought it was time for a change from the colours of the previous quarter century.s She designed many gardens with the architect Edwin Lutyens including the one at the Manor House, Upton Grey, which is where members of the Society will be going in July.
The last designer she talked about was Christopher Lloyd and his garden at Great Dixter which is such a joy to visit, particularly in high and late Summer when the colourful plants are in their full and exuberant glory.
It was a very enjoyable evening and I am sure we would all like to thank Cherrill for sharing her knowlege and obvious passion with us.
As a break from our traditional Christmas Dinner, on Wednesday 14th December
members of the Haslemere Gardening Society took the coach to Kew Gardens for a trip to see the annual "Christmas at Kew" lights. It was one of the coldest evenings so far this year but there were hot drinks and festive foods to be purchased on the way round the gardens to warm us from inside. We were all prepared for the cold and well wrapped up and everyone enjoyed the spectacular lighting effects. There were snowflakes projected onto the paths, dancing lights on the lakes and trees wrapped in hundreds of sparkling lights. The tour of the the garden's display was easily completed in the almost three hours we had there so there was plenty of time to browse in the shops or sit in one of the cafes for a cup of tea and sample the delicious cakes on offer.
It was a truly magical evening with not only beautiful and spectacular lights accompanied by Christmas music but also a lovely clear sky and no rain or wind meant that the natural joys of a mid-winter night could also be enjoyed. A big "thank you" to David for thinking of it and to Georgina for organizing another outing so efficiently. Our thanks also to Steve the driver of the coach for getting us there and back so comfortably and on time.
It was a great start to the Christmas festivities.
On Wednesday the 23rd of November 2022
the Society held its final talk of the year at the Catholic Church Hall. The subject was "Shrubs - The Backbone of your Garden" and was given by Geoff Hawkins, lecturer, broadcaster and retired Head Gardener at Mill Court. His illustrated talk gave us some ideas of which shrubs we could use in our garden to give structure, shape and texture as well as colour through flowers, stems and foliage.
He advised starting with a good garden design, remembering that shrubs are there all the time, a constant through the changing seasons, so it is important "to get it right". Proportion is vital, as is pruning that retains the natural shape- no "lollipops"! Pruning should be done properly; (it is best not to have a shrub that must be pruned all the time) and going under the shrub to do so is sometimes best. He went through the alphabet and described a richly varied selection of shrubs, all illustrated in slides, and demonstrated their versatility. It was a very enjoyable and informative talk and was attended by many members of the Society and guests.
Georgina reminded us that the AGM would on Wednesday 25th January at 7.45 in the Catholic Hall and that the outing to Kew on the 14th of December was now fully booked.
On Wednesday, 26th October
, members of the Haslemere Gardening Society were gathered once more in the Catholic Church Hall in Derby Road for a talk given by Chris Stewart on the Fascinating and Secret Life of the Mole. Chris is a member of the Guild of British Molecatchers, and although his job is obviously to catch and get rid of the little animals, he shared a great many interesting facts about them with his audience. He said although we are inclined to associate Moles with the sweet little fellow in the Wind and the Willows, they are not to be handled without care because they have very sharp teeth. Moles are very much loners who live around 3 years and only produce one litter of usually 6 or 7 kits a year. They are very territorial creatures and will fight to defend their space and as soon as one is removed another very quickly moves into the prepared tunnels.
In days past there were many supposed deterrents against moles including putting human hair in the tunnels, but one of the strangest was planting euphorbias in the garden thinking that as the white sap from the plants was used to treat moles on the skin it would also work against moles in the garden. Neither of these actions were of any use.
Chris brought with him two stuffed moles, a male and a smaller female, both very tiny considering the amount of soil they can move, some mole pelts for us to feel their softness and a selection of homemade and manufactured traps.
Many of the traps are not legal in this country as, happily only humane traps are allowed here. We were probably divided in the hall as to whether to try to eliminate the little creatures from our patch or let them be. I am, personally, on the live and let live side, but perhaps that is because I have never had the type of garden moles prefer. If I did have, I might feel about them the way I feel about slugs in my vegetables.
It was certainly a very interesting evening and very well attended. It is hard to believe there is only one more talk this year, on the 23rd of November entitled 'Shrubs: the backbone of your Garden' to be given by Geoff Hawkins, retired Head Gardener at Mill Court.
The first talk of the Autumn took place at the Catholic Church Hall on Wednesday, 28th September
and was given by Mark Saunders who has been the head gardener at Fittleworth House for 25 years. It featured the ten most important tips that Mark wanted to give us for success in our own gardens. The first and of premier importance was 'look after your tools, keep them clean, sharpened and oiled '. This is particularly important with secateurs, making them easier to use and kinder to the plants.
His next tip was to stay active. For this he recommends Yoga and demonstrated some positions for us.
Sadly, none of the audience got up to join him. Well, we weren't dressed for it.
Mark also talked about the importance of compost making and stressed that it did need turning regularly and on adding more materials for the best results.
He recommended a trip to RHS Wisley to see their beautiful Winter Garden and suggested that if we plant items for interest in the colder parts of the year, we did so near the house to get the full benefit from them. He talked about the usefulness of pots which can be swapped around to improve the display as they peak and then die-off.
Mark, as well as a gardener is known for his brilliant photography, which was very obvious from the slides he showed us. There were pictures of his own garden, Fittleworth House, an exuberant display of pots at Great Dixter and the avenue of Tree Ferns at East Rushton Old Vicarage among many others.
It was a very enjoyable and informative talk and was attended by many members of the Society.
Simon reminded us of the next lecture which will be on the' Fascinating and Secret Life of the Mole' on Wednesday, 26th October
and given by Chris Stewart,
a Member of the Guild of Molecatchers. A very different subject.