News

Recent and coming treats for gardeners!
 
image 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.


Once again in 2020 we have a full programme of events with a range of talks from which everyone including even the very experienced gardening members of our Society can learn something new. "Click for Events 2020"

The second meeting of the Haslemere Gardening Society in the year will be on Wednesday 25th March 2020 and will consist of a talk given by Everett Leeds and entitled "Clematis through the Seasons". A former Chairman of the Clematis Society, Everett is an acknowledged specialist on this very popular climber. As usual the talk will be held in the Catholic Church Hall in Weydown Road and will start at 7.45pm. The evening will be rounded off with coffee, tea and biscuits and is free to members of the Society and just £2 to very welcome guests.

On Wednesday 26th February 2020 the members of the Haslemere Gardening Society will be welcoming their first guest speaker of the year with a talk entitled "Rhododendrons ~ from the Himalayas to Chelsea" by the owner of the specialist Millais Nursery at Churt, David Millais. He is very experienced at growing these popular shrubs and will be sure to give us lots of useful hints on how to care for our own specimens. The talk, as usual, will beheld in the Catholic Church Hall in Weydown Road, starting at 7.45pm and ending with tea, coffee and biscuits. The event is free to members and just £2 to very welcome visitors.

On Thursday 5th December 2019 members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered at the Georgian Hotel for their Christmas Dinner and Party. The occasion was well attended and, as always, the Chef at the Georgian did us proud, offering a menu of three choices for each course including a traditional Christmas dinner, a fish dish and a vegetarian option. The meal ended with a choice of 2 different desserts or cheese and biscuits and followed by seasonal mince pies tea and coffee. After the meal the members were entertained by William Godfrey at the keyboard singing a mixture of songs, mostly comic, by Flanders and Swan, Noel Coward and Cole Porter. The cabaret was very much enjoyed and it was a lovely way to round off the year of great talks and outings and wish our friends a Very Happy Christmas and Good Gardening in 2020.

With the end of the year fast approaching Members of the Haslemere Gardening Society gathered in the Catholic Church Hall on Wednesday 20th November for the final lecture of 2019 entitled "Beautiful Borders" and given by John Negus who is a member of the Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Kent Federation of Judges and Lecturers. The talk took the form of an informal quiz with the audience divided into two teams. Accompanied by slides displaying some well-known and some more unusual plants he fired questions at us as to what they were and told us more about each one and where it would be suitable in the border. He stressed the importance of having plants which would look good not only in the Spring and Summer flowering season but through the Autumn and grey days of the Winter. The talk was well attended and it was good to see so many members there on such a cold evening. The programme of talks and outings is now out for 2020 and many people were already renewing their membership. The evening ended as usual with tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance for catching up on each other's news.

On Wednesday 16th October the Members of the Haslemere Gardening Society were pleased to welcome Steve Bradley, who is a freelance garden writer and broadcaster for a talk entitled "Making the Most of Bulbs". This highly topical subject was approached both with great knowledge and experience and a fair sprinkling of humour. He talked about planting bulbs amongst other perenials as well as in "lasagne" style in large pots with bulbs of different sizes and flowering times in layers. He did warn, however, never to plant any other bulbs under hyacinths. The talk was accompanied by colourful slides to demonstrate his advice. He showed us how to increase our stock of lilies by removing the outer scales and nurturing them in a bag in a warm place until little bulblets appeared and then they could be planted in a pot to grow on and mature until after three years they would grow into a size to plant out and expect flowers. Steve said it was a myth that bulbs must be carefully planted the right way up and assured us that they would always find the surface whatever way they started. He did stress that bulbs should be handled gently and not to firm them in with your feet, but to water, whatever the weather, to bring the soil around them. Two tips which seem to be worth trying for anyone who loses most of the bulbs they plant to wildlife, to either plant alliums near them or to grate a strongly scented soap over them to hide the enticing smell of the bulbs or the worms in the newly loosened soil. These are just a sample of the bulb related subjects covered, and after questions from members the evening ended with tea, coffee and biscuits and time for a chat.

On Wednesday 18th September, with the start of Autumn, the members of the Haslemere Gardening Society returned to the programme of talks, held as always in the Catholic Church Hall in Weydown Road. The first lecture of the season was entitled "Gardening on the Wildside" and given by Paul Patton who is a Plant Pathologist, writer and broadcaster. The talk, illustrated with colourful and informative slides, started with an autumnal picture of colourful berries which make wonderful food for the the birds and small mammals. Paul stressed the importance of getting a balance in our gardens and the help of adding organic matter to the soil. He mentioned the decline of pollinators, not only bees, but wasps, hoverflies etc. and how vital it was to fill our gardens with flowers suitable for these insects to enjoy. As well as talking about good things in the garden he mentioned the black spot on roses and the powdery mildew on things like courgettes, and the importance of not composting infected foliage. Keep one step ahead of pests was his message. Paul encouraged us to have water of some sort in our gardens for wildlife of all kinds and how beneficial it was to have a native mixed hedge to provide food and shelter for them. The evening ending as always with tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to catch up on how other members had been enjoying the Summer.

On Wednesday 17th July 2019 the Haslemere Gardening Society visited Houghton Lodge Gardens & Waitrose Water Gardens at Longstock Park, Stockbridge, Hampshire.
Houghton Lodge Gardens have been described as 'the jewel of the Test Valley'. It is a Grade II* listed "Cottage Orné", surrounded by mature trees and lawns sweeping down to the banks of the famous River Test. The walled garden boasts vast espalier fruit trees including 32 different varieties of apple tree. There is a wonderful herb garden and the fruit cage is home to both golden and red raspberries. Vegetables grow in raised beds, and you will see wild flowers, sweet peas and dahlias providing a kaleidoscope of summer and autumn colour. At Longstock Park the Water Gardens cover around seven acres and have been nurtured and developed to become 'The finest water garden in the world' The garden is a true spectacle, hosting an array of plants from around the world with over forty different waterlilies alone. On the day the water gardens were open solely for our members.

On Monday 17th June members of the Haslemere Gardening Society headed off on the second coach outing of the summer. We were so lucky that the pre-arranged day was the one and only fine and sunny one sandwiched between 2 weeks of almost continuous rain. We drove to Kent where our first destination was the beautiful 7 acre garden of Great Comp which was lovingly restored and tended by Roderick and Joyce Cameron during the later years of the last Century. It is now curated by William Dyson and showcases his love and knowledge of Salvias, many of which were for sale and went home on the coach with us. The garden is designed with sweeping lawns making paths between the beds packed with many and varied shrubs and flowering plants. It was a very peaceful setting disturbed only by the delightful chirping of the many birds. After a very nice, freshly prepared lunch we then headed for a very different garden at Lullingstone Castle, the Family Home of its designer Tom Hart Dyke. We were lucky enough to be shown around his creation by Tom. He started by telling us the story of how the idea for the garden had come to him when, as a young plant hunter in Colombia, he had been held captive for the best part of a year with a price on his head. Luckily he survived this terrifying experience and lived to come home and put his ideas into practice. He guided us through the 19th century Moon Gate into an amazing walled area devised as the different continents and plant areas of the world and full of some the most unusual and exotic specimens collected by the renowned plant hunters of the past. Apart from the open beds there were polytunnels, one filled with cacti and succulents and another with rare orchids. His enthusiasm was so infectious. We were able, again, to purchase plants for our own gardens, which of course we did, and on the way back to the coach to look in the Church with family tombs dating back to the 15th century. The whole day was really enjoyable and we were most grateful to Georgina Trout for finding us such exciting venues and, of course, to the coach driver for making it such a comfortable journey. This outing was the second happening of the Gardening Society in June. Nine days previously was the annual Coffee Morning, this year held at 'Robins'. Sadly the weather was not as kind but a very pleasant morning was had by the many members who came, and while looking round the extensive and pretty garden was not as comfortable as it should have been, the coffee and cakes, the raffle and the plant sale were all a great success.

On Tuesday 14th May 2019 members of the Haslemere Gardening Society visited Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens recently re-opened after a long closure. The gardens were first planted in 1801 and contain an outstanding collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, magnolias and a beautiful rock garden. In the afternoon we moved on to Standen House Gardens which is a beautiful 12 acre estate near Ashdown Forest under the care of the National Trust.


Discounts from local stores are available to HGS members, as listed on the Membership page of this website. The Committee are always looking at adding benefits for our members.


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Happy gardening to you all.

David Trout (Chairman)