This information was obtained from the Barham & District Horticultural Society website.

Society News & Events 2017

Take a look at what the society did in 2016.

Latest News

We concluded our talk programme for this year on 8th November with a very interesting talk from Dusty Miller outlining how to grow vegetables from scratch. Dusty's long gardening experience showed - he has over 60 years experience growing vegetables and started by helping his grandfather when he was 6. He presented a whole range of useful principles including rotation, fertiliser options and pest control. Hopefully it will have encouraged all the members that were there to either start growing vegetables or understand ways of improving their vegetable production!

You will have read the Gardening Tips that we prepare monthly for the Parish Magazine - any feedback on these is welcomed. Through these short articles we are trying to provide hints and tips to for all gardeners but also we hope that they encourage you to join our Society which will enable you to participate in all our activities - attend talks, go on visits and exhibit in our Shows. To find out more about us, read the latest news or to get in touch with us here.

We wish all our members a very happy and restful Christmas and look forward to a successful 2018.

Things to do in the garden in November

Care for wildlife - if you are having a bonfire for Guy Fawkes or any other time this autumn, please make sure you move the wood a few feet and checking the base for hedgehogs and other wildlife, before lighting. Ensure pots and containers are raised on pot feet or bricks to assist drainage and protect container plants from frost by wrapping in fleece or bubble wrap in cold spells.

Complete planting out tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs, spring isn't that far away and you will enjoy the colour they give you!

Rake up leaves from the lawn and stack them to make leaf-mould. They can take a year or two to completely rot down but leaf-mould dug into the soil improves the structure and is invaluable as you cannot buy it from a garden centre. It is a totally natural product with zero road miles!

Acers, vines and other plants that 'bleed' badly in spring (when the sap is rising) can be pruned now.

Mulch borderline-hardy perennials such as Salvia patens, Melianthus major and tender selections of Agapanthus with a thick layer of compost to insulate them from frost.

Providing the ground is not frozen, now is a good time to plant bare-root deciduous trees, shrubs and roses.

Things to do in the garden in October

In October autumn closes in on the garden, but it usually does so in a blaze of glory. Michaelmas daisies, chrysanthemums and dahlias are at their most spectacular, a mixture of strong and pastel hues contributing vibrancy to late season borders. They are not alone, this is a month for autumn bulbs - colchicums, crocus and cyclamen which should also be in flower. As leaves and berries start to turn colour, there are plenty of tasks to undertake in the garden!

Whatever the plant, cut back and dispose of any growth affected by powdery mildew, leaf spots, scabs and other diseases. Do not compost, either burn or put in your green recycling bin. If you want to plant new conifers or move evergreen shrubs or trees now is a good time whilst the soil is still warm.

October is also a good month to lay turf so that a new lawn will establish before next summer. You should find turfs available at most garden centres but if you need a large quantity it would be best to place an order and arrange delivery. Ensure you prepare the soil well in advance so that you can unroll and lay the turf promptly when it arrives. Turf left rolled for several days will start to yellow and eventually die.

Prune climbing roses, and in exposed areas prune bush roses to minimise damage from wind-rock. Whilst you have your secateurs out you can take hardwood cuttings of Roses, Viburnum, Ribes (flowering current) Cotinus, Cornus (dogwoods) and Salix as well as many other deciduous shrubs. They are usually 'grown-on' outdoors in the ground. To do this make a slit trench in a well-drained sheltered site. Select healthy shoots of the current years growth and remove the soft tip. Cut into sections 15-30cm (6-12in) long, cutting cleanly above a bud straight across at the base of each cutting and sloping at the top to shed the water. Insert cuttings into the trench to two-thirds of their length, allowing 10-15cm (4-6in) between cuttings. For a single stemmed plant leave only one bud above ground. Push the sides of the trench together, firm and water. Cuttings should start to grow in spring but are best left in place until the following autumn. Ensure they do not dry out. If you don't have the space and only want a small number of cuttings, you can propagate these plants by putting 4-6 cuttings around the edge of a 3ltr pot filled with a soil based compost with added grit.

If your rhubarb stems have turned to a soggy mess, it is time to clear away the stems and leaves. If the crown is old and congested divide it and replant having added some well rotted manure or compost to the soil first. Water well.

It may seem like only yesterday that you removed the insulation from your greenhouse but by the end of the month you really need to have fitted the bubble wrap once again to protect plants from the frost. As well as bringing in tender plants, you can look forward to next summer by planting some sweet-peas or broad beans in root-trainers or deep pots and leave in an unheated greenhouse! Hopefully we will enjoy an Indian Summer this year and we will all be able to enjoy the autumn colours both in our gardens and the countryside.

Other News

This month's meeting on October 11th isn't as previously described in your members' booklet our original speaker cancelled just after details were printed many months ago. Jill Terry has managed to arrange a more than interesting substitute. BLUE LEAF NURSERY near Ashford specialise in growing and selling SUCCULENTS and Fiona Wemyss an excellent speaker - is coming to talk on 'Succulents in your Garden'. You may have noticed from Interior Design and up-market Gardening Magazines how very trendy these plants now are! Blue Leaf Plants are a small award winning nursery with a wide range of succulents grown here in Kent. The meeting is in Barham Village Hall at 7.30pm. Do come along even if you're not yet a member! I think that Fiona will be bringing some plants to sell, too.
Look them up online ( and see from their photos how amazing these succulents are!

Once more we ask if anyone would like to join our committee which will soon be losing several members. An observer at our last meeting commented that it was the best organised committee meeting she had ever attended, so we won't be wasting your time in endless pointless discussions our Chairman keeps us firmly to our agenda and our meetings aren't long.

Autumn Show Saturday 2nd September (View the gallery)

Our Autumn Show on September 2nd was its usual success, although fewer members exhibited than is usual. The professional visiting judges were positive and complimentary, giving us a few tips about exhibiting and suggestions for next year's schedule of classes. We hope you were able to attend on that lovely sunny afternoon! There's a lot of work involved setting up the Show and your Committee (and spouses!) work hard. We also rely on certain ladies who join us for the 'Judges' Lunch', then do our washing up and serve teas! Thank you.

This year we had invaluable practical help setting up from one or two members as well. Individual prizewinners of classes and cups are too numerous to list here, but two 'firsts' included wonderful apples and potatoes that would have won a prize at a National, not local Show! I've never had success growing aubergines, but two of our members did, entering them in the 'Any Other Vegetable' class. Take a look at some of the photos in the gallery.

We had invited our local Allotment Association to set up a stall outside in the sunshine to sell their excess produce, thus strengthening the links between us! Their stall was piled high with sweet corn, beetroot, chard and other seasonable vegetables and flowers. I bought much better, fresher courgettes than I was able to buy this week in the shops! Hope you managed to support them!

Gardening tips for August

As I write this, rain has begun to fall heavily which is very welcome as it has not rained for weeks. Given the summer so far, I think we can expect August to be hot and dry. With that in mind its important to ensure pots, veg. and fruit and newly planted trees are kept watered. If you place pots in saucers then the water will be used by the plants rather than running over the patio. If you are planning a holiday consider moving pots to a shadier part of the garden and grouping them together to create a moist micro climate. That way whoever has kindly agreed to water for you will have less watering to do.

Wildlife will struggle with heat and drought too, so keep bird baths and saucers of water on the ground topped up.

The garden should still be looking good but if its lacking a little colour either pick up some late flowerers from the garden centre or plan to buy some in the spring for next year. Dahlias, Japanese anemones, crocosmia, rudbeckia, sedums and penstemons are a few examples. Also, if you select single flowers the bees and butterflies will love the late nectar.

Other jobs to keep on top of are regular dead heading of any flowering plants- especially roses, staking tall plants and tying in climbers. Don't forget to keep picking beans, courgettes and sugar snaps or the plants will stop producing, feeding them with a liquid feed will also help them to keep cropping, don't forget patio pots will also benefit from a feed.

August is the time to catch up on pruning, wisteria should be pruned by cutting back the whippy green shoots from this year's growth to 5 or 6 leaves, its also the time to finish pruning trained fruit trees. For more details, the Royal Horticultural society web site has some good advice or look in an illustrated gardening book.

Why not have a go at collecting your own seed. Wait until the seed cases are brown and ripe, collect seed on a dry day and store in a dry place in paper bag or envelope. Suitable seeds to try are annual poppies, sweet peas, aquilegia, fox gloves, phlomis (Jerusalem sage) or snap dragons. Then later in the autumn or next spring you can sow them, it's exciting to see whether next year you get the same colour as this year or something different- its all about genetics.

Whatever you do, enjoy the fading days of summer- autumn is just around the corner.

Society News Update August 2017

Our SUMMER SHOW last month in Barham Church was much enjoyed by all those who attended, although other simultaneous Village events meant not so many people came as last year if only there were more Saturdays in July! Thank you to our loyal supporters who DID take part by exhibiting or came to try their hand at judging - some of them proved to be very accurate in selecting the best in each of the ten classes! We are also grateful for the opportunity to use our wonderful Church as a venue.

If you missed the above, then please come to our AUTUMN SHOW on Saturday 2nd September in Barham Village Hall from 2pm. There's no entry charge. This is a much larger event than this year's Summer Show with many more classes (70!) for you to enter, including cookery, photography and children's classes as well as flowers, flower arranging, fruit and vegetables. You DO need to belong to the Society in order to participate (except for Children's classes), but this will cost only a 5 subscription for a whole year. There is a small entry fee of 20p for each class entered and completed entry forms and fees need to be submitted earlier in the week before the show.
It would be lovely to have some new faces entering and perhaps winning this year. As usual we'll be serving Teas in the Grabham Room and of course there'll be a raffle. We hope to co-operate with Barham Allotment Association to have a flower, fruit and vegetable stall (maybe outside, depending on the weather) where you can buy the excess from their plots. See you there!

Summer Show Saturday 1st July (View the gallery)

This years mini summer show in St John's church gave the opportunity for the public to judge the entries and compare their results with the judges 'You be the judge'. Janine Doulton judged the entries and explained to the public why she had awarded the places she gave. A prize was won for correctly judging 8 out of 10 of the 1st prizes awarded by the judge. Take a look at some of the photos in the gallery.

Society News Update July 2017

We hope you're able to read this in time to be reminded about our 'Summer Mini Show' which is held in Barham Church on Saturday 1st July at 2pm and which follows the same friendly participative 'You be the Judge' format as in previous years. Teas will be served in return for an entrance fee of 2 (accompanied children free!). Then there's our main 'Autumn Show' on Saturday 2nd September in Barham Village Hall to look forward to! Enjoyment of our Shows really is enhanced if you take part even in a small way - so do please try to enter one or two classes.

Our enjoyable tour of Simpson's Vineyard in June was fully subscribed very early in the year, but we still may have vacancies for a guided tour of RHS Wisley in Surrey on July 15th. Do ring Jill Terry (832135) to make enquiries it's particularly good value at 18 all inclusive and the gardens at Wisley are amazing! There are acres of glasshouses, great cafes and restaurants as well as plant nurseries and gift shops. Non members and guests are specially welcome for an extra 5.

Is there anyone reading this who feels able to join our very friendly committee? We really need at least two new committee members and you DON'T have to be a great gardener just have a general interest and a desire to help continue a Village Society that was founded more than 120 years ago. Meanwhile enjoy your summer in the garden!

Gardening tips for July

Here we are at the start of high summer and I hope your patch is looking lovely. This is the point in the year when it has either all come together, or you now have plans for it to be 'great next year'. Either way its time to enjoy what you have created.

There is, as ever still plenty to do. Hopefully it will be hot this month and so the main priority will be watering. Its much better to give plants a good soak every few days rather than a sprinkle every day. As most folk know the best time to water is in the evening or early morning, other times the soil and sun will be hot and the water will just evaporate from the surface. Prioritise those plants which need most water- leafy crops, tomatoes, courgettes, pots in full sun. Don't forget to feed plants in pots and hungry crops such as tomatoes and courgettes. Liquid seaweed extract or tomato feed does a good job.

Removing the dead flowers from roses, bedding plants etc will encourage more flowers and keep the garden looking tidy. Keep picking beans and peas to encourage the plants to keep cropping, if you grow courgettes try picking them very small about 3inches (8cm) they are delicious and this helps prevent getting overrun with them!

If you don't have time to mow the lawn, trim the edges it will look neater with less effort. Why not have an area of lawn deliberately left long until the autumn- less mowing for you and the insects will love it. On the subject of lawns if the weather is dry set the blades on your mower a little higher to 'drought proof' your lawn. Keep a look out for pests as its easiest to deal with a few aphids or lily beetles than an infestation.

On the veg plot its time to sow spring cabbage and oriental greens, another batch of carrots and your last chance to sow beans. Fan trained trees and stone fruits can be pruned this month and the summer pruning of gooseberries and currants should be completed.

Now is also a good time to think about changes you might make in the autumn. Taking photos of your borders now and making a few notes will help remind you what needed to be moved where and its time to plant autumn flowering bulbs such as colchicum and nerines. If you have large clumps of bearded iris, divide them this month and replant the rhizomes, ensure you keep the rhizome showing above the surface and you may want to trim the leaves to reduce the demands on the roots while they settle into their new spot.

I hope your garden is ablaze with colour and buzzing insects and your veg plot (if you have one) is so productive you have lots to enter in our Summer and Autumn Shows and to share your produce with friends and neighbours.

Society News Update June 2017

Last month Sue Marshall from 'Iris of Sissinghurst' came to talk to an appreciative audience about 'The English Love Affair with the Iris'. Sue showed us fabulous photos from the collection at her nursery predominantly the Bearded Iris in which she specialises. (They are not at all hard to grow, she says, as long as their rhizomes are exposed to sunlight year round.) You'll spot Sue's irises everywhere at Chelsea where she's won a Gold Medal because all the best exhibitors buy them for their show gardens! Many of the finest Iris breeders come from Kent and this is reflected in the names of many specimens - 'Kent Pride', 'Romney Marsh' and ''Appledore'. Kingston Barn proved an ideal venue in which to show Sue's gorgeous photos and afterwards enthusiastic members queued to buy pots of fabulous irises in flower.

Whether or not you're one of our 150 members, we'd like to invite you to our 'Summer Show' in Barham Church on Saturday July 1st. (Barham School have their Summer Fete on the Green on the same day, so you could easily take a walk up or down The Street and join in both events!). Two years ago we altered the format of the Summer Show to give everyone (including visitors) a chance to try out their judging skills on our flowers, fruit and vegetables and see how their choice of winners agreed with that of our visiting professional judge. Which of the sweet peas, broad beans or raspberries deserve 1st place, and which 2nd or 3rd? Our professional RHS judge will also decide the order, but you can have the chance to match her expertise and query her thinking! Members need to stage their exhibits between 1-2pm. At 2pm there is admission (2) for everyone, including exhibitors, which will entitle you to complimentary refreshments, including a slice of cake! Accompanied children are admitted free of charge.

Gardening tips for June

Here we are in flaming June and I hope it lives up to expectation. I am writing this on a cold and grey May afternoon looking at the frosted shoots on some of my shrubs. But enough of the past, us gardeners are a hardy and positive bunch and we will deal with whatever the weather throws our way.

June is the pinnacle of many gardens with the iris, roses and many other perennials at their best so do make sure that you plan some time to sit in your garden with a cuppa and enjoy the beauty of your patch.

Now we are in June, all danger of frost should be over and so all of your tender plants can be planted out- if you have not already done so.

In the kitchen garden continue to 'earth up' potatoes (draw soil up around the stems) this helps keep them weeded and ensures the potatoes growing off the underground stems are covered to stop them going green. If you are growing early varieties you should be able to start harvesting this month, have a careful look under one of the plants to see how big the spuds are and harvest when they get to the size you want. Don't forget to feed tomato plants - follow the instructions on the tomato food bottle, and to pinch out the side shoots if you are growing cordon varieties.

Its not too late to sow many veg seeds for example French beans, peas, beetroot, carrots, spring onions, salad leaves, radish, spinach, chard, turnips. Or you can buy small veg plants from the garden centre.

If you are lucky enough to have an asparagus bed then you have a couple of weeks left to enjoy the harvest. Stop cutting mid June and let the plants grow freely for the rest of the season. Look out for asparagus beetle-approx 1cm long cream/dark blue(black) stripes and a red head. They lay tiny black eggs on the stems and the larvae will defoliate the plants. pick adults, larvae and eggs off by hand regularly, or get advice from the garden centre on suitable sprays.

Tie in any climbers whose stems start to stray from their support before they get broken by the wind or get tangled into adjacent plants. Stake taller plants before they fall over.

Many spring flowering shrubs should be pruned this month, check a gardening book, 'google' it or ask a gardening friend for advice.

Now is the time to brighten up your garden with colourful pots and bedding plants. Geraniums (the bedding type rather than the hardy ones) make lovely plants for pots in a sunny spot as they need less water than many bedding plants, remember to remove the faded flower stems to keep them colourful. Or maybe try fuchsias they come in some lovely colours, many are compact enough for a pot and will be happy in full sun or light shade. Both have the possibility of being kept for next year if you can keep them frost free over the winter.

Finally enjoy the long June days and pottering outside in the fresh air.

Society News Update February 2017

Our March meeting on Wednesday 15th at 7.30pm in Barham Village Hall is eagerly anticipated. The speaker will be Jim Buttress, well known to us from his iconic bowler hat, TV appearances in 'The Great Allotment Challenge', RHS Chelsea Flower Show and as a distinguished horticulturalist. He's speaking on '65 years in Horticulture'. We are very fortunate to have secured Jim's services and expect this to be a very well-attended occasion. Please come in good time to secure your seat! We've two copies of Jim's autobiography 'The People's Gardener' to win that evening.

Suttons seed catalogues will be available at this March meeting to any members who haven't yet received one. This means you can obtain a 50% reduction on seeds. I saved about 16 on this year's order, so it's a good return on an individual annual membership of 5!! In addition, our Society's membership of the Kent Federation of Horticultural Societies enables us to a 50% (YES 50%) discount on plants at the well known Provender Nurseries in Swanley. You'll need a special trade card to take with you which can be borrowed from our Chairman and some committee members for a day but does need to be returned very promptly. We may try to organise a group visit in the future and we'll keep you informed.

The 'Gardening Year' has well and truly started now. Seed potatoes (mine are 'Charlotte') are chitting in old egg boxes on a cool window sill and a recent packet from Suttons Seeds means that Broad beans are already sown (in pots, to plant out next month), hopefully to be entered in our Summer Show on 1st July in Barham Church. March is a very good time to do either of these tasks. NOTHING tastes as good as home grown vegetables!

Please remember our Plant Sale in Barham Village Hall on April 15th. We rely on members to bring plants, so now would be the time to pot up some perennial offcuts or sow annual seeds in little containers. Last year we made 300, almost double the previous year's total, because we had lots of lovely plants to sell and it was well attended.

The next informal 'get together for gardeners' is as usual at 'The Duke of Cumberland' from 7.30-9.30 on March 28th. Everyone is welcome two new members joined at the January meeting.

Gardening tips for March

'In like a lion out like a lamb' is the saying for March- so we will have to see how roaring and lamb like it is this year! And with that in mind keep an eye on the weather and don't plant out tender plants until the risk of frost has passed.

The time for sitting and dreaming is over- its going to be a busy couple of months. Of course although we can feel that everything has to be done at once to make the most of spring, in reality if we do get a little behind its not a disaster things will just crop/flower a little later and if we get a late cold snap it may make little difference in the long run.

It is of course time to get seed sowing and if you have not tried it before its fun and for many veg and annual flowers its easy. The packets will have the instructions you need on the back. A few tips are, don't sow too thickly or you risk the seedlings 'damping off' that is dying from a fungal disease. Water carefully, rather than watering from above, its best to stand newly sown pots and trays in water until the surface of the compost looks damp (darkens). Thereafter aim to keep compost moist rather than wet. Of course seeds planted directly in the ground will need less attention and many vegetable crops and annual flowers are fine sown direct outside. Again look on the seed packet for instructions.

March is also the time to ensure vegetable plots have organic matter added (the worms will love it) and are dug over (or mulched if you have a 'no dig' plot) and potatoes are chitted (left in a cool light place to grow nice fat shoots) before planting out later in the month. If you don't have veg plot you can grow quite a few crops in pots- why not try 'cut and come again' salad leaves. If you are an organic gardener its a good time to think about biological pest control for example nematodes for dealing with slugs, or whitefly in the greenhouse with parasitic wasps, there is information on the internet.

Then there is the joy of summer flowering bulbs and corms for beds or pots. Whatever your plot size you are sure of an array of colour. Lilies, gladioli, dahlias, begonias- oh the choice, whether its from your local garden centre, an online supplier, catalogue or a supermarket there is plenty to choose from.

Finally why not give your houseplants a treat this month- how many of us have houseplants that have been in the same compost for years. You don't have to put them into a bigger pot necessarily. Taking them out of their existing pot- knocking off some of the old compost - even just from the surface and replacing with new will encourage them to grow well and look healthy.

Calling all gardeners!

Have you got any gardening questions? Are you wondering what to plant in a difficult part of your garden, or are you baffled as to how to rescue a plant that isn't thriving, or why something died!

If so come and join us in the Duke. Members of our society have a wealth of experience of gardening in and around Barham and would love to try to help you make the best of your garden.

The idea is to have an opportunity to share advice and experience about anything to do with gardening. So if you want to come and exchange ideas, or ask for advice you would be most welcome. The plan is to chat about what is happening in our gardens at the moment, and any problems you have. Anything from potting on seedlings and cuttings, to 'what would grow here'. We could discuss ways to encourage wildlife into your garden too.

You will find us in the External Website Duke of Cumberland. Anyone is welcome you don't need to be a member - though we will of course encourage you to join! - it's just a free opportunity to meet up and discuss anything related to gardening.

Next EventWednesday 08th
January 2020

'AGM' The 2020 Annual General Meeting will take place at Barham Village Hall at 7pm on Wednesday 08th January 2020
How to find Barham Village Halln

Become a Member

Thinking of becoming a member? »


Local companies that support the society offering help advice and services near to you. Advertisers »