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

Latest Society News & Events 2020

Take a look at what the society did in 2019

Gardening notes for December

Here we are in the last month of what has been a unique year. I hope you have found an escape in your gardens, or by living in such a beautiful part of the country.

The gardening year is slowing down now, but it's not stopped!

Carry on with the tasks listed last month, anything preventing frost damage is now a top priority.

In addition, winter pruning of apples and pears can commence. This is free standing forms rather than trained espaliers etc, which are pruned in the summer, you have until the weather warms up (early March) to get the task finished.

Winter is also a time for pruning many woody plants, the RHS website has very good advice and videos.

Restorative pruning, for deciduous shrubs that have got out of hand can also be done from now until March. Typically start by taking a third of the old stems out this year and then take more of the old stems out over the next couple of year. Some shrubs will take a more severe pruning in one go. If you are not sure what shrubs you have, ask a gardening friend so you can check what degree of pruning your shrub can cope with.

If it's a tree which has got out of hand the pruning may need to be done over a couple of years. Significant cutting back in winter can result in excessive growth the following year. For larger trees its worth getting in a tree surgeon, for their expertise as well as the safe use of chain saws.

Some plants bleed if pruned too late, for acers, birches and grape vines, the main pruning should be completed by the end of the month.

Leave restorative pruning of evergreens until early spring.

There is still time to plant tulips- if you get a move on! Think of all that vibrant colour to welcome the spring.

On a day when the garden is too wet to work, why not tidy paving. Remove weeds before they get established and give it a good sweep. Do have a think about insects though, if there is a pile of leaves in a corner it may well be a bug hotel - so perhaps leave that corner until late March.

On a sunny day its lovely to wrap up warm and sit in the garden and see what birds visit feeders or a bird bath. Enjoy the slow pace of the next couple of gardening months- it won't last!

December 2020 News Update

Following all the uncertainty of C19, I am broadly outlining our current ideas for the forthcoming year 2021. We are about to meet for a Zoom committee meeting, to establish the following ideas:

No annual subscription for 2021. Existing members can still enjoy our very generous member discount with Sutton's seeds.
A show programme, initially available as digital and online only, unless otherwise requested. The hope is that the annual show will go ahead in the full format. Once this is established we will print a show guide, and include other information for the remaining year.

A plant sale in the Spring, maybe later, arranged under the safest guidelines to help raise funds to cover ongoing expenses and preserve our small reserve.

Zoom talks by arrangement, but interest is still being monitored as there is a cost implication. We will have hosted a Zoom talk "All about Roses" by Kevin Tooher on the 24th November, and the response to this will help gauge the suitability for our membership?

An alternative to our standard AGM format. We are deliberating a written report, from Treasurer, Chair and President. Or a virtual meeting? We will continue our membership with the RHS as this provides our public liability insurance.

As soon as talks in the village halls can resume, a summary will be published and we will charge an entrance fee for anyone who wishes to attend. This will be an opportunity for new members to join.

We will write to you via email, and update our website to reflect this. If you have any contribution to these ideas and prospective plans, please let us know via the contact us form, or call us?

Some of the committee and our members have been involved in the new planter at the Kingston end of Barham, and the two existing planters near Heathfield Way. They are now all planted up with tulip bulbs ready for the Spring. We will be looking to make improvements to the Heathfield Way/Grove planters just after the Spring, and will be fundraising to achieve this. Anyone who can volunteer to help look after them please get in touch again. Many hands make light work, as they say.

Although our activity is well below normal, we would still love to welcome new members, and potential committee members too. Gardening and horticulture is very much a way of life for both men and women and we are keen to keep a balance of both on the committee to ensure we meet the needs of everyone. So gentlemen, we could really do with at least one of you to join our excellent, existing team. Just come along and join in a couple of meetings to see what you think?

Finally, we would like to wish all of you a very healthy Christmas and a very happy New Year.

September 2020 News Update

We have missed out on our car trip to Godington house and gardens, but we have been to visit as individuals to see the gardens which are now open. It is by pre-booked tickets at 7/person Tuesday to Sunday at half hourly intervals starting at 1pm. They are supplying light refreshments for take away up to 5pm (not sure if that is Tuesday and Wednesday). To book, go on the Godinton House website. Malcolm and Jill Terry went at 4.30pm and it was really peaceful as most visitors go early.

Last winter we invited our members to get in touch, if they wanted to volunteer to create and care for the planters situated in the village of Barham. The group have now succeeded in creating the new raised bed situated on the grass verge near The Shrubbery. This was achieved by lots of different contributions from the Parish Council, Tony Julian who built it, to help raise funds for the new clubhouse for Barham Youth F. C. and Diane Tatt who donated the soil. The Nailbourne Community Fund have donated a nice amount for planting. In addition, we have the support of Mike Sole who has endorsed a city council donation. This is on hold during the Covid crisis but may come to fruition for the planting scheme for the next season. In addition, Simpson Wine Estate have donated a magnum of rose for us to raffle. We are selling tickets at the Barham Community Store, and this will be drawn in the middle of September. The winner will be announced here too. All the proceeds will go towards some compost and bulbs. It really has been a great community project, and we look forward to seeing it planted up. Once established it should be a lovely visual welcome or parting to the village. In the future, once the planting scheme is established, we would be happy to receive plants and donations. A very big thank you to all who have worked on this so far.

It feels a long time now, since we have seen each other as a group. We asked members how they felt about virtual talks or social distancing in the village hall, and it is generally felt that the situation is what it is, and for the time being we are better to postpone the activities. By next month we will have held a committee meeting and may have some more ideas about activities we can do? All ideas welcome. Please get in touch. Our number is on the website or the contacts page in this newsletter.

I am very pleased to announce that Bronwyn Wakefield has come forward as our village hall representative. We are very grateful to her for volunteering in this role.

Gardening tips for August

Here we are in high summer, the borders are full of colour, and our gardens are a lovely place to be.

The priorities in August have to be watering and dead heading. Both will keep your garden blooming, do target water on the plants that need it most.

The next priority if you have a veg plot is to keep on top of harvesting. Keep picking beans, courgettes, cucumbers etc to encourage more. Feeding veg in containers every week or so will keep the produce coming, tomato feed works for all fruiting plants whether it be beans or tomatoes. If your children are growing sunflowers then giving them a feed will help boost growth.
Other produce to harvest are shallots, onions and garlic. Lift when the leaves start to yellow, use a fork so that you don't damage the root plate and cause rot. Allow to dry in the sun and then store.

If you have never collected seed from your own garden, why not give it a go. Pot marigolds (calendula), love in the mist and poppies are all easy, collect on a dry day when seeds are brown and dry, in the case of poppies and love in the mist rattling in their cases. Shake the seed into a paper bag and store in a cool dark place.

With a charge now being made for green waste collection, why not make your own compost to reduce the need for collection and improve your soil. Either a wooden construction or a plastic 'daleks' are fine. The RHS has some useful advice- see links below. The basic idea is to have thin layers of brown material (paper, cardboard, chopped up woody cuttings) and green material (grass cuttings, soft pruning's, vegetable peelings). Make sure its damp, cover it and allow to rot down. Never add cooked food, meat or perennial weeds (dandelions etc). If the heap is hot enough annual weeds are OK but I don't risk it.

RHS Advice - Making compost

RHS Advice - Composting

August/September is also the time to think about cutting hedges (beech for example) but make sure there are no birds nesting. Don't forget wildlife, providing birds with water and food is important all year round, but do clean bird baths and feeders regularly.
Enjoy the golden light of this month and the bountiful produce, whether it is a bunch of Dahlias or corn on the cob. Why not take some photos of the fullness of the garden to remind you of its beauty on a cold February day.

May 2020 Gardening News

Have you recently discovered the joy of gardening? If so, that's great news.

Our website will give you a good idea of all the activities we normally do. Sadly, our trips for this year are cancelled, but all things being well, we hope to resume by the Autumn Show, in September, which could be the ideal opportunity to attend and meet lots of our friends and neighbours. Last year we had a record number of exhibits, over 300. It's not necessarily perfect onions or unblemished, shiny apples. If you have a well-maintained pot plant or a nice array of foliage there will be a class, you can enter. Floral Art and cookery are popular classes too.

We would like to expand our Facebook page and attract new members. Perhaps you can join that page (same name) and we can share gardening tips, ideas and photos whilst our garden centres are closed. Although some garden centres are offering a delivery service. Many keen gardeners are leaving plants or seeds at the end of their driveways to help yourself or swap. Whilst enjoying your daily walk, you can pick these up, but please remember the safety guidelines. Please take antibacterial hand gel, gloves and a bag. Ideally, you shouldn't touch them for 72 hours.

If you have any extra plants, either cuttings or seedlings, you don't want, we are hoping to have our "postponed" plant sale later in the year. I'm happy to look after them until we can hold the sale, if you don't want them cluttering your garden? The proceeds from the sale help subsidise the cost of the talks we arrange during the year. Members usually don't pay for these, unless they are someone notable like Nick Bailey or Chris Beardshaw (2021) who charge significantly more than our amateur speakers. Our contact telephone number is 07985 739788.

To celebrate our 125th Anniversary we are holding an event in November in the village hall. Ahead of the event we will be fundraising, by selling raffle tickets to help buy new trees for the picnic area by the tennis courts and recreational area. If you can donate a raffle prize, we would be very grateful indeed, so please get in touch to let us know if you can help?

I take this opportunity to wish you all well, and hope we stay well during this time.

Events Postponed

It is with regret that talks and activities arranged by the society are postponed for the at least the next couple of months (April & May), until we have further direction from the government.
We hope you remain well during this time, and take pleasure in looking after your gardens.
As soon as we have more information, and can resume normal activity we will be in touch.

March 2020 News Update

We held our first talk of the year on the 12th February, and I have to say it was a very different delivery about feeding your garden. I appreciated the talk could be very mundane discussing phosphates, nitrogen and mulch, so the speaker explained how the human body has all the nutrients our plants would need, so we could feed the garden with the "body" and dispose of the evidence. In short, probably a mixed review. However, I was really disappointed my husband (ex. his Met. Police Det.) didn't join in and tell his story about a husband, who committed suicide by eating yew tree leaves. Initially his wife was a murder suspect, as he died after just eating the meal she had given him, for his supper.

We are looking for volunteers to help at the school with their wildlife and vegetable garden projects? If you're interested, please get in contact? An occasional hour, here and there is all that is required. Gardening is so good for all of us and especially our children, and it helps them learn so much.

This year, in June, we have trips arranged for Godington House and Garden, for Delphinium week, and in July a coach trip to Polesden Lacey - House and Garden, a National Trust property. You can also apply to join us. Some of our other talks arranged for the year are 'Caring for roses', The 'modern kitchen garden' and 'Ferns'. This is a small selection, but our next talk is in March by Clive Nuttman and is called 'The Wonderful World of pollination'. This is at Kingston Barn on Wednesday 4th March 2020, at 7.30pm. The trips are arranged at cost and the talks are included in your annual membership fee of 5 for individual, or 10 for a household. We have a discount scheme with other garden centres and the seed company Suttons, where members enjoy a 50% discount. Not bad value, I hope you will agree?

Occasionally, a few members meet up at the Duke of Cumberland, in Barham to discuss gardening on a very general level. Maybe an opportunity to swap seeds, share seedlings etc. Our next meeting is 10th March 2020, at 7.30pm. Why not come along a meet a few of us?

The society is 125 years old this year. We are further discussing ideas at our next meeting to mark the occasion. We will report back in the next newsletter.

At this point, we all must be looking forward to Spring, and some brighter weather.

Gardening tips for March

For the moment just whisper 'spring is here' but by the end of the month we can shout it from the rooftops.

At the time of writing its been a mild winter, just enough frost to (hopefully) reduce the aphid population but not enough to do any damage.

With the arrival of spring comes loads of activity in the garden. Seed sowing starts in earnest, if you have not grown from seed before give it a go, its wonderful to see the new seedlings pushing through the soil. If you have space in a sunny border why not try sugar-snap or mangetout peas, they will need some support to climb, or beetroot are easy, the roots are better in full sun but in lower light conditions you will still get leaves which can be eaten young in salads. If flowers are your thing, calendula (English Marigolds) are loved by bees. All these seeds can be started in pots and then transferred to the garden or planted directly into the garden soil.

The veg plot, if you have one, needs to be cleared of weeds and raked to a fine tilth (which means all the big lumps have been bashed and the soil raked level to give a crumbly surface) its then ready for seed sowing. Now is the time to plant the potatoes you started to chit last month, its also time for onion and shallot sets to be planted- both are very easy to grow. Your veg plot will need feeding to get a good crop, decide whether you will add organic fertilizer, well rotted manure, chicken pellets, blood, fish and bone etc. Or a general purpose inorganic (chemical) one such as 'growmore'. Both feed your plants but generally speaking organic fertilizers provide other benefits in terms of trace nutrients, often helps soil structure and release more slowly.

Inorganic generally provides nutrients quicker (some are slow release). Personally I use a mixture of garden compost and manure alongside inorganic fertilizers to give a boost later in the growing season. Don't add manure prior to planting carrots or other root veg you will get funny shaped double rooted produce which is difficult to peel! Its time to prune roses ready for the summer, they will then appreciate a mulch of well rotted manure to feed them and keep moisture locked in. Prune spring flowering shrubs as soon as they have finished flowering. Refer to instructions online or in a book, but as usual remove dead, damaged and crossing branches, and then prune for shape and size. Shrubs grown for their winter stem colour such as dogwoods should be pruned hard now to encourage new stems for next winter as they will have better colour than the old ones. This hard pruning can be done every year once the shrub has established (2-3years) or every couple of years. The RHS has useful instructions online- or talk to a gardening friend.

In the borders cut back old dead stems of herbaceous perennials, big clumps can be divided and moved. Lawn edges benefit from a trim and tidy and the lawn can be mown on a dry day.

Many summer bulbs, corms and tubers such as lilies can be planted now, be a little adventurous there are plenty of colourful options. Some are not hardy ie dahlias- it will say on the pack, so these will need to be kept frost free.

Before you know it winter will be a distant memory and you will be sitting in the garden enjoying a cup of tea and perhaps a well earned slice of cake.

January 2020 News Update

Happy New Year to all our members and our community. We look forward to seeing you at our AGM on the 8th January 2020. It's at 7pm, at Barham Village Hall. After a quick run through of the formalities we will enjoy a short horticultural quiz, whilst we welcome in the new year and chat amongst ourselves. We will be collecting subscriptions and handing out the programmes. Still only 5 for individual membership. We will also have some of the Sutton's seed catalogues with the "discount code" affording 50 % discount off seed orders to our members. We have an interesting programme for 2020, ranging from talks covering pest control and fertilization, looking after your roses, pollination. Our garden trip will give us the opportunity to enjoy a garden specialising in delphiniums. All this and much more, most of which is included in your membership fee. This year the society is 125 years established. One of the oldest in the village. Our original minute book is still held in our archive.

We are really pleased to be helping Barham primary school with their wildlife and garden projects. With the help of the Nailbourne Foundation, the school has invested in some gardening areas to help the children with their development. We are looking to help them fund and find some tools for the volunteers to work on the spaces, to prepare them for the children to work in. If you have any unwanted tools, in good, safe working order please get in touch with me? The school needs some help with some gardening to get the projects fully operational, so if you can spare an hour or two please contact me and I can add you to the list, where we can notify you when we are getting together.

I would still like some help with our Facebook page, and other ideas for social media. Even if you don't want to join the committee, please can you get in touch if you can help us?

And finally the Hanami Festival at Brogdale in April, either the 18th or 19th. If you are interested I would like to arrange an additional trip? 15 people required It is a one day celebration where you will be able to enjoy traditional Japanese entertainment whilst you picnic under the beauty of the ornamental cherry blossom! Please get in touch with me to register your interest. Sue Strange 07985 739788


Next EventSaturday
10th September

'2022 Autumn Show'
The 2022 Autumn Show takes place on Saturday 10th September at 2.30PM at Barham Village Hall.
Directions to Barham Village Hall »
Adobe Acrobat PDF Autumn Show Rules & Details »
Adobe Acrobat PDF Autumn Show Entry form »

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