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

Latest Society News & Events 2021

Take a look at what the society did last year and what we have planned for this year.

October 2021 News Update

I am pleased to report that the Autumn show was a real success, despite a more cautious approach. We had a great number of entries, and the standard was extremely good. Thank you to everyone who took part or helped with the event. Details of the placings and cup winners are here along with a gallery of photographs showing a number of exhibits.

Our next event is Chris Beardshaw, Garden Designer RHS Gold Medal winner, presenter from Gardeners World, RHS Chelsea Flower Show. He will be giving us a talk at Barham Village Hall on Wednesday October 6th, 2021, at 7.30pm. Please check at Barham Village Stores to see if there are any tickets left, in case you missed the posters and Facebook posts? We do e-mail our members with all information, so please check we have your correct e-mail address, if you are not getting notifications? Tickets are £15, in an effort to recover the cost. Due to restricted numbers, to keep the venue as safe as possible we are subsidising the actual cost of hosting this event.

This year we will need to slightly increase our membership fees to cover our costs. We will be producing a Programme for 2022, and we will collect our subscriptions when you get the programme and membership discount card. At the time of writing we are unsure whether our Annual General Meeting will take place in the village hall as usual, or an alternative plan be arranged. More details to follow after our next committee meeting. I am pleased to say we have two new people interested in joining the committee. More details to follow.

Chris Lane is giving a talk on Friday 12th November 2021, which we hope will be held in the village hall, if safe to do so? If necessary, we can revert to a virtual Zoom presentation. He holds the national collection of hamamelis, wisteria and prunus. The talk will start at 7.30pm.

If you have any suggestions of topics you would like to suggest or activities and trips to recommend, we would love to hear your ideas. As you read this newsletter I hope you found time to watch some of the coverage of this years Chelsea Flower show, moved from its earlier slot in the year to this September? It's bound to make an interesting change. You can email us or telephone 07985 739788.

Gardening notes for October 2021

What an unusual year this has been, I had a magnolia flowering in September, almost like it wanted to start the season again!
It's a good time to take stock of your plot, what did well, what didn't and what changes you would like to make?

How is it looking on a sunny autumn day, is there still plenty of colour for you and nectar for the insects? Perhaps a trip to the garden centre is needed, or scrounge a piece of Japanese anemone or sedum from a friend, both are great for late nectar and colour. What about some hardy cyclamen. Hederifolium is flowering now in sun or shade, or coum to brighten up a shady corner from December to March.

What about autumn leaves, could you add some more, its not just trees, some perennials have beautiful autumn colour. Hardy plumbago will give late blue flowers and russet autumn leaves. Some hardy geraniums have good autumn colour too.

On the veg plot there will be squashes (crown prince, butternut and the like) to harvest cut them off with a 5cm section of stem and allow the skin to harden in the sun (in a greenhouse is ideal) before storing in cool dry, frost free place. The last of the apples and pears will be ready to harvest. By the end of the month autumn raspberries will have finished so make the most of them. Oct/Nov is the time to divided congested crowns of rhubarb (roughly every five years) they are hungry, so re plant with well rotted manure dug into the hole.

Enjoy the structure of seed heads, of course the birds will love them too. Last year the goldfinches feasted on my rudbeckia seed heads for weeks.

If you don't have slow worms in your garden then spread any well rotted material from your compost bins on your borders or veg plot. If you do have slow worms, be careful not to disturb them, they start to hibernate this month or leave spreading it until March.

Its good to start to plan for the first frost, keep an eye on the forecast. Be ready to move tender plants inside or fleece them in a sheltered place.

Enjoy October it's a beautiful month, all soft light and changing colours. The garden starts to fall asleep and nothing needs to be done in a rush. If we are lucky we will still have warm sunny days, the daylight hours will just be a bit shorter.

2021 Autumn Show (View the gallery)

Following a difficult year, we held our Autumn Show with a few changes to the way in which things were run.

It was really well supported with some excellent exhibits and ran really smoothly.

The following prizes and cups were awarded.

Names (Alphabetical by surname)
Results (Shown as number of firsts, seconds and thirds)
Name
1st
2nd
3rd
      Name
1st
2nd
3rd
H Ayers 3 1 0       L Goody 5 4 2
J Borgioli 1 2 2       K Hubbard 0 2 0
R Borthwick 9 2 1       C Hunt 4 5 1
J Carus 1 0 0       J Ironside 2 0 2
A Clough 3 3 1       S Lavelle 0 1 2
S Clough 0 1 0       C Manley 0 0 1
J Cracknell 4 0 1       B Norton 0 1 1
V Cracknell 2 4 3       B Page 2 1 3
B Crocker 1 0 1       S Past 2 2 1
H Croft 1 1 3       I Rendell 7 7 3
J Crothall 0 2 2       M Smith 0 1 0
R Crothall 0 0 1       S Strange 0 3 2
E Dallison 0 1 4       J Terry 4 1 3
D Fuller 4 2 0       S Tyler 0 2 2
Cup Winners as follows:
Cup Name
Allen Cup: I Rendell
A.J. Ross Amateur Cup: L Goody
Banksian Medal of the RHS: D Fuller
Best in Show: R Borthwick
Best Dahlia R Borthwick
Best Rose H Croft
Brian Wright Memorial Cup J Lavelle
Carr Memorial Cup: C Hunt
Clarke Cup: I Rendell
Collingwood Cup: J Terry
Cottager's cup: I Rendell
Top Tray: R Borthwick
Top Vase: I Rendell
Kathie Hedley Cup: C Hunt & J Borgioli (Joint)
H.E.Middleton Cup R Borthwick
New Exhibitor's Cup: C Hunt
Potato Challenge Cup: R Borthwick
President's Cup: J Cracknell
School's Cup: No schools cup awarded as no childrens entries.

 

Gardening notes for September 2021

What a strange summer, we didn't have to spend much time watering, although the time saved seems to have been spent dealing with bindweed! Lets hope for a more settled autumn. I do love the way the light levels change going into the autumn and the spiders webs are picked out by the dew.

There are still jobs to be done. The soil is warm, it is a good time to plant trees and shrubs, including the spring flowering ones you promised yourself. Grasses are better planted in the spring (they sulk in cold soil) but may be OK planted at the beginning of September. Perennials can be divided this month. Perhaps add some autumn flowering ones rudbeckias are a robust addition.

Keep harvesting from your veg patch and fruit trees. There are excellent fruit trees on dwarf root stock for small spaces, for example cordons and step overs. You get the bonus of spring blossom and winter structure too. Summer fruiting raspberries, once finished prune out the canes which fruited this year, leaving the new canes to fruit next year. Autumn fruiting raspberries are different, cut the whole lot down once fruiting has finished. Both types will benefit from a mulch.

Its time to plan your spring garden, bulbs will be in the garden centres soon although a wider selection is available online or from catalogues. Choose early crocus or other pollinator friendly bulbs and the bees will thank you.

It's time to cut any meadow areas once the flowers are finished and trim hedges so they are crisp through the winter. Do check for bird nests before you start, the blackbirds in our garden are on their third brood. On the subject of wildlife the hedgehogs will be getting ready for winter so some extra food would be welcome, do be careful when strimming, check the area first and we all know to build (or re build) and light a bonfire the same day so there is no time for them to be hiding in the bottom.

Now is the time for some autumn lawn care. Feeding for stronger growth (autumn lawn feed), raking the moss out, aerating by pushing a fork in over compacted areas, re seeding or re turfing worn areas. Its more environmentally friendly to hand weed, or just live with them! This can also be done in October so be guided by the weather conditions.

Enjoy the warm days (hopefully) of early autumn and the plans for the coming year.

September 2021 News Update

We are pleased to confirm that we are hosting this year's show, on 4th September 2021, respecting some caution considering Covid 19. We want to encourage as many exhibitors as possible, so we have scaled down some of the proceedings to minimise contact, by not be collecting entry fees or giving cash prizes, but awarding points to earn the placings, cups, and prize vouchers. If you cannot access our website and a printer, we can print entry forms and list of entry classes for you and deliver them to you. Please call Sue on 07985 739788 to arrange this. You should submit your entries in the box on the table at Barham Village Store by 31st August 2021, or hand them to a committee member. The children's colouring competition can be entered on the day. There are classes incorporating Flowers, Fruit & Vegetables, plus cookery and photography. So hopefully there is at least one class we can all enter. We have published the show schedule on our Facebook page. Unfortunately, there will be no cakes and refreshments this year but hopefully back to normal next year.

At the time of writing, we are selling tickets for our talk by Chris Beardshaw on the 6th of October 2021. Most of us will know of Chris from the TV on BBC Gardner's World or coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show. Chris is a very experienced plantsman and garden designer with a flair for presenting. It should be a real treat. The tickets are £15 each to cover costs but numbers are strictly limited. Tickets, if any still available can be bought at our shop or any committee member.

We hope you like the new planter near Heathfield Way. If you can volunteer for our watering and weeding rota, please let us know? Anyone can weed or deadhead the planters as they are there for everyone to enjoy. The new planter was created and funded from charity donations only, predominantly The Kent Community Foundation. We will be holding a raffle to raise funds for some future planting. Simpsons have donated a Wine tasting experience for two. We are looking to add two more raffle prizes? We're happy to receive plant donations too.

New committee members are always welcome. Why not come along to see what we do. There is no pressure to join but you may think it's something for you?
See you all soon. Sue Strange, Chair.

Gardening notes for August 2021

Hopefully summer will be a reality in August, what a contrast 2021 is to 2020. I guess the bonus has been less time spent watering!

August is a month of harvest, onions and garlic can be harvested when the leaves start to turn yellow. Rather than pulling them up, lift carefully with a fork to avoid damaging the root plate. Allow to dry in the sun (we hope) and store. Keep an eye on other crops, beans, courgettes, sweetcorn, cucumbers etc and harvest when they are at their best.

One crop you won't be harvesting this month is rhubarb (ideally it was only cropped lightly in June and July). It needs a rest now, ready for next spring. It would appreciate a feed and a mulch- but don't cover the crown or it may rot.

In the border keep dead heading to promote flowering and add support to later flowering perennials. If you grow bearded iris, it's a good idea to lift crowded rhizomes between July- September and re plant. This is done about every three years.

Refresh the soil with compost or feed and replant the healthy rhizomes, discarding any that are withered or weak. Ensure the rhizome in visible above the soil it needs to be baked in the sunshine. Trim back the leaves to about a third and water in. You may have more than you need so pot them up to share.

Why not collect your own seeds this year? Once seeds are brown and rattling in their pods, they are ready. Collect on a dry day once the sun has dried off the dew. Don't forget to label them! Store in a cool dry place in paper until spring, or for foxgloves sow now in a nursery bed and move next spring. Foxgloves, phlomis, love in the mist, poppies and marigolds are all easy.

Keep feeding hungry plants such as squashes and tomatoes and also anything in a pot, especially flowering plants, to keep the display looking good into the autumn. As always tomato food is good for anything which is fruiting or flowering. If the weather reflects our hopes for August, you will also be watering. Conserve water where you can, using rainwater, standing pots in a saucer and watering in the cool of the day.

Don't forget to keep water for wildlife clean and topped up.

I hope you all enjoy some time to relax and be refreshed even if your holiday plans are not what you had expected.

July 2021 News Update

On 9th June, 24 members of the Society met at Godinton House for a tour of the house, afternoon tea and a stroll round the gardens.
The party was split into 3 groups for the tour of the house.

The house dates to the 14th century when it was a typical Hall house. It has evolved through the Jacobean and Victorian periods to the beautiful building it is today.

It is unique in that it was owned in most part by only 2 families. In the 16th century it was the seat of the Toke family who altered it in the Jacobean style. When the last member of the family died at the age of 92 without any heirs (reputedly on his way to London to collect his 6th wife), it was purchased by Lillie Bruce Ward, whose family lived there until the death of Alan Wyndham Green. During this period, the house took on a Victorian elegance which can be seen by the collection of furniture, art and porcelain. What you see today is how it was left after his death. When Alan passed away without an heir, the house was put into a preservation trust for the enjoyment of the public.

Two famous visitors - Jane Austin is reputed to have stayed at Godinton when visiting her brother. Alan Wyndham Green sold 900 acres of land to the Channel Tunnel and when Margaret Thatcher visited the tunnel, she was entertained at Godinton.

After tea and cake, we were free to stroll round the beautiful formal garden and the magnificent walled kitchen garden on a beautiful summer afternoon.

Our Autumn show will be held on Saturday 4th September 2021, in Barham Village Hall, unless Covid 19 prevents us. Entries must be submitted by 31st August 2021 at the latest. A box will be in the village shop. Adobe Acrobat PDF 2021 Autumn Show Schedule. Adobe Acrobat PDF 2021 Autumn show entry form

Finally, another reminder about Chris Beardshaw who will be delivering his talk at Barham Village Hall on Wednesday 6th October 2021. Tickets will be available as soon as we are 100% sure we can go ahead.

A big thank you to everyone involved in our plant sale. A lot of effort from some dedicated committee members and help from others too. The final total raised will be published in our next newsletter. We are also looking for a small amount of volunteering to help look after the new planter being created along Valley Road, near the entrance to Heathfield Way. Please e-mail us or call 07985 739788. Any help is really appreciated. However small.

June 2021 News Update

On the 13th of May, Maureen Rainey of Kent Wildlife Trust delivered her talk on Wildlife Friendly Gardening concentrating on edible gardening. Here is a summary of her talk.

To help the environment there are 3 main aims:

    1. Reduce water wastage by recycling e.g., rainwater capture using for example, water barrels, butts and if possible, drip feeding it, especially in greenhouses or on veggie patches.

    2. Reduce the use of plastic by re-using old plastic pots, packaging and sacks or recycling unwanted items. Bear in mind that black plastic will not recycle.

    3. Reduce carbon emissions by using peat free compost where possible. Did you realise that due to demand we are having to import peat further adding to the carbon footprint.

Pest and diseases

Believe it or not, only 1% of creatures are troublesome.

The problem is that as soon as we see an aphid, we reach for the spray, which in turn, not only kills the aphid but any other beneficial creatures nearby. This could be the ladybird larvae which, if left to mature will then eat the aphids.

We try to control nature too much and if left to its own devices (as in a wildlife meadow) nature will sort itself out. This will take time, but in the end, we will not need to reach for insecticides. Strong plants resist disease better, so feed them during their growing season. Mulching in the Autumn or Spring is a great way to help them and their soil environment. Place the right plant in the right growing conditions.

Inspect the plants when purchasing and make sure they are healthy. Mix flowers with fruit and vegetable plants to confuse pests; examples are to plant tomatoes with marigolds or broad beans with nasturtiums or just go for a real old English cottage garden mixing everything in together.

Above is just a short prιcis of Maureen's talk.

Coming up –

On June 9th, members of the Society will be visiting Godinton House gardens in Ashford together with a tour of the house, followed by tea and cake.

If all goes to plan our first main event will be the Autumn Show on 4th September, entry details of which can be found on our website. Please do enter something even if it is just the one item. It's easy to find something once you look at the classes and then browse your garden. The joy of taking part is very rewarding.

On 6th October, Chris Beardshaw, well known Horticulturalist and RHS Chelsea medal winner will be coming to the village to talk about 'Painting with Flowers'. This will be a ticket entry event, initially for members only. If you're not a member, why not join now to avoid disappointment. Annual membership is only £5.

Above all, with our new freedoms, enjoy the Summer and look forward to the exciting events coming up.

Gardening notes for June 2021

Here we are in flaming June, after such a cold start to the year lets hope it lives up to its name!

The days are long so there is plenty of time to get jobs done and still have time to relax in the garden.

In the veg patch this is the last chance to plant seeds for mange tout, beans, courgettes etc. Continue to sow things like salad leaves, radish and spring onions, as always look at the seed packet. Regular use of a hoe is the best way to keep on top of weeds and reduce the competition with your veg. Early potatoes should be ready this month, have a root about to check, before you commit to digging them up, they are sweetest eaten straight away. If you are growing tomatoes ensure they are fed weekly after the fruit start to set. Cordon varieties are grown with a stake as a single stem, so pinch out side shoots. Bush varieties just need some support.

If you have not already done so, you will be planting out squashes (bury the plant pot next to the plant to water into. Also sweet corn- remember they are wind pollinated so will need to be in a block, not a row for full cobs.

How did you get on with no mow May, did you find an increase in flowers in your lawn? What about adding a log pile to a sheltered spot to give habitat for insects, or building a bug hotel. There are ideas online.

If you have patio pots dead head and feed them regularly to keep them looking good. Watering will be more effective if they are stood in a saucer. If you have not planted yours up yet, why not include flowers to encourage pollinators, the daisy family are good as are single fuchsias.

June is a beautiful month for roses. To keep them flowering remember to dead head them, unless of course you are wanting rose hips for the autumn. If despite dead heading you don't get more flowers then your variety is not a repeat flowerer, treat yourself to one which is!

To prevent tall perennials falling over get some supports in now, if you have not done so already. Metal ones are available, or make your own out of twiggy branches or canes.

June is the month when many gardens are at there best, take time to enjoys yours, or why not visit a local garden for inspiration.

Gardening notes for April 2021

Here we are in the month of sunshine and showers. April is an optimistic month with summer just around the corner. Don't be caught out with frosts, keep an eye on the forecast.

Spring flowering shrubs ie forsythia, ribes (flowering currant), philadelphus and weigela should be pruned after flowering.

Remove dead, weak and damaged braches and any that are rubbing on their neighbours. Then take out up to a third of the oldest stems if the shrub is too congested. Any stems which are getting too long for their space can be trimmed back to just above a strong shoot. Once again consult the RHS website for the specifics for your shrub.

If you don't know what shrubs you have, invite a gardening friend round for a cuppa and identification session, as soon as permitted under the rules.

On the veg patch, all should be dug over (or mulched, for a no dig regime) ready to directly plant seeds of tender veg - beans, courgettes or sweetcorn in May. Alternatively for an earlier crop sow under cover and plant out once the risk of frost has passed. Details are on the seed packets

Plant all seed potatoes by the end of April. Once they start to shoot, draw up the soil over the plants. This ensures the developing tubers (from the stems) do not go green and protects the shoots from any frosts.

In the greenhouse plants will need more regular watering. Trim any dead leaves and stems from plants to reduce the risk of rot. Cuttings can be taken of over wintered plants such as geraniums (pelargoniums) and osteospermums

There will be a lot of growth over next few months. Why not give garden plants (roses in particular) a feed. I like to use organic fertilizers now, such as blood, fish and bone or chicken manure pellets (be warned they smell for a few days!) both give a slow release of food.

Weeds will begin to grow faster with all that sunshine and rain, so keep on top of them. Regular use of a hoe is an effective way of keeping the weeds at bay. April is a good time to repair or lay new lawns. Whether you use seed or turf April showers are your friend to keep them watered until established.

Your houseplants will benefit from some TLC now, food, maybe re potted and cleaning of the leaves.

Enjoy the freshness of the new growth and the promise of summer.

April 2021 News Update

After a what feels like a long Winter, we are now able to enjoy some sunshine and warmer days, and ready to spend many more hours in our gardens. Our gardening tips are in the magazine to inspire and motivate you. Adobe Acrobat PDF Current BDHS Member discounts

On Wednesday 3rd March we were treated to a zoom talk by Martin Newcombe who specialises in ecology, particularly regarding wildlife, the countryside, and the environment . The title of his talk was Pests, Insects and Friends in the Garden'. The following is just as a taster of what was a very informative talk, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Garden birds – did you know that Red Kites are now breeding in Kent, three nests having been found? They may be magnificent birds, but they can be pests – one lady was so taken with them that she fed them, and her reward was that they took some of her washing off the line!!

Insects – fact, one bumblebee worker can visit 50 – 120 plants in one hour, transferring pollen on the way. When a ladybird attacks the aphids on your plants, the aphids pass the message on that they are under attack and to get away if possible. If left to her own devices without any predators, a single greenfly could form a pile 6'-8' high throughout the world in one season!

Plants – to eradicate ground elder, just keep on cutting it and eventually it will go

Moles are mostly solitary creatures and only come together when mating so it is possible that in one acre there is only one mole – do you believe that when you see your lawn covered in mole hills?

Bats can eat 600 insects in one night, dependent on species of bat.

As for slugs , the gardener's enemy, - the best way to keep them under control is to make a pond for frogs and/or toads, slugs being a very acceptable meal for both. Otherwise, the use of organic pellets or salt are effective.

Warning – it will not be long before muntjac deer become common in Kent and they will eat any plants they encounter. This is just a short profile of the talk which was enjoyed by our members.

Our next talk by Zoom will be by Darren Lerrigo talking about A very British Garden including the method of what's known as "No Dig" and is on Monday 12th April. A link will be sent to our members via e-mail.

March 2021 News Update

On Wednesday, 10th February, Mercy Morris gave a presentation on House Plants by Zoom. Below you will find a brief resume of her talk.

Mercy has been growing houseplants for over 33 years and has more than 280 plants in her home at the moment. She has been selling houseplants locally for the last few years in the Westgate Hall on the 3rd Saturday in the month She has been selected as the first person to open under the National Garden Scheme (Yellow Book) just for houseplants and has the National Plant Collection of Chlorophytum comosum (spider plants) She admits that she is obsessed.

She went on to explain that a houseplant needs: light, space, water and warmth. In the past our homes were too dark and now with larger windows and artificial light we have a better chance of keeping them alive, especially as a majority of house plant originally come from tropical countries.

Water

Fresh, clean water is essential for plants healthy growth. Some plants like carnivorous plants, gardenia and indoor azaleas need rainwater. Piped water to houses became only sporadically available from the 1700s in London

Warmth

In the 19th and 20th centuries, many tropical plants were sent to Europe from Central & South America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. These plants require a steady temperature above 10-15c without cold draughts. The gradual spread of central heating and thermostatic control meant that it was feasible to grow these fantastically exotic plants in a normal home rather than a grand glasshouse.

The term "houseplant" was first used in 1952 when Thomas Rochford of Covent Garden revolutionised the indoor plant market growing over a million plants from 117 varieties in the mid 1950s.

Boom times for houseplants were the 50s, 60s and 70s. People became too busy in the 80s and many houseplant nurseries went out of business. Houseplants became unfashionable in the 90s especially among the young but now are more popular than ever. Younger people are often living in small, rented properties without the opportunity to garden This makes small indoor plants like succulents ideal.

What goes wrong and what to do when it does

Overwatering

Remove from pot, wrap in cloth or paper to absorb water from compost. Keep changing the cloth until the root ball is dry. Replace plant in pot. Don't water again for at least a month.

Underwatering

Cut off dead foliage, soak the plant in water until bubbles stop coming out. Drain Wait a week or so

Pests & diseases (not all of them!)

Mealy bug are small, white woodlice-type insects. They suck sap, make plants sticky and revolting, spread like soft butter. If you see one, kill it immediately and quarantine the plant if you can.

They tend to come in on plants from older collections and nurseries, where there may be a resident population. Especially vulnerable are cacti & succulents as the bugs and crawlers can hide out in the nooks and crannies. Scale insects appear as little hemispheres and are often pale brown. Often the first sign of scale is a sticky plant. This is from honeydew, the nice name for scale poo.The mother insect lays eggs under the shelter of the waxy scale, when they are old enough, they move out across the whole plant. They are hard to control because the waxy scale protects them from insecticides.

Moulds, fluffs and spots are mainly due to reduced resistance to infection caused by: Damage to leaves or stems or overcrowding, causing lack of fresh air circulation. Overwatering, not enough light or over feeding

Mercy then went to explain what an air plant is and recommended different species for scent etc

This is just a flavour of Mercy's talk which we hope will encourage you to join us in future Zoom meetings. If you want help, please contact us. Most of us have found it easy to join in, even the technophobes amongst us. We have also asked Silver Spence, a local resident and houseplant expert to write an article which can be found here. Why not have a read. She sells houseplants and her stock is available to view on FriendsorFriends.com

Our next Zoom meeting will be Martin Newcombe, who will be talking about Pets and Friends in The Garden. This will be on Wednesday 3rd March at 7.30pm. Don't forget in October we have Chris Beardshaw talking about 'A Very British Garden'. This will be a ticket only event for members, so why not join now so you can apply for a ticket?

In the meantime, we hope that you are all keeping well and looking forward to the warmer weather when you can get out into your gardens and maybe start preparing for the Autumn Show, which we are hoping can go ahead in some form or another later in the year. Our thanks to Jill Terry for organising all our events and her summary of Mercy's talk.

Gardening notes for March 2021

At last we are on the cusp of spring.

There is plenty to keep us busy this month. Its time to clear the dead stems of herbaceous perennials (HPs) and deciduous grasses which you have left for wildlife. Start with those which are starting to shoot. Deal with any revealed weeds before they take hold. HPs can also be moved or divided, when replanting refresh the soil with some bonemeal or compost.

Winter shrubs grown for colourful stems, for example dogwoods, willows or white stemmed brambles should be pruned now, give them a feed after to boost new growth. Once the shrub is established it can be cut back hard either every year or every couple of years, depending on the vigour of the plant. Or a proportion of the stems can be removed every year. The RHS website has useful guidance.

A mulch added to your borders or veg plot is beneficial to the soil and productivity of your plot as well as suppressing weeds. For example, home made compost, spent mushroom compost, composted bark etc or recycled green waste. See what your garden centre has.

Turning attention to spring flowers, deadhead daffs etc, give any in pots a feed if you want them to flower well next year. If you have clumps of snowdrops in your garden, now is a good time to split them up to spread round the garden. Take care, they are likely to be deeper that you expect. Divide the clump into smaller groups and re plant at the same depth- watering to settle the soil round the roots.

March is the month when many seeds are sown, follow the instructions on the packets. Its also time to plant onion/shallot sets (or seeds) and first early seed potatoes. Later cropping potatoes second early and main crops are planted in April. Bare root perennials, plug plants and summer flowering bulbs are available this month for summer colour. Don't be caught out by frosts its not summer yet!

Once dry, lawns can have their first cut and when actively growing can be given a spring feed. To be wildlife friendly choose one which feeds only, no weed or moss killer. Areas which are walked on frequently will benefit from some aeration. Stab a fork into the surface, sink the tines half way down and wiggle the fork. Repeat over the area.

Well that should keep you busy, but the 'to do list' also includes a cuppa outside on any warm days- enjoy!

January 2021 News Update

Happy New Year, after what has been a very challenging year for many people, including some of our members. We sincerely wish all of you a better 2021. In the absence of our usual Annual General Meeting, I am writing to explain our interim alternative which is to produce a full written report. This will be sent via e-mail to all members where we hold an e-mail account. Using e-mail has been our main way of communication, apart from the village newsletters and some Facebook activity, so it is very important that we hold a current and correct e-mail for you. If you have not had communications from us, via Liz notifying you of various items throughout the last year, you need to contact us again to update your e-mail address with us. We will also post the report on the Parish noticeboards where possible. If you would like a written copy posted to you, please let us know as soon as possible.

In short, it will include a recap of this year and we will include a current financial account, a schedule of talks for 2021, which will be held via Zoom or in the hall as soon as the situation allows. The show schedule will be produced nearer the time, if it looks like we can hold the Autumn Show. To help plan your growing for 2021, in the event of the show, the classes are now published on our website. If this is not applicable for you, please give me a call and I will get you a printed copy. We have decided not to collect subscriptions for 2021, and only charge for talks in the hall at £2 for non-members, should they reconvene during 2021. We can sustain our insurance and affiliation membership fees, and potential printing costs from the proceeds raised from plant sales, organised by some of the committee, which will preserve our small reserve. Please remember to enjoy the very generous seeds discount of 50% with Suttons Seeds and contact us for the code if you did not get the e-mail? We do have garden designer and TV presenter Chris Beardshaw booked for October 2021, in Barham Village Hall. However, we will need things to be back to normal in terms of needing a full house, to cover the cost of his booking. Further details to follow, when we know more. We will also hold some form of plant sale, but again, more details to follow. All our current committee have agreed to stand for a further year. We will call extenuating circumstances as we cannot propose and second. We would still welcome any new committee members, if you are interested?

If you would like any further information, please get in touch.

Gardening notes for January 2021

I hope you all had a relaxing, albeit quieter Christmas. Officially this is the first month of the new year, for the garden it is largely still sleeping!

What to do? Nothing in a rush, it will be a while before the garden really wakes up. Its good to take stock of what your garden is like in winter. Would a shrub with early spring blossom, or some early flowering bulbs lift your spirits? Perhaps plan to plant more crocus in the autumn (the early bumble bees will thank you). Or some snowdrops, buy them flowering, or order 'in the green' later. For early blossom why not plant winter flowering Jasmine or Daphne, Mahonia and winter box (Sarcococca) are winter flowering and scented. Camellias and witch hazels are also beautiful, but not keen on the alkaline soil many of us have. Your options are to grow them in a large pot, or if part of your garden is more clay than chalk, then you may be OK with the use of ericaceous feed through the year. Its possible to plant shrubs now, as long as the soil is not waterlogged or frozen. Alternatively wait until March and have the anticipation for next spring.

Check on pots sheltering under the eves of the house, they may need a little water if they have dried out.

On the veg plot why not plant garlic cloves for a summer harvest, buy them from the garden centre or online, they will be disease free and better suited to our climate than spares from the kitchen. They like a sunny position in well drained soil. If you enjoy broad beans (not a personal favourite!) they can be planted in pots at the end of Jan, ready to be planted out in March. They will benefit from some protection but don't need any heat (they start to germinate above 7°C).

For the wildlife in your garden, keep the bird feeders topped up and provide clean water, especially on a frosty day. Birds keep warmer if their feathers are in good condition from bathing. Do continue to leave perennial stems standing, they protect the crown of the plant, provide food and shelter for wildlife and look stunning on a frosty morning.

If it, snows knock it off evergreens to prevent the weight damaging branches. But do take care when its slippery underfoot.

On sunny days its lovely to take a stroll around your plot enjoying any signs of spring you spot.

 

Next EventFriday
12th November

Chris Lane "National Plant collections"
Chris holds the national collections of Hamamelis, wisteria and prunus
Kingston Barn  

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