Our annual Grand Plant Sale was yet another outstanding success. Our members carried the flag yet again by supplying huge quantities of plants, cakes and pastries, jams and preserves, and an absolute 'Aladdin's Cave' of garden related bric-a-brac, all for sale to the general public, and at knock down prices.
Hard on the heels of our Tuesday meeting, 50+ members and friends joined us on a day trip to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in West Sussex. By the time we arrived, the rain had stopped and we enjoyed a lovely day in the beautiful gardens. The Rhododendrons and Azaleas were at their best, and an added bonus was the amazing "Beyond the Doll's House" exhibition. This was a wonderful collection of minutely detailed dioramas that left us all in awe of the skills of the modeller. A fantastic day.
70+ Members joined us for our Christmas Party, and most agreed that it was one of the best for a long time. Members pulled out all the stops when supplying food for the buffet, but the highlight of the evening was the entertainment, in the form of Ron & Ash. A talented and lively duo
who kept us entertained with music ranging from Country, to Sixties, to Rock n Roll, and a good old fashioned knees up too! In fact they were so popular that we hope to get them back for our 2019 party. (See our Gallery Page for pictures)
So that was it for 2018. Yet another successful year for the Beltinge Gardeners’ Society, and it is all down to your continued and much welcomed support. Thank you all.
Finally, we would like to wish all of our members and friends a healthy and prosperous New Year, and look forward to welcoming you all to our February meeting when Roland Stevens will give us a talk on ‘A Year In The Life Of A Lawn’.
50 or so members attended
our November meeting, and we were rewarded with a thoroughly fascinating talk from Suzanne Kynaston. Suzanne is a qualified zoologist and conservationist at the nearby Wildwood
Supported with a host of wonderful slides and videos, she talked about the Trust's conservation projects with British mammals and their success in reintroducing a variety of small animals to the wild.
To finish her presentation, Suzanne, herself a published expert on bears, told us the heartwarming story of Fluffy and Scruffy, two rescued European Brown Bears who are now thriving in their large woodland enclosure at Wildwood.
In 2014, these two underweight and stressed bears were rescued from appalling conditions at a disused bear breeding station in Bulgaria, where they had been kept in small barren concrete cells for their entire lives.
To cut a long, harrowing and expensive story short, these two poor creatures were eventually rescued and brought to Wildwood where they are now thriving and happy in their large natural woodland home. A wonderful story to end a most enjoyable evening.
A great reason, if one were needed, to visit our local wildlife park.
As gardeners, we have an
affinity with all types of nature, from bees through to hedgehogs, and we just love all aspects of the living world.
So, you will all find something of interest when we welcome Suzanne Kynaston as our guest speaker at the November meeting.
Suzanne is an expert in Zoology and conservation, and is to be found at The Wildwood Trust at nearby Herne Common.
Those of you that have visited Wildwood will know that enormous emphasis is being placed on the conservation projects there, which are aimed at the protection of our native British wildlife. However, Wildwood is also home to many 'non-native' animals who are also in need of protection. High on this list are the bears !
I mention the bears, primarily because Suzanne has written and published books on 'wild bears of the world' ! She also tutors courses at Wildwood on British mammals, from identification (from tracks and droppings), surveying (by humane trapping), to general conservation.
Suzanne is a true expert, and l am sure her talk will be of enormous interest to us all.
The November meeting will also be an opportunity to pay for your 2019 membership and collect your new Programme & Show Schedule.
As well as some exciting new speakers next year, there are also some added fun classes in the Show Schedule too. How about trying your hand at fruit or vegetable carving, or proudly displaying that weird and crazily shaped carrot or parsnip to get a few childish sniggers from your friends ? ? ??
12 months membership remains at £10 pp.
Thank you, and we hope to see you all on 6th November.
Our 2018 Autumn Show went
well, with some really great exhibits on display. This was all the more impressive when you consider the long hot summer we have all had to endure this year. Sadly, my runner beans gave
up the ghost weeks ago !
Before you go to our gallery page to look at some pictures, we must first thank everyone who took part on the night, from the many exhibitors, to those that helped set up for the show and clear up at the end. Also, we must not forget all of the unsung heroes that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make these events so successful. I think most of us don't realise the tremendous amount of work involved in putting on a show. Special thanks therefore, must go to our Show Secretary, Mary.
Now, please go to our Gallery for some pictures from the show, including some of our many proud prize winners. Well done all . . .
On Wednesday 1st August,
Beltinge Gardeners organised a coach outing to the RHS garden at Hyde Hall in Essex.
Those of you that came on the last visit to Hyde Hall will remember a dull and wet day, and a really quite miserable experience.
This time, happily, it couldn't have been more different ! It was a very hot and sunny day. We found huge changes to the facilities on-site, and as a bonus, it was day 1 of a 5 day flower show.
So, where to start ?
Well, the flower show was more akin to the Detling Garden Show, with trade stands, nurseries displaying and selling their amazing plants, food courts, and entertainment, etc. It WAS busy, extremely busy, but everything was well spread out and comfortable to explore. Hats off to the RHS, because the organisation and planning was excellent, with plenty of staff members on hand to assist.
Members will remember the Thatched Barn Restaurant on top of the hill ? It is still there but the RHS have built two large and modern buildings, one of which is a bright and airy restaurant.
The gardens were in tip top condition, as you would expect, and the grass was greener than anyone has seen for weeks and weeks. There was also another bonus element with the amazing 'Thompson & Morgan Floral Fantasia' garden. A large garden packed full of colourful bedding plants. A real feast for the eyes.
All in all a most wonderful day. Check out some photos of the day on our Gallery page.
Our meeting last night was
interesting and colourful, if a little subdued. Numbers attending were down quite considerably on the norm (for various reasons, not just football), but we were still treated to a worthwhile
Our guest speaker was Don Wilks. Don is a regular visitor to us, who never ceases to impress with his amazing slide shows, his encyclopaedic depth of knowledge, and terrific sense of humour. He didn't disappoint on this occasion either. We learnt a lot about the weird and wonderful world of fungi - the fact and the fiction, the gourmet treats for those in the know, and the deadly traps for the ignorant and unwary.
We also learnt a lot about beautiful dragonflies, and the not-so-beautiful flies. Who knew that there were so many different species? All with different needs and habits, and consequently having various effects on both nature . . . and us ?
Thanks to Don's gruesomely graphic descriptions, every one of us left the meeting realising how vitally important it was to protect our foodstuffs from the seemingly harmless house fly!
Don was also kind enough to judge the Geranium competition for us. A colouful but difficult job, given that the plants all looked so similar.
However, the eventual winner was Mrs Catherine Dixon. Sadly, she wasn't with us on the night, so the trophy was collected on her behalf by her very proud husband, Philip.
Next month we welcome another guest speaker, Mike Bundock from the Herne Bay Historical Society. His illustrated talk will be "Beyond Beltinge".
Mike is always interesting, and one not to be missed.
Perhaps worthy of a visit ! (Now where did l put this year's NGS Yellow Book ?)
On Tuesday 24th, 45 members joined us on a day trip to Arundel Castle in West Sussex to see the Tulip Festival there. What an amazing sight! The grounds and gardens were filled with beds of colour. Tulips of every hue met you at every turn from the moment you walked through the gates.
Sadly, the sun declined to make much of an appearance, but the day was mostly dry, and some members were able to eat their packed lunches within the formal gardens and surrounded by displays of wonderful colour.
Others took advantage of the Restaurant and Coffee Shop within this beautiful Castle.
Our tickets gave us almost total access within the castle, from the Main Castle Rooms, to The Fitzalan Chapel, and the Castle Keep, although not many members managed the 131 steps to the top of the Keep. However, those that did were treated to amazing views of the town and surrounding countryside (or so I am told ! ).
Arundel Castle and gardens sit high on a hill, but little motorised buggies were running up and down all day, so as well as a lift within the castle, our less mobile members were able to see most of what was on offer.
Please see the pictures of this successful day on our Gallery page, because all agreed that we must make a return visit sometime in the future.
May is fast approaching, so
here are two important dates for your diary.
Steve Edney, head gardener at The Salutation Gardens at Sandwich, visits us on 1st May to give us a talk on Dahlias, and on Saturday 5th May we have our annual, and very popular, Grand Plant Sale.
Please spread the word amongst your friends as our Plant Sale is a great opportunity to buy cheap quality plants, cakes jams and pastries, and garden bric-a-brac. Entry is free to all, but come along early to grab the best bargains ! We are open in the Memorial Hall, Beltinge from 9am to 12 noon. Please brings your own bags if you can.
Thank you to everyone who came along to our Spring Show, to those who exhibited on the night, and to our guest judges who gave of their
time to make it a success. Entries and attendance were lower in number than usual, but this was probably due to the closeness of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. However, the evening went
well with prizes being spread widely across the membership.
You may be aware that urgent maintenance to The Memorial Hall will begin shortly, but every effort is being made to ensure that the hall will reopen in time for our May 1st meeting, when we will welcome Steve Edney with a talk on Dahlias.
Pictures from our Spring Show can be seen on our Gallery page
The World Garden at Lullingstone Castle has obviously changed somewhat since our last organised visit. There is now an orchid house, a cactus house, the Moroccan Blue Room, and a marquee serving light lunches and refreshments! Is it time for the Beltinge Gardeners to make a return visit? Let your committee know if you are interested.
Our first meeting of 2018 was attended by 60+ members and visitors, which was very pleasing considering it was a very cold and wintery night.
We were all rewarded with a very interesting talk on the growing of garden vegetables given by a very knowledgeable Gordon Francis.
Gordon gave us a very good and well structured presentation, accompanied by an excellent slideshow.
He talked us through the different groups of vegetables ;
Brassicas (cabbages, sprouts etc), root crops (potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc), pulses (peas and beans etc) onions and shallots, and container planting for the smaller garden.
He also gave us many practical and useful tips, and his way of presenting his subject meant that we could all understand his methods and ideas. The tip that I found of particular interest was . . . . . to grow a courgette plant VERTICALLY up a post ! Courgettes are a lovely vegetable, and produce a large crop throughout the summer. Their downside is that they wander aimlessly across the garden and suffer from mildew as their large leaves drag on the damp soil. By growing them up a well secured stake (making sure that the plant is supported firmly with flexible ties, i.e. nylon tights ), harvesting is easier, the plant controlled, watering is more precise and mildew is less of a problem. Old leaves can be removed easily too. A very clever idea and one that I will be trying out this year.
All in all, a great start to our 2018 programme.
Don’t forget that our special March speaker is Tom Hart Dyke. Tom is a well known TV gardening personality and is famous for his walled ‘World Garden’ at Lullingstone Castle, his family home. We are sure that Tom will have many fascinating stories to tell us from his eventful life. We do know that Tom is an excellent speaker and we look forward to welcoming him to our Society on 6th March. This is an all ticket event, so please make sure that you have yours (members – free, non-members £5.00 ). Call Beltinge Gardeners’ Society on 01227 364361 for tickets.
Numbers are limited so get your ticket now to avoid disappointment.
Following their inaugural Table Top Sale last year, the village hall committee are organising a second similar event on Saturday 24th February. There will be many different clubs, and other interests, represented on the day with all manner of things on offer. Beltinge Gardeners’ Society will be supporting the Hall Committee by hiring two tables at the event. Our members will be offering for sale, plants, garden tools and associated bric-a-brac. We will also run a raffle for a large fruit basket. Please support us and the Village Hall Committee by coming along on the day.
Ray sends us these pictures of a beautiful orchid. The amazing thing is, this is the first time it has flowered in 9 years ! How many of us, l wonder, would have the patience to keep a non-flowering orchid going for that long ?
This year's Christmas party was up there with the best. About 70 members turned out, and brought along a vast and tasty selection of party foods to share with their fellow members.
After an amiable hour of talking, eating and drinking (wines and non-alcoholic drinks supplied by the Society), members played a few complimentary games of Bingo !! This was a first for us, but it did seem to go down well, and the lucky winners took home cash prizes.
The Wellwisher Trophy was presented to a very happy John Partridge, and our congratulations and thanks go to John and all those other members who took part in the Wellwisher competition throughout the year.
Members also enjoyed a bountiful seasonal raffle with some very nice prizes, and there were table quizzes to occupy and amuse everyone throughout the evening too.
All in all, a really enjoyable evening to finish a very successful 2017.
Check out the photo album on the Gallery page for pictures of the evening.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our members, followers and friends a Very Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
Ray, our Treasurer, bought a small orchid from Tesco for £5. It originally had two stems, but after they died back, the plant later pushed up 5 stems !
He says you don't have to spend big money to get a spectacular plant, and sent us these pictures to prove it.
Some of our members will remember, that roughly this time last year, a group of us visited Summerfield Nursery at Staple and took part in their famous Poinsettia Walk.
Most of us came away with at least one beautiful Poinsettia plant. But, how many of us actually managed to hang on to a healthy plant for any length of time ? Poinsettias are notoriously fussy, and difficult to care for successfully, so it came as no surprise to hear from several members that their plant did not survive for any length of time.
Imagine my surprise yesterday then, when our President Dawn, showed me her Poinsettia plant that she had bought last year during our visit to Summerfield. Not only is it healthy, you can also see that it is developing some red bracts !
What an amazing feat ! Can any other member match this ?
At last nights meeting, members were treated to a fascinating talk entitled ‘Working in Monet’s Garden’, presented by our guest speaker for the evening, Caroline Halfpenny.
Caroline is a very experienced and knowledgeable plantswoman, and a wonderfully witty speaker too. She talked us through a season in 2011 when she worked as a volunteer in this world famous garden, and illustrated her talk with lots of colourful and beautiful slides. She kept us entranced with her many stories, and l think that we all learnt a lot about the artist Claude Monet.
Caroline is an excellent speaker, and we hope that we might welcome her again at sometime in the future.
As you know, our Annual General Meeting is on the
3rd of October, and we look forward to seeing most of you there.
Now, some of you will already be aware that a vacancy has arisen on our Committee, and we (the committee) would like you to consider the possibility of joining us.
Your current committee members are a friendly, sociable and hard working bunch, and you probably know most of us quite well by now anyway.
We are not set in our ways, so we would welcome someone with new energy and fresh ideas. With only one Society meeting a month, and the occasional outing, committee duties won't take up much of your time, and you would not be expected to 'jump in the deep end' with tasks should you wish to join us.
Please give it some thought, and if you feel that you have something to offer your Society, then please put your name forward at the AGM . . . . . . we really do need you.
If you would like to find out a little more about what is involved prior to the AGM, then please speak to any committee member, or, email your contact telephone number to me at email@example.com and l will be happy to call you back for an informal chat.
On Tuesday 4th April, the Society held its annual Spring Show in the Memorial Hall. There was a good display of entries, even though the Daffodil season had mostly ‘been and gone’. To make up for the shortage of Daffodils, members excelled in most other classes. The flower arranging classes were the “best ever”, according to our Judge, and there were impressive entries in the domestic and art and craft classes too. A great turnout all round which helped to make it a very successful show. Please check out our Gallery page for some colourful pictures of the exhibits.
Also on the evening, and as a bit of fun, all members were given an identical Fuchsia plug plant. The idea is that the member will nurture and care for their little plug plant until it grows into a beautiful specimen worthy of admiration. Then, on the evening of the Summer Flower Evening in July, all members will bring their beloved Fuchsia back to the meeting where it will be judged alongside all of the others! The best specimen will then be awarded a prize.
So, if you weren’t at the April meeting, then make sure to attend in May where you can collect your (slightly bigger) Fuchsia plant.
May will also be an important month in the Society calendar. On the 2nd we will be having ‘An evening with Steve Bradley from Radio Kent’. This is guaranteed to be an interesting visit, as many members will know Steve from his Sunday morning gardening show on the radio.
On Saturday 6th May, the highlight of our year is the annual Grand Plant Sale. A truly great event where all and sundry are invited into the Memorial Hall to buy cheap plants for their flower beds and vegetable patches. There will be so much more on offer too, so come along to grab that bargain.
This is always a popular event, so please come early to avoid disappointment. And don’t forget to bring your own bags too !!
On 6th December, the Society held its annual Christmas Party in the Memorial Hall. There was a wonderfully high turnout from the membership, who all brought along an amazing assortment of buffet style foods for us all to enjoy. Drinks were supplied by the Society, and everyone had an enjoyable and friendly supper before we chanced our luck with a larger than usual seasonal raffle.
The highlight of the evening was a concert given by The Camerata Choir. The choir was led by Mr Andrew Larner, and they sang a collection of carols, songs and choral works, all performed in perfect harmony and to the obvious delight of all present. The choir includes two of our Society members and it actually uses the Memorial Hall for its weekly practice, so it really felt like a family affair.
The only piece of official business on the night was the pleasant task of awarding the Wellwisher Cup for 2016. This year's winner was a very surprised Mrs Merry Cassell. Well done Merry, and thank you to all those members who contributed to the Wellwisher table throughout the year.
Check out our Gallery page for more photographs.
Our delighted winner - Mrs Merry Cassell
It only remains for us to wish all of our members and followers a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Healthy New Year. We look forward to seeing you all in February.
On a lovely sunny November morning, 18 of our members gathered at Summerfield Nurseries at Staple to partake of their annual ‘Poinsettia Walk’. Two large greenhouses full of colourful Poinsettias greeted us. We were given a short but interesting talk on their cultivation and care, after which we were able to explore the greenhouses at our leisure. There was a large seating area for relaxing with homemade cakes and hot drinks, and then it was off to the seasonally and beautifully decorated nursery shop to buy our plants and other produce.
Having loaded our cars with beautiful Poinsettias, we walked the few yards to The Black Pig pub where we all enjoyed a very well cooked and relaxing three course lunch. This was a ‘first’ for the Society, but it might not be the last.
Please check out our Gallery Page for pictures of the day.
On a very pleasant and sunny Saturday afternoon in July, two of our valued society members opened their garden gate and hosted a garden party in aid of charity. A large number of our members went along, not only to enjoy a truly wonderful and colourful garden, but also to sit, relax, and chat to other visitors whilst enjoying refreshments from a vast assortment of home-made cakes, teas and coffees. It was a lovely afternoon all round, with new acquaintances being made, and hopefully, the possibility of enticing new potential club members into our society. Our thanks go to our hosts and their helpers for their hard work in organising such a popular and successful event. Pictures of the afternoon can be seen by visiting our gallery page.
Members joined us on another full day trip, this time to Marks Hall Arboretum near Colchester in Essex. The weather was kind for the most part, and we were able to enjoy the long walks around the substantial wooded estate. We explored the beautifully designed walled garden, the many lakes, and took great pleasure when we were followed by large families of ducks and geese, all looking for food. Lunch in a modern converted barn was tasty and enjoyable, and many members finished the day by stocking up with a variety of reasonably priced and good quality perennial plants. All in all, a successful day out. Visit our gallery page to see a small selection of photographs of our visit.
Our Grand Plant Sale today was a tremendous success. Our thanks go to our members for supplying all of the plants, garden sundries, cakes and preserves, that filled the Memorial Hall on a lovely sunny day. Also, to all of the Society members who worked tirelessly on the day to make it the success it was. Of course, and most importantly, we thank all of those people who came along this morning to support us and to purchase all of these goodies. We did have a lot of very happy customers. However, many late comers were disappointed to find that stocks had run out quite quickly. We will try to remedy this next year.
On Saturday 7th May, the Society will be holding our annual 'GRAND PLANT SALE' in the Memorial Hall. The event runs from 09.00 to 12.00 noon, and the doors are thrown open to the general public who are invited in to buy from a large selection of plants an seedlings, preserves, cakes and garden bric-a-brac, all grown, produced or supplied by our members, and all at very reasonable prices. All proceeds go towards Society funds. Entry is free to all, but please bring your own bags.
149 Reculver Road
There are limited "one hour" bays nearby and limited parking in local roads.
The nearest FREE car park is about 5 mins walk away
About 400 yds towards Reculver, turn left into Reculver Drive. The FREE car park is 100 yds on the left.
Postcode CT6 6QE