This new year promises to be every bit as successful as
We have coach outings planned to Pashley Manor Gardens Tulip
Festival, and later in the summer to the RHS Hyde Hall Flower Show in Essex.
We kick start our year of guest speakers on 4th February with
another visit from an old favourite, Mike Bundock. This talk is titled 'Trackway to Motorway', and we look forward to another truly fascinating presentation accompanied by some lovely local
photographs from bygone times.
The last half of 2019 was just as successful and interesting
as the first.
At our August meeting, Christine Bartlett provided a really
interesting talk on the care and cultivation of Orchids. An enthusiastic speaker, she even brought along orchids so that she could demonstrate how to prune wayward roots and also how to repot
them. A very interesting and knowledgeable talk.
Our September 'Autumn Show' was well supported and successful
in all areas, and we thank our members for their efforts in this regard.
The October AGM was also well attended, although the fish and
chip supper that followed may well have been more appealing than the meeting itself !
We had a last minute change to our November speaker. Due to
ill health, our planned speaker was unable to attend, so we were pleased when Anna Evans of 'Anna's Country Flowers' stepped into the breach to save the day. Anna grows her own flowers/foliage
etc., and uses them in her own bespoke flower arrangements and floral designs.
It was a fascinating talk, backed up by an impressive
demonstration of her skills.
The last event of 2019 was our Christmas Party. A wonderful
evening with Ron & Ash providing the musical entertainment, and members providing the food and fun.
So, if you are not already a member of the Beltinge
Gardeners' Society, why not come along to one of our meetings. Check out our diary page for the dates.
Full annual membership is only £10 per person, but just £3 if
you only want to pop in to check us out at one of our meetings.
Last night, 60 members turned out to welcome Robert Smith
from the Layham Garden Centre at Staple, near Wingham. Layham are specialists in roses, and Robert brought along a selection of impressive potted roses to illustrate his talk.
Personally, l have never been
successful with growing roses (they scare me and they bite too !) but many of our members, who do enjoy success with theirs, were able to share their stories and air their questions and problems with
Also on the night was the judging of our annual plug plant competition.
Earlier in the year, we were all given the smallest Argyranthemum you have ever seen, to grow on and nurture to colourful maturity.
Well. It is true to say that we have never seen such a wide range of growth in any of our previous competitions. Some plants had hardly grown at all. Most were at best mediocre, but
the winning two plants this year were clearly head and shoulders above the rest. First prize, and the trophy, went to a very proud Phil Dixon, whilst a very close second was his wife
Catherine. Very well done family Dixon.
Members will remember Suzanne Kynaston of Wildwood, who
visited us last November, when she gave us a fascinating talk on small animal conservation.
None of us will forget her finishing the evening with the heart rending story of Scruffy and Fluffy, the two rescued European Brown Bears.
Well, on Tuesday the 18th, 14 intrepid members from our Society met at Wildwood Animal Park where we were treated to a 'behind the scenes' tour of the park, led again by Suzanne.
The weather was kind to us and stayed dry and warm.
We were shown the park's efforts in small mammal conservation, and we had 'hands on' experiences with a water vole, harvest mouse, dormouse and more.
Suzanne led us on a relaxed stroll around Wildwood, educating us with some interesting facts en-route, and even feeding and interacting with otters, ferret-polecats and a weasel.
The tour culminated with a visit to Scruffy and Fluffy in their huge and impressive compound. It was satisfying to see both bears relaxed, fit and healthy, and obviously very happy with their
A wonderful afternoon, and l hope that the sore feet, knees and aching backs that we all suffered from by the time we finished, are today only a memory.
Our sincere thanks go to Mary Shepherd for organising a really great and unusual afternoon out.
More pictures on our Gallery
Over 50 members welcomed Stephen
Harmer to our June meeting, and we were treated to a truly fascinating talk and slideshow on 'The Arts & Crafts Movement and it's Gardens'.
Although the movement virtually ended after World War1, when many of the artisan craftsmen and gardeners were killed, many of us still garden today using their general principles. These include
; intimate garden rooms, hedging, topiary, natural stone walls and steps, water features and rills, pergolas, summer houses, and self seeding plants and perennials, thereby harmonizing the garden
with the house.
However, Stephen did ruffle a few feathers when he suggested that our trusted favourites of annuals and summer bedding were, in Arts & Crafts terms, an unnatural blot on the landscape and
were NEVER to be used !
It was also a real eye-opener to learn that, alongside the many good things to come out of Arts & Crafts, many of William Morris’s beautiful floral wallpapers were made using Arsenic based green
dyes, and were responsible for many, many deaths in the Victorian period.
All in all, a really interesting and knowledgeable speaker who conveyed his fascinating subject to us with skill and good humour. A great night.
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
The villagers, and friends from
even further afield, turned out in their numbers to snap up the many bargains on offer. There were many happy customers, and we thank everyone, in whatever capacity, for their support and help
on the day.
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.
A really enjoyable night when we
welcomed Jim Buttress to our meeting. Some will remember Jim as the gravel voiced vegetable judge on TV's 'Big Allotment Challenge'. However, there was so much more to this charismatic
man's life in horticulture, and he kept us enthralled with his many interesting and humorous stories. A great night.
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
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
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
A great reason, if one were needed, to visit our local
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
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
Thank you, and we hope to see you all on 6th
Over 50 members attended our meeting and AGM last night, for
which we thank you. Unlike previous years when fish and chips were provided, on this occasion we welcomed a guest speaker, Mr Christopher Wade. His talk was entitled 'A Four Seasons Walk
Chris works for the KCC Common Land and Village Greens Service, and his wonderful assortment of colourful and atmospheric slides showed off his intimate knowledge of our county. Add to this his
extensive knowledge of public footpaths, bridleways and regulations, Chris provided us with an enthusiastic and witty talk that had the membership enthralled.
I would hope that we could invite Chris back at some time in the future, as his top quality slides, anecdotes and good humour left us all wanting more. Thank you Christopher Wade for a lovely
The AGM passed uneventfully for the most part. We had the usual reports from the President, Chairman and outgoing Treasurer Ray Cherry. This was Ray's last task as Treasurer as he has now
stood down after many years in the job. Thank you for all your work over the years Ray. It really has been appreciated.
His successor is Moira Hughes who has many years experience in accounting, so we thank her sincerely and wish her well for the future.
The committee were voted back 'en-bloc', together with a new committee member, Mr John Partridge. Welcome John, the committee thank you and hope you enjoy helping out with the many unsung tasks
that happen behind the scenes.
The other unexpected announcement of the night was that Mary Cook, our Show Secretary of many years, was standing down from the job after the 2019 season of shows.
Mary is a very enthusiastic and active committee member, doing much on a day to day basis. As Show Secretary, she has done a fantastic job over the years, ensuring that the shows run seamlessly
and efficiently. I don't think any of us realise just how much work is involved with this job. Thank you Mary, you are, and always have been, greatly appreciated.
The Society now has one year to find a replacement 'Show Secretary' ! If anyone thinks that they have the organisational skills to take on this job, then please let a committee member
know. Mary will be happy to teach someone the ropes over the coming year.
After my recent plea for help with the heavier tasks at meetings, l am pleased to say that several male Society members came forward to offer help with this. It is greatly appreciated, thank
Thank you all again, and we hope to see you at the November meeting when we will be welcoming Suzanne Kynaston from nearby Wildwood. Suzanne has written a book on bear conservation, and
currently lectures on courses of small mammal conservation (UK wildlife) at Wildwood. This will surely be an interesting night, so please make a note to come along.
It will also be an opportunity to pay for your 2019 membership (£10) and obtain your Schedule for next year.
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
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
Our next meeting on 3rd July features our old friend, Don
Wilks. Don has visited us on many occasions over the years, and his colourful slide shows, accompanied by his excellent commentaries, are always a delight for those present.
Next month's presentation is entitled " Fungi, Dragons and Flies", and whatever you imagine that to mean, we know that we will be guaranteed an interesting evening.
Please make a note in your diary and come along.
Also at the July meeting :
In early Spring, Society members were each given a complimentary Geranium plug plant. The idea (as we did with a fuchsia last year), was for members to nurture their plants through to maturity
and then to bring them back for judging.
Well, judging time is here, so all members are asked to bring their Geranium plant back to the July meeting.
It doesn't matter if your efforts were successful or not, whether you are proud of your charge or not, the more plants on show means that the better the spectacle and judging will be.
The special guest at our June meeting was Philip Ostenbrink,
head gardener at Canterbury Cathedral. Philip is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker, and around 60 members and visitors were treated to an interesting talk. It covered the history
of the Cathedral grounds, through to the current projects happening around the site. A fascinating insight as to what horticultural treasures hide behind those many doors which boast that most
familiar of signs - 'PRIVATE' !
Roll on next year's Cathedral Open Gardens weekend. I will be first in the queue.
Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who supported our Grand
Plant Sale today. To the many contributors who brought along the vast quantity of plants, bakery and bric-a-brac items to sell, and to the friends of the Society and members of the public who
came in to buy our goods on the day.
Our produce did sell out quite quickly this year, mostly down to the fact that people have realised that to get the best bargains, you must arrive early, and this they did in large numbers.
So, thank you all for your tremendous support, which ensured that our Plant Sale this year was an outstanding success yet again.
On Tuesday 1st May, we again welcomed Steve Edney, who gave
us an illustrated talk on Dahlias. Steve, as we all know by now, is Head Gardener at the Salutation Gardens at Sandwich. Although the garden is famous for its variety, Dahlias are an
important element there too, and one of Steve's many personal passions.
Some of us find that Dahlias, although undoubtedly beautiful and long flowering, are sometimes difficult, especially when the tubers need lifting and overwintering. But Steve showed us
that Dahlia tubers are really quite robust and that we probably kill them with kindness . . . . and maybe too much watering ?
Overall, it was a very interesting and enthusiastic talk with
many colourful slides.
In answer to one of the many questions from the floor, Steve was able to talk about his own garden in Ash, Nr Sandwich. It transpired that he and his partner
Louise (who happily joined us on the night), open their garden 'Sweetbriar' to the public in the summer, as part of the National Garden Scheme in aid of charity.
Amazingly, and somewhat surprisingly, their own garden (also pictured here) is described in the Yellow Book as an 'Exotic Jungle Paradise', and 'A lawn free tropical oasis'. "No room for weeds
here !" smiled Louise, who Steve admitted was a major part of this private project !
Another side to the talented Steve Edney that most of us
would never have imagined ?
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
Calling all members. Our Spring Show is only a few
weeks away now, so it's time to start planning your entries. Check through your Schedule and we are sure that you will find something that you can enter, whether it be daffodils/tulips or other
spring flowers, crafts, baking, photography etc etc. There are so many classes to choose from.
Don't forget, the more entries we get, the better the show will be!
Approximately 90 members and visitors welcomed our
special guest for the evening, Tom Hart Dyke. Tom is a TV personality and well known plant hunter, famous for being kidnapped in the Colombian jungle whilst looking for orchids. Tom
is an excellent speaker and he kept us entranced with his many animated stories. These included those of his family and early life, his kidnapping and near death experience in the heart of the
Colombian jungle, and his subsequent mission to build his famous 'World Garden' at his historic family home of Lullingstone Castle.
Tom admits to being a horticultural nut, but he also has a
weird and wonderful sense of humour. This was illustrated by a very good slide show alongside such stories of bizarre and questionable culinary snacks eaten whilst a prisoner in Colombia (deep
fried giant spider's legs to name but one) to a boabab tree in his World Garden made entirely of 51km of wire, and even thriving fir trees turned
into colourful totem poles! This fun element however, shouldn't detract from the fact that Tom is rightly proud of, and passionate about, his world embracing plant collection that
forms the backbone of his famous garden.
Time ran away with Tom and our half time tea break was considerably late. But nobody minded as we were all hoping that he would keep talking for hours !
All in all a truly wonderful and memorable evening with an energetic, knowledgeable and fun speaker. Thank you Tom, and a big thank you to everyone else who joined us on the night.
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
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
Numbers are limited so get your ticket now to avoid
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
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
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.
Our Pyracantha, an annual gourmet feast for our neighbourhood
Joy sent us this picture of her colourful
Our recent Annual General Meeting was well attended by about 60 members, who, as in
previous years, were treated to a complimentary fish and chip supper for their trouble. These annual events are notoriously boring, but it seems that a tasty fish and chip treat is all the
encouragement needed by our members when it comes to supporting the Society at the AGM !
This AGM passed smoothly without any issues being raised from the floor, and the current
committee members were re-elected 'en bloc'. The vacancy within the committee still remains unfilled as there were no volunteers forthcoming on the night, which was a little
The main point worthy of note this year, came from our Treasurer. He reported, that due to the increasing costs of guest speakers and other regular operating expenses, the committee had decided
that the time had finally come to increase the annual subscription. The new rate for 2018 would be £10 pp for annual membership, and £3 pp per visit for non-members which would rise to £5 for
the occasional special event. A special event would be the occasion of a high profile and popular guest speaker.
However, a £10 membership fee still remains good value for money as it equates to less than £1 per meeting. With 7 guest speaker presentations during 2018, two flower shows, a fun AGM, a great
Christmas party and subsidised outings, that £10 goes a very long way ! Add to all of that the little extras currently enjoyed by members throughout the year, i.e. free refreshments
at meetings, Christmas Party entertainment and drinks, etc., then it really is a win win situation.
Happily, there were no objections to this rise from the membership, and in fact some were even heard to say how surprised they were that it had stayed at £5 per year for so long !
So, after an enjoyable fish supper to finish the evening, the AGM ended with members looking forward to the November meeting when Caroline Halfpenny would be attending to give us a talk on 'Working
in Monet's Garden'.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and l will be happy to call you back for an
On the 6th September our committee organised a coach trip to RHS Wisley, one of our
regularly visited and highly popular gardens. The weather was kind, and other than a delayed arrival due the the notorious M25, members report that it was another thoroughly enjoyable
The visit coincided with a Dahlia show there, so we attach some pictures taken by a member on the day.
If anyone else has photographs of the visit that they would like to share, then please pass them on to us. Those of us that were not able to be there would love to see them. (Send them to
committee member email@example.com
Our Autumn Show was very successful, with a good turnout of members and visitors alike.
There were a high number of entries overall and standards were exceptional in many of the classes.
We thank all those members who took part, in whatever capacity, and also the visiting judges for their informative and constructive feedback. It all combined to make a very colourful and
thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Our congratulations go to the many prize winners, and also to everyone else that entered their produce/flowers/crafts/baking etc., without whom there would be no competition.
Please check out the Gallery Page for pictures of the event.
An unusual post on this occasion, but one that will be
appreciated by many we are sure.
Mary Cook has sent us some pictures of the very pretty
gardens that adorn the Beltinge Public Toilet !
We must all be aware of the tremendous effort made in getting
the toilet open again, so we should send our thanks to the many anonymous volunteers who maintain the toilet and gardens to such a high standard.
We must also acknowledge the efforts made by the 'Herne Bay
In Bloom' organisation and the local volunteers, for all their hard work in making our village shopping area such a colourful experience. The many beautiful planters and containers bring
pleasure to all of us throughout the year, so a big thank you to all of those involved.
Members will remember, that back in May we were gifted some
very small Pomegranate plants. We sold them on at the meeting, and now we are wondering how many are looking as healthy as this specimen grown on by Merry ? She has plans to take cuttings
from it and also attempt to grow at least one as a Bonsai. Judging by her garden, we are sure she will be successful!
Our August meeting was an unqualified success. Local artist
and sculptor Emily Stone was our guest for the evening. She was a wonderfully enthusiastic speaker, and brought along a vast selection of her hand-made copper sculptures for us to view.
She also brought along a selection of tools and raw materials, which gave us a real insight into her artist's world.
Mostly plant, flower or animal subjects, every item was of
the highest quality and beautifully designed and crafted. From 5ft high Dahlias and a 4ft long leafcutter ant (you had to see it to believe it), to small oak leaves and her cute little trademark
mice, it was all such wonderful quality.
Emily is a brilliant artist. Her talk was extremely
interesting, and we thank her for sharing her passion with us. It was a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable evening.
It is only 2 weeks until our August 1st meeting, when we will be welcoming our guest
speaker for the evening, Emily Stone.
Emily resides in East Kent, and is a renowned sculptor who is famous for her 'Copper Creatures'.
She exhibits her works at galleries all over the country, but perhaps her sculptures are most effective and appreciated when displayed within garden environments. A wonderful example was when
her lifesize 'Rutting Stags' were exhibited in the grounds of The Salutation Gardens at Sandwich. A dramatic and awesome sight.
Why not visit Emily's Facebook page - 'Emily Stone Copper Creatures', where you can see the many pictures of her amazing work, including the Rutting Stags at the Salutation Gardens.
Emily also has her own website at ;
Why not check it out to discover more about this very talented lady, her fascinating life, and beautiful creations.
Hopefully, on the night of our meeting, she will bring some of her smaller works along for us to see, admire, and maybe even purchase.
This will be an unusual presentation for us, but it is guaranteed to be interesting throughout.
Ron and Krys sent us some pictures from their colourful
garden. They are rightfully proud of their 'Bottle Brush' bush and have found a very practical way of containing their herb garden. Thank you for sharing these pictures with
On Tuesday 4th July 2017, we held our annual Summer Flower
Evening, and incorporated within the event was our current 'Fuchsia Challenge' !
Back in April, members were given an identical Fuchsia plug
plant to grow on, and bring back at a later date for expert but friendly judging. And this flower show was the occasion to show off their horticultural skills . . . . . or otherwise
Around 40 plants made it back on the night (some didn't,
unsurprisingly, as there will always be casualties along the way), and it was amazing to see the differences in growth, shape, foliage, blooms, etc across the exhibits. However, although there
were many splendid and colourful plants on display, according to our visiting expert judge, there really was only one clear winner. Our congratulations go to Buffy Harry. Well done Buffy !
We really must try to do something similar next
There were some really colourful exhibits in the regular
flower show too, although we would always like to see more entries. Please visit our Gallery page for more pictures from the evening.
Next month we welcome our guest speaker and renowned sculptor
Emily Stone, who will be talking about her hand-made copper sculptures. She is a very talented lady, and we look forward to an interesting and, for us, quite unusual presentation.
July is nearly upon us, and it is time to remind all members
that on July 4th we will be holding our annual Summer Flower Evening. We are having a wonderful summer this year, so we are hoping that members will be able to find an abundance of quality
blooms, and therefore enter as many classes as possible ! Let us fill the hall with colour and scent - the more entries, the better the show.
Don't forget ! Members should also bring along their
Society Fuchsia 'Garden News'. Having made some enquiries, it is obvious that we will see a wide range of foliage growth and flowers (sadly, mine are still minute buds !!). But, it
doesn't matter how good or bad you think your fuchsia is, BRING IT ALONG ! We need as many plants as possible to make a worthwhile and fun contest.
At the last meeting, members were told that Beltinge Gardeners' Society now has a Facebook page ! Part of the idea is to enable members to take an active role between the monthly meetings. We
thought that members might like to share photographs of their prize blooms (and colourful gardens) with the rest of us, especially if they flower at their best at times when there isn't a Society
Check out our colourful pages, send us a message, and we will
make contact with you. We really hope that you will get involved. Have a look at the Gallery page here and see some of the photos that are currently on Facebook.
We were pleased to welcome our guest speaker for the
evening, Steve Bradley from Radio Kent. Steve, with his encyclopaedic
knowledge and good humour, proved to be a very popular choice with our membership. Everyone joined in with a multitude of questions which Steve was able to answer without exception. In
fact our Chairman had to call a halt to the evening, which was in danger of overrunning, much to the dismay of the members.
Hopefully we will be able to invite Steve back at some time in
We hope that our June speaker will be just as
interesting. Phillip Johnson will be giving us a talk on colourful Alpines.
We are pleased to report that our annual Grand Plant Sale, held on Saturday 6th May in the Memorial Hall, was a resounding success. It was our second best event in memory, in terms of sales. This was
due to so many factors;
Firstly we must say a very big 'thank you' to all those
villagers, and visitors from further afield, who made the effort to come along and purchase the large variety of plants, food produce and gardening bric-a-brac that was on offer. A second big
'thank you' must be given to all those members that grew so many plants, and in such quantity, and those that provided a lovely selection of bakery and preserves. Also, for the many items of
gardening paraphernalia that were donated to our cause.
Of course, all of this would not have been possible without
the help of those members that come along early to set up, run the event, and then stay to help clear up at the end of a hectic morning.
As a village Gardening Society, we are blessed with so many
willing and good humoured members, and it just goes to underline why we have such a successful society. Well done, everyone.
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.