Our June Meeting

May 11th Grand Plant Sale

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.

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.

8th May - Outing to Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens

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.

Tuesday 7th May meeting

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 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 Trust.
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.

Our Upcoming November Meeting

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.  


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 Through Kent'.  
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 evening.

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 you chaps 

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 . . . 

August Outing to RHS Hyde Hall 

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 evening.
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.

Our upcoming July Meeting

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.

Our June Meeting

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 ?)

April 2018  Outing to The Tulip Festival at Arundel Castle

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!

March 6th Meeting

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 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. 

Jan 5th

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.

Dec. 14

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.

Nov. 14

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 ?

Nov. 8

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 blackbirds.
Joy sent us this picture of her colourful Campsis.

Beltinge Gardeners' Society AGM -October 2017

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 disappointing.
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'.

Calling all members of the Beltinge Gardeners' Society

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 michaeltomassi@hotmail.com   and l will be happy to call you back for an informal chat.

September  Coach Trip To RHS Wisley

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 day.
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 michaeltomassi@hotmail.com )

Our Autumn Show, 5th September 2017

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

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.

Our May Meeting Pomegranates

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! 

Janet Folwell's Prize Dahlia

Our August Meeting

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.

Our August 1st Meeting

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.

Pictures from a member's garden

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 us.

Summer Flower Show 2017 and Fuchsia Challenge

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 year.
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.

June Update

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 show imminent! 
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.

May 2nd Meeting

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 the future.
We hope that our June speaker will be just as interesting.  Phillip Johnson will be giving us a talk on colourful Alpines.

Grand Plant Sale May 2017

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.

Spring Show April 2017

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 !!

December Christmas Party in the Memorial Hall

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.

November 2016 Visit to the Poinsettia Walk and lunch at The Black Pig

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.

September 2016 Visit to The Salutation Gardens at Sandwich

On the 1st September, 19 society members gathered at TheSalutation Gardens at Sandwich for an organised visit.  The weather was warm and sunny, and we were joined by Sam Scarlett (the assistant head gardener) who gave us a very interesting introductory talk on the history of the house and garden, which were both designed by the great architect Sir Edwin Lutyens . He then gave us a personal (and leisurely) guided tour of the beautiful gardens whilst impressing us with his vast knowledge of the huge variety of colourful plants and many trees on show.  All agreed that the garden had recovered extremely well from the floods of 2013 and that it was a credit to both the owners and their dedicated team of gardeners.  You can see some photographs of the colourful afternoon by visiting our gallery page.

July 2016 Garden Party

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.

June 2016 Outing to Marks Hall Arboretum in Essex

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. 

Spring Bank Holiday Weekend 2016

On Sunday 28th May, three brave volunteers from our Society accepted a challenge to take part in a horticultural quiz organised by The Kent Garden Show taking place at the Detling county show ground.  We were drawn against three members of the Appledore Gardeners' Society, and both teams were heavily supported by members of their own clubs.  The quiz itself was friendly and light-hearted, but keenly fought, with each team showing a commendable knowledge of all things horticultural.  The large audience of neutrals were also encouraged to take part by offering answers when none were forthcoming from either team.  At the end though, Beltinge came an admirable second to a very impressive team from Appledore, so our congratulations go to them.  Well played Appledore.  Perhaps we'll have better luck next year ? "

7th May 2016

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.

28th April 2016

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Janine Doulton can no longer come along to talk about Sissinghurst on Tuesday 3rd May.  However, we do have Susan Gollings of Invicta Herbs coming along and her talk is called 'Herb Plants to Delight the Senses'.
This should also be a very interesting talk, and Susan will also have a selection of Herbs for you to purchase on the night, so don't forget to bring a bag with you.
We hope to see you there.


Reculver & Beltinge Memorial Hall


149 Reculver Road


Herne Bay











Car Parking

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

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