July Meeting – Charles Dowding

Image result

Our talk on the 3rd July will be given by Charles Dowding, a proponent of the no dig organic growing movement. Charles will be talking to us about Gardening Myths which is the topic of his latest book. So if you would like an excuse not to clean your pots or an explanation as to whether you need crocks or not then come along and find out the answers to these questions and more.

As ever the talk will be at 7:30pm in Colwall Village Hall with complimentary refreshments from 7:00pm. Visitors are always welcome at a cost of £4 per ticket.  Members pay £12 a year which covers all the monthly meetings with the exception of the October Percy Picton Memorial Lecture.

The new members’ plant sales table has been so popular this year that it is continuing so please don’t forget to bring your plant donations.

Finally, we would welcome any donations of tombola prizes for the Summer Show.


Show Reminder and Warwick Coach Trip Review

Cynthia Bussey being presented, at the 2015 show, with the Old Court Nursery Rose Bowl for her perennial flower display

Cynthia Bussey being presented, at the 2015 show, with the Old Court Nursery Rose Bowl for her perennial flower display

Just a reminder that the Annual Show is tomorrow (13th August) at Colwall Village Hall.  We would like to thank everyone who has taken the trouble to enter something, even if its only one category and to encourage as many of you as possible to come along from 2pm onwards to see the entries and who has scooped what prize. Entry price is £2.  In addition to the entries there will be the wonderful ice creams that we have come to look forward to, produce and plant stall, tombola, raffle, refreshments and the opportunity to buy your ticket for the Percy Picton Memorial Lecture in October.

In the meantime Sidney and Veronica Benjamin have taken the time to write a review of the recent coach trip to Warwick gardens which is posted below for your enjoyment.


Garden visit to Warwickshire – 14 July 2016

Sidney and Veronica Benjamin

Thirty-two members of the Society went on the first organised garden visit for several years, on what proved to be a fascinating and enjoyable day in Warwickshire. We saw unusual gardens that we would otherwise have been unlikely to visit. On the way we had stopped at Russell’s Garden Centre near Coventry, also the site of John Gillies Rare and Choice Plants and Avondale Nursery, which provided a brief opportunity to buy essential plants.

In the morning we visited The Mill Garden, situated beneath the walls of Warwick Castle, on the banks of the River Avon, where the remains of the medieval bridge provide the ultimate “borrowed landscape”. The garden was started originally in the 1930s by a bank manager, Arthur Measures, who spent some 60 years extending the site and planting it. In recent years it has been tended by the next generation and is now a mature and beautiful example of the cottage garden style, with mixed plantings of shrubs, ornamental trees, perennials and annuals. Paths wind between the beds where there are many excellent examples of well designed colourful planting. And, of course, essential to all garden visits, was the plant sales area, irresistible to several of our members.

In the afternoon we visited Hill Close Gardens, also in Warwick, which, like the Mill Garden, has featured in a number of articles in gardening magazines. Lunch was provided in the extensive comfortable modern buildings and we were then given a fascinating talk about the history of the site. Originally this was constructed in a central city area, as a group of about 30 “detached” (unusually they were not attached to houses) Victorian pleasure gardens, for the use of artisans, shopkeepers and professional people who lived “above the shop” and had no other access to gardens.  These were very popular in the mid 19th century, for keeping animals as well as growing vegetables and as pleasure gardens, but by the 1990s they had been neglected and overgrown and were a target for housing development. Local people realised that the gardens were an important part of the city’s heritage, and funds were raised (particularly from English Heritage) to buy and renovate the gardens, which are now listed Grade II*. Work has been carried out, mainly by volunteers overseen by a head gardener, to clear and restore the gardens, which are now cared for by individuals, families or volunteers, preserving their original character and individuality.

The gardens are lushly planted, each in separate styles, and separated by hedges, in keeping with their Victorian origins. Many of the gardens have summer houses, which have been rebuilt in the original materials, each with its individual features, one on two stories, and another furnished with fireplace, rugs and armchairs. Over 60 varieties of original apple trees have been restored, identified and labelled. One garden holds a National Collection of Chrysanthemums. Hill Close also has an excellent plant sales area, with many rarely seen cultivars grown from the garden material, and perhaps it is not necessary to mention that these proved to be irresistible to most of us.

The return coach journey to Colwall provided a welcome opportunity for some members to rest their eyes, whilst others (mainly towards the rear of the coach) socialised rather volubly, and the opportunity to get to know other members of the society was yet another enjoyable aspect of the trip. This was a splendid day out, horticulturally and socially, for which we thank Tim Beaumont and the other organisers.

April Meeting – Perennial Violas


Our talk on the 4th April is by Jack Willgoss, one half of the team behind Wildegoose Nursery.  Jack Willgoss and Laura Crowe took on the Bouts Viola Collection from Mark and Stephanie Roberts in 2011.  They are based in the walled garden at Millichope Park in Shropshire where they are building up their business selling violas at shows and on-line.

Jack’s talk entitled ‘The wonderful world of perennial violas’ will cover violas’ history and cultivation and offer some recommended varieties.

The talk will commence at 7:30pm in Colwall Village Hall with complimentary refreshments available from 7:00pm. Visitors are always welcome with visitors tickets costing £4 and a year’s membership £12.


Garden Visit – 20th June 2016

160321 NJS IMG_0132

From 6pm Nick and Jan Walker are opening their garden at Stonehouse Farm, Mathon to members of the society. Their one acre garden including an old orchard, lovingly created over the last 15 years, lies mainly to the south and west of the house.

Beech, yew and willow (new) hedges define the external boundaries whilst recycled hop poles, swathed with climbers including clematis and roses provide internal “walls”. Topiary yew, box and holly provide complimentary structure to enhance Jan’s love of perennial form and colour.

160321 Njs garden IMG_0128

Admission £5.00, including complimentary drink on arrival, by pre-bought tickets, available at the April, May and June meetings or with payment (cheque made payable to Wyche & Colwall Horticultural Society) by post to Tim Beaumont (Sheepcote, Putley, Ledbury HR8 2RD). Book early to avoid disappointment!

Stonehouse Farm is on the edge of Mathon on the Coddington Road WR13 5PS.

February Meeting – Beneath the Trees

2015_05220058 1

Our talk on the 1st February is by Julian Sutton, of Desirable Plants, whose subject is ‘Beneath the Trees: non-woody plants for the woodland garden’.  Julian’s intention is to talk of a modest range of immodestly interesting plants from a hard won collection.

As normal the talk will commence at 7:30pm in Colwall Village Hall.  However, come early to benefit from the complimentary refreshments (from 7:00pm) and meet other gardening enthusiasts.

Annual membership runs from January to January and is £12 per year.  Visitors are always welcome at £4 per meeting.

We welcome members and visitors from across a wide area across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

November meeting – Islamic Gardens

islamic garden

The theme of our 2nd November talk is Islamic Gardens.  Nathalie Mignotte, a former lecturer and Academic Manager of the Horticulture Department of Hartpury College, will be sharing with us her interest in the relationship between faiths and gardens.

The talk will commence at 7:30pm in Colwall Village Hall.  However, complimentary refreshments are available from 7pm so come early and make some new gardening friends.

Annual membership is £12 per year, payable in January, and we are always glad to see new faces so why not come along and attend as a visitor, there is a charge of £4.

Special Notice: We are organising a QUIZ, with a horticultural twist, on the evening of the 20th November.  The cost is £2 per person with a maximum of 6 per team.  Entry will include a complimentary drink on arrival but attendees are very welcome to bring their own drinks and snacks.  The event will start at 7:30pm and be held in the Colwall Village Hall. Tickets will be available at the meeting on the 2nd and on the evening of the Quiz.

Percy Picton Lecture – John Massey

masseyThis year’s annual Percy Picton Lecture on the 5th October will be delivered by John Massey, the well known owner of Ashwood Nurseries.  John’s subject will be ‘Inspirational Mentors and Their Plants’ and having heard John speak before I am sure it will be a very entertaining evening.

The Lecture is a ticketed event with monies raised going to the Percy Picton Memorial Fund which provides support for horticultural students.

The price of a ticket is £10 and they can be purchased from either Old Court Nurseries, Colwall or John Goodwin Estate Agents, Colwall.

The ticket price covers the drinks reception which commences at 7pm, with the lecture starting at 7:30pm and this year the lecture will take place at Colwall Village Hall where there is plenty of parking.

In addition to the lecture we will be holding the annual Ernest Ballard Aster competition.  You are invited to bring along a vase, however large or small, of vases.  This is a fun competition and we would love as many people to enter as possible.