November 2011 meeting

November meeting – ‘Anglesey Abbey’ , Richard Ayres MBE
Anglesey Abbey was built 1236 as an Augustinian monks’ priory and was never an abbey. It comprises the house, about 60 acres of formal gardens and 600 acres of farmland. There is also Lode mill which is a working water mill in the grounds.
The priory was dissolved by Henry V111. in 1536 ending 300 years of religious life on the site and then entered into private ownership.
In 1926 it was acquired by Lord Fairhaven and was taken over by the National Trust in 1966. Richard’s father joined as a gardener in 1916, employed there for 46 years ,finishing as head gardener. Richard was invited to join the garden team in 1956 ( starting at the princely sum of £5 per week) and stayed for 47 years , again becoming head gardener. His grandson also works there and in 4 years time the family will have clocked up a remarkable 100 years of service.
Around 2003 Richard left to join the present Lord Fairhaven at Kirtling Tower before retiring.
Richard’s illustrated talk provided an interesting insight into today’s garden, particularly the blue and white hyacinth garden with its 4500 flowers and the rose gardens where bushes are planted only 6 inches apart and are replaced every two years involving new soil as well as bushes. Around 400 Dutch elms were lost in the 1987 gales only to be replaced by a snowdrop valley with over 200 varieties. There is an area of 150 birch whose trunks are pressure washed 5 times a year and are a startling bright white.
Richard is one of the old school and Anglesey Abbey is still very much part of his life. He is an associate of RHS and was Country Life Gardener of the Year 2000.
He is organist at Lode church and his own garden is very much worth a visit when it opens for charity in the summer.

Christmas meeting – Thurs. 8th. December, 7.30pm Church Hall.
For our Christmas meeting Thurs. 8th. December we welcome Adrian Bloom from the world renowned Bloom’s Nurseries at Bressingham near Diss. Adrian will be giving an illustrated talk on ‘ Creating Drama in the Garden’. As usual we welcome gifts of eats and there will be non alcoholic punch as well as the hard stuff! There will be a draw for club funds and again would welcome draw prizes, either to the committee members or bring along on the night. There will be somebody in the church hall from 3.00pm onwards.
So don’t miss out on our last meeting of the year , there are a few tickets still available for members at £5 – contact Dick 448656. Don’t forget we will be in the church hall for this meeting.

International Dept. - Rouen 25/28 May 2012.
Bookings opened at the November meeting and at the time of going to press only a few places were available. If you would like to go contact Alma on 448616 for up to date info.
The total cost will be @ £265 per person with single rooms available at a supplement of £70. Deposits of £65 per person are now due so don’t delay if you want to join us on yet another venture to Euroland.

Dobies’ Seeds - A reminder that your seed and plant orders are due to be back with Ray Bignell by 30th. November so that the club order can be placed with Dobies, and this year your orders will be despatched by them direct to your home address.

Blacksmith’s Cottage Nurseries – Christmas Wreath Workshops.
Seminars will be running at Ben Potterton’s place in December. If anyone is interested in attending I have details of dates and prices.


A timely reminder that it all starts again in January and we have a full and varied programme planned for you. Matt. Tanton-Brown will be talking on evergreens to kick us off in January and we will have talks from Adam Paul, Guy Barker ( The Naked Gardener is back again) and Ken Crowther amongst others.
We visit the Bosch factory in Stowmarket ( our very first February visit), great summer evening visits, another July garden party and a return to RHS Wisley in September as our summer outing. Also in September will be the annual plant fair at Blacksmith’s Cottage. Our Christmas 2012 meeting welcomes Ben Potterton for a very special finale.
To cap it all the committee have agreed to keep membership at £5 so be there in January to join us for another exciting year of gardening.

Sadly I have to advise you of the loss of two of our members.
Chas Lenton has died after a long illness and our condolences go to Chris and family.
Also Mick Doggett, a founder member of the club, died in November and our thoughts are with Hester, Debbie and Laura.

Roy Mallett 448616

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