December 2012


Christmas meeting – Ben Potterton. ‘ The Travelling Horticulturist’
Ben Potterton – zoologist or plantsman? Difficult to tell because he has equal passion for his birds and animals and his plant nursery at Blacksmith’s Cottage.
His Christmas illustrated talk covered some of his conservation work around the world helping to keep rare birds and animals safe from extinction. Working together with zoos and known contacts worldwide Ben ensures any finance by-passes governments and goes direct to frontline trusted contacts. I think zoology wins the day if only because I know that Ben had over 1000 birds in his care at age 17! A record audience of 100 members enjoyed a fun but educational evening.
If you would like to enjoy any of the many events next year at Ben’s nursery check out the Blacksmith’s Cottage nursery website or contact me.
A necessary word of thanks to all who helped with food and draw prizes, Debbie and co collected £210 for club funds. Many thanks to Dick, Cathie and Hester for the traditional punch, our strong lads Ray and Ralph , Joy , and all who helped in any way.

January meeting – Alan Shipp – ‘ Hyacinths’
For our January meeting we welcome back Alan Shipp who will be giving an illustrated talk on hyacinths. Alan hails from Waterbeach in the Fens where he grows and breeds some very colourful hyacinths. We have been asked to get Alan back again and he is sure to have his catalogues with him and there will be a chance to buy some of his special bulbs. 7.30pm , village hall Thurs. 10th. January 2013. Come early and renew your membership – only £5!!

It all starts again in January 2013 , so be there at our 10th. January meeting. Membership remains at a ridiculous £5 , so sign up while stocks last and get your new membership card with full details of our exciting programme for 2013. There are some great speakers, , summer evening visits , our first open gardens event, and our late summer outing. At Christmas we have a very special guest – who? Well, sign up , get your membership card and all will be revealed.

Belgium – Thurs.23 – Sun. 26 May 2013.
Once again we have a full coach booked and we travel with Galloways via Eurotunnel to our base at Hotel Novetel, Mechelen. We will be guided byJohan and Ria and Jo, Martyn and Johan are already burning the midnight oil and planning our weekend. Lots to look forward to, travellers should receive a January news sheet with payment details and details of a group dinner for Sat. evening.

Tales from the Allotments
We say goodbye to a difficult year & welcome 2013 with the usual blind optimism that is the hallmark of the allotment gardener. No matter how many failures/disasters behind us , this year will be the one. Despite a very wet autumn we are pretty well up to date, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and rhubarb all richly mulched with farmer Johnson’s 4 star best. Garlic( including the popular elephant ) and broad beans sown and hopefully will peek through this month in neat green rows. This is important for the plot holder where the need for straight rows and general tidiness borders on the paranoia, to a point where even the soil must pass the spirit level test!
However we do like to experiment ,to try and get one up on our ever watchful neighbours. I remember Peter Webb ( the good life man) telling the gardeners’ club back in September, “ if in doubt check the books “. Trouble with that is read three gardening books and they will have three different answers to every question. Far better to experiment and learn from experience. I read Alan Gray’s weekly column recently where he was bemoaning the fact that this last season his squash, pumpkins and onions have all failed to keep until Christmas - and he is a renowned expert on all things growing. No, experiment , have fun and keep your neighbours guessing as to what you are up to. This is all part and parcel of growing your own. “ Spade work, and the time spent in close contact with Mother Earth out in the open air, are of immense individual and national benefit, and the countless city born and bred men and women who have recently taken up food gardening are now realising a satisfaction of mind and body they could scarcely have attained by any other means “ – who wrote that then, another gardening guru jumping on the ‘grow your own’ band wagon ? No, J.W.Hurst in ‘ The Garden’ , the 100 year old gardening encyclopaedia passed to me by Kirton Light Railway’s Station Master and Chief Engineer Mr. Fred Last.
So we look forward to 2013 and the officers and committee wish you a happy new year and , of course, good gardening.

Next meeting:
Thurs. 10th. January - Alan Shipp - ‘ Hyacinths’
7.30 pm Village Hall

Roy Mallett 616

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