Summer visits 2010

June visit – Sarah Cook’s Garden, Shelley
Neither the Suffolk Show nor Anglia Water’s burst main could prevent 38 members descending on the idyllic hamlet of Shelley hidden away near the Essex border. An added bonus was probably the warmest summer evening so far this year. Despite the cold Spring Sarah Cook’s private garden was a blaze of colour especially her national collection of Cedric Morris tall bearded iris. Her partner, Jim Marshall, not to be out-done has the national collection of Dianthus (Malmaison) in glass houses but not yet flowering. Their garden is spread around their converted barn home and also includes fruit and veg areas, cottage garden and wild flower areas. Tall bearded irises are easy to grow so long as they are given good drainage & plenty of sunshine on their rhizomes (we all need sunshine on our rhizomes). The garden though is back-breaking clay so Sarah’s irises are in raised beds with plenty of grit.
It is always a pleasure to visit these private gardens not normally open to the public, more so with two national collections on show. As a mere fruit and veg man I have to confess to being totally puzzled by the whole concept of national plant collections but was none the less suitably impressed.
Sarah is a member of the Plant Heritage & a former head gardener at NT Sissinghurst and with partner Jim, also ex Nat Trust, they are a charming couple who have created a garden paradise in the previously unknown (to me) hamlet of Shelley.

July meeting Thurs. 8 July 7.30pm Village Hall
Please note that for July we will meet in the Village Hall for a talk by our own Pat Adams on old gardening tools.

Sat. 17 July - Garden Party and BBQ
Keith and Karen Allison invite all garden club members and allotment holders to their garden party and BBQ 12 to 4 pm. There will be three different gardens open and also strawberries and cream. So come along and join the fun – in aid of scouts.

Sun. 18 July - Felixstowe Hort. Society Flower and Produce Show : Felixstowe Leisure Centre – well worth a visit and plants for sale!

Amiens 28/31 May 2010
Our organisers endeavour to squeeze every minute out of our long weekends, hence our 49 travellers staggered aboard Galloways’ charabanc at 6.45 am to be greeted by Mark our friend and driver for 4 days. An added bonus this year, Colin sped to the green on his racer so that we had our daily papers – well done Kirton News!
In no time we arrive at Eurotunnel for our crossing and we are soon pulling in to the Total Calais service station to collect guide Johan, only to find him missing. Has he at last had enough of Les Jardinières Anglais and done a runner? No, we have the wrong service station and we breathe again with Johan and his new hat safely aboard.
Our first stop is the Château de Cocove, now an hotel and restaurant, standing in 25 acres of parkland basking in glorious sunshine. No sooner we disembark than efficient waitresses appear on the terraces with coffee, juice and silver trays of patisserie. Well why not start as we aim to carry on!
Next – Notre Dame de Lorette - on a bleak hill a few kilometres north of Vimy Ridge is the church of Notre Dame de Lorette, scene of a costly French offensive in May 1915. The original church was destroyed then but was rebuilt in 1920s. It now stands at the centre of a vast but immaculate graveyard, last resting place for 45,000 French souls. Add to that a similar number in a nearby German war cemetery – all died fighting over a nondescript hill side.
Next up Arras, renowned for its tapestries in the late middle ages – its two squares Grand Place & Place des Heros, their town houses adorned with Flemish gables and harmonious brick and stonework. Our walking tour covered these areas, the Belfry and Robespierre’s town house. Amongst all this classic design we stumble across two Damart stores and a spot poll suggests a number of our members favour these garments. Is it the cold east winds or thin blood? Either way we quickly set up a deal for club members – 30% off in Arras on production of membership card.
With my arm twisted I have to report Arras is twinned with Ipswich – what were the burghers thinking of, have they no taste?
Our group dinner is in the Café Leffe in Grand Place, after which we head for our base – Holiday Inn at Amiens.
Sat 29th May – breakfast in the hotel (no 3 fruit marmalade this year) then off to the Botanical Gardens (Jardin des Plantes) & the King’s Garden – Jardin du Roy [he gets everywhere! ]. These gardens supply the city with plants and shrubs throughout the year including orange and lemon trees.
From the gardens to Amiens Notre Dame Cathedral, a breathtaking construction. It is France’s largest Gothic edifice and has the loftiest nave in France. Notre Dame Paris could fit twice in its interior. It has the oldest existing spire and the choir stalls have 4000 sculptures & figurines illustrating former local trades. The cathedral is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Johan gives us a conducted tour before we repair to the St. Leu area for lunch in the waterside bistros.
Q – why does a croque madame cost more than a croque monsieur?
Next month the fabulous water gardens of Amiens, and a new career for the back seat girls.
Note: Martin RH has posted pics and comments in the garden club pages here.
To comply with latest EU legislation Tales from the Allotments is set aside for the summer.

Roy Mallett 616