April 2014

April meeting.
A change to our advertised programme when we welcomed Dr. Simon Weeks for an illustrated talk on Erysimums or wallflowers to you and me. Simon holds the national collection of erysimums at his Walpole small holding and started collecting almost by accident.
He was forced to retire through ill health and decided to raise a few plants and had a stall selling them a few times a year at shows and events under the name of Oak Cottage Plants. He then decided to specialise and as he had two erysimum in his garden went for them. The two he started with were Harpure Crewe and Bloody Warrior. He then made the decision to go for a national collection despite the difficulty of erysimums’ short three/four year life span.
He now has 80 plus varieties all raised in pots. This enables him to take the collection to the big shows. Simon brought plants with him for sale and as usual they quickly disappeared. An interesting evening for the 64 members present.
We hope to arrange a visit to Oak Cottage next summer but if you wish to call in check his opening days on 01986 784348

AGM
The club’s AGM followed the April meeting and was well attended by members. The accounts and financial report for 2013 revealed the club retains a comfortable financial position at the end of last year. The chairman presented his report for 2013 when membership remained strong at 120 and the average attendance at meetings was a record at 67. There was a successful summer outing to Pensthorpe, 48 people enjoyed the May weekend trip to Belgium and the Christmas party with Charlie Haylock was enjoyed by 95 members.
Dick Shepherd stood down as club treasurer and the chairman paid tribute to Dick’s enormous contribution to the club including guiding us from no money to today’s healthy babk balance. It was proposed that Dick be made a life member of the club and this was carried unanimously by the meeting.
Roy and Mike were re-elected chairman and secretary respectively and Brian Barker elected as treasurer. Jo was re-elected to the committee and Dick was elected as committee member. Roy thanked the officers and committee, Martin RH for the website , Ralph and Ray for setting up and Joy for her work at the treasury. Jenny for the monthly emails, and belatedly Jenny and Lynn for our programme.

May visit – Dr. Rob James garden, Brightwell – Thurs. 8th. May 7.00pm
Summer is here and we release members on the unsuspecting East Anglian public. First up is Brightwell where there is no parking at Dr. James, so we suggest the village hall, opposite the church or Brightwell Ag. Store at the top of the hill. To limit cars meet at the Green at 6.45 for car sharing.

Belgium 22/5 May
Full information will be issued in May and we aim to depart the Green at 6.15 am with our Galloways coach with, hopefully, Mark in control.
Annual Summer Outing – Lamport Hall and Gardens - Sat. 13th. September.
This year’s summer outing will be to Lamport Hall and Gardens in Northamptonshire on Sat. 13th. September. We will have guided tours of the hall and extensive gardens
and there will be free time for the gardens after. We leave the Green at 9.00 am and are due back at 7.30 pm. Cost is £27 and includes a light lunch. No picnics are allowed in the grounds and only booked refreshments in the restaurant so you may wish to take a snack or drink for the coach. Tickets are selling rapidly so if you wish to go contact Jenny Bearcroft asap on 448471.

Cathie Shepherd
Cathie died Sunday 6th. April after bravely battling a long illness. Cathie, with Dick, was a founder member of the Gardeners Club and was enthusiastically involved from the beginning in late 2000. She helped mastermind public meetings before the club was launched in January 2001.
Dick was treasurer but Cathie made an immense contribution in that area over the years. She knew everybody, and if I didn’t recognise someone and needed a name she knew immediately , with the admonishment ‘ you should know, you’re the chairman’.
On club nights she would set up shop at the back of the hall taking payments for membership renewal, and selling tickets for the famed summer outing and the Christmas party and as a result met everyone. In short she was the face of the gardeners club and will be sadly missed.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dick and his family.

Tales from the allotments
Last year with cold Spring things were late getting started, but this season, after a mild winter, we are ahead of the game. I cut my first asparagus 31st. March, a record for me, and new potatoes are already sprouting through the ground, curtain call for frosts! I have had my knuckles rapped for spending too many column inches on fruit and veg. Well, I’m sorry but these are gardening notes and that’s what we are about on the plots. Soon be time to get some plants out and take my tip and get along to Roselea Express where John and Steven will have both veg and flowers to meet your every need..

Roy Mallett 616