August 2011 meeting

September meeting - Thursday 8th. September – 7.30 Village Hall
Ben Potterton - ‘ Late Summer Colour ‘

August visit – Green Island Gardens, Ardleigh.
Our last visit of a busy summer season and a white knuckle ride in a rain storm near the Orwell Bridge caused some members to take shelter at the Shell garage before returning home. 30 members however made it to Ardleigh where as often is the case there had been no rain. Green Island Gardens was acquired by Fiona Edmond in 1996 and after 3 years of re designing opened the gardens to the public in 1999. Planting is designed to give all year round interest although the borders really peak from late June onwards. Certainly a garden for all seasons. There is also a well stocked plant nursery which attracted the usual close attention of our members.
The gardens are open to the public Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sundays 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, 1st. February to end November with home made teas available.
An ideal setting to end our summer journeys. Mapman 1 - Wicked Mickey 0

Sat. 3rd. Sept. – ‘ Specialist Plant Fair ‘ Langmere.
Ben Potterton’s Blacksmith’s Cottage Nursery will again be staging a Specialists’ Plant Fare at Langmere. Some 20 specialist local nurseries will have a wide range of plants for sale, there will be talks and demonstrations , BBC Radio Gardeners’ Q Time, refreshments and Guy Barker, aka The Naked Gardener! Tours of the animal collection and new gardens.
Open 10am to 5pm, ample parking, entry £1.50(£1 RHS members).

September meeting – Ben Potterton – ‘ Late Summer Colour’
Thurs. 8th. Sept., 7.30 , Village Hall – we welcome back Ben Potterton with a new talk and we expect him to bring lots of plants for show and sale. It is some time since we have seen Ben at Kirton and anticipate a large audience for the start of our winter season in our newly refurbished village hall.

Caen 2011 – Sat. 28th. pm. – the long awaited visit to the Tapisserie de Bayeux. We arrive at the Bayeux centre where we have a tour of the stunning 1000 years old tapestry followed by a short film of its history. Bayeux was the first city liberated following the D Day landings.
Appropriately we head back to Caen via the landing beaches where UK forces came ashore. We stop at Arromanches to see the remains of the artificial port assembled in the wake of the Normandy landings. The town is decorated with English and US flags ready for the 6th June anniversary. There are WW2 artillery pieces on the promenade including a vicious howitzer pointing out to sea (don’t touch Pat!).
Then along the coast passing Gold, Juno and Sword beaches and back to the hotel.
After a long day we decide on a quiet dinner and find a small restaurant in a street not far from the hotel. After a fabulous meal and in high spirits we move to make our departure when a large local man, consumed by liquid entente cordiale , grabs me in a rib breaking bear hug, before making for Brian who receives a double dose, despite his protests that he is English! By now Martyn S has seen enough and makes for a quick exit. He may only have been wishing us an over physical ‘ bonne journée’ but we needed our ribs intact for the rest of the trip and perhaps of more concern he seemed only interested in the males in our party! So we stagger back to our hotel before the midnight hour.

Sun 29th. - after breakfast Mark and coach await outside the hotel and its off into the fabulous Normandy countryside to the Distillerie Busnel where our enthusiastic guide Arfur takes us on a tour of the operation that transforms the apple into the amber nectar, through the selection of apples, distillation, blending and then ageing in oak casks, some more than 100 years old and huge (don’t touch, Pat!). Then, of course, the obligatory tasting of various blends and age, well we cannot refuse such hospitality!
Then on through even more glorious countryside to Les Jardins du Pays d’Auge , best garden of the trip and for me second only to Monet’s on any of our many trips.
27 themed gardens formed on a 6 acres site in an area of half timbered farm buildings provide a garden lover’s paradise for which about 2 hours is needed to do justice. The café offers 80 varieties of crepes, slowly!
Then we head back to Caen to take in the Parc Floral de la Colline aux Oiseaux which contains the biggest rose gardens any of us have seen.
Another long, hot day and we make for the oddly titled Boeuf & Cow where we do manage a relaxed evening meal with no exuberant, garlic reeked, local lying in wait.

Mon 30th. – An early breakfast gives Johan the chance to give us a tour of the Chateau and the St. Pierre church before boarding the coach to visit Jardin des Plantes et Botanique and then we hit the autoroute for our journey home when my notes tell me that we had a collection on the coach to provide new dentures for a Spanish cat, or did I dream that!
So another memorable Euro trip comes to an end and we have to thank Jo, Martyn and Alma for their time and effort, our larger than life driver, Mark, and perhaps most of all our good friend and guide, Johan, for his magical input. (pictures here).

Also our club notes will now appear monthly on our pages in the village website for the benefit of our increasing membership beyond the villages. Our thanks to webmaster Martin RH for making this possible.

Stop Press!! Christmas is coming! Our Christmas special is Thurs. 8 December when our guest will be Adrian Bloom from the world famous Norfolk nurseries. Tickets, £5 members , will be on sale at our September meeting.

Roy Mallett 448616