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Monday 4th April 2022 - Lordington Lavender

Another good turnout for this month's talk by Andrew Elms of Lordington Lavender.

Andrew regaled us about the trials and tribulations of running a lavender farm.

The farm grows arable crops and had a dairy herd until 2000, when Andrew decided to try a new venture, selling the herd and moving to lavender.

Conservation is very much at the heart of the enterprise. He still grows arable crops of conservation grade - cereals for Jordans, wheat and malting barley and oilseed rape for biofuel. There are also wildflower crops for the wildlife.

But Andrew's passion is now for lavender. He started out in 2002 with 5 acres and, having ordered a supply of Mailettle plants (a French variety of English lavender) to cover his 5 acres, was shocked to take delivery of 25,000 plants! It took his family and friends a week to plant using an old cabbage planter belonging to a neighbour.

The first harvest was cut 2 years later and from initially selling just the essential oil, the business now produces a wide range of products including soap, lip balm, shampoo, hand cream and dog shampoo.

The environmental conservation initiatives have resulted in nesting barn owls, masses of insects, butterflies and bees and 12 red listed species of birds.

The lavender farm is open to the public for 1 week in July, just prior to harvesting, when the lavender is at its very best.

A field of lavender.
A field of lavender.

Monday 7th March 2022 - Rewilding at Knepp

42 people eagerly awaited Penny Green's talk about the rewilding of Knepp. After 2 previous postponements it was certainly worth the wait.

Knepp is 3500 acres of weald clay with hundreds of laggs (water meadows) which had been intensively farmed for over 200 years by the Burrell family. When the present owner, Charlie Burrell, took over at the age of 21 he continued this tradition. Then, 20 years ago, it became clear that this was not a sustainable or productive use of the land and the idea of rewilding was born.

It began with different areas of the land being systematically taken out of production and slowly the vegetation started to grow wild, trees took hold and as more animals were introduced it transpired that the billowing hedgerows protected the new saplings from being eaten by the large herbivores. The reintroduction began with fallow deer and moved on to long horned cattle (cattle closely related to ancient breeds), Tamworth pigs, red deer and Exmoor ponies. These large herbivores are nature's chainsaws! There was no longer any need to prune or clear the vegetation. The nature of their grazing produces a perfect habitat for many other creatures and drives the wilding of the landscape

Man acts as the apex predator as wolves are no longer present and cattle, pigs and deer are culled to provide income for the project.

There are now over 3,000 species recorded at Knepp of which 1800 are insects. Major successes have seen the huge growth in numbers of nightingales, turtle doves, and purple emperor butterflies. Owls, 17 species of bat, ravens, 62 species of bee and 30 of wasps. The list goes on. The recent reintroduction of storks has seen them breeding in the UK for the first time for hundreds of years. Beavers have also been a recent addition and, although the first attempt was unsuccessful, it is hoped that they will be brought back to Knepp in the near future.

This was a fascinating and informative talk and we all went away keen to visit the Knepp estate soon.

Knepp slideshow intoduction image.
Turtle doves slide, 82% decline 10 10 years.

Monday 7th February 2022 - The Secret Life of a Hedgehog

34 people attended the first meeting of 2022 to hear Graham Bowring tell us about the secret life of hedgehogs. He brought along one of the rescued hedgehogs currently in his care, 'Harry' was a little grumpy, but nevertheless very engaging!

Graham gives most of his talks to schoolchildren, however, we declined his invitation to sit around in a circle on the floor. Graham has been a member of the Hedgehog Preservation Society for many years. He has permission to look after hedgehogs and to release them back into the wild, under strict regulations. He is caring for 15 at present. At the height of the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 he had 120!

Graham amused us with several tales of calls from the public regarding hedgehogs thought to be in peril. He also told us that hedgehogs are nocturnal (if they are out in the daytime they are probably unwell). They have around 5000 spikes, hibernate for around 4 months in the winter, can walk about 2 miles a night looking for food or a mate and are solitary animals.

Most hogs killed on the road are males, out looking for females. After mating the males leave and the female has her litter of 2-7 babies after 3 and a half weeks. The hoglets will leave their mother after about 6 weeks. One litter a year is usual but sometimes a second litter can be born in the autumn. However, in this case the hoglets will be unlikely to survive as they will not be fat enough to hibernate.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Graham and Harry, after a very entertaining evening.

Graham Bowring with Harry the Hedgehog.
Harry the Hedgehog.

6th December 2021 - Paul Abbot

For our December meeting, old friend of Angmering HC, Paul Abbot, came along to talk about 'Christmas plants around the world' and regaled us with some of the myths, legends and folklore surrounding the plants that are traditional in different parts of the world.

We are all familiar with the holly and the ivy of a European Christmas, along with the traditional amarylis, poinsettia and, of course, the Christmas Tree, commonly seen in Britain. But the New Zealand Christmas tree, or Pohutukawa, is not so well known!

There are many slightly eccentric traditions also, including the Mexican Radish Festival! And wheat is traditionally used in Eastern Europe for Christmas decorations. Mostly the plants used are associated with rebirth and renewal, so coming out of the darkness of winter into the spring - something we are all looking forward to.

A very interesting talk was followed by mince pies, Christmas cake and a glass of fizz.

December 2021 meeting room.

1st November 2021 – Lesley Baker 'Out on a Limb'

Lesley is a locally based tree surgeon and entertained us tonight with tales of her working life. From her somewhat unusual choice of career - there were not many females in the business when Lesley started - to some of the more interesting and quite hilarious situations that she has found herself in while tending to local trees.

It is a difficult and dangerous job - as witnessed by some of the equipment Lesley demonstrated to us. For example, 'Big Mary' is a huge chainsaw which many of us would struggle to pick up, never mind wield in anger at a mature tree!

After coffee Lesley engaged us in a game of 'match the tree', giving out logs, pictures of leaves and names of trees which we had to match up. I'm pleased to say that most of us got at least some of the answers correct!

Lesley Baker up a tree.

4th October 2021 – Martin Jarvis

After a very long interval we were all happy to restart our meetings today, in a new venue and on a new day. Much has changed since March 2020!

That last meeting was almost hijacked by the speaker being unable to attend due to a bereavement. On that occasion Martin Jarvis, a long time member of the group and local nurseryman, stepped into the breach. And once again this evening, we are indebted to Martin who has come to our rescue after our speaker fell ill.

Following our much delayed AGM, Martin spoke about his life in horticulture. From the influence of Rudolf Steiner, a notable proponent of biodynamic farming and organic, holistic gardening, on his grandparents and parents, through his own career, which culminated in his running the family business today.

Culberry Nursery began as an 8 acre site in Dappers Lane in 1948, growing mushrooms. Today it is 4 acres and specialises in herbs, both culinary and medicinal and stocks about 200 varieties. Martin also sells farm produce and so was able to remain open during the lockdowns of the last 2 years. This was a boon to business and turnover increased 3 fold! Things have settled down now and life is not quite so hectic at Culberry!

Martin brought along many of the plants that he produces and talked about their uses. A good many of these were snapped up at the end of the evening.

Our new venue.
Martin Jarvis.
Plants for sale.

4th February 2020 – Paul Dalby

33 people, including several visitors welcomed Paul Dalby, an expert in the growing, exhibiting and judging of dahlias. He has exhibited dahlias since 1991.

Paul told us how dahlias originated in Mexico where 47 species have now been identified in the wild. They were brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 18th century, originally as a food source.

The National Dahlia Society directory now lists 15 classifications of dahlia, including pompom, ball cactus, star and decorative, and very many more varieties within the classes. Paul recommends propagating from cuttings, taken in the early spring when the tubers begin to sprout. He explained how to produce perfect stems for exhibiting – quite a performance! We will probably stick to growing as many (possible not perfect) blooms of this beautiful flower instead.

Paul Dalby.
Types of Dahlias.
Dahlias in bloom.

3rd December 2019 – Christmas flower arrangements

For our December meeting we had a Christmas theme. Mince pies and Christmas cake followed an inspiring demonstration of Christmas flower arrangements by Julie Waters from Bud & Blooms in East Preston.

Julie stepped in at the last minute to save the day after our original speaker couldn’t make it, and she showed us how to make a Christmas wreath, a table decoration with candles and a small table arrangement using all the left over odds and ends! - nothing was wasted.

It all looked remarkably easy – years of practice! But I’m sure some of us will have had a go at our own decorations.

Christmas wreath.
Christmas wreath.
Christmas decoration.

5th November 2019 – Maggie Haynes

Maggie came to talk to us about the Tuppenny Barn. From an unlikely background of many years in the army, Maggie started up the Tuppenny Barn in 2005.

What began as a derelict field with barn (the original barn is now a tool shed) is now the Tuppenny Barn Education Centre (TBE), a UK registered charity, whose purpose is to advance education in horticulture and sustainability.

At the heart of Tuppenny Barn’s approach is the promotion of sustainable living in all its forms. They are passionate about food and knowing where our food comes from.

They host school trips, after school clubs, and horticultural therapy sessions, and also provide educational activities for the wider community, promoting growing and cooking abilities, alongside countryside skills like foraging, wreath making and willow weaving.

The Education Centre has been designed using sustainable principles and provides a beautiful space for meetings, community and music events, art exhibitions and special occasions like weddings.

The shop, open every Thursday and Friday sells the fresh organic fruit, vegetables and cut flowers grown on site as well as bread, preserves, cakes and more.

Tuppeny Barn Centre Build June 2014.
Tuppeny Barn Centre exterior.

1st October 2019 – Architectural Plants

Guy Watts, managing director and co-owner of Architectural Plants in Pulborough, talked to us about the development of this very special nursery. Guy has had an interesting life before becoming a partner in this business – including rowing across the Indian Ocean (for which he holds the record) and also starting the charity ‘Streetscape’.

Guy told us about the various ways in which, mainly large, architectural plants can be used in our gardens, with some spectacular slides to illustrate this.

Everyone enjoyed the talk and many of us are looking forward to visiting the nursery.

Guy was followed by our 2nd, very successful, ‘bring & buy’ sale.

Guy Watts.
Wollemia nobilis.
genista-aetnensis.


3rd September 2019 – Trip to Sir Harold Hillier Garden, Romsey

27 of us set off to Romsey on Tuesday morning to visit the Harold Hillier Gardens. The day was enjoyed by all and the weather was largely kind to us, despite 1 or 2 heavy showers.

Rainy day.

The gardens were stunning, with far too much to see in one visit. The long borders were especially lovely with many varieties of perennial looking at their best.

Harold Hiller Garden.

The trees, lakes, hydrangeas and so much else to see, another visit will be a must for many of us.

We all had time to try the café, shop and garden centre – and several bargains were snapped up!

Harold Hiller Garden.
Harold Hiller Garden.
Harold Hiller Garden.

2nd July 2019 – Steve Porter

Steve spoke about the role of horticulture in the rehabilitation of offenders at Ford Prison.

He told us that up to 90 offenders are involved in Land Based Activities, and horticulture is a major part of this. It includes looking after the grounds of the prison as well as running a commercial horticulture business which provides an income for use in other areas of the prison.

Although at times it is a challenge to get the offenders to engage, the business provides plants of all types to up to a 100 other prisons in the UK plus it also provides 440 thousand summer and winter bedding to prisons in the SE region! and has a contract to supply bedding to Haywards Heath Town Council. And there is a shop where we can all go and try the fruits of their labours.

Altogether, a very impressive operation and an interesting talk.

HMP Ford sign.
HMP Ford wall.
HMP Ford garden.


18th June 2019 – Open Gardens

10 members volunteered to open their gardens to the rest of the club.

Sadly, on this occasion, the weather was not on our side, with persistent rain throughout the day.

A few hardy souls braved the elements and enjoyed the gardens, albeit they were not seen quite at their best.

On the following Monday, those members that had opened were able to visit each other’s gardens, and this was more successful, with fine, warm weather prevailing.

Many thanks to those members who opened and to those who made the effort to support them.

Let’s hope we have better luck next year!

Hidcot Lavender.
Long border in Flower.
June's 3 tier planter.


4th June - visit to NGS garden

15 members enjoyed a visit to Plantation Rise, the long standing NGS and award winning garden of Trixie and Nigel.

After a day of showers we were fortunate that the sun shone for a couple of hours and it was a lovely evening. Trixie showed us around and produced wonderful homemade cakes, which were enjoyed under the arbour.

This is an inspirational garden, full of colour and intriguing ideas – some of which, I am sure, will be copied in Angmering!

Plantation Rise.
Plantation Rise.

7th May - AGM

The AGM was held at the Village Hall. All the current Committee stood again and were re-elected for a further year.

Membership stood at 44 at the end of the year.

The necessary business was concluded within half an hour and was followed by a sociable hour of food, drink and a couple of quizzes, which were enjoyed by all.


2nd April 2019 – Steve Millam

32 people were present to listen to Steve tell us about the importance of soil in horticulture.

Steve has been the head of the horticulture department at Brinsbury College since 2007 and gained many years of experience prior to his return to West Sussex. He told us about how soil is formed, the important minerals, micro-organisms and bacteria it contains and how to keep the soil healthy.

Steve explained that soil is made up of sand, silt and clay and the proportions of each dictate the type of soil. It is crucial that organic matter is added to revitalise the soil and this should not be dug in but just laid on the top – a welcome bit of advice for gardeners!

Everyone went home a little wiser and with a little more respect for this most mundane of garden features.

Soil.


5th February 2019 – Geoff Hawkins

Geoff Hawkins.

Geoff Hawkins spent 35 years as head gardener at the private garden, Mill Court, near Alton. On Tuesday he spoke at the Angmering Horticultural Club, in Angmering Village Hall, about the benefits of ground cover - essential in order to minimise the necessity for weeding and a must for all gardeners.

Geoff told us about the different types of ground cover including mulches of all varieties – e.g. bark, gravel, grass clippings and sheep’s wool - as well as the innumerable variety of plants that can be used. Not only low growing and spreading plants, but large shrubs which can cover an area of ground and trees such as the Acer which have a drooping habit and therefore will cover a substantial area of ground, preventing weeds from growing.

Geoff was interesting and a well informed speaker and everyone went away with a few new ideas to help reduce the amount of time they spend weeding.


4th December 2018 – ‘Deck the Halls’

Local florist Ellen Ford – ‘The Enchanted Florist’ came along tonight to demonstrate how to decorate the home for Christmas using garden materials. This was Ellen’s inaugural speaking engagement and although she was nervous we were all definitely ‘enchanted’.

Ellen’s decorations were original and exciting, but could most certainly be attempted by any one of us. A Christmas tree made from the off cuts of a large tree was especially inspired!

Ellen kindly donated her creations to our monthly raffle – which boosted the takings significantly!

Enchanted Florist.
Enchanted Florist.

 


6th November 2018 – Ian Currie

Ian is a well known weather forecaster, journalist and broadcaster. He regularly appears on BBC Sussex radio's 'Dig It' programme.

Tonight he spoke to us about 'Gales, Greenhouses and Global Warning'.

We have all experienced out fair share of problems as gardeners, with all three subjects! And Ian was able to explain how and why many of these problems occur, with his illustrated talk.

Ian Currie.


2nd October 2018 – Peter Chivers

Peter visited us from his home in Portsmouth to talk about preparing containers for winter and spring.

His was an entirely practical demonstration and very entertaining. Peter planted up to three different containers, showing us how he plants his bulbs (in layers) topped with a variety of winter bedding.

Peter was so enthusiastic we had little time left for tea! But a good time was had by all.

Peter Chivers.


4th September 2018 - Jean Griffin

Jean Griffin.

Jean Griffin was eduacated at Neath Girls Grammar School before starting professional horticultural courses, firstly at Studley College in Warwickshire and secondly at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Jean has spent all her life working in both the Amenity and Commercial sections of the horticultural industry, with the past 20 years working in Horticultural Education. Jean teaches people from all age groups and varying abilities. Jean is also a very popular broadcaster – notably on BBC Sussex’s ‘Dig it’ and ably entertained us with tales of her gardening life.


3rd July 2018 Ferring Country Centre

This month Sam Kirk from Ferring Country Centre gave us an insight into the excellent work done at Ferring Country Centre, which provides meaningful work experience to adults with learning difficulties, through riding therapy, horticulture and farming.

The Centre is a charity and has been running for over 30 years enjoying a very well deserved reputation for the work they do with vulnerable adults. It is well worth a visit – they have an excellent garden centre, along with the small animal farm, café and children’s play area.

Despite the low turnout tonight (England were playing in the World Cup!), we all enjoyed Sam’s talk.

Ferring Country Centre.


19th June 2018 - Visit to Peeler’s Retreat

This evening we enjoyed a visit to an NGS open garden in Arundel. ‘Peeler’s Retreat’ has been lovingly developed by retired policeman Tony Gilks and his wife.

It is a garden full of interest, with numerous beautiful plants and shrubs, ‘bonsai’ type trees, a fabulous pond and various sculptures – all home made from recycled wood. And the cakes are something else!

Peeler's Retreat garden.
Peeler's Retreat garden.
Peeler's Retreat garden.


May 2018 – Trip to Eric Wall Tomatoes

This evening we visited Eric Wall’s tomato nursery in Barnham, first established in 1977.

This was a fascinating trip to see how the tomatoes on our supermarket shelves are actually produced. And what an operation it is! Huge greenhouses produce 5 varieties of tomato - the rows of plants run to 33 miles!

All the latest technology is utilised, in an environmentally friendly manner, to produce tomatoes destined for Waitrose and Sainsburys. On a hot evening it was almost unbearable inside the greenhouses – we felt for the people who have to tend these plants and pick tomatoes in this weather!

Paul Faulkner had come to speak to us at a previous meeting and invited us along for a tour of the nursery. He made us very welcome and sent us all home with samples of their lovely produce.

Eric Wall Tomatoes greenhouse.
Eric Wall Tomatoes tomatoes.


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