April 2019 – Steve Millam
people were present to listen to Steve tell
us about the importance of soil in horticulture.
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
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!
went home a little wiser and with a little more
respect for this most mundane of garden features.
February 2019 – Geoff Hawkins
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.
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.
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.
December 2018 – ‘Deck the Halls’
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
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!
kindly donated her creations to our monthly
raffle – which boosted the takings significantly!
November 2018 – Ian Currie
is a well known weather forecaster, journalist
and broadcaster. He regularly appears on BBC
Sussex radio's 'Dig It' programme.
he spoke to us about 'Gales, Greenhouses and
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.
October 2018 – Peter Chivers
visited us from his home in Portsmouth to talk
about preparing containers for winter and spring.
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.
was so enthusiastic we had little time left
for tea! But a good time was had by all.
September 2018 - Jean Griffin
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.
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.
July 2018 Ferring Country Centre
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.
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.
the low turnout tonight (England were playing
in the World Cup!), we all enjoyed Sam’s talk.
June 2018 - Visit to Peeler’s Retreat
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
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!
2018 – Trip to Eric Wall Tomatoes
evening we visited Eric Wall’s tomato nursery
in Barnham, first established in 1977.
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!
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!
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.