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Members Garden Walkabout on 8 July

On a glorious but very hot day this ever popular attracted over 200 members and their guests to visit five very different but well maintained gardens. They ranged from fairly large and old to small and new, but what they had in common was an obvious love of gardening and a great use of plants. This provided a great opportunity for members to meet and converse in a friendly horticultural setting and has become a major social occasion.

All the owners: Deborah Spring & Stephen Irwin, Avril & Laurie Shindler, Diane & Malcolm Mutkin, Ruth & Stephen Rose, and Jackie & John Angel, had obviously spent a great deal of time preparing their gardens for the walkabout and we thank them for their efforts. All the entrance money and that from the sale of teas, coming in total to over £1000, has been distributed to charities selected by the garden owners. Thanks should also go to Peter Hordern for all the work he put in organising the event and to all the stewards and tea helpers who assisted on the day.

Views of the five gardens in the order of owners above are shown below.

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Day trip to Kelmarsh Hall & Garden plus Coton Manor Garden on 9 August

Kelmarsh Hall & Gardens.  The tour of the main rooms of  Kelmarsh Hall  was interesting but the newly opened servants area below stairs was outstanding; an extensive area showing the personnel and duties of the many staff who helped run the manor. The gardens however were disappointment as, despite the efforts of the volunteers, most of the borders and even the walled garden had succumbed to the very hot dry summer and few plants were still flowering. An excellent dark blue Agapanthus and some vivid Rudbeckias were exceptions and we could only imagine how attractive it might look in a normal cool wet British summer.

Coton Manor Gardens.  It was with some trepidation that we went on to Coton Manor gardens but we need not have worried - the gardens were as magnificent as on previous visits. All the containers and borders were full of colour with every plant seemingly in perfect condition. We were impressed by the variety and arrangement of the plants throughout the gardens, and the obvious dedication and skill of the gardeners. Overall the party left with happy memories and a quite a few plants purchased from the plant nursery.

The left photo is from Kelmarsh Hall - the other three from Coton Manor.

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The Autumn Show at the Vision Hall on 1 September

Despite forebodings about the extraordinary weather this year with a wet Spring and a dry and extremely hot Summer, members  produced 591 entries, the most of any recent year, to make it a very successful show.

Although the weather made it difficult for the vegetable classes with only a few high quality exhibits, it was a good year for fruit. And it was great to see those who were unable to enter the produce classes giving support to the other sections where there were with lots of entries in the domestic section and some 50 in the photographic classes.

Unfortunately the number of children’s entries was again very few and further efforts will be made to improve this next year, helped we hope by the show not being held during the school holidays (Report and pictures in the Young Gardeners page).

Overall it was a busy and successful show with nearly 200 visitors, most of whom partook of the excellent teas. The prizes this year were presented by Peggy Sjoberg, where the Chairman also thanked Amanda for running a very successful Show.

Thanks go to all who had helped to stage and run the show, the exhibitors, judges and of course the visitors. Well done everyone. And also those who donated exhibits for sale at the end of the show, the proceeds of which are being sent to the charity THRIVE which helps the lives of the disabled and disadvantaged through horticulture.

Here are some views of the show:

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The main prizewinners were as follows:

Chairnan’s Pair

RHS Banksian Medal

Perpetual Challenge Bowl
National Dahlia Society Silver Medal

National Dahlia Society Bronze Medal
RHS Affiliated Societies Bronze Medal
Novice Cup
The Raymond Sprake Cup

Paul Balen Cup - best photograph
Blue Ribbon for best vegetable exhibit - tomatoes

Blue Ribbon for best fruit exhibit - figs
Blue Ribbon for best domestic exhibit - Victoria sponge
Phillimore Plaque
Newberries Plaque

Young Ones Plaque

This year’s Mystery Dahlia was

full results for all classes are posted in the Store)

Peter Hordern
Maureen Thorne
Peter Hordern
Maureen Thorne
Peter Hordern
Mike Paterson
Susie Dougan
Maureen Thorne
Peter Cushion
Peter Cushion
Maureen Thorne
Mary Crosher
Jessica Hill
Emerson Newman
Evie Coldham

Taratahi Ruby (waterlily - red)

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Annual General Meeting and talk ‘ Restoration of the Gardens at Wimpole Hall’ by Philip Whaites on 14 November


The Chairman reported another busy and successful year and thanked the Committee and Helpers for all their efforts. He also thanked those who had contributed plants for the Plant Sale or opened their gardens for the ever popular Garden Walkabout. Members were advised to enter next years dates, 4 May and 7 July respectively, in their diaries.
The Treasure noted that the Society had made a small profit this year, the finances were in good order. As a result the Committee had recommended the meeting to maintain the current subscription for the next three year period and the was approved unanimously.

The Secretary advised the main consequences of GDPR on the Society and proposed the addition of  a new item in the Society Rules to confirm our compliance. This was also approved.  


After the interval we enjoyed a talk on the restoration of the Wimpole Hall Gardens by Philip Waites who had recently retired after being Head Gardener for 38 years. Philip explained how he had started a career in gardening and his progress to become head gardener at Wimpole Hall. He told us the run down state of all the garden areas and how each one was rediscovered and developed by his small team of gardeners and a large number of willing volunteers. This was accompanied by many interesting photos of the before and after and the plants restored or introduced, including a lot of very tasty vegetables and fruit being supplied to the Estate café.

Proposed Holidays in 2019

Peggy Sjoberg explained her plans for a spring holiday to Warwickshire based on the Stratford Manor Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon from 19 to 23 May and opened a list of  those interested. She also offered to arrange a possible autumn holiday to the Commodore Hotel at Instow, Devon if  sufficient members showed interest to form a party. Anyone interested or wishing more information should contact her.

Radlett Horticultural Society

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