Welcome to the Piddle Valley Gardens Club reports & Picture Gallery

All pictures are © copyright 2012-2019 by News & Views and, where credited, the photographer. All Rights reserved.

Anyone in the valley is welcome along to the PV Gardens Club meetings. We meet once a month on a Monday evening and also have social gatherings during the year. Membership is just £10pa. For further info contact Sally Condon : 01300 348250, Email : riverpiddle2@btinternet.com

May 2021


Summer Show 2019

AGM - Jan 2019

Autumn, 2018

Summer Show, 2018

Spring Show, 2018

Spring Show, 2017

Summer Show, 2014

Garden Club report, May 2021

News … Yes, at last there is news.

Planning is underway for a Summer Show on Saturday 21 August, COVID-19 Restrictions permitting. This is long awaited good news for Piddle Valley residents, as the Show will have flower, vegetable, baking and photography classes open to all. Further news will follow. As usual we will hold the Show at the Memorial Hall and the club's committee will be carefully reviewing all arrangements.

Whilst our monthly meetings aren't able to resume just yet, Sally Condon has speakers at the ready for when we do get going. It will be marvellous to meet and I hope we will be able to welcome some new members. For anyone interested in joining, the Club's annual subscription is just £10, which includes several guest lectures each year, as well as numerous social events and discount shopping opportunities at local garden centres. Membership is great value and an opportunity for relaxed meeting with other people interested in gardens and gardening.

Don't get too excited but there is more news. We're planning our Summer Luncheon for Sunday 18 July. Again, this is dependent upon Covid Restrictions being lifted. Sally will be in touch with members nearer the time.

Here at Pettals Cottage we're enjoying a magnificent display of tulips, narcissus and other spring flowers. Many of these were bought through the Club's autumn bulk purchasing scheme. The gay colours of spring flowers are a joy as is the fresh green growth of shrubs and trees. Less welcome here have been the myriads of lesser celandine growing in swathes across our lawn and borders. It's a small, low growing, plant with bright yellow flowers and heart shaped leaves. It's rather pretty and in some gardens might be welcome as it flowers so early in the season, though in our garden we regard it as a weed.

It's great to be able to look forward to the Club meeting later this year. I hope that our events will be dealt kindly by the weather and that gardeners throughout the valley will come along.

By : Jasmine Pettals

Garden Club - 2020.

Piddle Valley Gardens Club - enjoying G&Ts in the garden

Monthly club meetings have temporarily ceased due to Coronavirus lockdown, but work in our gardens can continue apace at this busy time of the year. Spring bulbs and flowering trees and shrubs are bringing rich colour. The current lockdown has led to increased interest in gardens and outdoor spaces. In fact, online seed and plant merchants are overwhelmed with orders, leading to some delivery delays. Many people will be growing their own fruit and vegetables, possibly for the first time.

When the time is right monthly Club meetings will resume and the speakers deferred during the lockdown will again be invited.

The Club's last meeting in February was all about gardening in green houses and tunnels (from here on called G&Ts). Members enjoyed a return visit by Joy Michaud of Seaspring Seeds, West Bexington. Joy had inspiring ideas for making year-round use of G&Ts.

Joy told us that we're missing out if we only use G&Ts in the summer for growing popular crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies and aubergines. We can extend the growing season with crops during the colder months. G&Ts are especially useful in the winter as:

  • they’re always warmer inside than out.
  • they provide shelter from the wind; and
  • on sunny days they can become quite hot inside.

This makes G&Ts great growing environments for anything. Note though that they aren't necessarily frost resistant.

Suggested winter crops to try are brassicas (eg cabbages, Brussel sprouts and kales) as well as leeks; chard; fennel; beetroot; carrots and peas).

Joy uses her G&Ts to grow winter crops of:

  • turnips and kales - sown in October, cropped February
  • cabbage and carrots - cropped in March & April
  • salad leaves, either as a one-time crop or as a cut and come again.

All of Joy's ideas are sustainable ways of growing fresh vegetables year round. Several Club members told us that they too have success with winter and spring vegetables in their G&Ts, so we have a ready source of advice.

Joy ended the session with a recommendation for us to wash our G&Ts to ensure maximum light gets through to crops. So, there's plenty to be getting on with in the garden enjoying our G&Ts!

I wish all readers good health and continuing enjoyment of their gardens and outside spaces.

Garden Club - Summer Show, 2019.

THE SUMMER SHOW held on Saturday 17 August was a lovely event, well attended and with lots of tea & cake consumed (as usual). The weather was pretty good too after a horrible Friday!

The winners were: -

  • Robert Williams Memorial Trophy - Gay Hanbury
  • RHS Banksian Medal - Bridget Bowen
  • Certificates awarded to:-
  • Section 1 - Vegetables, salad crops & herbs - David Glass
  • Section 2 - Fruit - Bridget Bowen
  • Section 3 - Flowers - Gay Hanbury
  • Section 4 - Floral Art - Elizabeth Jolliffe
  • Section 5 - Photography - Janet Herbert
  • Section 6 - Home Produce - Jane Preston

Congratulations to all and thanks to everyone who entered classes and/or helped to organise the event.

CLUB EVENTS - since the Show, members have enjoyed an autumn pruning demonstration by expert Chris Bird in the garden of club members in Piddlehinton. Timely advice as we enter autumn is welcome and will pay dividends in the seasons to come.

Looking ahead to November, on 25th we'll be listening to Roy Cheek speaking about "Holly & Ivy" as we gear up for Christmas time.

There's something for everyone at the PV Garden Club so do come along and see what we can offer, you'll find a warm welcome. To find out more contact Sally Condon, tel 01300 348250, email riverpiddle2@btinternet.com

Membership is just £10 per year and benefits include monthly evening meetings with expert speakers; social events; discount shopping at local garden centres; and opportunities to expand gardening knowledge.

AGM - Jan 2019

At our AGM in January a light buffet was served whilst Chairman, Neil Herbert, recounted the notable successes of 2018. Some 20 events were held, including monthly club meetings and Spring and Summer shows. Particular thanks were expressed to Jean Groome for donating a wonderful marquee to the club in memory of her late husband, Eric, and which has already proved popular and waterproof.

Members of the committee were thanked for their work in delivering the successful 2018 programme. There’s a vacancy for club secretary if anyone would like to volunteer.

The club is open to all in the Piddle Valley and new members are very welcome to come along to our meetings - annual membership is £10 and brings a number of benefits, including discount vouchers for several local garden centres.

The Spring Show has classes open to all. Are you a flower arranger or photographer, baker or gardener? There's a class for you. Full details are available online at the garden club Home Page or from Ian Condon 01300 348250,Email:river.piddle@btinternet.com

Autumn 2018

The closing months of 2018 saw a flurry of excellent meetings for the Club:

24 SEPTEMBER - Seeds: gardeners' gift, nurseryman's nightmare

"I hate seeds" declared Neil Lovesey from Picket Lane Nursery. Neil went on to tell us why we gardeners should still like collecting seeds from plants in our gardens. For Neil, as a nurseryman, seeds can be a nightmare. He can't guarantee plant varieties by using seeds from his plants as it's unlikely they'd be true to type. He prefers other methods of propagation. Richard Cake asked, "How can I grow mistletoe from seed". This was a new challenge to the nurseryman and one he accepted with a promise to give the answer when next he visits.

13 OCTOBER - Harvest Supper

This was very successful with 42 members enjoying a sociable buffet meal with many appetising dishes. After supper, local historian and Piddletrenthide resident Bin Roy told us about World War I gardens and the start of the Commonwealth War Graves. He'd brought along several artefacts to accompany his excellent and moving talk.

29 OCTOBER - The Gardens at Kingston Lacy

Andrew Hunt, head gardener gave a fascinating insight into the rejuvenation of the wonderful gardens at Kingston Lacy. These are open for 364 days a year. Every Spring some 6 million snowdrops (40 varieties) come into flower and are a huge visitor attraction In recent years the Japanese Garden has been subject to a major project to recreate it. It is one of only two Japanese Gardens owned by the National Trust. This year the parterre has been completely cleared and remade afresh and the Kitchen Garden, covering 6 acres is a 'must visit' destination.

26 NOVEMBER - Gardening Folklore, the next instalment

On his return visit, Mike Burks from the Gardens Group gave us a further amusing insight into gardening traditions and folklore. For instance, Good Friday is popular for planting seed potatoes. Was this because of the lunar calendar or because farm workers would have had the day off? Does anyone know? Mike recounted that it's thought to be best to plant crops that grow over the soil to be sown when the moon is rising, and for plants that grow under the soil to be sown when the moon is waning. The moon affects water levels and we heard of a farmer in Somerset who says his well is always higher on a full moon. There were plenty of other anecdotes to keep us fascinated about garden folklore.

10 DECEMBER - our successful social evening prior to Christmas.

Summer Show - Saturday 18th August 2018.

The Piddle Valley Gardens Club Summer Show was held on Saturday 18th August in the Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall. Flowers, Floral Art, Home Produce and Photography were displayed in the hall, whilst Fruit and Vegetables were exhibited at the rear of the hall in a stylish new marquee, which has been most kindly donated to the Gardens Club by Jean Groome in memory of her late husband Eric.

Whilst the Spring Show entries were affected by the "Beast from the East" in March, somewhat perversely, due to the un-seasonally high temperatures experienced in June and July of this year, summer show entries were slightly down on previous years.

Despite these challenging conditions, the horticultural displays, as usual, were excellent, once again reflecting the gardening prowess of both members and non-members.

Judge Tess Burt from Wool said that it was extremely difficult to decide first, second and third places in some of the categories of the Home Produce section, particularly the home baked white loaves, so well done to everyone who entered.

The RHS Banksian medal, awarded for the highest number of points gained in the Horticultural Section was won by Richard Cake, with Jean Groome being awarded the Sir Robert Williams Memorial Cup for the best Horticultural exhibit - three courgettes, which judge Mr P Yeates said were "almost perfect"

Winners of diplomas, awarded for the best exhibit in each section were as follows:-

  • Fruit - Peter Chance for his Discovery apples
  • Flowers - Bridget Bowen for her lovely display of Annuals
  • Floral Art - Elizabeth Jolliffe for her exquisite “Royal Wedding” interpretation
  • Photography - Janet Herbert for her picture of two "Pirates of Penzance"
  • Home Produce - Tracy Chevalier for her splendid Dorset Apple cake

Visitors to the show not only enjoyed the exhibits in the hall and marquee, but also tea and cake on the rear lawn.

A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the show - the club committee, the innumerable helpers, the cake providers, the judges, and finally the exhibitors, without who there would be no show!

Neil Herbert, Chairman, Piddle Valley Gardens Club

Spring Show - Saturday 14 April 2018.

The Piddle Valley Gardens Club Spring Show took place on Saturday 14 April in the Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall.

Despite the "Beast from the East" threatening our gardens and plants, and also the high March rainfall (six inches were reported in the Piddle Valley ) there were again some 200 entries in all show categories, which showed the determination by Club members and non-members to exhibit their displays - congratulations to you all for your efforts.

The many visitors to the show were once again treated to a delightful display, with colourful arrays of spring flowers, a beautiful presentation of floral art, along with vegetables and photographs, with some excellent exhibits on display.

The exquisite Floral Art display categories for 2018 included Dance, The Artists Palette and Music, whilst the well subscribed Cookery section covered such delicacies as Easter Biscuits, Simnel cake, Hot Cross buns and Seville Orange marmalade.

This year, both the Awards were won by Rosemary Agg, so congratulations to Rosemary for her outstanding achievement - the first was The Challenge Cup for most points gained overall in the show, the second was the "Eric Groome Award" for best exhibit in the flower section, awarded by judge Ian Hallet, for Rosemary's stunning Mammillaria Bombycina (silken pincushion cactus)

Categories in the photography section were "Winter, Clouds, Reflections and Travel". The "Best in Show" photograph, depicting "The Little Mermaid" in Copenhagen was submitted by Sally Condon, and will be included on the front cover of the 2019 Spring Show schedule - judge Mr M Macnaughton said it had been more difficult to select winning photographs this year due to the increased number of entries.

Floral Art judge Mrs S Gilliam described the Piddle Valley Spring Show as "A Lovely Lovely Show"

Finally, I would like to express my thanks to Show Secretary Ian Condon and the other members of the Club committee for arranging this excellent Show, also to Hilary Latimer and Liz Larpent for organising the teas and scrumptious cakes.

Neil Herbert, Chairman, Piddle Valley Gardens Club

Piddle Valley Gardens Club Spring Show, 8 April 2017

The Piddle Valley Gardens Club Spring Show took place on Saturday 8 April in the Piddletrenthide Memorial hall.

Despite the absence of many club members due to the twinning visit to France, visitors were treated to a delightful display, with colourful arrays of flowers, a wonderful presentation of floral art, also vegetables and photographs, with some truly outstanding exhibits on display.

The recently introduced Cookery section was well subscribed, with Easter themed biscuits, Simnel cake, preserves and of course, hot cross buns. A new award, the "Eric Groome Award", was presented by Jean Groome in memory of her late husband Eric. The award, a framed 'hellebores' illustration painted by Eric, was presented to Susan Chance for her flowering tulips, which was judged to be the best exhibit in the flower section of the show.

The Challenge Cup, awarded for the most points gained overall in the show, was won by Richard Agg.

Horticulture judge Mr RC Hayward stated that in his opinion the Piddle Valley Spring Show was the best local show he had seen.

In total there were over 200 entries in all categories, which reflected the great enthusiasm shown by both Garden Club members and non-members to exhibit their displays. Neil Herbert, Chairman

Gardens Club - Summer Show, 2014.

Click on any thumbnail for an enlarged picture. You can then click on the left or right picture edge to scroll through all the other pictures in the same group, if you wish