This was updated on April 3rd

Hints for April


Sowing of many vegetable seeds can carry on this month, if you sow little but often you avoid a glut of one thing but have crops to harvest over a longer period.
I do quite a few things like lettuce in small cacti pots as you only want a few to mature at one time so you have nice plants to put out with little root disturbance and make the best use of the seed but not having to thin. I would leave runner beans until the latter end of the month so as to avoid any late frost. Again with these I a like to sow a few at a time so that so that you can pick from late July until Sept/Oct. My first head gardener always said the time to hoe is when you have no weeds then you kill them as they germinate. A late sowing of parsnips can mean less canker as this is often caused when small seedlings are damaged by late frost.
Many annual flowers can now be sown in pots or modules so that you have good plants for planting later, you will possibly need a greenhouse or propagator for this but many do not like too much heat. Cuttings can be taken from dahlias, begonias etc. if you want to increase your stock. You can plant dahlia tubers so that they are through the ground as the frosts come to an end. We used to split our tubers instead of doing cuttings which meant you did not need to get them growing so early. Some of your hardy flowers like delphiniums can be divided once the new growth can be clearly seen. If hardy fuchsias were not cut down to ground level last month you still have time. Some of your early daffodils will now be fading but please do not tie the foliage up in knots, it is there to absorb sunlight to help build up next years bulbs. The RHS have done many tests and say that if the foliage is left for 6 weeks after the flower dies the bulb s do not suffer but if you leave them longer it is better.
As the soil warms up the weeds will start to grow but if you clear those around your fruit bushes and canes and then give a good mulch of rotted compost or manure you will not only feed them and keep them moist but prevent more weeds germinating.
Once mowing is under way a feed of Lawn fertiliser will give good colour and help the grass compete with moss and weed seed. If you do not mow too low you can avoid moss getting a start. If you are going to attack any moss you should kill it first with a moss killer because if you rack it whilst it is alive you spread it even further.

February meeting

Our February meeting saw the welcome return of Brian and Jean Waterman, this time they did a picture show with the title of "Spring". It would be difficult to find a more apt evening to start the year after all the rain and dark days we have had  since Christmas. We were shown beautiful flowers and even new born animals. If you were not there you have missed a really good evening.

Annual General Meeting

Our A.G.M. was held on November 28th the Chairman reported that the year had gone as planned with one additional outing in April when we visited Coolings nursery.
All officers and committee were re-elected for a further year although the chairman and secretary with both retire at the end of the year.
The subscription was raised to £10.00 per member on a unanimous vote.
The business meeting was followed by pictures taken by John Parr at the spring show and some of our meetings taken by the chairman.
Details of next year's programme were given to the meeting and can be seen in the right hand column of this website.

Annual Dinner 2013

We held our annual dinner in the Brown Trout at Lamberhurst on Tuesday 6th August. There were 22 members and friends present and a really good meal and pleasant evening was had by all.
Ann made buttonholes for each of the ladies out of roses and sweetpeas.

July Meeting

Our monthly meeting in July was an evening visit to the Folly Wildlife Centre on Broadwater Forest.
We had had a visit by Aimee to talk about the Folly and the work they do when she had brought along some young hedgehogs that had been taken in. It is quite an eye opener to see the numbers of animals of all sorts that they help and just how busy they are. We were only there for just under 2 hours but 3 new animals arrived whilst we were there.

This is a young pheasant that had been released earlier but knowing how well it would be treated kept coming back

June outing to Spillsiil Court

18 of our members visited the garden at Spillsill Court Staplehurst for our June meeting. The weather did us proud when you think what a poor year it has been. We were met by Mrs Marshall and then allowed to make our own way round the very large garden. Most times the kitchen  garden is out of bounds to visitors but on this occasion we were given a complete free time. Refreshments were served in a very large  old barn.

May Meeting

Mr & Mrs Waterman from Staplehurst were our speakers for the meeting in May, they spoke about " The Thrifty Gardener " this was a very interesting talk outlining the various ways you can save money whilst gardening. Some things like cutting up white plastic containers to make labels might have been used in the past but for all the labour and money saving hints out together in one talk made a good event.   A news letter giving travel details for our two evening outings were given out along with the menus for our annual dinner in August.

Extra April visit

On Monday 22nd April we were invited to have a conducted tour around Coolings nursery at Knockholt. The nursery is celebrating 100 years of trading at Knockholt. We were shown round the growing area that normally the public do not see. It is so different to a garden centre which just but and sell plants to see over 90% of the plants being grown on site. Much of the work is now done by machines which used to be hand done. 16 members attended which for our small association was a very good turnout.

Our Spring Show

This years spring show was held on Saturday April 13th which is normally thought to be a late show but this year with such a long cold spring many blooms were not out. The show however maintained it's usual high standard although the number of entries was down. Nobody won more than one trophy so the high standard was spread amongst all the exhibitors. The ladies gave good support with the home-produce classes and there was an increase in the number of visitors many of who commented on the large range of flowers on show.

January Social

The attendance at our social in January was below normal but when you think what the weather was like it was not surprising. There was doubt about cancelling but we did go ahead and a good time was had by all who attended.
We  had an anagram of birds competition which was won by Jill, this was followed by a few games of bingo. What would we do without that as a standby.
Then came the eats, as the weather was so cold we had hot mulled wine in place of the ususal cups of tea. The members had brought along a table full of eats and we did our best to clear it all but failed. The 2013 handbooks were handed out so if you missed out make sure you are at our next meeting in February.

November Meeting

Our meeting in November was our Annual general Meeting at which a report on the last years programme was given showing all had gone as scheduled. All the officers were re-elected with Ray Horton offering to help with the treasurer's duties. The programme for next year was read to the members and trophies won at the monthly competitions were awarded.
The meeting was brought to a close with hot mince pies and mulled wine.

October Meeting

Our October meeting was one of the largest we have had for a while, Brenda Skilton was telling us about her trip to the Galapgos Islses and with the help of Barbara Uren was showing us the beautiful pictures she had taken. It was an evening we will remember for a long while, we have already booked Brenda for a simialr evening next year.

Annual Dinner

On Tuesday Oct 2nd we held our Annual dinner in the Waterside restaurant at Bewl.
21 members and friends attended and enjoyed a very good meal, next year we will be having it in the months with light evenings so that we can enjoy the view whilst eating. 

September Meeting

All the members present stood for a short time in memory of Les Allen who had been show secretary for 27 years as well as doing many other things for the society
Harry Townsend has spoken to our members on several occasions and always the talks are very interesting, his talk in September was different in most ways. When Harry lost his wife to melanoma he spent a lot of his time setting up a charity to raise money to help publicise the dangers of too much sun. This meant his garden got into a bad state, his talk showed how he has turned it into a different type of garden. Harry says " I do not do normal" and his garden shows this with a painted shed, many unusual plants etc.
There were entries in both competition classes with Jill and Laurie getting first prizes.

July Meeting

Our July meeting was an evening visit to Perryhill Nursery near Hartfield. We were given a conducted tour by Mr Peter Chapman who showed us the progress of plants from cuttings etc. to saleable plants.

In June we visited the garden of Mr  & Mrs Nye in Horsmonden, this garden was featured in Kent Life last year and proved to be a very interesting and pleasant garden to visit.  Once again the weather was fine for us dispite a very unsettled period of rain and wind. 
Our Spring Show held on Saturday April 14th was very good regardless of the strange weather we had had . There were many varieties of daffodils and narcissus on show , including some varieties not seen in our show before.The number of entries were down slightly but the hall was still well filled.The trophies were shared amongst several exhibitors which is always a good thing. The only thing lacking was the public , for a village society the show is as good as any in the area but we fail to attract visitors in large numbers.

March Meeting

Mr & Mrs Wagner came along to our March meeting with their presentation "Phantasmagoria" very few of us even knew there was such a thing but it turned out to be a very special evening. The word itself means  a modern magic lantern show and that is what we had. The show included flowers, animals and scenic views together with humorous little shows. I am sure we will be asking them to return.
The chairman was given an NAS at the February meeting when he entered potatoes when it should have been onions but at our March meeting he did win the seed potato class with Steve Jones coming 2nd. Jill won the floral class with yet another of her lovely small arrangements.

Annual General Meeting

 Also at the AGM a small sale of garden items were auctioned with the money going to association funds.

October Meeting

Ken Turner was our speaker at our October meeting when he spoke to our members about water features with our gardens. Explaining how water attracts wildlife and creates a peacefull feeling within the garden.The talk was illustrated with pictures showing what plants etc. can be used.

August Meeting

. There were several entries in the competitions with Jill & Steve being the main winners.

Evening visit to Bounds End

On Tuesday July 26th a group of our memebrs visited the gardens "Bounds End" in Bidborough. We have always been very fortunate with the weather for our outings and this one was no exception. The gardens owned by Mike & Carol contains a very wide range of trees and general plants. It is open on other occasions for the NGS and is well worth a visit.

May Meeting

Mr and Mrs Osbourne paid a return visit to lamberhurst on Tuesday May 24th when they gave a very interesting talk accopanied by excellent slides about butterflies and their food.Mr and Mrs Osbourne are very keen on wildlife and have many plants in their garden just to atract butterflies.

Spring Show

Our spring Show held on Saturday April 9th and attracted a very good number of excellent exhibits.The judges were impressed with the overall high standard of the entries on display.The very warm weather just prior to the show did not help as it damaged flowers with the strong sun. There was a good attendance by the public some of whom had not previously seen flowers of such a high standard.
Brenda was awarded the Borrie Trophy for the best flower arrangement and you can see her exhibit below, also below you can see Bernards entry in the handicraft class, it is very hard to believe that is made from wood but if you had visited the show you would nave seen that it was,Bernard never fails to amaze us with his handcraft.