This information was obtained from the Barham & District Horticultural Society website.

Autumn Newsletter 2014

November, 2014

Dear Member,

It has been a mixed year for gardening at times much too dry and/or too wet! The rain certainly seems to fall in a different way these days - maybe we need a new word for it to replace stair rods! Looking back though we have had a good year with some excellent fruit, vegetables and flowers and I have just eaten my first home grown pearl oyster mushrooms which have grown on a seeded branch! Looking out of the window the wonderful autumn colours are fading fast and it's time for that 'big leaf clear up' which I always find a hard slog!

What has our Society been doing this year?

Our last AGM was in January and, as usual, was well attended giving members the opportunity to meet and exchange experiences, provide feedback on the programme and to let us know what they would like to do in the forthcoming years. It also, importantly, provided our (healthy!) financial balance sheet for 2013 for discussion and formally appointed your officers and committee for 2014. Afterwards we were entertained by the 'Berkeley's' and all much enjoyed the refreshments including a glass of wine.

In late February Annie Bentley of Longacre Nursery in West Hythe talked to us about 'A year in the Life of a Nursery' which provided an insight into the work that goes into the plants that many of us buy! It was fascinating to see the way in which planning was undertaken, how the plants were produced and the sheer number that are grown for market.

In April we had our Spring Show/Plant Sale which again was an exciting day with a most attractive set of exhibits but again not enough entrants to make this the event it could be. The plant sale, as always, was a success with plants disappearing rapidly out of the door. Later in the month we were given a talk by Maureen Rainey of the Kent Wildlife Trust entitled Wildlife in your Garden. This outlined a variety of ways to improve a garden for wildlife and also outlined the 'Wild about Gardens' initiative which provides recognition for wildlife gardening.. This has stimulated us to develop the 'Just one Thing' ideas on our website. At the end of this talk dahlias, kindly provided by Brian Wright were distributed to those present as long as they promised to enter them in flower at our Autumn Show!

In May on a bright, sunny but windy day we were taken on a guided tour of Samphire Hoe by the enthusiastic warden Paul Holt. Samphire Hoe is a new piece of land extending to 30 hectares created from the landscaped spoil from the channel tunnel and provides an undulating topography including some low lying wetlands. It is home to many species of wildlife with over 200 species of plants, including the rare early spider orchid (we saw over 5000 in flower), 140 different birds and 30 different butterflies recorded.

In June we were visited by the 'three sisters' aka 'the three peas' from NaFas to demonstrate flower arranging. They entertained us all with their banter and impressed us enormously with the speed and quality of their diverse arrangements. The purpose, which succeeded, was to encourage flower arrangements - especially bigger ones in our Summer and Autumn Shows.

Also in June we visited Losely Park in Surrey which was built in the reign of Elizabeth I and stands in ancient Surrey Parkland close to the North Downs. It is still the home of the More-Molyneux family and is remarkably unchanged since 1562 when Sir William More laid the first stones. We were able to visit the house itself, where the intricate panelling in the Great Hall was once in Henry VIII's Nonsuch Palace and the Tithe Barn with its ancient oak beams as well as the elegant and restful walled garden. The gardens impressed us especially the white garden with its borders of white, cream and silver surrounding a central water feature and the rose garden which is planted with over one thousand Old English Rose Bushes and framed by long, low, precisely clipped box hedges.

Early in July we drove to the Old Palace, Bekesbourne for an afternoon visit with refreshments and we were shown round by our members Nicky and Martin Fry. This is the site of Thomas Cranmer's Old Palace and was for a while the home of Ian Fleming. The 4 acre garden has been created by the owners and has many interesting features. A natural pond, planted to encourage wildlife, 100 year old Scots pines and other specimen trees including a large flowering tulip tree. There was a delightful walled potager with rose pergola and espaliered fruit trees and a new Allium walkway and herbaceous border planted in 2013.

Our Summer (July) and Autumn(September) Shows were a great success with many high quality entries and I'm please to say an increasing number of entrants. In both Shows our judges praised the quality of the entries and often found it hard to select the prize winners! We will be looking to revise the Show Schedule and will look again at the benefit of the Novice classes.

The last event in this year was the talk by Nadfas speaker Martin Heard who talked to us about Tulipmania. This was an interesting and different talk linking economics with art and tulips which all present greatly enjoyed. Steve Bradley from Radio Kent was to be our final speaker this year but we have had to move his visit to February next year when he will give us a short talk and answer gardening questions.

I am very proud of and grateful to our Neame Cup team which has done so well. The Barham & District Team were runners up in the 2009-10 season and won the cup in 2012-13. The quiz has been an enjoyable experience and has given all that participated the opportunity to socialise and share hospitality with fellow gardeners. There will be no Neame Cup competition this winter 2014-5 season. Barham in common with two other Societies were forced to withdraw because of difficulties in dependably raising enough interest to field a supported team. So we have decided to put the competition on hold for a year and to have an evening event with a quiz on 27th March next year. Invitations will be sent to a wide number of Kent societies to bring sustenance, fill a table and join in trying to answer some light hearted gardening questions.

If you would like a seed catalogue which will enable you to buy discounted seeds etc please either ring Andrew Clough on 01304-844324 or email him on Please include your address and postcode and the catalogue will be sent to you with advice on what to do. Our web site ( continues to have all our latest news and the programme for 2015 is well under way and will be presented at the AGM. We have decided though that we will not have a Spring Show next year though we will continue with the Plant Sale.

Finally in this Newsletter I must thank Gaby McGuire for being our Honorary Secretary - she has stood down after 8 years of hard work and we are all grateful for the work she has put in to making the Society so successful - more on this at our AGM. If anyone reading this is interested in helping the Society in some way do please let me know.

Very best wishes to all of you for a successful Autumn and a very happy Christmas. I look forward to seeing you again next year at our AGM on 14th January at 18.30 in Kingston Barn.

Very Best Wishes

Dr. Tim Bines                    

Next EventWednesday
11th April 7.30pm

'Chillis are good for you'
This is an illustrated talk by Steve Weller. Takes place at Barham Village Hall.
Directions to Barham Village Hall 


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