Dear Member

At last Spring is on its way, in fact a little too early for some of the daffodils we were hoping to show at the Spring Show!  Early plantings are in flower now, and in many cases have been badly damaged by the driving winds and rain, but later plantings are just poking their noses through the compost, and may well be ready just in time for our big day.

This is always a time for looking forward.  Every trip into the garden provides another surprise: a bud opening, a leaf unfurling, a plant we thought was dead throwing up new shoots and a splash of colour from a spring bulb we had forgotten.  A time of renewal for our gardens, and also for our Society.

On to our news …………..


We are delighted to announce that Christine Goodey has agreed to become our new President following the resignation of Roger Simmons.  Christine has been associated with the Society for many years, particularly as Show Secretary and Outings Organiser, and we hope that she will enjoy her new role.


We are also pleased to announce that we have three new Honorary Members!  Pat Grimes, Joan Denyer and Roger Simmons have all accepted Honorary Membership, offered as thanks for all the service they have provided to the Society over many years.  Now they can sit back and enjoy all the benefits the Society offers without having to worry about how to achieve them.  A well deserved opportunity!


Many of you will remember our lovely member, Geoffrey Roscow, who sadly passed away at the end of 2018. His family wanted to mark his fondness for our Society by donating a tree to be planted in his memory, and as he was a member of the congregation of All Saints Church, and also had an interest in magnolia trees, it has been agreed that we will arrange for the planting of one of these magnificent trees in or around the Church grounds, as appropriate.  Our Chairman is therefore arranging for this to be carried out in memory of this truly lovely gentleman.


Our website continues to generate interest, and is also a very valuable resource for accessing our Show Schedules and Programme for the year, as well as the photographs illustrating our activities.

The website is now all set for 2020 and will keep you up to date with all the talks, shows and events for the year ahead.  There are still a couple of events whose confirmation will be posted on the website as soon as available.  There is a link on the Show page to the schedules for our two shows, if you should wish to try your luck with an entry.  As always, if you have any new ideas which would improve the website, please contact

The work that Margaret has done in taking over the website has resulted in a saving to the Society of around £200, and she deserves a vote of thanks, not only for doing the training to operate the website, but for keeping it updated.  Thank you Margaret!


With the current emphasis on the environment and the benefits of gardening, both mental and physical, for both young and old alike, we are hoping to encourage more children to become part of the Society and to take part in our activities.  To that end, last Autumn three of our members, including our Chairman, attended at Loose School to begin to restore their garden areas.  Children from the school were involved in planting polyanthus plants and daffodil bulbs to provide spring colour.  All the children who took part showed a great interest in the work, and seemed to enjoy themselves, particularly if they were lucky enough to dig up a worm (which of course was gently reintroduced to the soil to carry on its good work)!

Here is a picture of the results of their labour, and we intend to return to the school when the weather improves to work on other parts of the garden.  Volunteers will be requested!



April 2nd – Growing Flowers for Cutting – Sophie Leathart.                                

This talk is a must for anyone interested in floral art.  A freelance florist for 30 years, Sophie grows her own cut flowers and runs a client’s cutting garden.  Her talk will be on the best flowers to grow for cutting, planning for a succession of flowers, perennial flowers and how to condition the flowers once cut.  She uses seasonal flowers and foliage  Her extensive experience has enabled her to create flower arrangements for many weddings and parties, as well as holding demonstrations and workshops.

May 14th – The Crop Circle Mystery – Andy Thomas  – please note that this talk will take place on the second Thursday of May in the Hall, as there will be voting in the Hall on May 7th.                                           mas, with the help of remarkable visuals, explores this extraordinary phenomenon. These circles, in many complex patterns, appear frequently world-wide and, as yet, after much discussion and disbelief in the media, are not completely explainable.  Andy will speak about the history of these circles up to the present day, exploring the wide-ranging designs and ingenious theories suggested to explain crop circles over the years.


Have You Booked Your Seats?

This is a short reminder of the lovely gardens we have organised to go and see this year. We really enjoy our day trips out around SE England. Do come along and encourage any friends and family who might be interested to come too.

     On Wednesday 13 May we travel to Sussex to Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens. The gardens are Grade 1 listed for Special Historic Interest because of the many fine trees – they are also famous for the glorious Spring display of colour including Rhododendron and Azalea flowers. Also to enjoy are the Rock Gardens, Alpine House, Wallabies and a 1/12 life size exhibition of village shops, farm fields and mansion. There are some steep paths which are marked on the map but mobility buggies are around to help.  For more information visit

   On Wednesday 10 June we are off to deepest Hampshire to Mottisfont (NT) to experience the nationally famous collection of old fashioned Roses and complementary flowers in the large walled gardens. Other pleasures are the sweeping lawns and walks through mature trees and along the River Test. The house has some rooms open and is based on a 13C Medieval Priory with historical ruins exposed and explained. Free tours of the gardens are available. For more information visit

On Sunday 27 September we zoom up to near Oxford to visit Waterperry Gardens. The major attractions at this time of year are the wonderful displays of Michaelmas Daisies and other herbaceous perennials in a glowing range of colours, many of which are on sale in the shop. There is a raised viewing mound, yew hedge, lily canal, artist’s gallery, museum of rural life and other attractions. For more information visit

Full details for booking any of the above are in the Members Handbook, and on our website or contact Christine Goodey, our Outings Organiser.


Following the success of our new Show venue last August we are again holding our Spring Show at St Nicholas Church, Allington.  We have made some significant changes to the Schedule, which can be found in our Members’ Handbook as well as on our website.  In particular we have included some additional Novice Classes to encourage those of us not too confident about our abilities.  We cannot stress enough that IT IS EASY AND FREE TO ENTER and advice is always at hand if you have any questions about any of the classes, both before and on the day.

Our Novice Classes are solely for people who are new or fairly new to entering exhibits in Shows, as opposed to our Open Classes, which are open to anyone to enter, whatever their level of experience.  The judges know this, and therefore mark the exhibits more leniently and quite likely will give a note of encouraging comments.  No-one will judge you personally if your petals are not straight or your cake has sunk, so just enter!  All the details of who qualifies, how to prepare and how to exhibit are in your Members Handbook and on our website, and Show Stewards will be there on the day to help you stage your exhibits.

It is meant to be fun, and it is! One of our Committee Members has been shy of entering, but even she is giving it a go this year, so watch this space!  We want you to enjoy the exhibits and have a sociable time and a laugh throughout the Show.  To adapt a popular saying “in showing there are no mistakes, only experiments”!

To make things even more exciting for our younger members we are introducing Special Prizes for the children’s classes, which will be awarded on the day of the Show at the end of proceedings.  We have had some lovely entries in the past, and we feel a more immediate reward will encourage more children to take part.

As always we need to point out that a huge amount of work goes into organising and staging our Shows, and this year we are very short handed due to the resignation of our invaluable Show Secretary, whom we have not yet been able to replace.

Christine has very kindly been helping the other members of your Committee to take on these duties, but this still leaves us with being short handed on the day, so if you could commit to an hour or two manning one of our stalls that would be very much appreciated.  Just contact our Secretary, Lynn Bell, if you can help.

We have also introduced a New Children’s Competition which will be judged at our Autumn Show, but entries need to be started now.  So encourage your little ones (and slightly bigger ones!) to sow their seeds and get going.



Do you have any grandchildren or little friends who like flowers?  If so, they need a flower pot, some compost, seeds and sunshine.  Sow some flower seeds, one variety or mixed, (the choice is yours) but make sure the packet states “Hardy Annual”.  Carefully follow the packet instructions, when to sow, how to look after them, and this is where the sunshine comes in, they like somewhere sunny to grow.  Throughout the Spring and Summer, carefully water them and if they need it, put stakes and string round to hold them up.  On the day before the show, cut some of the stems, keep them in a vase or bucket of water somewhere out of the sun.  The next morning, bring them to the Show, still in the water and then put them in a show vase – as many stems as you like, in Class 65 or 69*.  A show vase will be provided when you arrive.  The Autumn Show is Saturday 12th September.  (See also the Show Schedule – follow link on the Shows 2020 page.)

Good Luck and Happy Growing.

* Class 65 – For Children (up to 10 years) & Class 69 – For Juniors (10 to 15 Years)

 Kent Federation Shows

 As an affiliated member of the Kent Federation of Horticultural Society we always enter the InterSociety Challenge in the KFHS Summer and Autumn shows, and have had very good results to date.  The KFHS holds its AGM this year on 15th March, together with its Mini-Show, and we are all free to attend and enter.

The County Show at Detling (held this year on 10/11/12 July) is the venue for their Summer Show, and we will be entering the InterSociety Challenge, as we will for their Autumn Show on 20th September.  Do look on their website at to see what is required, and let us know if you would like to contribute to one of our entries, or consult their Show Schedule if you would like to enter.


We are fortunate indeed that Rumwoods continue to support our Society, with raffle prizes such as roses and vouchers, 10% off for members, and in particular their 20% off day, which this year is on Saturday 25th April.  So mark the date in your diary and head for the nurseries in New Road, Langley.  Not only can you get 20% off all purchases (except special offers) but Rumwoods also kindly provide free tea/coffee and biscuits on the day.  Many members have saved a significant amount on major purchases in the past, so if you are planning an overhaul of your garden and want roses, summer bedding, perennials or pots and garden tools do bear this date in mind.  Members of your Committee will, of course, be there with details of the Society to encourage new members to join, so come along and see us, and don’t forget to bring your MHS Membership Card in order to get your discount.


We are delighted to report that a member has again offered their beautiful garden as the venue for this event, and further details will be available on our website shortly.  Volunteers to help with this event would be very welcome – contact a member of the Committee if you would like to take part.


This year we have been offered the opportunity to host a stall at Hadlow College Open Day on 13th June 2020.  There is no cost to us other than our time, and it is a golden opportunity to showcase our Society and hopefully recruit new members, particularly from the student body.

Hadlow is a College pre-eminent in the field of horticulture, with their own show gardens, drawing in students from a wide area, so we feel this is an excellent chance to display all the benefits we can offer to budding horticulturalists.

We are starting to prepare, so more information as we have it.  We would of course, appreciate some commitment to manning the Stall on the day, so if you are interested just let us know.  A commitment of an hour or two would make a big difference.


We have plenty to look forward to later in the year, and more details will follow as the planning proceeds, but here is the story so far …………..

We will have TALKS on …………………

October 1st – Clematis for the Year Round Garden – Kevin Tooher

Clematis are beautiful plants, but do you know when to prune the ones you have?  In this illustrated talk, Kevin Tooher, a lecturer at Hadlow College, will show how to plant and prune clematis, whether you have them in the garden or in pots.

Kevin is also a judge for the Royal Horticultural Society and has been on Radio Kent’s Sunday Gardening programme on several occasions, so he should be well placed to answer all our questions.

November 5th – Growing and Showing Daffodils – Janine Doulton

If you want to know how to grow the perfect daffodil for showing, come along to hear Janine Doulton’s talk on all aspects of how to show them.  From choosing the best flower and preparing it for the show to the correct placing of the daffodil in its vase. She will also explain what the judges look for in the exhibits.

Janine is an experienced national judge of daffodils so will have plenty of useful tips for both beginners and more expert exhibitors.  After this talk, there will be no excuse for not exhibiting your daffodils in next year’s Spring Show!

We have our lovely AUTUMN SHOW on 12th September, which as usual will include displays of vegetables and fruit as well as our usual range of exhibits.


We will be prevailing on Richard to provide his usual taxing (but not too taxing) Quiz in early December.


We will be having our Annual Lunch and Trophy Presentation on Sunday 6th December.


We are very keen to make our Society as inclusive, interesting and relevant to our members as possible, so if you have any ideas or requests for future events do let us know.  We will be booking our Talks for 2021 from this June onwards, so if you have a topic that you would like us to cover just contact our Secretary, Lynn Bell, and she will be pleased to see if this is possible.  We can’t promise to include everything, but we will do our very best.