Summer Newsletter - 2020



I am so sorry that I didn’t see you at the Spring Show! What a disappointing year for our Society! We are living through unprecedented times and as you have probably heard I won’t be seeing you at the Autumn Show either! We had to cancel our planned visit to RHS Hyde Hall or rather it cancelled us due to Covid-19 restrictions.

BUT perhaps I have seen you at one or both of our Pop Up Plant Stalls. We ran two very successful plant stalls for village charities this Spring by kind permission of Jane Fielder who we have to thank for allowing us to use her vegetable garden whilst keeping to social distancing, to sell plants kindly donated by members. It was so lovely to see so many of our members on those days in April and May during ‘lockdown’. We have Jane to thank for this idea as she was looking for some vegetable plants for her plot whilst the Garden Centres were closed. So again, thank you Jane for your generosity.

We also arranged a visit to the gardens at White House, Chandlers Cross by kind permission of the Khan family. We were limited to numbers because of Covid-19 restrictions, 25 members were shown around the grounds in small groups by Mr. Khan and his gardener. The hospitality afforded to us was greatly appreciated on a very hot day in July. The gardens are very interesting and include a large newly planted orchard, some huge tree ferns around a waterfall and stream and beautiful mature Acers.

Our AGM will go ahead this year on 14th October and we hope to see you there in the Village Hall at 8 pm. We will be holding this in the Main Hall so that we can safely social distance, we will not be able to serve you cheese and wine unless regulations change. More information on this at a later date.

The gardens of Sarratt have never looked better with beautiful weather in May and June and plenty of time on our hands to garden. What a shame we have nowhere to show off our hard work!

We are all hoping for a year back to normality in 2021 with two shows and a visit to Hyde Hall!


With both Shows cancelled this year, it is important that you take note of the 2021 Show dates, for which we will be using the 2020 Schedule




Over the last few years the Horti has been moving more towards sending out emails electronically with more regular updates and we have over 150 members signed up for this. Lock down gave us the opportunity to go one step further and build our very own website. David Butler kindly undertook the task for us, and we are extremely grateful. He has now handed over the reins to us to keep updating with news and stories. Also, on the website we have the Schedule and Entry Forms for Shows that you can click on and download to print. As you have seen in this newsletter, we are going to be using the same Schedule for 2021 – on the website we will be updating all the dates and will let you know when this is available.

We urge you to go to the website for any news and let others know about it as well. If you have any interesting news or articles you would like us to put on the website then email us on and we can do this. And one final request, if you know of any members not receiving our updates by email then please ask them to get in touch so we can add to our mailing list –


Recently, a chance remark by a friend made me think about some of the more interesting and colourful common names given to plants.

Let’s start with Granny’s Bonnets (AQUILEGIA). These are popular garden favourites but I struggle to imagine the bonnets. Not so with Fairy Thimbles (CAMPANULA COCHLEARIFOLIA).How about Fair Maids of France? (SAXIFRAGA GRANULATA).

My personal favourite is Angel’s Fishing Rod (DIERAMA) – beautiful, tall and perfect if placed near a pond or water. Bear’s Breeches (ACANTHUS), Black-Eyed Susan (THUNBERGIA ALATA) – who was this mysterious lady? Marigold (CALENDULA) – you know what colour you are getting.

Baby’s Tears, Mind Your Own Business, Mother of Thousands (SOLEIROLA) – three names for one plant which can choke other plants if not controlled.

I will finish up with another common one – Mile-a-Minute plant, the Russian Vine, so vigorous and very descriptive.

I am sure you have your own names and other parts of the country have theirs. It is a wide-ranging subject and there are dozens of fascinating names to seek out.

I will finish with an appropriate one for these days of high pollen counts – Sneezeweed (HELENIUM)!

Aquilegia (top) Sneezeweed (bottom)


Just typical is it not – one of the best years for gardening, fantastic crops, Show winners but NO SHOW!

Have you noticed that crops and flowers are so early in 2020? I have never seen blackberries almost over by late July, raspberries and other soft fruits long gone and let’s hope the winter veg do not mature too soon. On the plus side, you can still sow some carrots, beetroot and the like and plant up winter cabbages and brassicas but they will need a bit of TLC if the weather dries up late summer.

Looking forward, the garden centres will soon be stocking up on bulbs for the Winter and Spring displays. Some products may be in short supply due to various factors associated with Covid-19 so you may have to order online. For season 2020/21 it may well be better to plant less in quantity and concentrate on a few reliable favourites.

As for jobs, if you have not completed Summer pruning of plants and fruit, do so ASAP. There has been amazing growth on fruit trees especially so you want to reduce the new growth by about 6 inches of side shoot and halve the leaders cutting back again in late Winter to promote fruit buds. Do not forget to tie in new growth of cane fruits as the crops mature as high winds can easily break the new growth.

The Autumn sown broad beans and peas did exceptionally well this year, so it is really worthwhile sowing a row or two as they require almost no attention except to remove excessive snow (if we have any) and rarely suffer from blackfly and the like.

Another easy and worthwhile crop is to plant potatoes for Christmas. With the correct varieties available soon. Any old container will do and any soil you have from pots and growbags will be ideal. When the foliage dies down, keep them drier than normal and store in frost free place until needed.

I just wonder what 2021 will Spring upon us!