Newton Village Gardening Club



February - April

The year started with the A.G.M. on the 25th February 2018. The various events of 2017 were discussed and the programme for 2018 presented. The existing committee were re-elected and a Deputy Treasurer (Jean Eldred) was appointed.

The next meeting in March was a talk by David White entitled "A Packet of Parsley". David has had a very interesting life in horticulture including an apprenticeship in the Royal Parks and eventually owned his own garden centre. The packet of parsley referred to his first venture into gardening at the age of seven when he purchased the parsley seed, thinking it was a flower and planted it in a tiny plot in his parents' garden.

The Club's annual plant and seedling auction was held on 22nd April. We were concerned that there might not be much to sell as the growing season has been so poor this year but Rachaels Plant Outlet, Wisbech, Worzals Garden Centre, Wisbech, Baytree Garden Centre, Spalding and Mr Norrie Elliott of Newton-in-the-Isle all contributed generously and with what members were also able to provide we had a very successful day, with chairman Morris Arnold, demonstrating his auctioneering skills.

The next meeting on 27th May will be the Annual Flower Show in the village hall. There are eight different classes and anyone wishing to join the club and enter would be very welcome. The fun starts at 10am for 10.30am.

As it is the centenary of the ending of the First World War we are hoping that everyone in the village will join us in making a display of poppies in their front gardens.


The Gardening Club year came to a festive conclusion with a party for almost 50 members, where Christine provided a sumptuous seasonal buffet. Jackie was awarded the annual club trophy for most points from competition wins throughout the year. A Christmas sing-along followed, with raffle and festive quiz. Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year


Zsuzsa Serer brought Newton Village Gardening Club right into the Festive Season with a fascinating talk about The History of Christmas, traditions and decorations with a Hungarian theme.

Zsuzsa skilfully transported us through time and captivated everyone with her enchanting and fascinating presentation. This was the best members turn out of the year, for Zsuzsa's second visit to the Gardening Club.

The competition was - a Homemade Table Centrepiece, that included some particularly festive entries.

That concludes our 2017 Gardening Club itinerary, with the exception of the Christmas Party.

A very Merry Christmas to all our members


The Gardening Club hosted their annual Produce Competitions a month later than usual, on October 22nd, making no difference at all when it came to calibre and variety of the fifty-five entries.

Categories included flower arrangements, beverages, preserves, fresh produce selection, still life arrangement and sunrise/sunset photograph. The high standard concluded in numerous ties, so winners were a-plenty!

The photograph is of Christine Buckley's winning flower arrangement - which clearly got this member's vote!

The next meeting in Newton Village Hall is on Sunday November 26th at 10am - when Zsuzsa Serer is returning to talk about Christmas history and decorations with a Hungarian theme. Non members are most welcome to join us for the small fee of £3.


Accomplished botanist, broadcaster, presenter, editor - to name but a few... Geoff Hodge made a return visit to the Gardening Club - to talk about "The Life and Times of a Garden Editor". Since his talk on Gardening in the Shade proved so popular last year, Geoff's presentation was enthusiastically anticipated by everyone attending.

The talk was a fascinating insight - starting with a childhood passion for gardening, becoming a casual gardener, Garden Centre Manager, University Graduate and the rest is history so to speak. Geoff gave an exceptionally amusing presentation due to his sharp wit and sense of humour, telling anecdotes of his working life and experiences. This was a really enjoyable and entertaining morning.

Geoff kindly donated several very generous raffle prizes and judged the competition of the day, for the best pot plant. Winner was Jill Nursey.

The next date on the calendar is the Produce Show to be held in the Village Hall on 22nd October. Categories are as follows...

Please inform a committee member in advance - with details of any entries you wish to submit.

Non members are most welcome to attend meetings in the Village Hall for the small fee of £3. The produce show is a perfect opportunity to join in the fun and see what we get up to.


A small group of members enjoyed a jaunt to Gooderstone Water Gardens, with its charming and fascinating history from its creation in 1970. Developed by retired farmer, Billy Knights, on farmland that became too damp for cattle to graze.

Following a warm welcome by Jane and colleagues, everyone took a leisurely stroll of exploration around some of the eight acre site.

Skillful and imaginative planting created a colourful and picturesque spectacle along the walkways. Pretty bridges connected one peaceful area to another as swans and cygnets were at one with nature.

Tea and home made cake brought the visit to perfect conclusion, what a lovely place to spend a morning... most highly recommended.

Our next meeting will be in the Village Hall on September 24th when Geoff Hodge will talk about the Life and Times of a Garden Editor.


Newton Village Gardening Club members had a most enjoyable evening visit to Tamar Nurseries in West Walton. Dark clouds suddenly disappeared, leaving scorching sunshine for a leisurely amble around the nursery. About thirty members joined General Manager, Rachael on a guided tour to see just a little of the twenty six acres of immaculate plant-laden land - where in excess of a million shrubs are cultivated each year.

Recently accredited with a royal seal of approval from Sandringham, this small, tightly knit team have created a magnificent spectacle. Rachael talked of the company's commitment to the environment, their 500 varieties currently in production, and on site reservoirs. Enabling them to provide local authorities, landscapers, retail outlets and Garden Designers with plants.

Members couldn't resist the temptation of a shopping spree - and shop they did! Thank goodness there was a good supply of trolleys...Jean! Many were delighted to discover Tamar Nurseries for the first time - but it definitely won't be the last!

Tamar's happy band of staff provided refreshments and a beautiful plant raffle in aid of Macmillan.

The next Gardening Club event is the Hog Roast on July 23rd at 2pm in the Village Hall. To reserve your portion of "hog" contact Doug - Members £5 - Member's guests £10. June

The Gardening Club's flower show on June 25th was by far its most eye-catching and successful for many years. Over fifty entries created a wonderful spectacle of colour in every classification.

Categories included...

With a new and innovative voting system in place, the entire morning proceeded with great precision - making for a most enjoyable meeting and an eclectic mix of extremely worthy winners.

Plans are already afoot for next year's event!

Golden Age Fair

Newton Village Gardening Club were represented at Fenland's very popular Golden Age Fair in Tydd St Giles on June 22nd.

Golden Age Fairs bring together organisations providing services and activities for people no longer in their flush of youth!

Chairman Morris Arnold, accompanied by committee members Marian and Ken Sherry, along with Jackie and John Lawrence, put together an eye catching and welcoming presentation, resulting in several new members attending the Gardening Club the following Sunday.

Tea Party

Gardening Club members were transported back to the 1940's for an authentic afternoon tea party, in Val Wallis's hidden gem of a cottage garden on June 10th.

A real treat was in store with tables laid out in true vintage fashion - pretty buntings, matching bone china tea services, air raid sirens and background music. With meticulous attention to detail, Val also transformed a vintage caravan and pretty summer house, making this a most memorable and joyous afternoon.

The Forties Quiz prompted lengthy wartime discussions, as Val and her friend waited tirelessly on tables, replenishing copious amounts of sandwiches, cakes and tea.

Some members dressed accordingly in 40's attire for an afternoon to remember.

Well done Val... and thank you for inviting us into your 1940's world!


Gardening Club members were invited to Julia and Ray's beautiful cottage garden in Newton on May 28th, where forty members enjoyed a pleasant Sunday morning basking in warm sunshine, amidst a myriad of shrubs, perennials, majestic foxgloves, perfumed roses - pretty baskets, pots and tubs. The raffle and plant sale was as popular as always, and refreshments were provided by hosts and friends. Visitors concluded that it was a most convivial atmosphere, and a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Many thanks to Julia and Ray for their hospitality.

Our next meeting will be Val's 1940's themed tea party on June 10th - this is by appointment only. Contact Committee members for details.


We always have high expectations of the club's annual plant and seedling auction, and this year was no exception. Auctioneer, Morris was on-form, with fast and furious bidding from the start. Annie leading the way with steely determination, to make the winning bid for a miniature cacti collection!

Marian & Ken were Morris's knowledgeable assistants, whilst Di and Wendy provided much needed refreshments. Doug's training shoes were essential as he beat all previous time records in making circuits of the hall - to ensure no money was left uncollected.

Not only a good turnout of members to welcome new member, Mary - but a grand array of worthy plants for auction.

We are sure the sun will continue to shine as we look forward to our next meeting in Julia Hill's lovely garden. Followed closely by a visit to Val Wallis's garden for a 1940's Vintage Tea Party. See Diary Dates page for further info.

New members are always warmly welcomed.


Volunteer speaker Tim Dent joined Newton Village Gardening Club to enlighten 30 members on the UK's largest woodland conservation charity. Woodland Trust own more than 1,000 woods across the country, totalling more than 73 square miles - free for us all to enjoy.

Tim talked us through the trust's journey from its foundation in 1972, now boasting over half a million members whose immense achievements include restoration and protection of our countryside and wildlife.

Tim judged the club's photographic competition of a woodland scene - winners were...

Our next meeting in Newton Village Hall is on Sunday 23rd April at 10am for 10.30 start. This will be our annual Plant Auction, so bring along any surplus plants that you would like to donate to the club.


This year's AGM was a particularly lively event, where Chairman Morris had to use his newly acquired gavel and block to retain order on more than one occasion! Fewer members attending did not make for a quieter meeting - indeed it was probably the most vocal AGM for some years! The Committee have taken a refreshing new stance - determined to acknowledge members' views and opinions on every aspect of the club. So to say the meeting was a lively debate is probably the most accurate assessment. A first time visitor to the club said she had never had such fun and signed up for membership!

For our next meeting on March 19th we welcome a guest speaker, Tim Dent from the Woodland Trust. Get clicking those cameras as Mr Dent will judge the photographic competition - for the best photograph of a woodland scene.

January 2017

The Gardening Club season began early this year, with a January meeting to plan events for 2017. The committee welcomed over 30 members to gain some insight as to what the membership would like regarding outings, events and competitions for the forthcoming season.

It certainly proved to be a popular decision, as plenty of proposals were forthcoming, discussed and voted upon. It seems we may need fourteen months in the year, if we are to fit in all the new ideas and notions!

There are great plans afoot for the Gardening Club year, including an invite to a member's garden for a Vintage Tea Party.

Our next meeting will be the AGM on February 26th at 10am for 10.30. New members are always welcome.

December 2016

There was a particularly high level of Christmas frivolity and festive spirit at the Christmas party this year, as over 40 members and guests were invited to "Step into Christmas". From the off - it was never going to be a "Silent Night" with plenty of enthusiasm and audience participation.

The committee "Decked the Hall" beautifully in preparation to "Have Themselves a Merry Little Christmas" as Irish singer Tom Kennedy entertained with a wide range of melodies. An already competitive audience needed little encouragement to participate in vocal harmonising in a festive singalong.

Interspersed with annual competition presentations, seasonal buffet and raffle - the party went on much later than ever before, and was deemed to be highly successful.

Newton Village Gardening Club would like to "Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". See you all at our next meeting on Sunday 29th January.


Around thirty members welcomed Zsuzsa Serer as our November guest speaker, from the family run environment of Herbal Haven near Saffron Walden.

Polish born Zsuzsa's warm and friendly personality enlightened everyone as she gave a fascinating insight into the world of herbs. All enthused to be more adventurous with our use of herbs for medicinal and cooking purposes, with many members taking notes.

A convivial morning with seasonal refreshments and raffle.

Our next gathering will be the Christmas Party on December 17th


Newton Village Gardening Club's October guest speaker was Geoff Hodge. Horticulturalist, Editor, Product Tester with a wealth of expertise, Geoff gave an informative talk on Gardening in the Shade. Sharing his extensive garden knowledge in a highly amusing presentation, Geoff was a fun and innovative speaker who positively encouraged audience participation of which there was a-plenty!

This was one of our most popular meetings of the year with an array of refreshments. Bumper raffle in which speaker Geoff contributed several most generous prizes.

Zsuzsa Serer of herbal Haven will be our next guest speaker on November 27th when she will be talking about propagation, preservation, and use of herbs.


On Sunday 24th July the sun shone for Newton Village Gardening Club's biennial summer barbeque - held in Treasurer Doug and Wendy Fullbrook's beautiful garden. Themed this year as anything gardening related, so marquees and garden were decorated accordingly.

Members, guests, gnomes, fairies, ladybirds, scarecrows... and a lawn - turned out in their Sunday best, along with Bill & Ben with the weed... for one of the most popular events in the Gardening Club calendar. Lots of thought went into the fancy dress costumes as always. Seeing what everyone is wearing on arrival starts the afternoon off in good form, with banter and frivolity.

Kings Lynn Brass Band played throughout the afternoon, and also entered into the spirit of the event by dressing up - garden style.

A mountain of food was prepared for all 80 people - by hostess Wendy and her trustworthy workforce, daughters Rachel and Catherine. Mike was in charge of the bar, while Doug and Nigel manned the barbeques... without setting fire to their highly inflammable outfits! Barbara and John organised the raffle, and Morris - Master of Ceremonies for the Fancy Dress Competitions. Winners were - ladybird Val, lawn Ken and a pretty little fairy girl!

Many thanks to Doug, Wendy and family for their hospitality and hard work.


Gardening Club members were invited guests to Mike Bedford's lovely garden for our July meeting. Where Mike and Hilary welcomed 20 members to this little garden gem in the heart of Wisbech. An enjoyable stroll of exploration, to appreciate all Mike's tireless work - along with his knowledge and enthusiasm resulted in a delightful morning for all.

An array of photographs taken at various times of year complimented the garden viewing. Mike and Hilary produced a quiz to suit both the ladies knowledge of plants and the gent's knowledge of a more technical nature. Hilary and Shirley provided refreshments, including Jackie's lemon drizzle cake - always lots of team effort in evidence for garden visits.

Overcast skies did not darken a most enjoyable morning for everyone - Thank you Mike!

Our next event is the most popular of the year - a garden themed Barbeque (where fancy dress is optional - but a whole lot of fun!) on July 24th. Contact Doug if you wish to attend.

Village Fete

Newton Village Gardening Club presented a good show for the Summer Fete. Barbara, John, Marian, Ken and Shirley produced a flourishing display of plants for sale - and a ping pong ball/cup game for a bit of fun!


Sunday 24th April brought new members to the Gardening Club meeting, for the fun and frivolity of our annual Plant Auction - where sales were brisk and laughs aplenty.

John assisted Morris during the auction - while Marian's expertise was invaluable in plant naming tongue twister pronunciation! Failing that, a Sapling Ash Tree was more commonly appreciated as "a twig". Shirley completed a record amount of circuits around the hall, collecting the cash and Marian and Ken provided refreshments.

John presented Morris with his winners cup and certificate, for the "longest leek" judged at the AGM in February. According to Morris... it's still leeking!

Many thanks to Barbara for her info and photograph for this blog - it's much appreciated when I don't attend meetings and she always happily steps up to the mark.

Our next meeting will be an outing to Priory Maze on Sunday 22nd May. There are only a few places left so contact Shirley for details and reservations.


March 20th saw Mary Larham from Manea School of Gardening make her second visit to the Gardening Club. She gave a particularly entertaining and informative presentation - followed by a volley of gardening questions from members.

Morris made his debut as Chairman whilst Barbara with her attractive assistant - John, made their raffle debut with lots of garden related prizes. Di and Wendy provided morning refreshments for this meeting.

Gardening Club member Julia talked about her recent emails to provide members with information regarding suggestions for days out to beautiful gardens. Julia has researched extensively and collated some lovely ideas to share with the membership for their own pleasure (not part of the Gardening Club itinerary). The following is her first suggestion.

The Burghley House South Gardens are open on 9th and 10th April for the National Gardens Scheme. There will be spectacular spring bulbs in a park setting, with magnificent trees and the opportunity to enjoy Capability Brown's famous lake and summerhouse. Entry to the Private South Gardens is via the Orangery. Admission is £3.50, children £2. Light refreshments in The Orangery Restaurant. The post code is PE9 3JY, and Burghley House is situated near Stamford. Tel: 01780 752451 or visit the website - for further information and opening details.

The sunshine encouraged in excess of 30 members for this meeting, everyone encouraged and enthused to go home in the sunshine and make a start on their spring gardens!

The next meeting is the Plant Auction on April 24th - so roll-up with any unwanted plants or seedlings that you are willing to donate. Practice your bartering skills - it all provides funds for the club.

February 2016

Following a particularly short and mild winter (so far) it feels like we didn't put the lawnmower away at all. So here's to another horticultural year that's blooming with camaraderie, friendship and a mutual appreciation of all things in the garden!

Our year started with an impressive turnout for the AGM...and judging of the Leek competition! With an eclectic assortment of prize winning specimens - Morris was judged to have produced the "longest" leek!

Down to the serious business of the AGM - Chairman John, stepped into the position of Vice Chairman. As captain at the helm, John's wonderful charm and sense of humour has given the members many memorable recollections. Morris stepped from Committee Member to Chairman with a promise to continue in John's inimitable style, declaring his expertise as knowing nothing about gardening! I'm sure Di will be his "Horticultural Advisor" - as is Barbara to John!

Treasurer Doug will soldier on in keeping a tight rein on the club's finances. The AGM continues to be his favourite meeting due to the cash box overflowing with subscription payments! Shirley continues her time consuming secretarial roll, to keep the momentum of the club flowing.

Dee, who was one of the founder members of the Gardening Club in 2005 has stepped down from the committee - but along with Julia, will now plan and coordinate club outings.

Morris handed over the raffle organising to Barbara. Any contributions of gardening related raffle prizes would be gratefully received. Christine and Lynn made morning coffee at this meeting. Any members who are willing to do this just once, would be welcomed and appreciated. (See Shirley)

A popular announcement that November's Gardening Club "Night at the Proms" secured a pledge of £250 to Air Ambulance and £50 to RNLI.

So Newton Village Gardening Club continues to flourish with over 70 members and a particularly full itinerary for 2016. March 20th is our next meeting, when we welcome back Mary Larham from Manea School of Gardening - to answer gardening questions.

December 2015

The 2015 Gardening Club Calendar came to an end with a Christmas Party in the Village Hall. The festive tables looked stunning for the arrival of almost 50 members for a memorable, fun packed evening. Entertained by The Two Dollies who included plenty of audience participation in an itinerary, loaded with laughter and Christmas spirit.

Members Annie and Ray Missin showed everyone how to trip the light fantastic with an accomplished little jive. A privilege to witness this lovely couple recapture their dancing days and show they can still cut it on the dance floor with class!

Doug's home brew has become an essential accompaniment to the Christmas party - as is the raffle provided by Di & Morris. Lynn's buffet was a resounding success, supported by partners in crime Nigel and Christine. Followed by Marian and Jackie - the "Trolley Dollies" yummy desserts! Not to be outdone - Ken and John turned "Trolley Dolly" with welcomed teas and coffees. A real team effort that concluded in a very successful evening. An evening like this only comes to fruition with a crew of willing workers - well done to all.

At this point I would like to wish Newton Village Gardening Club members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


The Very Last Night of the Proms evening - organised by Jackie, John and the committee, was a huge success in Tydd St Giles. Supported by Kings Lynn Brass Band, over 100 guests attended - brimming with enthusiasm for flag waving and exercising their vocal chords in a patriotic singalong.

A bumper prizewinning raffle was organised by Morris, sending home a host of happy winners from the event.

Our November Gardening Club meeting on Sunday 22nd welcomed Mary Larham from the Manea School of Gardening - accredited for Royal Horticultural Society's extensive training courses.

Mary writes a regular column in the Fenland Citizen and made such an interesting and informative presentation - particularly for our more adept members who appeared not only to know English plant names but fluent in the latin also!

Our next event will be the Christmas Party on December 12th - deadline for tickets has passed. For those of you who have booked and paid for this event at the Village Hall - 7pm for 7.30 start. Bring your party hats and festive spirit!


We had a great turn out, of over 30 members to our October meeting. A return visit for guest speaker Dave Staines with his slideshow and entertaining instructions on how to bed Begonias for the winter. Also a question and answer section, to answer those of us whose Begonias failed miserably - Where did we go wrong? Welcoming smiles from Jean Eldred and Jean Miles, who kindly provided tea and coffees at this meeting.

We can now, proudly announce that official Gardening Club mugs are on sale at £4 each from Secretary Shirley (see below).

CHRISTMAS IS COMING! So dig out your party hats and festive sparkles for the Christmas bash on Saturday 12th December, where entertainment will be provided by The Two Dollies, whilst myself (Lynn in case you didn't already know) with partners in crime, hubby Nigel along with Christine - will be providing a festive finger buffet.

Please be aware! Due to the increasing popularity of our Christmas party and an ever increasing membership, we have to strictly limit the number of attendees. It is therefore imperative if you would like to attend - that you inform Treasurer Doug asap, along with payment of £5 per member (Guests £10) The deadline for payment is 12th November. Members will however take priority over guests.

Our next meeting on Sunday 22nd November will be a talk by guest speaker - Mary Larham from the Manea School of Gardening.

Gardening Club Mugs

We can now proudly announce that official Newton Village Gardening Club 10th anniversary mugs are on sale at £4 each from Secretary Shirley. As regular viewers of antique valuation programmes will be aware, these will one day become a priceless heirloom for future generations of your family, so buy yours now before it's too late.

Please feel free to insert your own joke here about the Gardening Club and mugs. If it's good enough, it might even win you a prize at the Christmas Party!

The Newton Village Gardening Club Tenth Anniversary Mug - it's what coffee was invented for!

The Very Last Night of the Proms

Experience the unique atmosphere of the Last Night, as Kings Lynn Town Band presents The Very Last Night of the Proms on Saturday 14th November at Tydd St Giles Community Centre, sponsored by the Newton Village Gardening Club in aid of local clubs and charities.

Buy your ticket today and join us for this memorable occasion.

See poster for details.


September's produce competition continues to be one of our most popular meetings of the year - with over 30 eager attendees this year! Arriving for 9.45am was well worth the effort, to enjoy the culinary delights of Dee's warm breakfast slices with morning coffee!

Chaos is customary for this event - it adds to the fun! Produce entries checked in and displayed, voting slips distributed, teas and coffees prepared, raffle tickets sold - to name but a few of the tasks in hand by the committee. Tasting and judging is the highlight of course, with lots of discussions, comparisons - and a great deal of banter!

The number of classifications was increased this year, resulting in single entries in both Marmalade and Fresh Fruit categories. But it was great to have more entries of beautiful flower arrangements. Wonderful to see so many new members both participating and winning alongside established members. Good job! Thirteen different members managed to take home at least one 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Well done to all those who made such great effort to take part in such an enjoyable event.

Our next meeting on October 25th welcomes back Dave Staines from the East Anglian Begonia Society, showing us how to bed our Begonias over winter. 9.45 for 10.15 start - see you there!


On Sunday August 23rd, over 30 members and guests enjoyed a particularly busy and entertaining morning meeting in the Village Hall, welcoming the British Streptocarpus Society Chairman, Ian Davis, who gave an informative and amusing presentation. Interesting also for the 'non-expert' gardeners amongst us - Ian covered all angles for the prospective Streptocarpus grower.

Ken brought an excellent display of 'Strep' (that makes me sound like one of the experts) blooms to view. Along with a small selection for sale.

Marian and Jackie provided refreshing refreshments! Morris organised the raffle. Several members... Mike, Doug etc - contributed a generous amount of fresh garden produce for sale - beetroot, rhubarb, runner beans, basil and bluebells etc - to boost club funds.

Our next meeting on Sunday September 27th will be the increasingly popular Produce Competition.


An excellent Hog Roast provided by Wisbech "Hog Roast Catering Company" was the Gardening Club's 2015 event of the summer, on July 26th. Over fifty enthusiastic members, not discouraged by the unrelenting torrential rain, turned out to a heartwarming gathering of good food and good company at the Village Hall.

An impressive array of Petunias were entered for the club's annual competition. Chairman John and Barbara provided all members with the same seedlings at the start of the season. Sadly my lame effort in nurturing to produce prize blooms failed miserably... again! The competition was won - by Kathy and Gerry... again! Someone is going to have to step up to the mark to knock these two off the winner's perch next year.

Morris's raffle always creates a great deal of banter and fun, as I wait longingly for a Caribbean holiday to be amongst the prizes!

Doug's home brewed beer - along with Marian and Jackie's desserts were fine finishing touches to an enjoyable "summer" afternoon.

Our next meeting will be in the Village Hall on Sunday August 23rd (9.45 for 10.15), when we welcome Ian Davies from the British Streptocarpus Society - who will enlighten us on all things Streptocarpus!

Sunday 21st wasn't looking like a good day for a garden visit, with early morning rain. But with perfect timing, the weather brightened for over 20 people to enjoy the hospitality of Marian and Ken in their delightful garden in Wisbech. Our hosts guided guests around the garden at leisure, answering queries and questions en route.

Marian provided a scrumptious array of sweet and savoury morsels - clearly mouthwatering, judging by the speed with which they were consumed! The anagram quiz managed to scramble everyone's brains - but was great fun for all. Morris did the raffle and Nigel made a sterling job of providing tea and coffee for everyone.

The next Gardening Club meeting will be a Summer Hog Roast at 2pm on Sunday 26th August at the Village Hall. Tickets still available from Doug.


On Sunday 17th May, 18 members enjoyed an outing to Elton Hall and Gardens, near Peterborough. Able to enjoy the journey, courtesy of FACT transport - these outings have become very sociable occasions. As is traditional on our outings... we even enjoyed good weather for the entirety of the day.

Members made full use of a nice cafeteria and very good Garden Centre before joining an interesting guided tour around the hall.

Our next meeting is a return visit to Marian and Ken's delightful garden on Sunday 21st June.


April 26th saw another great turnout of forty members, including three new members (which takes the current membership to 77) for the annual seedling and plant auction. Six large tables full of contributions from the membership, to be auctioned by the maestro himself - our Chairman John, along with partner in crime - Nigel. Both showing their extensive expertise in all things gardening during the morning. What they lacked in gardening knowledge, they made up in entertainment value! Shirley, fortunately kept some kind of semblance and collected the bidders money. A total of £62.42 was made, so sincere thanks to all members who contributed or purchased.

The raffle always proves to be a popular aspect of the morning, organised by Dee - who deflected hecklers interjections with aplomb!

A gift voucher was presented to Graham Dugmore (a great gardening name!) as the hundredth member of the club. Word had it - for a holiday in the Caribbean, but as Treasurer Doug keeps club finances under a tight rein, I do believe it would be a Garden Centre voucher to buy a Caribbean Aloe Vera plant.

Lynn and Nigel provided morning refreshments this time, which is done by volunteers from the membership. Volunteering to help with tea and coffee, at one meeting per year is only a small task and always appreciated. So if you would like to lend helping hand, do come forward to a committee member and offer your services.

Help is also required for just a short stint at the Village Fete on June 27th. If you can help set up one of the Gardening Club stalls, clear up, or indeed help at a stall for as little as 30 minutes - would be greatly appreciated. If only to allow one of the committee to have a break. Do give it a go, it's good fun and does ease the load. The committee do a great job of work behind, as well as in front of the scenes.

Our next meeting will be on June 21st - 9.45 for 10.15 start. A return visit to Marian and Ken's delightful garden in Wisbech... one not to miss. Double award winners of Wisbech in Bloom 2013.


On Sunday 15th, over thirty members welcomed Dave Staines from the East Anglian Begonia Society - for his enlightening presentation and talk on Begonias. Members also purchased all his supplies of trailing begonia plugs. Most encouraging for the novices amongst us (of which there are many) to get to grips with basic begonia growing information - along with more complex technicalities for the experts. A great morning loaded with information.

Chairman John made a diplomatic decision in changing our future meeting times to 9.45am. Following a members hung vote - he split the difference to please everyone.

Members were given up to date information regarding the May outing to Elton Hall and Gardens. Secretary Shirley is taking names of those wishing to go. It is to everyone's advantage to get names down early due to seat allocation, as we can only take full coaches!

All our events and outings need a great deal of planning which is made easier by knowing numbers of participants. Therefore Treasurer Doug will be contacting all members shortly to gauge numbers of attendees for our summer Hog Roast.

Our next meeting is the Seedling and Plant Auction at the Village Hall (9.45am) on Sunday 26th April. Please bring any seedlings, cuttings or garden related items that you are willing to contribute to our fundraising auction. This meeting is always full of fun and banter - along with a warm welcome!

February 2015

Gardening Club stalwarts turned out in abundance on a bright frosty morning, for our first meeting of the year - the AGM.

Preceded by Lynn's DVD presentation of 2014 events and outings - which proved if nothing else that our members love to have fun! Always given the chance to opt out of appearing on film or photographs taken throughout the year - not one person asked to be excluded. Thank you members for your participation and willingness to have a laugh! Whoever said a Gardening Club is a serious business?

Talking of which... Nigel received a special award for his participation at the Christmas party, of which I will say no more but promise to keep him in check this year - providing we don't sing 12 Days of Christmas and turtle doves aren't mentioned for the duration of the evening!

Our new timetable of meetings begin at 9.30am, so well done all those who set their alarms to arrive bright and early.

Barbara and Sue provided morning tea and coffees whilst Morris got his raffle off to a good start for the year. Treasurer Doug's favourite meeting where he gets everyone to part with subscription money. A growing membership of over 70 as we welcomed more new members! Committee re-voted ins and outs - Lynn and Nigel stepped down and Jackie and John stepped up!

The itinerary for the year's events discussed and agreed. (See Diary Dates page) It certainly looks like a good year ahead with an array of guest speakers, an invitation to Marian and Ken's award winning garden, an outing to Elton Hall and Gardens, a summer Hog Roast and the regular Produce Competitions and Plant and Seedling Auction... to name but a few!

Our next meeting will be at 9.30am on Sunday 15th March when we welcome Guest Speaker Dave Staines from the East Anglian Begonia Society giving a talk on... Begonias.

December 2014

What a way to end the Gardening Club year with our best ever Christmas Party! A fantastic evening of entertainment by the very talented Barbershop Quartet - Double Take, who professionally incorporated so much into their itinerary - explaining how the quartet is formed, singing traditional barbershop songs. Then on with their festive hats to encourage audience participation - of which there was surprisingly plenty... In fact everyone joined in wholeheartedly! Finally some beautiful caroling, barbershop style.

Over 40 members enjoyed a superb evening with a particularly bountiful buffet, contributed by the membership - a great raffle with generous prizes also contributed by the membership.

Presentations were made for 2014 competitions, and the night was over far too quickly. It was certainly an evening of great company and lots of laughter! A resounding success according to members immediate feedback.

What a great year 2014 has been for Newton Village Gardening Club!

A very Merry Christmas to all our members from the committee... John, Doug, Shirley, Dee, Morris, Marian & Ken, Lynn & Nigel.

We wish you good health and great happiness for 2015.


On Sunday 23rd we welcomed the entertaining guest speaker David Morgan and his wife, Pam - to speak to us about Orchid growing for beginners. A particularly popular subject due to the extended time required for David to answer members queries and questions after his presentation. Whether budding orchid growers or not, we all learned something from David's informative talk.

Well done to everyone for turning out on such an abysmal rainy November day, it was well worth the effort.

Get your party hats ready for our final gathering of the year - our Christmas party! December 13th 7pm for 7.30.

We will be entertained by the Barbershop Quartet - Double Take.


On October 26th we welcomed the knowledgeable Barry Gayton as our guest speaker. Enlightening us with an extensive presentation of fungi with slideshow support. He also covered interesting troubleshooting problems such as black spot, botrytis, and the dreaded fairy rings!

Shirley and Lynn took names and food pledges for the forthcoming Christmas party - only six weeks away! While Nigel took control in the kitchen providing the membership with their teas and coffees. Morris's raffle - popular as always!

Our next meeting on Sunday 23rd November welcomes another guest speaker giving a presentation on - Orchid Growing for Beginners.


Sunday 28th saw a great turnout for our annual produce competitions of chutneys, jams, beverages, flower arrangements, fruit and vegetable displays - with Mike Bedford winning first prize in no less than three categories!

As always, it was a lovely sociable event in our calendar... particularly busy around the beverage sampling table with its vast array of wines, sloe gin, apricot brandy, cordial - to name but a few!

Club Secretary Shirley did a great job in co-ordinating competition entries for a smooth running morning. Chairman John chaired the event as only he can, even providing samples of his "Singapore Surprise" marrow! Four new members received a warm welcome to the club, taking our membership over 70.

We have guest speaker Barry Gayton at our next meeting on October 26th - talking about Fungi.


The Gardening Club's special invitation for our August meet was a visit to Newton Hall, home of John Hoyles (MBE) - at the heart of the village.

On our arrival John gave a lovely informative introduction to his garden. Assisted by daughter Trish who guided and talked 28 of us around the rest of the garden, home produce area and tree lined walkway. For those of us who regularly walk around the lanes of the village it was nice to see the area behind the trees!

Even the cows greeted us... although the guinea fowl were adverse to our invasion!

Fortunately - just as it has become ritual at Gardening Club events, the early morning's overcast weather turned to bright and breezy sunshine!

To round the morning off nicely, we gathered in the courtyard where Trish served Pimms and John's grandson cooked copious amounts of sausages for hot dogs. The greenhouse Piccolo tomatoes went down a storm as well! It was a really sociable gathering and another successful Gardening club meeting.

Sincere thanks to John and family for a lovely morning.


Howdy partners, we were Home on the Range for this one on Sunday 27th in unbroken sunshine! The ever successful Gardening Club themed barbeque surpassed all our expectations, with an unprecedented stampede of over 80 cowboys/girls (shooting straight from the hip) and indians (gathering for a pow wow) at Clifton House Ranch! Supported by Kings Lynn Brass Band who transported us from their Tee-Pee straight to the wild west with themed music for the occasion.

Avoiding the giant cacti and prairie coal (dried cow manure used to build fires) out on the prairie was horseshoe pitching, and wagons roll by the Hang-em-High hanging basket competition - won by Cathie & Gerry. Plant stall as always and a bumper raffle run by Di and Morris.

Bartender Tumbleweed Tom at yonder saloon, dispensed copious amounts of Doug's moonshine and Cat's Cactus Juice..... providing six shooters and tomahawks were left beyond the saloon doors!

The chuck wagon provided plenty of Texas Windy Beans, Broncobuster Hamburgers and Rawhide steak - to fill the most stalwart of cattle rustlers. Followed by Frontier Puddings contributed by the membership - creating a stampede to put the hardiest of broncos to shame!

It was certainly a hoedown to remember and no shootout at the OK Coral! Congratulations to all who participated to make the day so enjoyable!

Sincere thanks especially to hosts Passing Wind and Fragrant Cloud, and their family of workhorses without whose support this extravaganza would not be possible, along with the small army of workers who organised, prepared and created this fantastic spectacle. How on earth can we top this next year? Thinking caps on members!

Winner of the Best Cowboy was Ken, Cowgirl was Rachel, Indian was Doug, Indian Squaw - Hillary


A warm and friendly welcome awaited a great turn out of members on Sunday 22nd to Marian and Ken's absolutely splendid garden. A double 2013 prize winner for Wisbech in bloom - was clearly apparent why! What a treat we had in store, with so many hidden nooks, crannies, and surprise features to explore. Our knowledgeable hosts guided and talked us through their garden while others meandered at leisure.

We all lingered into the afternoon and Marian and Ken did particularly well to lay on glorious sunshine and blue skies, along with drinks, cakes, gardening quiz... and raffle.

This was an extremely popular morning, judging by the feedback from members - many thanks Marian and Ken!


Sunday 18th May with picnics at the ready, 25 members had an excellent day out to Sheringham.

We split into two groups of those preferring to check out the town, steam railway, walk the promenade and take in various local events that were staged for the weekend, including a Craft Fair or the Lobster and Crab Festival!

The alternative choice was the National Trust Park that came as a wonderful new place of exploration for all of us who took that option, to see its stunning arrays of rhododendrons and distant views of the coastline. Everyone shocked that it had taken us so long to discover this Norfolk gem, with a resounding vote that we would all return to complete any areas that we didn't manage to cover on the day.

Basking in glorious weather the day was a resounding success!


April brought our most successful annual Plant Auction ever, in the hall packed to capacity with contributions of plants, cuttings and members ready to haggle!

Morris controlled a particularly enthusiastic rabble this year. Bidding was fierce and most entertaining, particularly for eight new members who experienced their first meeting and a real Gardening Club welcome!

Di and Morris's raffle - the regular highlight of the morning - paled almost into insignificance!

Marian and Ken made a splendid job of providing teas and coffees for a great turn out on a beautiful April morning.

Our next meeting will be an outing to Sheringham Park on May 18th.