Reviews of meetings

Speaker - Nick Morgan

October 2018

Nick supplied an approach to managing garden pests and diseases- a subject at the forefront of all gardeners' minds! After a brief overview of the history of pesticide use and its decline in recent years, Nick went on to explain integrated pest management techniques. These should aim to  balance physical , cultural and biological controls and to decrease the use of chemical methods of control. Integrated techniques include the good management of plants and their environment, including soil quality, crop rotation, choice of plants and the control of weeds. He suggested some  ways to control pests and diseases from the garden including good pruning and removal of dead materials from a site, physical barriers, biological controls and moth traps. He also suggested if all else fails, the only chemical which should be considered would be an organic pyrethroid. He summarised an excellent and informative talk by suggesting prevention is better than control, expectations should be realistic and that forward planning and early identification of problems is best. Garlic featured both as a crop and as a barrier for certain invertebrate pests!

(review by Sue Newton)

Speaker ~ Jo EllisonWard

February 2017 

Jo and her husband outlined how they had created a garden, from a derelict 3 acre plot surrounding their house, at Coppett Hill in Herefordshire. They moved to the site several years ago and after much hard work planning and clearing for the future garden, they finally have the garden which they had envisaged. This was an interesting presentation as it demonstrated the time scale needed to create a garden from scratch. It also demonstrated how essential planning is by careful assessment of the site and its environment, an understanding of what the final outcome might be and the problems which are evident – in this case, numerous deer on the surrounding hill! They also showed how costs can be kept down by propagating perennials, from a small stock, over the period to provide swathes of planting and by recycling materials unwanted by neighbours. There were lessons to be learned by the small garden holder from this large project.

(review by Pam Sheppard)

Speaker ~ Michael Ayland

January 2017

It’s always good to have a very local speaker on a cold, dark January night.  Our speaker Michael Ayland of Woodend Weather Station has given us a talk before about the weather.

Michael’s latest subject is the ’Wye Valley Railway’ and I’m sure I speak for the rest of the members, when I say that he would be quite welcome to come again!

Guiding us along the railway with detailed slides and history of the journey and stations.  Always tremendously interesting and humorous, Michael’s delivery is always relaxed, confident and knowledgeable. A pleasure to listen.

Accompanied by the postponed ‘Lisa and Woody quiz’ complete with artefact I.D. on a tray, I was able to identify the tray!  I believe the winners of this quiz were ‘The A Team’ with 23 points.

Also cake that tasted as it was fresh from the oven. Delicious.

Many thanks to all involved.

(review by Candice Amson)

Practical Social Evening

December 2016

Jackie Beard our flower arranging guru returned to further instruct us on how to make a swag for Christmas.

These could be used in a number of ways, along bannisters, mantles, tables, over doors etc.

Using a rope as a starting point, unless having some good stems on Vines, Virginia creeper, Ivy, Clematis for example.  Other foliage could be Fir, Thuja, Douglas fir, Spruce, Holly, Ivy.  A reel of binding wire and cones, flowers and ribbons, dried fruit, nuts, baubles, battery lights depending how elaborate you want it to be.

Others elected to make a table decoration or wreath.  Some of our gang are getting pretty good at this, although I freely confess my own effort was completely rubbish as usual.

Hands on events are always a big favourite with our club, and with some spectacular results!  So busy were we that there was no time for our ever popular ‘Lisa and Woody quiz’. To be enjoyed next month!

All accompanied by delicious mulled wine made by our very own Pete Graham, Christmas nibbles and great company.  A great start to the Christmas period. Thanks to all involved.

(review by Candice Amson)

Speaker ~ Chris Evans

November 2016

The speaker at the Meeting on 9th November was Chris Evans from Dundry’s garden Centre in Cheltenham and the title for his talk was “The Unexpected Challenge” This title was a mystery but he set the scene by describing the setting up of his family’s nursery by his grandfather just after the end of WW2. He then went on to explain how the reputation as a specialist seed potato nursery came about. It sounds random but he was an entertaining and spontaneous speaker with often hilarious anecdotes along the way. 

He then went on to explain how the Butterfly Garden Trust came into being from a very small beginning helping out with a very few disabled children with gardening, to the enterprise it is today with 4 acres of land, many varied workshop spaces for cooking, gardening, woodwork, crafts and other activities which caters for about 200 people with various disabilities. Chris is the Chairman of the charitable Trust which was ultimately formed and his enthusiasm and commitment for the project was touching and inspiring (and always amusing).

(review by Pam Sheppard)

Speaker ~ Jerry Green

October 2016

The meeting on October 12th 2016 was by Jerry Green, gardener in charge at Westbury Court Garden. He talked to us about apples – to cover all aspects such as choosing, planting and maintaining the fruit trees. He was a speaker with a lifetime’s experience, knowledge and enthusiasm for apple growing having started at a very early age. This was reflected in his very interesting and lively presentation which provoked many and varied questions from the audience which he answered with good and helpful advice. Especially interesting was the advice on pollinators and pruning which are sometimes bewildering topics for the amateur apple grower!

There was also be an apple tasting event during the evening when some members brought along delicious dishes which featured apples (including Pete G’s famous cider) and others brought along a variety of apples for tasting. All were consumed enthusiastically!

(review by Pam Sheppard)

Speaker ~ Max Wilson

Bumblebee Conservation Trust

April 2016

Our talk about Bumblebees had a big impact on this member of the gardening club.  What an eye opener and wonderful once again to have a speaker so passionate about their subject.
Max of the Bumblebee Conservation trust, with delightful delivery, filled us in on the subject of bumblebees. The twenty four species of Bombus, and their fascinating life cycle. The nectar they drink, the kind of plants they need and how they need our help.  The loss of 98% of our wildflower meadows, their main habitat, has contributed to massive decline.  We gardeners can play our part by carefully choosing to use more plants which provide nectar for our bees.

A superb, moving speaker and subject.  
(review by Candice Amson)

Speaker ~ Michael Ayland

March 2016

Sadly our speaker for March had to cancel at the last minute due to illness.  It was fantastic that Michael Ayland of Cinderford’s Woodend Weather Station fame agreed to step in and give us a talk at very short notice, and amazing that Sally was able to arrange this!

So we were treated to a marvellously interesting and inspiring talk entitled ‘The Weather in your Garden’.  Michael’s weather station is situated at the top of Littledean Hill with stunning, far reaching views taking in Gloucester and Cheltenham and well beyond. Many members may remember our visit to see the garden at Woodend last year, the wonderful hospitality we received from Michael and his wife, the Labradors and the miniature railway.

Michael immediately told us he knows nothing about gardening but he does know an awful lot about the weather. We learned all about temperature and clouds, humidity and precipitation, wind and webcams. He also showed us many instruments traditional and modern for measuring and recording all this activity. A truly fascinating talk, and one which we would highly recommend to anyone looking for a speaker.

(review by Candice Amson)

Speaker ~ Sarah Sawyer

February 2016

Our speaker for the evening was Sarah Sawyer, Community Links Officer with the Wye Valley AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty). Sarah came to discuss the projects she is involved with and in particular their current big venture The Wye Valley River Festival.  Sarah’s delivery of her subject was an absolute delight and it was clear that she is passionate about this area, with the ease with which she spoke about it. She was also able to answer members’ questions and talk about wildflowers meadows.  In addition this evening we had a successful seed swapping session, lovely cake and a fabulous turnout.

(review by Candice Amson)

Seasonal Soup Tasting

January 2016

Our January meeting started with a delicious soup tasting, plus extras.  All the soups were very different, and enjoyed by members.  Homemade scones were one of the extras, as well as savouries to accompany the soup.
Next we had an excellent quiz from Woody, ably assisted by Lisa, who showed interesting artefacts.  Trying to work out their use was amusing, as well as difficult.
Lastly another super raffle. 

(review by Sally Graham)

Practical Social Evening

December 2015

Jackie Beard expertly demonstrated and assisted us while most of us made a table decoration, a few made a wreath, and those remaining kindly served the makers with drinks and mince tarts.  Mulled wine, and a good variety of alcoholic beverages brought by members plus a special Christmas raffle enhanced the evening. 

(review by Sally Graham)

Social Evening

November 2015

The evening started with a mystery tasting quiz of preserves - I was amazed at the variety which were brought and wished we'd given a prize for the most difficult one to guess.  Ten preserves were tasted, and the main two ingredients identified - the winner of a bottle of Severn Cider managed to get fifteen correct.  
Next refreshments, cider, homemade wine, or apple juice, with a varied selection of cheeses, pickles, delicious homemade breads, nibbles, and to finish apple cakes.  Pam
devised a devilish apple quiz, and there apples to identify too, with the help of anagrams.  Also some lovely autumnal displays to admire.
Lastly the ever popular raffle and a quick bargain sell off of left over cheeses.

(review by Sally Graham)

Speaker ~ John Fitzgerald 'Alpines'

April 2014

John is editor of the Alpine Gardener, the journal of the Alpine Garden Society.  He  spoke about his long interest in Alpines and about the society.  Using his large collection of superb slides he described what an alpine is and where they come from.  Many felt inspired by his talk and to have a go at growing a few themselves.

Many thanks to Sarah for bringing the cake! 

Speaker ~ Dr Keith Ferguson

'Growing and Storing Vegetables'

March 2014

It's always a pleasure to listen to someone who knows their stuff!  Dr Ferguson was very knowledgeable on his subject and was able to share with us a wealth of experience and tips about growing vegetables. He also took us on a trip through his garden year in slides displaying many enviably healthy looking specimens.  Much enjoyed! 

Many thanks to Steve for bringing the cake!

Speaker ~ Bob Train

'Get more from your camera'

February 2014

One very stormy day and an enjoyable evening.  Bob kindly came out in awful weather during our cycle of February storms to speak for us. He shared with us his long, award winning experience in photography, and taught us many tips and techniques using photographs from his collection of photos taken at Highnam Court Garden. We all learned a great deal and some brought their own cameras in for  Bob's advice.

Many thanks to Linda for bringing the cake! 

Soup and Roll Supper with quiz

January 2014

We kicked off the the New Year with an informal social evening and get together.  There was a delicious array of soup for sampling including Creamy Celeriac, Parsnip and Apple with Horseradish, and Minestrone to new a few. Judy our plant knowledge expert extraordinaire compiled the quiz that saw heads together round tables puzzling over the answers.  Many thanks to Judy for putting this together. Also our first try with a small Bring and Buy sale was a big success and a good fundraiser for us.  Only a couple of things were left over at the end. Thank you so much to everyone who donated items. 

Many thanks to everyone for bringing the soup!

Sadie Kilby

December 2013

Wreath making demonstration

This was something a bit different!  Judging by the feedback everyone thoroughly enjoyed this practical session, and the chance to get stuck in and have a go at making something they could take home for Christmas.  Sadie provided everything we needed to make a Christmas door wreath and members brought an interesting array of greenery. There were some very impressive creations.  Sadie and her companion judged our efforts and congratulations to Janet for making the winning wreath. With a cup of mulled wine, some Christmas nibbles and good company to complete our festive celebration, a great evening.

Many thanks to everyone for bringing the nibbles!

Severn Cider of Awre

November 2013

A talk with cider samples and food ideas

What a pleasure to hear about this local family run business producing delicious award winning pure ciders and perrys. Things got warmed up straight away with a hot spicy cider number. Scrummy and a worthy equal to mulled wine was one comment. They took us through the cider making process with pictures and we discussed pollination, different apple and pear varieties, collecting, pressing, etc. We sampled different ciders and perrys and also chicken soaked in cider. There was plenty of opportunity to get involved,  also goodies to buy at the end. Severn Cider a recommended place to visit at Awre, Newnham GL14 1EL. 01594 510282

*Many thanks to everyone who brought apple dishes (see recipe page)

Speaker ~ Fiona Warin

October 2013

'Lost the Plot'

A wonderfully entertaining insight into the world of allotments. Fiona's delivery of her experience of becoming an allotment officer and the history of allotments with the use of props had us all laughing in our seats. We particularly enjoyed hearing about the long suffering 'Roger'.  Really funny, interesting and thoroughly recommended!

Many thanks to Sally for bringing the cake!

September Social Evening

September 2013

Our September meeting and memberships renewals were due. One lucky raffle winner received their membership free for a year.  Bulbs for sale this year included Early Crocus and Minature Daffodils.

Some members brought in a sample of what they have been growing.  With veg, fruit and vases of flowers making up a mini harvest festival.  Some brought photos of their garden to share.

The committee shared the great news with the group that we have been awarded a grant from the District Council Community Engagement Team for our Community Garden project.

Many thanks to Sarah for bringing the cake!

AGM & Pimms Night

August 2013

Reflecting on the last year in the run up to our A.G.M., and it’s been another successful one.  The club have enjoyed a range of interesting speakers, trips and social evenings.

Highlights include: Our trip to Kew Gardens, a day of quality time spent with friends and new ones made; Our Skittles Evening in which we teamed up with the Soudley Flower Show Committee and a good laugh was had by all; Top speakers ~ Lisa Woodward with her ‘Tool Maintenance Workshop’,  Steve Frost on ‘Preparing for the Village Show’, Marion Stainton with ‘Myth, Magic and Plant Potions’; and for our last meeting Paul Green shared tips for grouping his rare and unusual plants and was a big favourite with the members. To mention a few!

The Annual General Meeting returned the previous committee but in slightly different line up.  Chair-Candice, Vice Chair-Lisa,  Treasurer-Janet, Secretary/Bookings - Hazel, Bookings-Steve, General committee-Judy. We also welcome Louise and Sarah to the general committee.

Candice made the cake!

Speaker ~ Paul  Green

July 2013

A practical "hands-on" talk showing the nurseries diverse range of plants and advice on grouping them to best effect.

Greens Leaves are a specialist plant nursery who supply a wide selection of choice, rare and unusual plants grown in their Gloucestershire nursery. 

Pau Green was a big hit with our members. 'One of our best speakers' a few were heard to say!  His enthusiasm as he showcased some of his favourite plants was obvious. He brought a mouth watering array, and nearly everybody bought themselves a treat or two and went home with something. 

Many thanks to Sylvia for bringing the cake!

Speaker ~ Owen Vaughn

May 2013

'Managing a 4 acre public garden with all year round interest' by RHS award winning Head Gardener and skilled plantsman'

Everybody really enjoyed Owen’s talk.  We felt he spoke with passion about the garden he manages, and his enthusiasm was infectious.  Comments included 'excellent', and 'really interesting'.

He especially did well considering this was his first talk to a group and he was understandably nervous. With practice we’re sure he will gain in confidence.

The garden is open with the NGS Sun 21st July or Sun 18th August 2013 at Richmond Village, Painswick, Stroud.

Many thanks to Judy for bringing the cake!

Speaker ~ Marion Stainton

April 2013

'Murder, Magic and Plant Potions from your Garden'

What an absolutely fantastic talk.  Marion was thoroughly professional and we would highly recommend her to any other clubs looking for a speaker.

Marion has excellent plant knowledge, and described in detail how many plants and houseplants, have toxic or medicinal effects (or both), and some of the known cases, stories and folklore surrounding them. 

A fascinating subject.

Many thanks to Sally and Pete for bringing the cake!

Speaker ~ Steve Frost

March 2013

'Preparing for the Village Show'

Steve starts by telling us that what we probably didn't know about him is that he has been exhibiting at shows for around thirty years. We didn't!

Not only did Steve share with us all his tips about show etiquette, display, timing, etc. He also provided us with a masterclass in entertaining the group with audience participation and an excellent game organising our 'rubber' beans into a show standard display (see right).

Many thanks to Sarah for bringing the cake!

Speaker ~ Mark Moir

February 2013

'Edible Gardens'

Thanks to Mark from Newent Plant Centre who came to talk to us and answer our questions about 'Edible Gardens'.  A great jovial and informative interactive chat about Soft Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables from enthusiastic and knowledgable nursery owner.

Many thanks to Janet for bringing the cake!

Soup and Roll Evening

January 2013

What an enjoyable evening.  A relaxed and social kind of a do.

Well January is not always the best time to plan a speaker due to weather conditions or turnout!  So self entertainment the name of the game, with delicous homemade soup sampling and table quizzes to challenge those interested.  The evening flew by and all went away suitably stuffed!

A huge thankyou to everyone who brought in food. You did us proud, as always, at the gourmet gardening club!

Recipes available click here

Christmas Party 2012 

December 2012

The hall was looking extra Christmassy for our Christmas Quiz and party night this year and we had wonderful table decorations made by Judy. Many thanks to everyone who helped out in someway, and/or brought food or a raffle prize. Winning the last raffle prize, Nicky was forced to go home with the belly dancing kit! 

There were some tricky questions from our excellent quizmasters, Lisa and Woody.  The  results were very close with the winning teams drawing level.

Wishing all our members, families and everyone else



November meeting

Tool maintenance workshop

November 2012

Lisa and Steve provided us with a great hands on tool maintenance workshop.  Those who attended were inspired to take better care of their tools, and even put them away over the winter!!  Ahem!

Seriously this talk was brilliant and Lisa and Steve have very kindly offered to take this show on the road to other clubs and organisations for the very reasonable fee of £25, all proceeds to our Ruspidge Gardening Club