Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

A Victorian Christmas by Maureen Hinton

December 2016

Maureen Hinton gave a talk on a “Victorian Christmas”. She had brought along a selection of items from her collection ranging from Victorian crackers to a (very delicate) serviette. She had some interesting observations on the way Christmas was celebrated by the Victorians and today. They did not put up any decorations until Christmas Eve and always took them down on 12th night. The tree lighting would have with been candles and there were some interesting holders ( there were more house fires in those days).

She went on to demonstrate how to make several types of decoration all of which had a base of greenery ranging from Box, Holly, Rosemary, Myrtle, Juniper, Laurel. She has a wide variety of shrubs in the garden and uses most of them.

She started with a table decoration with greenery, Chrysanths and Carnations. Then went on to an elaborate hanging arrangement with candles and mistletoe. Followed by a “Shovel”, much more decorative than it sounds, as it’s meant to hang on a door or wall. A Basket with poinsettia and pine cones. (It’s best to soak the cones in warm salty water and dry them to get rid of any wildlife, which can be a nuisance around the house).

She finished up with a posy and showed us two wreaths that she’d made previously. Maureen punctuated her talk with anecdotes and hints, at one talk she’d given, a City flat dweller, on hearing that marigolds were a good companion plant for vegetables in pots, could not understand how washing up gloves were used. A fascinating and informative talk; we look forward to seeing her again. We finished off the evening with a buffet supper with mince pies etc. A very good evening. Mrs Anne Garraway won the table competition, against strong competition, with a lovely decoration. 

Lacock Abbey by Sue Carter

March 2017

We had a full house to listen to Sue Carter the Head gardener at Lacock Abbey for the past 14 years. Sue talked about the History of the Gardens from foundation of the Abbey in 1229 by Ela Countess of Salisbury to the present. Whilst it was an Abbey the gardens were mainly for growing food and herbs. After the reformation, the Abbey was bought by Sir William Sharington who made many changes to the house and garden. One of these was to reroute the main road away from the house! Over the next few hundred years the gardens were gradually altered by different owners and Sue showed and compared several old plans of the gardens to illustrate some changes. Capability Brown redesigned the original formal gardens although the changes were on a smaller scale than as happened to many other grand gardens and estates. The Talbot family took over the estate in the 19th century and continued to improve and develop the gardens. Sue showed us some interesting photographs of some of the older features which were being restored and some beautiful pictures of the present gardens noted for the displays of Crocuses and Snowdrops in the Spring. The Crocuses have spread from a few corms planted in the 19th century, one variation to be seen is 'Pickwick'. A very interesting and informative talk on a local landmark. We have asked Sue to speak again next year. The table competition winner was Jennie Maggs for her “Spring colour from the garden” entry. Next meeting 4 April when Mrs Jill Hazell will talk about Gladioli. 

Hidden Gardens of Bath by Helen Hugesden

May 2017

Our speaker was Helen Hugesden on the “Hidden Gardens of Bath”. She has made a passion for Gardens and an interest in other people’s gardens, into a commercial success. She takes parties of interested people, both from the UK and abroad, around gardens in Bath which are not usually open to the public. She explained that she discovers these hidden gems by walking around the back ways and lanes of Bath and peeking through gates and over hedges. Most owners when approached are quite happy to show other gardeners around and many offer a cream tea as well. She showed us pictures of many lovely gardens ranging from the very small to several acres. All of which had their special features. Her views of Bath taken from the gardens were also spectacular. A very interesting and informative talk.

Visit to Great Chalfield Manor

June 2017

We shared cars for the visit and the weather was sunny with some cloud so not too warm. Patsy Floyd who has lived at the Manor for over thirty years and has made it her life’s work to improve and develop the Garden showed us round. The garden was lovely and in many respects at its peak. Most of the Roses were in bloom, including one on the North (no sun) side of the house, as were the borders. We first of all walked round the formal part of the gardens, where Patsy pointed out many plants of interest. We then walked along the woodland area on the other side of the Moat. It was a really worthwhile, enjoyable and educational visit. Mrs Floyd will be giving us talk about the gardens on Tuesday 2 August. In the photos the hardy white climber is “Bennet’s Seedling”, The pink climber is “ Blushing Rose” and the showy Yellow Orange rose is “ Lady Emma Hamilton” all are scented especially Lady Emma.

Great Chalfield Manor Gardens by Robert and Patsy Floyd

August 2017

We had another full house for the talk on Great Chalfield by Robert and Patsy Floyd. They have lived at Chalfield for 32 years and the beauty of the gardens today is due to their hard work and inspired design. The gardens have featured in two National magazines this year. Robert outlined the history of the gardens and how they had been developed during their time. Patsy went on to show a series of beautiful photographs of the gardens accompanied by expert comments on plants and garden design; detailing some of the more spectacular plants, and also providing some gardening hints. She has great faith in the all-round benefits of well-rotted horse manure and finds that this is a major factor in them having relatively few problems with diseases and pests A really splendid and informative talk.

The Annual Corsham Flower Show 2017

August 2017

The Annual show in August was quite a success. There were more entries than last year. The Handicrafts & Art sections is becoming increasingly popular with entries exceeding those for other classes which is an interesting trend. It may be explained by the popularity of TV shows such as “The Bake Off” programmes and also that we have a knitting group at Corsham Centre of over 100 knitters. Many of the exhibits were too a very high standard and there were some amazing photographs. Of course, the veg and flowers are always brilliant and one exhibitor (Rodney) went on to win many prizes at the Frome show as well as the “Best in Show” cup for his veg. Visitors were slightly up on last year which is very encouraging. We have already booked the Corsham Campus for 2018 when we hope for continued success. If you are interested in exhibiting or attending there is a contact number on the website, similarly if you would be interested in joining the Corsham Gardener’s Society.