Thursday, 5 December 2019

AGM 4 Decmebr 2019

A good crowd of members joined us for the AGM.
Chairman Rick got through the formalities in half an hour or so. 
We made a small surplus in the last financial year, which is good news.
Roger H and Sandra E have retired from the Committee, but are joined by Chris D. Otherwise the rest are the same familiar faces.
Then it was on to our Christmas Celebration. Out came the hot Mulled Wine, which was very welcome on such a chilly night. Then there was lots of tasty food which many of those present brought in for all to enjoy. They must have done just that as there was very little left at the end of the evening.
Karen provided all the material necessary to create some Christmas wreaths. Several tables had a go and we ended up with four.
In addition, Jenny asked if a large outline star could be decorated. This is to provide an exhibit at the Christmas display at the Woodhouse Centre next door to the Red Cross Hall.
Choosing the materials for the wreathes
The star gets decorated
The star ready for the Woodhouse Centre

Christmas Wreath in preparation
One table completed two wreathes
Another on here
Then we have the four to admire

Wednesday, 4 December 2019


Len with his wife Pearl
We were saddened to learn that one of the local pillars of all things gardening, Len Stebbings died on 29 November 2019. In 2012 he moved to Lowestoft, but up until then he was resident in Oxted, and was a force for good in all matters horticultural.He was someone who the expression "green fingers" was created. Almost everything he touched seemed to grow, and flourish.
As an RHS judge and he was a familiar sight at many shows.
Not only a keen member of LODHS, he was an active participant in the Hurst Green Gardening Club, and as an exhibitor he was always up there with the best.
He was on our Committee for many years and his final role, up until his departure for the East Coast was President of the Society.
The following was written by Len's son and is worth repeating here:
"It is with sorrow that I have to announce that dad passed away on Friday November 29 at about midnight. He suffered a fall almost two weeks earlier and had been in hospital since. I was fortunate that I visited earlier last week and saw him while he was as outspoken as ever, but by Wednesday he was much quieter. I had to return to Ireland but was pleased to have spent time with him on what turned out to be his last days. He passed away surrounded by the rest of the family who have been so supportive of mum since.
Many people will remember him, either as Father Christmas in the Oxted area, through his horticultural endeavours, including as an NVS judge or as a teacher at Oxted County School.
Mum and Dad returned to their family home in Lowestoft several years ago where they enjoyed the support of our extended family.
Dad passed away just a few weeks off his 86th birthday.
Lamp posts and supermarket shelves need fear his electric buggy no more, but I am sure he is causing mayhem somewhere still."
In conclusion, those of us that came into contact with Len will retain very happy memories of him, his general exuberance and his enthusiasm for life.
Our condolences to Pearl and his family. May he rest in peace. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2019


On Saturday 12 October we enjoyed our third Harvest Supper at the Red Cross Hall, Oxted. On the menu was a choice of either Steak & Ale Pie or Chicken Parmiagno (Chicken with a Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Sauce), followed by a crumble or pavlova and to finish, coffee. It all seemed to go down very well as there was very little to clear away at the end.
Sylvia C did a splendid job of organising the evening. To stimulate the mind and assist digestion, a couple of quizzes were included. No prizes, but just the satisfaction of getting some (or all) the answers right. One quiz was a particular tease. This was to guess six varieties of apple. They were all British and all purchased locally. Some unusual varieties were there. How many would you recognise: Cox, Rubinstep, Delbard Estivale, Bramley, Smitten and Red Windsor? 
Guests made contributions of non perishable goods for the Caterham Food Bank.
The evening rounded off with a lot of conversation, and a reluctance to head for home. We think they enjoyed the evening.

Getting ready for the meal to be served
Guess the variety of apple
Post Supper Chat

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Chris Stewart: The Mole Man

Chris Stewart is seen on the right
On Wednesday 2 October our speaker was Chris Stewart, who gave an illustrated talk about the facinating, yet secret life of the mole. Chris is a professional mole catcher, but from what he said it is evident he has a great respect for the small creatures.
They have great strength, can carry loads heavier than their body weight, are very territorial and mostly live on their own.
These days poison is not permitted to catch moles as it too cruel, but traps are used instead. The implements in the photo are examples of what has been used, and look like something out of a torture chamber.
Implements used to trap moles
Years ago, there was some value in mole pelts to make clothing, but presently the only use seems to be for use on fishing lines, with a very small financial return.
Did you know the collective name for moles is "company"?
Chris had one piece of advise for gardeners. Always wear a pair of safety glasses. There are just so many hazards that can damage the eyes, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Below are the winning entries to our monthly competition. What a colourful display they make.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

September 2019 Monthly Meeting

Tony Wiseman chats to members after his talk
Well, we had somewhat of a reverse meeting on Wednesday 4 September, as our speaker, Tony Wiseman, had forgotten to bring the flash drive with his presentation. That meant he had to return home to collect it. 
So we started with all the various notices and reminders followed by tea/coffee plus some really delicious cakes. Have you tasted banana cake with lumps of the fruit in it - recommended.
Despite the problem, on his return Tony set to, and gave us an entertaining and knowledgeable talk on the gardens of Penshurst Place, where he is Head Gardener. There were bits of history, things that worked and some the did not. We were shown a delightful selection of images including flowers, shrubs and trees. What more could we ask? 
There are bound to be many who will be encouraged to go and look at Penshurst Place for themselves.
It was also time to start off the Monthly Competition. Congratulations to  Joy and Carole who were the joint winners.

Sunday, 25 August 2019


Our next meeting is on Wednesday 4 September in the Red Cross Hall, Oxted,  when we shall be delighted to welcome the Head Gardener at Penshurst Place, Tony Wiseman.
Do come and join us for what is sure to be an interesting and enlightening evening.
Tony writes a series of gardening notes on the Penshurst Place website, which can be viewed here.

Penshurst Place & Gardens and the surrounding estate have stood in the historic village of Penshurst since the 14th century, when the awe-inspiring medieval Baron’s Hall was completed in 1341 as a country retreat for the Lord Mayor of London. The Baron’s Hall, crowned by an original 60ft high chestnut beamed ceiling is an unmissable sight for visitors to the ancestral home of the Sidney family who have taken care of the estate since 1552.
The stately home and gardens were once used as a hunting lodge for King Henry VIII, and now feature opulent staterooms that have been showcased in popular TV and film productions. The Solar, Queen Elizabeth Room and Long Gallery to name but a few, contain a collection of beautiful family portraits from across the centuries, antique furniture, skilfully crafted tapestries and much, much more.

Limpsfield Community Orchard

Helen, centre with the rake, at the orchard, with a gang of helpers.
Summer was celebrated at our July Monthly Meeting on Wednesday 3rd, when we were given a talk by Helen Ellson about the Limpsfield Community Orchard.
What an exciting project this is and how it has developed over the years, to become a very real part of the Community. Whats more it has some well defended, but prosperous looking fruit trees.  Harvest will be a time to treasure.
The evening was rounded off with a glass of Pimm's together with strawberies and ice cream.  All very pleasant and relaxing.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019


Saturday 29 June was the date for our Flower and Produce show and it proved to be the hottest day of 2019 so far.
Whilst we can always do with more entries, we did very well and ended up with a colorful show. Just look at the photos, that give a hint of what could be seen. 
The vegetables looked ready to ready to eat without further preparation. How do the growers do it? The same goes for the fruit classes as well.
As always, the energy of our Chairman Rick, gets us all motivated, and we are grateful to him for all his efforts. It proved very worth while.
RHS judge Geoff Peach made his decisions and commented that, generally, it was encouraging to see such a good number and standard of entries.
Congratulations to all those who came first in a particular class, and to the prize winners, who can be seen below.
The colorful sight on entering the hall

Geoff Peach goes about the judging
Congratulations to Julie Simpson: Judges certificate of merit, best in show
Prize winning scones from Carole McGuire
Val Sampson:- Philip Lawson Rose Bowl for best exhibit of Roses
Carole Wade:- Clayton Cup Best exhibit of Sweet Peas
Rick Meakin:- British Legion Cup most points in Div 2, Vegetables
Peter Wade:- E Strong Cup Most points in Div. 3, fruit classes