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Saturday 22nd June 2024

An excellent meeting this week with our speaker David Friar, Chairman of the Ipswich Bonsai Society.  I think we were all surprised just how totally engrossed we were in what he was saying and demonstrating.

I think a number of our members will be going to the East Anglian Bonsai Show at the Kesgrave Community Centre on 1st September.  

Admission: £4.00, 10:00am – 3:30pm. See

Tuesday 4th June 2024 – Spring Weather

The report of the Spring Weather has now been added to the website. 

A disappointing Spring so far as gardeners were concerned.  Very good for weeds and slugs – not so good for young tender seedlings!

Saturday 18th May 2024

The programme of Club events for the year is now complete and the traditional Programme Cards are now available from the Membership Secretary.

The Programme has been updated on the website.

Friday 17th May 2024 – The Plant Sale

The Plant Sale was a great success.  Some really excellent plants (thanks to our members) and a lot of sales on the night.

See here soon for a total of the money raised.

Since then plant selling as continued at the roadside in the Village and this has brought us an extra income.  Well done to all concerned!

Thursday  22nd March 2024

The AGM was well attended and the discussion groups afterwards were quite lively.  As well as agreeing the Classes for the Autumn Show 2024, it was agreed to increase the membership fees for 2025 and beyond.  The cost of good speakers and the hire costs of the Village Hall are ever increasing and a modest rise in fees now could off-set the need for a much larger rise later.  The new costs can be found on the Membership page of the website.

Monday 11th March 2024 – Winter Weather

The report of the Winter Weather has now been added to the website. 

The winter has been wet, but was February remarkable so over the whole of southern England.  This report makes an interesting contrast with the report for Winter 2023 when we had a notably dry February!

Thursday  22nd February 2024

We had an excellent Zoom talk last week from Martin Fish and his wife, Jill.  He concentrated on the growing of edibles in the garden and she followed up with cookery ideas and advice.  It all made for a very pleasant and enjoyable evening with  about 30 members doing in.

Jill recipes and ideas will be circulated to all members this week.

Saturday 20th January 2024 – January Meeting

Our January meeting was on Zoom and about 25 members were able to join us for an excellent (not to say inspiring) talk from Marcus Chilton-Jones, the Curator of RHS Garden Bridgewater.  He talked about the origins of the garden, but also about where they were planning to take it with an emphasis on conservation, biodiversity and inclusiveness.

We all felt an immediate desire to visit the garden as soon as possible.  What a shame that it is so far from Wickham Market!

The fee charged by the RHS for this talk was rather high and we were pleased to welcome a couple of paying guests.  We would have been happy to have welcomed more!

There were a few technical problems which will need sorting out before next month.  The problem seems to be that whenever software is updated something stops working!

Saturday  13th January 2024

The weather summary report for 2023 has now been added to the weather page of the website.  The Met Office  ‘anomaly map’ shown here gives a very good impression of just how wet October was on the eastern side of the country.

Monday 4th December 2023 – The Autumn Weather Report

The Autumn weather report for Wickham Market (September, October and November) has now been added to the website.  You’ll find it on our Weather Page.

It includes details off the exceptional rain that fell on Wickham in October and caused such damaging flooding in the lower part of the village.

Friday  30th November

Our November speaker was Sonya Burrows who gave us a fascinating talk about  ‘Flowers and Bulbs through the Year’.  

She told us, and showed some excellent slides of flowering bulbs, corms and rhizomes together with a good deal of information about origins and growing conditions.  An excellent speaker and a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday 30th September 2023 – The Summer Weather Report

The Summer weather report for Wickham Market (June, July and August) has now been added to the website.  You’ll find it on our Weather Page.

Tuesday 11th September 2023 – Autumn Show

A very good Autumn Show again this year.  Following a rather hot week, we had a very hot weekend!  However, we did our best to keep the hall cool – the exhibits and the visitors survived the heat very well.

We had just over 300 entries, which is a tribute to our members after the variable weather during the growing period this year.

It was Roger Webb’s ‘Collection of Vegetables’, Class 173, that was judged ‘Best in Show’.  Alan Youngman came a close second in that Class

There were a host of other excellent exhibits.  You’ll find a summary of the results on the Autumn Show page.

 Monday 11th September 2023 – John Caley

 It is with much regret that we report the recent  death of John Caley, one of the founder  members of the Club.  John had the unique  distinction of having exhibited at every Autumn  Show that the Club has held. He was awarded  numerous trophies  and awards over the years.  We included a tribute to him in our Autumn  Show this year.

Tuesday 22nd August 2023 – Summer Garden Party

Over 30 members came together on 17th August to celebrate the Club’s Summer Garden Party.  The weather was clement and a good sociable time was had by all.

Much thanks to Simon and Barbara who provided the venue and prepared some excellent food!

Thursday 20th July 2023 – Visit to Peter Beales Roses

Today 18 members of the Club visited Peter Beales Roses at Attleborough in Norfolk.  We had arrange to car share to save cost (and to help save the planet!).  We very much enjoyed a talk given by Simon White (our speaker in November 2022) together with coffee and cake and then a conducted tour of the Rose Garden.

As is inevitable on such occasions a good number of plants from the nursery came home with us!

Thursday 13th July 2023 – Spring Weather report

The Spring weather report has now been added to the Weather Page of the website.

What began cool and wet ended warm and very dry.  Not ideal Spring growing conditions!

Thursday 18th April 2023 – Autumn Show -Website Updated

The Club Website has now been updated to reflect the  changes to the Show Schedule for 2023 that were agreed at the AGM in March.

Wednesday 1st March 2023 – Weather Report for the Winter Quarter 2022/23

The weather report for the winter quarter (December, January and February) is now available of the weather page of the website.

The anomaly map here shows that we have had another relatively dry winter and February was particularly dry.

You can go to the weather report directly here.

Thursday 19th January 2023 – The January Meeting

Our speaker, via Zoom, in January was Caroline Halfpenny from an organisation called “All Growth Matters”.  He topic “Plants for Health and Healing” gave us a lot of insight into the potential healing qualities of a number of garden plants (and garden weeds) that most of us have in our gardens.

She will be sending copies of her slides, which will be circulated to Members.

About 32 Members took part in the Zoom meeting, on what proved to be a very cold evening, when many of them might not have ventured out to the Village Hall.  It was also good to see some of our members who for various reasons always find it difficult to get to meetings.

Thursday 5th January 2023 – The Weather Report for 2022

2022 was a strange year – but don’t gardeners say that about every year?

It was a very sunny year.  July and August were exceptionally sunny and hot, but the cold snap in December was a sharp reminder of how cold our winters can be. 

The local weather report for 2022 can now be found on our weather page.

Thursday 5th January 2023 – Christmas Quiz

Our Christmas Quiz was a great success and was hotly contested by six teams in the Village Hall on 15th December.  Fizz and mince pies, etc was enjoyed by all.

As an innovation the Quiz questions were offered on-line to any members who had not been able to attend in person.  This proved surprisingly popular with 16 requests for copies.  The answers were sent out a week later!

This is something that we will certainly consider doing again.

Thursday 1st December 2022 – The Autumn Weather Report

The Autumn weather report (September, October and November) for Wickham Market has now been added to the website.  You’ll find it on the Weather tab.

(The Met Office forecast maps were updated in October and now show much more detail as well as longer forecasts.  They’re available on the website (here) or on the phone App.

Monday 28th November 2022 – Rose Growing made Easy

Our speaker for November was Simon White from Peter Beale’s Roses in Attleborough, who was originally scheduled to speak to us in April of this year.  He is the Garden Centre Manager at Attleborough and has over 39 year’s experience in growing roses.

Today Peter Beale’s Roses list over 1100 different varieties of which 250 are unique to them. See:

Simon talked with great enthusiasm about planting, feeding, pruning and disease control to get the very  best from them.  It was very good to once again see so many members together in the Village Hall.

Thursday 3rd November – the October Meeting

Our speaker for October was Roger Hance, an award winning photographer, who gave us an interesting talk about ‘Wild Flowers and Orchids of the Countryside’ accompanied by some of his excellent photographs.

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Saturday 8th October 2022 – An exceptionally dry Summer quarter

The Summer Weather Report for Wickham Market has now been added to the website.  A period of high temperatures and low rainfall!

You’ll find the link on the Weather Tab.

Thursday 6th October 2022 – The Autumn Show

 The Autumn Show on the 10th and 11th September went very well  We had over 200 entries, not as many as in a normal year, but it had been anything but a normal year.  Firstly we had the after-effects of the COVID restrictions and then a summer of heat and drought that did our gardens no good at all.  The flowers were the most effected, but there was a very good entry in the vegetable classes.

The list of Award and Trophy winners, and the results of Class 177 (Potato in a Bucket) are now available on the Results page of the website

Tuesday 6th September 2022 – Summer Garden party

The Summer garden party on the 18th  August was a great success.  About 30 Club members attended on a warm summer evening and enjoyed some good food and wine.

Thursday 21st July 2022 – The Beth Chatto Garden

14 members of the Garden Club made the visit to the Beth Chatto Garden on 21st July.  The garden was looking very dry (not surprisingly!), but still very colourful and always interesting.  A walk around the sales area is bound to show you something new and exciting.

It was a lovely warm, but not hot, day and a very good time was had by all.

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Thursday 15th July 2022 – Our June Speaker

Our speaker for June’s be Jim Payne, from Walnut Tree Nursery  in Attleborough.  His topic was be a ‘Botanic Gardens – a Grand Tour’.

He gave us a fascinating talk, illustrated with some excellent photographs, which highlighted not just the considerable number of botanic gardens and their fascinating variations, but the degree to which they co-operate internationally to protect and preserve species across the world

The picture shows the Cambridge Botanic Garden. 

Thursday 2nd June 2022 – The Plant Sale

 The Plant Sale which began on  19th May has been a great success with over £300 raised so far – and a few plants still left for sale.  This is not quite as much as we might have made at a Plant Sale in the Village Hall, but it is still a great credit to all our members who took part and/or provided plants.

We must hope that next year we will be able to return to the Hall.

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Thursday 2nd June 2022 – Sand Storms and Unusual Clouds

The Spring Weather Report for Wickham Market has now been added to the website.

You’ll find the link on the Weather Tab.

Tuesday 26th April 2022 – Ann Pepper

 After almost 40 years as a member of the Gardening Club Committee, Ann Pepper has decided that this is the time for her retirement.  On Sunday the Committee  presented her with a card and a bouquet in thanks for her long service stretching back to 1985.  She has been an invaluable link to the original founders of the Club and to many of our regular exhibitors in the early shows.

The picture shows Ann trying out a (brand new) mobility scooter at Hyde Hall on a Garden Club visit in July 2017


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Monday 25th April 2022 – Oh, what a shame!

Our April meeting was disappointing to say the least.  Not only was the audience very small (don’t people want to come out to face-to face events?), but the speaker forgot to come!

This was a great shame because the subject was attractive: ‘Rose growing made easy’, and our speaker Simon White from Peter Beales Roses was intending to bring some stock with him for sale on the night.

We will have to see if an alternative date can be arranged.

Teuesday 8th March 2022 – Winter Weather Report

The Wickham Market weather report of the Winter Quarter has now been added to the website.  You’ll find it on the Weather tab.

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Monday 1st March 2022 – Our February Speaker

Catherine Horwood, our February speaker, gave us a fascinating account of the life and achievements of Beth Chatto.  She came from humble origins and rose to eminence in the horticultural field, but her life was fascinating in other ways as well.

Catherine has written the definitive biography of Beth and for thismhad access to Beth’s diaries.  You’re going to have to read it for yourself!

Thursday 20th January 2022 – Our January Speaker

Our speaker for January was Sally Morgan from Somerset.  who gave us a fascinating talk on the likely impact of Climate Change on our gardens and our choice of plants. There will be a more extensive report in the February edition of Rake’s Progress.

This was an excellent example of the way in which Zoom allows us to use quality speakers from around the country (or indeed, the world!)

You can find more about Sally at:

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Monday 10th January 2022 -Weather Report for 2021

The Annual Weather Summary for 2021 is now available on our Weather page.

2021 was a notably dull year very short of sunshine!  Let’s hope for a better 2022.

Monday 10th January 2022 – The Christmas Quiz

In the light of increasing COVID infection rates locally we felt that we have no choice but to transfer our Christmas Quiz to Zoom.  In the event almost 30 members were able to take part.

We’re grateful to John Laughlin for setting the questions that gave us a good mixture of Christmas and Gardening themes.

What hope that next year we can meet for a ‘real’  Christmas Quiz?

Thursday 9th December 2021 – Autumn Weather

The Autumn Weather overall was close to the 10-year averages, but within that there was much of interest.

The Autumn Weather report for 2021 is now available on the Weather page of the website.

Thursday 9th December 2021 – November Meeting

Our ‘live’ speaker in November was Jamie Blake, the Head Gardiner, from Bressingham Gardens.  He gave us a fascinating talk about the life and horticultural career of Alan Bloom who established the Bressingham Gardens.

It was a life full of action and innovation (and included a fascination for the preservation of steam engines!).

It was disappointing (not to say embarrassing) – that so few members attended – just 17.  Amid the changing Covid rules it makes one question whether we have to make a return to Zoom

Thursday 9th December 2021 – Our October Speaker

Our speaker for October was  Susanna Sharman and her topic was‘Container Gardening’.  Although she is a well experienced lecturer and trainer, we were a little disappointed that very few of those present felt that they came away with any extra knowledge or inspiration.

Far more important was that this was our first ‘live’ meeting in the Village Hall since February 2020.  It was good to be back together again, even if numbers attending were a bit limited.

Monday 13th September 2021 – The Autumn Show

Our, slightly restricted, Autumn Show was a great success.  We had 220 entries in 77 classes, and many exhibits of the very highest quality.

The Bucket of Potatoes completion saw 16 entries, but the crops were rather poor.  The winning bucket had just 4 lb 2 oz.  This compares with over 12 lb in 2019!  Was this the choice of variety (Bonnie) or was it a result of the very strange growing season that we had this year?

A full set of results will be published in the next edition of Rake’s Progress.

Saturday 4th September 2021 – Our Summer Weather

The Summer weather report for Wickham Market has now been added to the website.  

It was a summer notable for its lack of sunshine and its excess of chilly northerly winds!  See our Weather page.


Tuesday 3rd August 2021 – Show Schedule 2021 sent for printing

Final editing of the Autumn Show Schedule for 2021 is now complete.  It will be printed and collated within the next few days and then the printed version will be available in the village by early next week.

The full version of the text, and a copy of the entry form, can already be found on this website.

Saturday 31st July 2021 – Our Social Gathering

About 30 members came together in Dick & Penny’s garden on Thursday on 22nd July for our social evening.  Refreshmants were taken and wine was drunk, in fact a good time was had by all.  It was wonderful to feel that we were really back together again (if still socially distanced!)

Friday 4th July 2021 – Plant Sale – final total

The final total for the plant sale was £442.23. A outstanding amount!  Much thanks again to Penny for organising the sale and to all all those members who donated plants.

Sunday 20th June 2021 – Report of the June Meeting

Fascinating talk (via Zoom) by Dr Ian Bedford on Thursday evening.  Who knew that wasps could be so varied and so useful in the garden.  Ian’s enthusiasm is infectious and I am sure that we’ll all view wasps in a under light in future!

Friday 4th June 2021 – Plant Sale

Our street-side Plant Sale which has been going throughout May is now coming to an end.

Over £300 has been raised for Club funds.  A wonderful achievement!  Much thanks to Penny for organising the sale and congratulations to all all those members who donated plant to sell.

Friday 4th June 2021 – The June Committee Meeting

Just to report that the members of the Gardening Club Committee met yesterday evening.  Their  first meeting (other than via Zoom) since March 2020!

It was a pleasant, warm evening allowing us to come together outside – socially distanced, of course!

Friday 4th June 2021 – Spring Weather Report

It really wasn’t the best of Springs for the garden!  For the most part rather chilly with a lot of frost and occasional strong winds.  Many plants were certainly 2-3 weeks late coming into growth.

You can read all about it on our Weather page.

Sunday 23rd May 2021 – Garden Visit Aldeburgh

About 30 members of the Gardening Club enjoyed a visit to the garden of Heron House in Aldeburgh on Friday afternoon.  The garden was open for a private club visit, but under the Nation Garden Scheme.

The weather was awful for garden viewing – rain and very strong winds – but it was a very enjoyable occasion.  A varied and interesting garden and the first opportunity for Club members to get together (socially distanced, of course) for over a year.

Thursday 20th May 2021 – May Speaker

Our speaker in May, Mick Poultney, gave us a fascinating introduction to ‘No Dig Gardening’.  The deep raised beds on his allotment – and the giant vegetables that he is able to grow there – were something to behold.

Mick is very active on You Tube and you’ll find him easily at:

Mick Poultney – YouTube › user › mickpoultney

Monday 11th May 2021 – Back to face-to-face meetings?

With the gradual lifting of COVID restrictions the Committee is starting to look at the possibilities of face-to-face meetings again.  We are wondering about the practicality of a social  meeting (outside and suitably cautious, of course) in August.  As they say “watch this space” for more information.

So far we have not planned any events beyond the Autumn Show in September.

Saturday 17th April 2021 – New Website goes live!

BT having been hosting the Gardening Club website for a number of years as a free Community service for local non-commercial groups.  We are very grateful to them for this.

However this service be will terminated on 24th May and the old website will then be deleted.

Saturday 17th April 2021 – Report of the April Meeting

John Laughlin gave us a fascinating walk on growing tomatoes.  He told us a little of tomatoes history and about commercial growing methods (old and modern), but he told us a lot about growing tomatoes for amateurs. Really interesting stuff! He told us that one of the major new developments in the world of tomatoes is to have grafted plants.  This allows good varieties to be grafted onto strong rootstocks giving much healthier plants and heavier crops. You can even graft a tomato onto a potato rootstock!

Tuesday 13th April 2021 – Potatoes now ready for collection

As reported in the April edition of Rake’s Progress, seed potatoes for entry in Class 177 of the Autumn Show are now ready for collection.

You’ll find all the rules of the competition on the Autumn Show pages of the website.


Friday 19th March 2021 – The March Meeting

Our speaker for March (via Zoom) was Doug Stewart who gave us a fascinating talk about the Chelsea Flower Show.  He has a real ‘insiders’ knowledge and it all made for a most enjoyable evening.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 – Winter Weather Report 2021

The Winter Weather report for Wickham Market has now been completed and added to the Local Weather page – and what a dull, damp winter it was.  Not to mention a lot more snow than we have had locally for many a year!

You can go directly to the report by clicking the image on the left.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 – Potato in a Bucket Competition

Whatever kind of Autumn Show we are able to have this year, the Committee has decided that there will be a Potato in a Bucket Competition (Autumn Show – Class 177).  Seed potatoes have been purchased and are currently happily chitting ready for distribution later in the Spring.  

We’ll sort out detailed arrangements later, but it looks as if you will need to collect your potato from the Chairman’s house during April.  Details will be confirmed in Rake’s Progress.

June Meeting, Thursday 16th June 2022

Our speaker for June, 7.30 pm in the Village Hall, will be Jim Payne, from Walnut Tree Nursery  in Attleborough.  His topic will be a ‘Botanic Gardens – a Grand Tour’.

The picture shows the Cambridge Botanic Garden. 

Visitors are always welcome and we do not make a charge for a first or second visit.  Do come alone and see what the Club has to offer.

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