30 October 2012

October 2012 meeting.

This month, the speaker was Harry Brickwood, speaking on "Gardens to visit". He is a well known gardener who lives in Rayleigh, Essex. He, and some friends,  have won a gold medal at Chelsea, after a few silvers, with his exhibit called "English Villa Town Garden". There were  250 Clematis plants in it, wound around several trellises. 
The first of his slides went through the months of the year, with spectacular flowers in bloom at that time. My favourite was the Horse Chestnut blossom. A branch had been blown down onto the ground, so he was able to get a close-up shot of it. His favourite flower are peonies, roses and lilies, which he has been growing for 10 years. 
Harry Brickwood with Peter.

The BBC payed a visit to his garden for "Gardeners World" last July. Monty Don interviewed him and it was fascinating to hear him speak of all the work involved in presenting the programme, even down to having to have a radio, a mug of tea and plate of biscuits on a small table for the photographer to film.  They asked him the same ten questions over & over again, so he would be word perfect when the actual clip was filmed.  His wife was also filmed helping out with the hanging baskets, but said there were a lot of tasks she was not allowed to do, especially around his lilies!  He spends about two hours a day, just dead heading them.
Some of his more atmospheric shots were due to some advice he had been given by a friend, and that was "always have a camera with you". He does guided tours, so some of the gardens he showed us were abroad. There were also many a lot closer to home, including Sheffield Park in the Autumn, which was where our last club visit was to (See previous article on this blog).
After his presentation he asked for questions, which he answered. The club will visit his garden sometime in the future.

One of our newer members is Carol Hudson, Peter and she recognised each other. Apparently, they used to work together about 20 years ago, from 1989 to 1993, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Carol worked in Building Services. Isn't it a small world?
Carol Hudson and Peter.

Some of you may have noticed that Jeanette, the lady who collects the subs at the back of the hall near Kathy, was  AWOL during the meeting. It was for a very good reason, the day before she had been made a great grandmother to a beautiful baby girl, called Alexis. She weighed in at a healthy 7 and a half  pounds. Her Mum, Lisa, went to hospital just before 8am, and Alexis was born just before 12 midday.  Didn't she do well?  Needless to say, Jeanette couldn't wait for her first cuddle, so went to visit as soon as they were home from hospital, hence her absence from the club.

One of our members has a recommendation to make regarding a good tradesman, his name is Ray Bond, a qualified electrician. He is based in Havering.  His telephone numbers are:
 0208 599 1851.  Mobile no: 0770 8010 595.
e-mail: ray.bond58@hotmail.co.uk

It was a very busy club night, as well as everything else going on, a list was being passed around by Loretta, for everybody to note down what they will bring to next months "social" meeting. We have a buffet and Peter has booked a singer to entertain us. So as to get a good mix of food, and not end up with all crisps and mince pies, the list was created and members asked to tick off what they would bring. If you could not attend this meeting but will be coming next month, and would like to contribute to the goodies, please contact Kathy . She has the list & will be able to tell you if anything specific is needed.
At the November meeting, the 2013 programme will be distributed.

21 October 2012

Sheffield Park outing. By Hilda.

The October visit to Sheffield Park in Sussex was a great success. The weather was dull but not too cold, and, most importantly,  dry. The day before had been dreadful, pouring with rain all day. The roads were quite misty at first, but we arrived safely.
On route to Sheffield Park we called into Haskins garden centre for refreshments and shopping. The many displays reminded us that the year was drawing to a close, with Halloween and Christmas decorations and items for sale. There was also a Hobbycraft shop in the grounds and several of us spent some of our time in there. 
I thought this sign was quite appropriate:
I thought this was a very appropriate sign.
There were plants galore to purchase, plus all the usual gardening sundries. The cafe was open for refreshments. Here is one of the Christmas displays:
Father Christmas is making an early start!

The gardens, but not the house, at Sheffield Park are owned by the National Trust. Capability Brown designed them, and later, Humphrey Repton was involved in the design, concentrating on trees that showed beautiful Autumn colours around the four lakes. There are 300 acres of parkland to explore. The colours of the trees are spectacular, here are some:
A beautiful red tree.
Around the lakes they were especially spectacular, being reflected in the water:
A double collection of colourful trees.

The view of the massive house across the lakes makes it even more imposing. This was a former Tudor Manor house, built on medieval foundations. It was privately owned until the late 1980's,when it was turned into private apartments.  In addition, some new houses were built to form a courtyard. I wonder how much it costs to live there? I dread to think!
The very imposing house from across a lake. 
There were some of the largest mushrooms (or were they toadstools?) anybody had ever see under the trees all around the garden. Some were bright red, but most were the normal colour. Here is the largest one:
One of many very large mushrooms / toadstools.

As usual, the day passed quickly and it was soon time to wend our way back to the coach. The journey was uneventful until we were on the M25, when traffic slowed to a crawl and one lane was blocked. When we were near to the cause of the problem, it looked as though a herd of cows were making a bid for freedom out of their field. Three huge lorries had pulled up near them, so slowing traffic to protect them, as the consequences would have been catastrophic, both for them and the vehicles on the motorway, had they managed to escape onto the motorway. Men were trying to repair the fence to stop any further escape bids. Here is the scene:
A mass break-out attempt foiled.
After that, the journey went smoothly and we arrived back at Dagenham without further incident. Just as I arrived indoors it started drizzling with rain, so we were really lucky.