All meetings will continue to be held on Zoom for the time being.
Any member unsure about using Zoom should contact either:
MikexKingsford, or
Margaret Rhodes,
who will be only too glad to help.


“Growing Old Fashioned Flowers”
David Standing

Wednesday 9th June, 7.30 pm on Zoom

David’s talk will draw on his many years’ experience as Head Gardener at Gilbert White’s house in Selbourne. This is a really fascinating garden, replicating that of the eighteenth century pioneering  naturalist and filled with contemporaneous plants.

The report will be posted here shortly.


Wednesday 26th May

Here are some of the wide range of photos from members’ gardens – click on any to enlarge

They prompted a lot of discussion: plants flourishing in spite of April and May’s extreme weather, those struggling or lagging behind and those just going their own way. Several recognised the growing acceptance of self-seeders in their garden, especially at this time of year: hellebores, forget-me-nots (blue, white & pink) and “wild” flowers, such as buttercups and campions, red, white & bladder.

The new foliage of the Acer ‘Brilliantissimum‘ was quite striking: opening as a coppery pink, then turning gold, before turning towards green.

“The Rock Garden at Wisley”
Trevor Wiltshire

Wednesday 12th May

An excellent talk based on Trevor’s 13 years as Superintendent of the rock garden at RHS Wisley.
He showed some of its history and development, including views into the ingenious engineering literally hidden within, particularly the planning and execution of the new Japanese-inspired waterfall, a focal point of the rock garden.

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Trevor’s engineering background were essential to this major project, which included building a new temporary road to bring a giant crane to the heart of the rock garden to put 3-4 tonne blocks of sandstone in position. He had managed to find these in Skelmersdale, to match the existing stone of the rock garden, as the original quarry in East Grinstead had long since closed.

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His presentation covered not only the rock garden itself but the ponds and channels at its base, as well as the alpine houses, covering both display and propagation: deep sand plunge beds to provide the best environment for the alpines in their terracotta pots; external walls built of tufa to provide a natural setting for the plants.

Trevor had provided a plant list – a great help in following his descriptions of the plants and how to grow them.

He has a passion for cyclamen, for which he is international registrar; he subsequently provided his own extensive review of the species:
“Cyclamen, by Trevor Wiltshire”.
For those interested in taking this further he recommended
The Cyclamen Society
and also the website


Wednesday 28th April

Our latest informal Zoom meeting opened with photos from members’ gardens.

Click any photo to enlarge

Discussions covered many aspects of the garden, before focussing on the plight of Crocus tommasinianus. It is nigh impossible to source this delicate early crocus (rather than derivatives such as ‘Ruby Giant‘), as its propagation is too labour intensive to be commercially viable. However, one member offered bulbs and seeds that had built up in her garden, prompting a lot of interest.

“Around the World in 74 Days”
Brian Wickenden

Wednesday 14th April

Brian gave us a whistle-stop tour of the exotic plants and locations of numerous regions of the world. It was amazing that so many were included in one evening’s talk: Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Caribbean, Brazil, Hawaii, both islands of New Zealand, a tour of Australia, not to forget Brian’s favourite, the Cook Islands.
A relaxing view of the botanic delights of many far-flung places, all from the comfort of our own homes!


Wednesday 24th March

Chairman, Mike Kingsford, presented the results of the Spring Flower Competition, and also photos from members’ gardens, some of which are shown below.

As part of a was a wide-ranging discussion about the garden at the moment, most people agreed that it was a good year for camellias, as evidenced by several photos. An incidence of poor flowering in pots may have been due to them getting too dry last summer. The compost should be kept moist to avoid inhibiting bud development in late summer.

“New Plants – the Future for your Garden”
Graham Spencer
Wednesday 10th March

Since 2003 Graham has been working closely through his own company Plants for Europe with breeders & growers throughout Europe and beyond, basically taking new cultivars from breeding through plant variety rights and growing to market introduction.
His very clear presentation gave us an insight into the various stages of this process and the factors that influence them.
Where do new plants come from?

Graham used the examples of many plants introduced by Plants for Europe to illustrate these points.
List of plants

We’ll now be looking at new plants in garden centres in a different light.

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Whilst Graham works with breeders from as far afield as the USA and Australia, it was remarkable to see how many successful breeders there are close to us in West Sussex.

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Wed 24th February on Zoom

There was a good attendance at the latest of our informal Zoom sessions for members to discuss anything about plants &  garden.

Chairman, Mike Kingsfordconfirmed that the recently announced roadmap out of lockdown would rule out the annual plant sale planned for May. However, if it remains on course the Annual Flower Show could go ahead, and he encouraged everyone to start growing for it – the Schedule (for vegetables and flowers) will be the same as 2019.
Barring changes to the roadmap, the Buffet Supper in July should be possible.

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Mike shared photos from several members’ gardens, including spring bulbs in bloom as well as various hellebores. Of particular note was Christmas box, Sarcococca, evergreen and covered at this time of year with very small, but extremely fragrant, white flowers.

This was followed by lively discussions on a wide range of topics: dividing perennials, pruning roses, sourcing biological pest controls and many more.

An interesting & enjoyable evening.

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“Alstroemeria & other UK Cut Flowers”
Ben Cross
Wednesday 10th February

Ben is a fourth generation grower at Crosslands Nursery, Walberton and used Zoom to give his talk live from one of the glasshouses full of alstroemeria. As well as explaining the commercial production of alstroemeria, he gave a lot of useful advice for growing them in the garden – for details, see the notes.

Ben is very active in promoting British cut flowers; he gave us insights into the advantages for both the environment and flower quality, of locally grown flowers, compared with those imported from distant lands that have taken over the UK market.

Notes from Ben’s talk

“Helping the Honey Bee”
Darren Lerigo
Wednesday 13th January on Zoom

Darren, with 20 years experience as professional gardener and topiarist, strongly believes that a garden should help the honeybee.

His talk centred around the plants that could be used to make the garden more attractive to bees. It was not only informative but, thanks to his engaging style, very enjoyable. He kept members on their toes by having them vote in several short quizzes linked to points he was making.
Click below for plants mentioned.

Plants to Help the Bee


Wed 27th January on Zoom

It was good to meet up with other members again, albeit on Zoom, and to welcome new ones. We discussed a range of horticultural topics, many concerning the new sowing season that is getting underway.

As there is no prospect of any physical meeting in March or April, a proposal was made to hold a virtual Spring Flower Show on the website; members would send in photos of their entries – winners would be then decided by members’ votes. This was greeted with enthusiasm.

“Creating a Garden for every Season”
Adam Pasco

Wednesday 2nd December 2020 on Zoom

A good number of members joined this Zoom meeting to hear an excellent talk. Adam’s many years’ experience as a leading horticultural journalist, including 23 years editing BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, shone through, not only in his wide ranging knowledge, but also in his well illustrated presentation.

He set out 10 points for achieving colour & interest throughout the year, with many examples of plants to use, and showed the effects as displayed in some renowned gardens.
He then introduced the concept of star plants for every month of the year, again with many examples.
A superb talk full of ideas worth following up.

Plants mentioned


This popular community event has been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions again this year.

So we look forward to welcoming you all back again in May 2022.


With coronavirus restrictions ruling out the Lavant Village Fete for the second year, we shall have to wait until 2022 to welcome you to the Plant Stall.


Wed 28th September

Although the trip to Leonardslee in 2020 had to be cancelled, our visit to Wisley is looking good.

Further details will be posted here in due course.

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