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.

Monthly Meetings

“New Plants – the Future for your Garden”
Graham Spencer
This Wednesday 10th March 7.30 pm on Zoom

Based on his wealth of experience in the garden plant market, Graham will give an insight into the new plant development process, followed by an illustrated discussion of some of the new plants that have recently been introduced or are about to be launched through Plants for Europe (created by Graham in 2003 to provide a breeders’ rights service to breeders and growers throughout Europe).

Details of how to join this meeting have now been sent to all members; if you haven’t received them, please contact Margaret Rhodes:

“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


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 Kingsford, 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.

Mike confirmed 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.

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.

“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 2019 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


Wed 25th November 2019

Mike Kingsford started us off with a short Christmas quiz. One answer  had everyone stumped: “pohutukawa” (New Zealand Christmas tree). Everyone then joined in discussions, from dahlias to hibiscus and bluebells to wisteria.

At the end of this enjoyable session it was agreed that we should continue with more ‘Hortitalks’

Previous Monthly Meetings

MARCH 2020

“100 Great Plants for your Garden”
Tom Brown
Preceded by the Spring Flower Competition

Tom’s talk was centred on his choice of plants to enhance the garden for each month of the year. Illustrated by superb photographs, they were based on his time at Parham, before he moved last year to become Head Gardener at
West Dean Gardens.

Tom then outlined some of the projects that are planned, or already under way, at West Dean Gardens and rounded off an inspiring evening by handling members’ questions with aplomb.

Click for a list of plants from Tom’s talk:
100 Great Plants for your Garden


“Dahlias”Nick Gilbert

Nick gave an excellent talk – he knows dahlias very well from his own  experience & communicates this very effectively.
He has appeared on Gardeners’ World, in the national press and on Gardeners’ Question Time.

Nick and his wife run a nursery specialising in dahlias near Romsey: Gilberts Nursery.

He showed examples of the various dahlia classifications and explained all aspects of growing dahlias successfully.
They grow over 400 varieties of dahlia on the production field next to the nursery, which can be viewed from July to October, and also hybridise to get their own new dahlia varieties.

Click for more detailed notes


“Fuchsias”Derek Dexter

2019 ended on a high note – members who braved a miserable December night were rewarded with an excellent talk, their attention held by Derek’s knowledge and love of fuchsias and his sense of humour.
Click for more detailed notes

He gave detailed, clear advice on growing good fuchsias proven from his own experience and certainly transferred some of his enthusiasm for fuchsias to his audience.

Read more

Derek has made his back garden & greenhouse into a mini-nursery where he can indulge his passion for fuchsias, even creating his own hybrids. In spring 30,000 cuttings fill the Tardis-like poly-tunnel he erects inside his greenhouse to maximise heat conservation.
From this very small area he produces show dahlias to compete with success against the “big boys” at national shows, his many prizes including silver-gilt at RHS Hampden Court.

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Unfortunately, the roadmap out of lockdown rules out this popular community event again this year.

So we look forward to seeing you all there again in May 2022.


It seems that the Village Fete will be able to go ahead this year and that we’ll welcome you to the Plant Stall, to emulate 2019’s record sales in support of Lavant community organisations.

Leonardslee Gardens
Cancelled visit 6th May 2020

Click above for a brief tour of part of the gardens as they were when we should have visited, had coronavirus not intervened.

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