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

“The Rock Garden at Wisley”
Trevor Wiltshire
This Wednesday 12th May, 7.30 pm on Zoom

For thirteen years Trevor was the Superintendent of the rock garden at RHS Wisley, one of Wisley’s oldest, and most magnificent, features.

Details of how to join this meeting have now been sent to all members; if you haven’t received them CLICK HERE

“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 personal favourite, the Cook Islands.
A relaxing view of the botanic delights of many far-flung places, all from the comfort of our own homes!

“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 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.

Read more

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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“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

“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

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


Informal Zoom meetings for members to discuss anything horticultural


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.


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.


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.

Read more

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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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.


Wed 25th November 2019

Mike Kingsford started with a short Christmas quiz.
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’


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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