Spring 2016 Newsletter


  • Sunday 7th August, 2016,
  • BARNETT HILL HOUSE, Blackheath Lane, Wonersh, Guildford GU5 0RF
  • Entry 2.30 – 4.30 pm Cost £6 pp. Teas available

By kind permission of Sundial Venues

On a wooded hilltop with magnificent views, the Queen-Anne style house was built by the grandson of Thomas Cook, and then became the headquarters of the Red Cross. The 26 acres of garden are always evolving and improving, though the buildings, lily ponds and mature trees show how the estate originally looked. Only open one day under the National Gardens Scheme, the gardens will be opened especially for SHF clubs. Wonersh is south of Guildford on the Cranleigh road. As you approach the village from the north, turn left into Blackheath Lane – the signpost says Barnett Hill – and make your way slowly up the narrow lane. At the top of the hill turn right into Barnett Hill House –parking will be marked.

So that we can have an idea of numbers, if club Secretaries could inform the SHF secretary of roughly the number likely to attend this would be a great help!


Normandy Hall had a large audience for our talk by Tom Hart-Dyke, and what an interesting afternoon it was! Tom talked about his plant hunting trip which went from being a perfect day one minute with orchids everywhere, to being captured by a group of young gun-carrying natives and held for 9 months. He described his meals – including parrots, monkeys and tarantulas (apparently a speciality of the forest) – and how they were bitten by every insect going, then he was suddenly released and given all his original paperwork back, including his travellers cheques!

He then went on to tell us about laying out his ‘world garden’ at Lullingstone Castle, and showed some wonderful pictures of plants he has since collected from around the world – though how he dared to go back to South America beats me!

Sorry some of you couldn’t make it because it was Mothers Day – but unfortunately this wasn’t shown in the diary when we booked Tom a year beforehand. Watch this space for next year’s speaker!


The SHF is planning to have a website, and this will be run by our new committee member Beth Otway (who has her own website at www.pumpkinbeth.com)

We need to make sure that your clubs are given publicity without giving out information that you do not want, i.e. Secretaries addresses, so could you please fill in the questionnaire on the last page so that we can go ahead a.s.a.p. The website will also carry details of other specialist societies – full details have been obtained via the RHS – so that you can contact any of them if you wish to, and we hope it will reach new members of the public trying to find garden clubs.


The RHS would like to know if there are any amateur or hobby breeders with a particular area of interest (and hopefully some success) in breeding their specialist plant. They can be at any stage as long as there is some information and plant material which could be followed up. There is a possible project in very early stages as part of the Plants for the Future Initiative which may lead to a feature.

If you are interested, please contact Vanessa Penn direct at the RHS on 01483-226522(Mon-Wed) or by email at vanessapenn@rhs.org.uk

CHARITY OPEN GARDEN – An Afternoon with Chris Beardshaw at Monksfield House

Want to see Chris Beardshaw again? Mark and Kerry Reynolds of Monksfield House, Charles Hill, Tilford, GU10 2AS are opening their lovely 10.5 acre restored garden for an ‘Afternoon Tea with Chris Beardshaw’ on Friday 1st July this year in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice at Farnham. The cost is £35 per person to include tea. The gardens will be open from 12pm, with Tea starting at 2pm then a question and answer session with Chris. There is also a Plant Sale. It is an all ticket event, and tickets are very limited so prebook now on 01252-729446 or go to www.pth.org.uk

If you can’t get to the above, then the gardens will be open the following day under the National Gardens Scheme from 10.30 to 5.30 at £5 pp. There will be Home made Teas and the Plant Sale. All money raised will go to Charity.


These beautiful gardens are a classic example of the work of Gertrude Jekyll, and their Open Days are as follows:

  • Monday 2nd May (Bank Holiday) 2-5 pm. – Look for the blossom trees and bluebells in the Arboretum. The school’s Jazz band will play and there will be a classic car display.
  • Sunday 3rd July 2-5 pm. Enjoy the music of Meridian Winds and a Regency Dancing demonstration in the Hall.
  • Sunday 11th September (Heritage Day) 2-5 pm.The house will also be open this day. Free Admission and Parking.

How to find them: From the A27 at Allington Lane roundabout (by service station) take Townhill Way signposted Bitterne.

After Two Brothers Pub turn right into Atlantic Park View, signposted The Gregg School, and enter grounds via iron gates at end of the road. Website: www.gregg-school-trust.co.uk/greggs/gardens/townhill-park.asp

DATES 2016 – Council Meetings:

Onslow Village Hall (Guildford) Committee Room. May 20th, October 21st and November 25th. If you have anything you would like to raise, contact your local committee member (shown on Membership Card) or the SHF Chairman or Secretary.

AGM AND QUIZ: Normandy Village Hall, Sunday 6th November, 2.30pm


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