Surrey Horticultural Federation Autumn Newsletter 2020


As I am sure you have all gathered by now, we are unable to hold our yearly AGM and Quiz because of the COVID-19 restrictions.  Normandy Hall is listed as a COVID secure hall, but even with all tables and chairs spaced there is no way we would be able to safely make room for teams for a quiz, or even for an AGM.

Therefore, this year everything will be either sent out by email or post.  First, an Agenda – see below in case anyone wishes to raise a question – and then next month full reports, election of officers, and the Accounts.  We will then ask each club to return a form voting for these reports, and confirmation of their membership.


We do hope that in 2021 there will be a let up of the corona virus, and we will be able to hold
on Thursday 25th March 2021 but at 2.30 pm not 7.30 pm
at Normandy Village Hall.

If you bought tickets for the cancelled talk this March, please hold on to them, as they will be valid for Adam’s talk; please note amended date and time.  If you are not able to attend, please return tickets to Secretary Janet Arm for a refund, as we do have a waiting list for spare tickets.

As to the cancelled Garden Visits, it seems as if the SHF will be invited back to both in 2021!


About the last thing the SHF did before lockdown was to help the clubs in the East Surrey area try and set up a link to each other, with the aim of talking about their main successes (or problems) and how they may be able to help each other.   This was chaired by the SHF Chairman, Richard Tabor, and was a very interesting meeting.

If you are in this region of the county and want to know more, please contact Debbie Fox, Secretary of Growing Redhill ( who will be able to give you further details.


What has your club managed to do this year?  Here are some updates from some of our clubs-


(Thanks to Sue Stranger for this report)

Ripley and District Horticultural Society joined in the RHS’s Big Soup Share by making and distributing home-made soup at the local Farmers’ Market. We had two varieties – Spicy Pumpkin & Red Pepper and Tomato & Courgette – both made with home-grown produce. We printed out the recipes for people to take away with them and also gave out information about the Society.

Our stall also included produce from our members’ gardens and allotments. We had cooking apples, pears, tomatoes, turnips, beetroot, quinces, fresh flowers and herbs, and a mountain of fresh walnuts. And we had packets of seed that we had collected from our gardens – sunflowers, poppies, morning glory, runner beans and pumpkin.

It was a very enjoyable morning and visitors to the stall seemed delighted with it. They were very complimentary about the soup and were pleased to be able to buy such very local produce. It was a great opportunity to meet up with some of our members and talk to other people about the Society and our activities under normal circumstances. Some of the proceeds of the donations we received for the soup will be given to the Ripley Parish Council to help pay for the Christmas lights which adorn the village in December.

The Society also held an Annual Show in August – much reduced to comply with social distancing. Normally we have six main categories – vegetables, fruit, flowers, floral arrangements, home-crafts and photography. This year, in order to space the exhibits out more we only had vegetables, fruit and flowers. We also did away with the normal entry fees and did not award monetary prizes which no one seemed to mind. We had quite a spectacular Show with possibly more entries than usual, especially flowers and plants. The members really appreciated that we had made the effort – ‘it was lovely to do something normal’.

TILFORD GARDENING CLUB (SHF Secretary Janet’s club.)

In the Spring we had a Virtual Show with a limited number of classes. Members sent in pictures of their bulbs, but show Judge Nicky Cornell said it was very difficult to choose winners just from photographs. In the Summer we held a Mini Show at our nursery, with again a limited number of classes, and all produce and flowers were packed up after the show and sent to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice for the nurses and carers, which they much appreciated.

In September we decided to hold the full show in the greenhouses and had one of the best shows for a long time, with
24 members putting up 135 excellent exhibits of flowers, fruit and vegetables! At the end of the Show, another big box of fruit and vegetables and 2 bucketfuls of flowers were taken to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice for the staff – they couldn’t believe the size of the carrots!


We were very pleased with the participation of our members in our first ever Virtual Summer Show, with 100 entries from 20 entrants and we held the Autumn Show in the same way.

The good news is that the Chris Beardshaw Talk has been re-scheduled for Thursday 22nd April 2021 in the Village Hall. Your tickets will be valid for this new date. We are hopeful that normality will have returned by then!


During the pandemic, Plant Heritage Surrey Group has been holding talks via Zoom – and their next one is as follows:

Thursday November 12th 2020 – Timothy Walker, on Paradise Lost and Restored: 400 years of garden design in Oxfordshire.
If you are interested in joining this talk, please contact Chairman David Ford at or Wendy Bentall 01276-858256 or


With the cancellation of the Spring Show, and the difficulties of getting new committee members, the club has sadly had to take the decision to disband. They do hope that other club members will continue to take an interest in this subject.


We have received revised dates for the early shows the RHS hope to put on in 2021. Tickets are going on sale for all major shows at the end of this month (RHS Members 26 October, Public 30th)

Malvern Spring Festival – Wednesday 5th May – 9th May
The Malvern Spring Festival will run for an additional day opening on Wednesday 5 May. Access for visitors will be spilt on show open days into mornings (8am to 1pm) and afternoons (2pm to 7pm) with an hour’s site clean-up between 1pm and 2pm. The Floral Marquee will be replaced by an open air Specialist Nurseries Arena.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 will run over six days instead of the usual five, which will see a reduction of numbers in ground each day and overall. The change to the dates will mean the following changes (in bold) to show opening:
Monday 17 May – Press, Private View and Charity Gala Preview: 8am – 9pm
Tuesday 18 May and Wednesday 19th May – Members: 8am – 8pm
Thursday 20 May and Friday 21st May – Public: 8am – 8pm
Saturday 22 May – Public: 8am – 8pm
Sunday 23 May – Public: 8am – 5pm


Have you got an actual or virtual event coming up that you would like to advertise to other clubs within the SHF?  Please send Beth Otway, our web manager, the full details of your event.

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