Surrey Horticultural Federation Late Autumn 2023 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to the Surrey Horticultural Federation Late Autumn Newsletter!

We’re starting this newsletter with the minutes from the Surrey Horticultural Federation 47th Annual General Meeting…


Minutes of the Meeting held at 2.30pm on Sunday 5th November 2023 at East Horsley Village Hall.

Present:- President Daphne Foulsham, Chairperson Janet Arm, Treasurer/Membership Secretary Katharine Deaville, Quizmaster John Negus, and Council Members: Roy Lomax, Pam Lomax, Nicky Cornell, Barbara Boyse and Paul Yeoman.

Club Representatives: In addition to the above there were a total of 38 club members present, representing the following clubs:- Blechingley, Ewhurst, Hardy Plant Society, Jacobs Well, Lightwater, Plant Heritage, Thursley, Tilford, Wonersh and Worplesdon.

President, Daphne Foulsham gave a welcome to all members and to the clubs who were entering into the quiz, and then Chairperson Janet Arm took the meeting.

1. Apologies for absence: Webmaster and Events Secretary Beth Otway and Vice President Richard Tabor.

2. The Minutes of the 2022 AGM had been circulated, were read, proposed by Wendy Bentall, seconded by Val Brockman, and then signed.

3. Matters Arising. There were none.

4. Yearly Report. Janet read her report for 2023, as follows:-

After three years of postponements and cancellations, this Spring we were delighted to finally host BBC’s Adam Frost, with his talk, ‘Making the most of your Garden’.  The hall was packed to capacity as Adam went through a series of excellent pictures and suggestions on how to look at your soil, the aspect of the garden, and the layers of greenery to build up the overall structure.  He gave us some good suggestions of suitable varieties, and advised us to make a list of just a few good plants.  He also talked about his life in horticulture, going from being thought ‘useless’ at school but then finding out he had to learn latin names at horticultural college – and wondering what the ‘bright lot’ had to do to beat that!  I know those of you who came thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and we had several comments on the lines of, ‘the best talk I have ever been to’.  Let’s hope our next talk which is by Nick Hamilton, son of the late Geoff Hamilton, is as popular!

In July, about 100 members went to ‘Grattons’ at Dunsfold, and enjoyed not only a beautiful garden, but delicious cakes provided by the friends of the owner, Sheri.  I am sorry not more attended, as although this was slightly further away it was well worth a visit.  We had a lovely afternoon and raised £500 for her charity, which was much appreciated.

The SHF is an organisation formed to help clubs keep in touch with one another, and I know that the membership of gardening clubs is getting older, so unless we can encourage the younger people to garden, many of the gardening skills required will be lost.  If your club attracts youngsters, please let Beth know about it, or perhaps send her an article about your club and how you are coping these days.  Beth’s email is

I would like to thank all the President and all the committee for supporting me over the past year, particularly Beth for running the Newsletter and the Website, and Kathy for dealing with all the Membership and the accounts.

5. Treasurers Report

A copy of the audited accounts for the past year was circulated.  Katharine reported that the Federation currently has £7881.41 in hand.  The total Income for the past year was £1,142.00 – made up subscriptions and donations from clubs, and the AGM/Quiz raffle.  Expenditure was £490.80 made up of affiliation fees, hall hire, insurance, quiz costs, newsletters and general expenses.

As the Spring Talk was unable to take place in either 2020 or 2021, the decision had been made with the auditor to create a reserve and after the Adam Frost talk £537.36 was released in September.  The net result was a surplus of £1188.56 for the year.

We were delighted to welcome 3 new member clubs during the year and had a total of 87 member clubs in 2023.  We propose to keep subscriptions unchanged yet again for 2020 (this has been kept for over 20 years now!).  Katharine gave her thanks to auditor John Manches for examining the books for 2022 and advised  us that he is prepared to continue.

The Chairman called for a proposer for the Report – Mel Robertson, and a seconder – Nicky Cornell, and all agreed.
Then for the proposal of John Manches as Auditor. Proposed Barbara Boyce, seconded Nicky Cornell, and agreed.

6. Election of High Officers and Council Members

President Daphne Foulsham said that after the change in high officers in 2021, the three positions of Chairperson, Janet Arm, Treasurer/Membership Secretary, Kathy Deaville, and Webmaster/Events Secretary Beth Otway all still had another year before re-election.  She said it was a pity that Beth was unable to attend any meetings, but thanked her in her absence for the work she does.

Council Members stand for a single year at a time. They are: Anne Bradbeer, Barbara Boyse, Nicky Cornell, Roy Lomax, Pam Lomax, John Negus, Jane Swift, and Paul Yeoman, who had all agree to stand again for a further year.  These were proposed en-bloc by Sandra, seconded by Ann Matheson, and agreed by all.

Janet then commented that Pam and Roy Lomax, who have been on the council for over 20 years, have said that this will be their last year, so next year we will be looking for two new committee members.

7. Future Events, by Janet
We are all looking forward to welcoming Horticulturist, Nick Hamilton as the speaker for our Spring Talk at 2.30pm on Sunday 17th March 2024 which we have confirmed is booked at Normandy Village Hall. Tickets are available here today for this talk and we hope have the hall as full as we had for Adam Frost.

As I said last year, I do hope that we will manage to find someone who is prepared to open their garden for Surrey Horticultural Federation members and who aren’t already open under the National Gardens Scheme.  The problem is often parking, as we can have 100 plus cars on a good day!  If you know of a garden that would fit the bill, please let us know – email  It would be lovely to have a garden nearer the centre or the east of Surrey – surely one of you has got an idea?

I am really sorry that we haven’t got as many teams for our quiz today, but I hope those of you who have not competed before enjoy the experience!  Last year one or two teams weren’t quite sure of the rules, so to make sure you understand the Quiz I thought I would just run through the way it works.

Each team has three members, and each member has their own sheet of paper to record their answers from a selection of four.  The questions are read out, and like in ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ each person can choose which they think is the right answer.  Teams can confer, so if one team member is sure they know the answer, all three can chose the same one, but if no-one is sure then it’s a good idea to choose different answers – and I bet it’s the one that you didn’t choose which is the right one!

8. Any other business.  Janet asked the members present if they liked East Horsley Hall, which they did, and suggested that the next Quiz and AGM should be held at that venue as it was easier to reach from the more easterly clubs.  The talk will for now still be held at Normandy Hall as this is the largest in the area.

Inter Club Quiz

After the AGM, 10 teams took part in the quiz with Quizmaster John Negus.  It was a close fought contest, with most clubs scoring well, and ended with a win for Hardy Plant Society Team 2, in second place were Hardy Plant Society 1, and in third place – Tilford.  The final scores were as follows:-

Hardy Plant Society Southern Counties Team 2 – score: 67 – position: 1st – prize money: £30
Hardy Plant Society Southern Counties Team 1  – score: 65 – position: 2nd – prize money: £20
Tilford Gardening Club – score: 62 – position: 3rd – prize money: £10
Thursley Garden Club – score: 58 – position: 4th
Plant Heritage, Surrey Group (NCCPG) – score: 56 – position: 5th
Ewhurst Horticultural Society – Team 2 – score: 55 – position: 6th
Worplesdon Garden Club – score: 54 position: 7th
Wonersh & District Gardening Club – score: 51 – position: 8th
Ewhurst Horticultural Society – Team 1 score: 45 position: 9th
Jacobs Well – score: 44 position: 10th

The President presented the Quiz Trophy and cheques to winners and runners-up, and audience prizes were handed out.  Thanks were given to all those teams and council members who kindly brought along raffle prizes.

Surrey Horticultural Federation Spring Talk 2024 with Speaker Nick Hamilton

We’re looking forward to welcoming Horticulturist, Nick Hamilton as the speaker for our Spring Talk at 2.30pm on Sunday 17th March 2024 at Normandy Village Hall, Manor Farm, Glaziers Lane, Normandy, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 2DT.

Nick is the son of the late, great, legendary gardener, Geoff Hamilton.  Nick Hamilton developed his passion for gardening, aged 9, when his father purchased a derelict garden centre in Kettering.  He worked with his dad at weekends and during school holidays.  He trained at Writtle College and took a National Diploma course in commercial horticulture. His sandwich year placement sent him to Darby Nursery Stock in Norfolk, one of the largest wholesale container nurseries in the country and they asked him to return for full time employment once his course had ended.  Nick gained valuable experience their and at other nurseries until his father purchased a piece of land, adjacent to Barnsdale, in 1989.  This land formed the nursery and ultimately part of Barnsdale Gardens and Nick worked closely with his father in the family business.

Nick took over the running of Barnsdale Gardens when Geoff died and has developed it into the inspirational garden that it is today, which is not only a credit to a great man but also to Nick’s passion, foresight and hard work.  These inspirational gardens are still run using organic and peat-free principles and are visited annually by about 30,000 people, who range from keen gardeners to non-gardeners with all learning a bit, as well as just enjoying a trip around a beautiful garden.  You will find Nick at Barnsdale on most days, occupying the “hands on” role he so enjoys.

Over the years Nick has also managed to fit in appearances on Gardeners’ World, writing books, being a regular contributor to gardening magazines, talking to gardening groups, W.I’s, etc., contributing to the various Talks Stages at major flower shows, tutoring most of the courses being run at Barnsdale and still getting out and about, displaying in the Great Pavilion at The Chelsea Flower Show, and in the floral marquee at the Gardeners’ World Live Show.  Nick has also been the President of The Cottage Garden Society, a position he took up in 2007.

Tickets for Nick Hamilton’s talk are on sale now – please send a stamped, addressed envelope to Katharine Deaville, 8 Hookley Close, Elstead, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 6JG.  Tickets are £10 each for members of SHF affiliated societies when purchased in advance and £15 each for non-members.  Please make cheques payable to Surrey Horticultural Federation.  If we have any tickets left on the evening of the talk they will be sold for £15 on the door.

Has your club or society recently booked Pamela Holt to give a talk in 2024?

Please could the person who telephoned Pamela Holt on her landline earlier this year requesting her services for 2024, please get in touch using her email The arrangement was written in her diary which was stolen recently along with her wallet and mobile phone – so please get in touch with Pamela.  Thank you.

RHS Lindley Library Events – Collections Up Close

The Collections Up Close tours at the RHS Lindley Library allow community and gardening groups to explore the treasures of the Lindley Library.  A member of the RHS Lindley Library team will share a selection of rare books, botanical artwork and objects from their archives and photographic collections.  The Collections Up Close tours last for an hour.  These events take place at the RHS Lindley Library, 80 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PE.  The closest National Rail and Underground station to the RHS Lindley Library is Victoria station (Circle and District and Victoria lines).

The RHS accept group bookings for their Collections Up Close group tours from any gardening group on Tuesdays and Fridays, throughout the year.  A donation of £3 per head is suggested, but this is at the discretion of the group.  RHS Membership is not required to engage with the Library’s events programme – all are welcome to join the Library’s evening events, tours, and can use the Library space for research and reference.  The benefit of RHS Membership when it comes to the Library is that you can withdraw books.

I attached the RHS Lindley Library’s booking form to my newsletter email.  The booking form contains all of the information about the Collections Up Close group tours, including accessibility information.  There is a maximum number of 24 people for each tour.  Tours need to be booked in advance.  Please direct enquiries to Julia Glen or to

75 Years of the Frensham & Dockenfield Horticultural Society by Neil Mumford

Frensham & Dockenfield Horticultural Society recently celebrated its 75th Anniversary, at the historical medieval house Quinnettes, Churt. After enjoying a celebratory drink in the beautiful gardens, the 50 members and guests enjoyed a wonderful summer lunch before being entertained by Horticultural royalty, and RHS judge Jim Buttress

To celebrate this momentous occasion the society presented each member with a very detailed 150 page book covering the first 75 years of the society’s history, a copy of which is being made available to each member of the society. It includes text, photographs and itinerary of each cup and winners since the society started.

1985 Summer Show


The books states that the first recorded gardening event was held in 1885, ’The Churt and Frensham Cottage Garden Society’.  Initially starting as a vegetable and Flower show it quickly incorporated home industries and as time went by, sports were included such as an egg and spoon race, pole jumping and a costume race. These shows were held in alternative years at Churt and Frensham. Pierrepont, the home of Richard Combe, was the Frensham venue, whereas the Churt venue was either the vicarage meadow or Beefolds, home of the well-known 19th century artist Bryan Hook. The shows continued until the outbreak of Great War in 1914.

Presidents Supper

After World War 2, a committee of 40 individuals in Frensham set up the Frensham Flower show, which was held in both 1946 and 1947. At the beginning of 1948, the Flower Show committee retired, and several keen gardeners got together to form the “Frensham Horticultural and Produce Society” at the Marindin Hall, Frensham on Monday 2nd February 1948. To this day the society is affectionately known by its members as ‘The Hort and Prod”.

The society held their first ever show, on 24th July 1948 and over the years the society has been gifted a number of cups for the shows, now held in the Spring and Autumn. The Summer show was the village event of the year because it not only included Flower, Vegetables and Home Industries but also traditional Fayre stalls such as coconut shy, hit the rat, roll-a-penny, and prize golf, along with regular entertainment from the Royal Navy, Armed forces, and Police dogs.  It went back to its more traditional role as a flower show in the early 1970’s.

75th Anniversary Group

In 1977, the society introduced the very successful President’s supper and apart from the Covid epidemic it has run every year since but is now known as the members supper.   In 2005 and to reflect the growing influence of members from the neighbouring village of Dockenfield, the societies members voted to change its name to Frensham & Dockenfield Horticultural Society in 2005.

The society holds two shows a year which continue to be very popular with members, the Autumn show of 2021 attracted 329 entries from 47 entrants the best for over 40 years.  The society has just over 100 members not just from Frensham and Dockenfield but also from surrounding villages and holds regular monthly meetings with guest speakers, regular garden visits and workshops.

Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Open Gardens

The Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice are once again on the search for unique and interesting gardens to swing open their garden gates to friends, family and our local community in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice next spring and summer.

Do you have a garden others would love to visit and admire or do you know someone who might be interested in opening their garden? Perhaps you could get together with your neighbours and do a group opening to support hospice care in our community?

If you are interested in opening your garden for the Phyllis Tuckwell next year or would like to find out more, please click here.

The Branching Out Fund is now accepting applications

The Branching Out Fund supports applications ranging in value from £250 up to £2,500, with specific criteria for those under £500, and those above £500.

NB: Read the Branching Out Fund’s application guidance before you start to fill in an application.  You’ll find everything you need to know in the guidance, including the types of trees that qualify and recommendations for protection.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 3rd December 2023.

Successful applicants should be notified within five weeks of a completed submission.  Applications under £500 are likely to be processed more quickly.

Sad News

We’ve received the sad news that speaker Russell Bowes has passed away.

Speaker – Nick Turrell

Have you ever wondered why some gardens look more interesting than others?  What’s their secret?  Celebrated gardens all over the world have a few things in common but what are they?  A new talk from BBC Radio and TV garden expert Nick Turrell shows us the secrets of stylish garden design.  If your society is looking for interesting new speakers get in touch with Nick for more details

Nick has worked as the TV garden presenter with Jane Asher on BBC 1 and with Steve Wright in the Afternoon on BBC Radio 2. His award-winning journalism appears in The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The RHS magazine. You can also hear him on BBC Radio Leicester.

Alan Titchmarsh said this about Nick…
Nick’s writing style is original, refreshing and accomplished. Often funny and sparky, his features are strong and interesting while making serious points. Nick is an engaging writer who has written some very enjoyable pieces.”

Speaker Feedback

Has a speaker given a talk to your society over the past few months?  Please share your feedback with the other Surrey Horticultural Federation clubs and societies by emailing me your thoughts, both positive and negative on the speakers you’ve heard – thank you.  My email is

Publicising Your Club or Society’s Events

If your club or society is a fully paid up member of the Surrey Horticultural Federation, I will be delighted to add your society or club’s events to our website. Please email me,  To successfully publicise your event, I need to know:

  • What date your event takes place.
  • What time your event starts.
  • Where your event is held.
  • What type of event you’re holding?  If it’s a talk, please let me know the name of the speaker and their talk title.
  • Finally, I need to know the entrance fee for non-members and visitors.

Do You Have Anything You Would Like Me to Add to the Next Newsletter?

If you are a member of the Surrey Horticultural Federation and you have something you would like me to add to the next newsletter, please contact me, Beth Otway, Website & Events Secretary, my email is

On behalf of our Chairperson Janet Arm, Our Membership Secretary and Treasurer, Katharine Deaville, and all the Surrey Horticultural Federation Council, I’d like to send you our very best wishes for a merry Christmas and a restful winter!

Kind regards

Beth Otway
Website & Events Secretary
Surrey Horticultural Federation

Upcoming Events:

November 2023
Fri 24-Nov-2023 Frensham & Dockenfield Horticultural Society Members’ Supper Frensham & Dockenfield Horticultural Society Ruth Murphy 01252 793267
Fri 24-Nov-2023 Banstead Horticultural Society AGM & Social Evening Banstead Horticultural Society Mrs. Diana Beck 01737-271243
Sat 25-Nov-2023 Aldershot Floral Design Club Annual Show Aldershot Floral Design Club Dee Kelly 01252-350944
Sun 26-Nov-2023 Growing Redhill Merstham Planters Working Party at Merstham Train Station Growing Redhill Karen Murray 01737 903086
Sun 26-Nov-2023 Aldershot Floral Design Club Annual Show Aldershot Floral Design Club Dee Kelly 01252-350944
Tue 28-Nov-2023 The Plight of the Bumblebees: a talk by Peter Smith Newdigate Horticultural Society Susie Smith
December 2023
Fri 1-Dec-2023 Lightwater Gardening Club Members’ Christmas Evening Lightwater Gardening Club Ms. Lynn Bull 01276-502497
Fri 1-Dec-2023 The Twelve Plants of Christmas: a talk by Timothy Walker Woodham & New Haw Horticultural Club Louise Clubley 07843 962421
Sat 2-Dec-2023 Brockham Green Horticultural Society’s Christmas Workshop – make a wreath or table centre piece Brockham Green Horticultural Society Ruth Johnson 01737 842691
Mon 4-Dec-2023 A talk by Jim Arbury, RHS Fruit Specialist Shalford, Peasmarsh and Chilworth Garden Club Rosa Bond 01483 539260
Mon 4-Dec-2023 Brockham Green Horticultural Society’s AGM Brockham Green Horticultural Society Ruth Johnson 01737 842691
Wed 6-Dec-2023 Ashtead Horticultural Society AGM followed by wine, mince pies, and a garden quiz in the Ralli Room Ashtead Horticultural Society Mrs. Jennie Pilfold 01372-373348
Wed 6-Dec-2023 Send Gardening Society AGM & Christmas Party Send Gardening Society Fiona Collett 01483 765730
Wed 6-Dec-2023 Christmas Workshop with Jill Bray Banstead Horticultural Society Mrs. Diana Beck 01737-271243
Wed 6-Dec-2023 Wonersh Garden Club Members Only Christmas Social Wonersh and District Garden Club Mrs. H. Goodridge 01483-535108
Thu 7-Dec-2023 Aldershot Floral Design Club Workshop Aldershot Floral Design Club Dee Kelly 01252-350944
Fri 8-Dec-2023 Froyle Gardening Club AGM Froyle Gardening Club Madeleine Dowding 01420-85530
Mon 11-Dec-2023 Basingstoke Horticultural Society Members-Only Christmas Party Basingstoke Horticultural Society Mr. Philip Wraight 01256-324185
Mon 11-Dec-2023 Talk & Demo on Christmas Decorations with Elizabeth Barralet Elstead Garden Club Mrs. Allison Gravett 01252-703318
Tue 12-Dec-2023 Pirbright Horticultural Society AGM & Social Evening Pirbright Horticultural Society Lucy Baker 01483 481632
Tue 12-Dec-2023 Brightly Shone: a Demonstration by Lucy Ellis The Reigate Flower Club Wendy Jolley 01737-764004
Tue 12-Dec-2023 Worpleson Garden Club Christmas Social Worplesdon Garden Club Tim Bonnert 07708 455096
Wed 13-Dec-2023 What Makes a Great Garden: a talk by Garden Designer, Annie Guilfoyle Grayshott Gardeners Sue Wheeler 07719 457821
Wed 13-Dec-2023 East Grinstead Horticultural Society Christmas Social with a Ukulele Band & a Fun Gardening Quiz! East Grinstead Horticultural Society Helen Gabrielides
Wed 13-Dec-2023 Wallington, Carshalton and Beddington Horticultural Society AGM & Social Evening Wallington, Carshalton and Beddington Horticultural Society Christine Hockham 01243 824726
Wed 13-Dec-2023 Virginia Water Horticultural Society AGM & Social Event Virginia Water Horticultural Society Mrs. Linda Gillham 01932-564839
Thu 14-Dec-2023 Egham Gardens and Allotment Association AGM & Social Evening Egham Gardens and Allotment Association Mrs. Wendy Flight 01932-455910
January 2024
Wed 10-Jan-2024 Planning the Gardening Year East Grinstead Horticultural Society Helen Gabrielides
Wed 17-Jan-2024 Summer Bulbs: a talk by Kevin Tooher Sandhurst & District Gardening Club Julie Sheppard 07711 056 815
Wed 17-Jan-2024 Home and Garden: a talk by Paul Whittle Onslow Village Garden Club Mrs Anne Bradbeer 01483 563421
Thu 18-Jan-2024 The World of Alpines: a talk by Jon Evans New Society Gardening Club (Camberley) Sarah Wesley 07400 850876
Thu 18-Jan-2024 Plant Propagation by Geoff Hawkins Churt Horticultural & Produce Society (CHAPS) Mandy Martin

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