Bretforton Garden Club
Bretforton Garden Club

Bretforton Garden Club Newsletter

May Meeting

Considering the awful weather on Thursday night we had a very good turnout.


Mike reminded us all that Open Gardens is rapidly approaching and we needed more volunteers on the day. He also mentioned what a great day we all had on our first outing to Moreton Hall Gardens and Whitlenge Gardens on May 4th. The Speaker for the evening was Andy Pedrick talking about Propagation. A local man living in Badsey Andy learnt his trade at Pershore Horticultural College. He gave us an amusing insight into taking cuttings, with demonstrations on ,rooting powder, size of cuttings and pots. One interesting tip was to cut the bottom off a 2ltr pop bottle and place over the cutting, it mists up inside and when it clears the cutting needs watering!. Andy believes you should achieve an 80% success rate if you propagate well. Many members had a go at taking cuttings and went home clutching their pots.


There is no meeting in June  as our Open Gardens is on the 2nd,we are all hoping for a lovely day so everyone can come and enjoy the wonderful variety of gardens around the village.


For more information on Open Gardens and our club please contact


Barbara Jenman 01789720514 or check out the website

March Meeting

Mike welcomed everyone to the meeting, and announced that the trip to Kew Gardens last Saturday was a huge success. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent Orchid display and a walk  around the extensive grounds. He also reminded us  about the Inter-Village Quiz on March 20th at Willersley Village Hall.   


Our speaker was Marion Stainton talking about:


"Raised Bed Vegetable Growing".     


She began by asking "Why raised beds," then answered in detail. Good drainage, increased soil temperature, easier access which reduces damage to soil structure resulting in higher yields. Plus the added convenience of building the bed where you want it at the height best for you. Marion showed us several types of raised beds, from breeze blocks, glass bottles and straw bales to the more usual wooden ones, but advised not to use railway sleepers as they leech creosote into the soil.     


Rotation is essential in raised beds usually in four year cycles to achieve the best yields, and keep disease down.  Marion recommended  Legumes, Brassicas ,Root crops and Potatoes. The talk finished with a Question and Answer session which members found most useful.


Anyone interested in joining us at the Garden Club   please contact our secretary Barbara Jenman                  on 01789720514

Kew Visit - Update

Kew Visit on Saturday 2 March 2019

We are leaving Bretforton Memorial Hall at 8.30am hoping to be at Kew by about 11.00am depending on traffic.  We will leave Kew at 4.00pm arriving back at Bretforton at 6.30pm approx. again depending on traffic.  Do have a look at their web site to see what a wonderful display of orchids has been created in the Princess of Wales Conservatory .  Fingers crossed for a fine day. 


Any questions please ring Alison.



March Speaker

Our next speaker for March is Marion Stainton.  Marion has created a beautiful garden in Herefordshire called The Brooks.  Marion is going to share her gardening expertise and talk to us about raised beds and vegetable growing.  Please take a moment to look at her web site just to see her amazing garden.

May Visit


Next Visit already booked for Saturday 4 May 2019.  This is a two Garden visit firstly to Morton Hall Tulip Festival which is being held to support the RSC Stich In Time campaign.  The 8 acres of gardens are set around a late 18 Century Manor House, Morton Hall, with seven distinct gardens.  Lunch and refreshments will be served in the garden café inside a large marquee and a selection of original costumes from the RSC will be on display.  We will then  then on to Whitlenge Gardens in Hartlebury.  Whitlenge gardens are 3 acre show gardens and plant nursery displaying many water features and 500 varieties of plants.  As an added bonus there is a tea rooms famous for their cream teas.  The cost for this all day trip is £26 for members and £28 for non members. Please put your name on the list and payment will be needed by our April Meeting at the latest.

February Meeting and AGM

Chairman Mike Cook opened the meeting by welcoming members to the A.G.M.,and thanked retiring committee members for their hard work.  A snapshot of 2018 with the numerous and enjoyable visits, and the variety of good speakers was discussed. Open Gardens in June was a great success, due to the wonderful sunny warm day and being back in the impressive Manor gardens, we were able to give generous donations to our chosen charities. The Shakespeare Hospice and De Pauls Night Stop.


     The Club is hosting the Inter Village Quiz on March 20th at Willersley Village Hall, and members were asked for volunteers to form a team, and help with refreshments.             


   Business completed, we enjoyed a garden related Quiz which Mike compered. There were a few puzzled faces at some of the questions including the size of the longest parsnip recorded, which we were amazed to learn was over Eighteen feet long!!. The meeting closed with a raffle and refreshments. Our next meeting is at the Memorial Hall on March 7th at 7.30. Everyone Welcome.


More information from Barbara Jenman (secretary) on 01789720514

January Meeting

Chairman Mike Cook opened the meeting by welcoming an excellent turn out on a freezing cold night, he went on to remind people of the up and coming events scheduled for2019. Our speaker for the evening was Chrissy Ching who started her horticultural career at Pershore College, went on to work at Birmingham Botanical Gardens for many years, and after semi retiring from there, she was approached by Pershore and is now back teaching RHS courses where she started, coming full circle.


Chrissy spoke on "Making the garden more manageable", and gave us lots of tips to make things easier as we get less active, her first suggestion was to do a warm up excersise before tackling a heavy job to get the muscles more flexible. Her next tip was to take breaks if doing a repetitive job like digging and either do another job in the garden or go and have a cup of tea before returning to the original job.


There are a range of tools on the market that can help with stiff joints and reduced grip some with ergonomic handles which uses different methods to do the jobs. Chrissy believes bedding plants require too much work and thinks a low maintenance border with shrubs , grasses and perennials are a lot easier to manage. Weeds can be suppressed with textile mats and bark mulch and lawn care made easier by installing edging  between garden and lawn so you can mow right up to the garden.


Raised beds are the best when growing vegetables as you do not need to dig every year, just add manure and compost at the end of season and let the worms do the work for you!.There are schemes that can help  if you are struggling with your garden such as The Assisted Gardening Scheme and Age UK also offer gardening services.The evening finished with a question and answer session and  Mike gave Chrissy a vote of thanks for a very interesting talk.


Our next meeting is on February7th at Bretforton Memorial Hall at 7.30 , any one interested in joining us will be made most welcome, for more information please contact Barbara Jenman on 01789 720514.


1st November Meeting

Plants For Awkward Corners

Do you know what to do with those annoying, awkward, spots in the garden, what will thrive and what will inevitably die!

Well Julie Ritchie from Hoo House Nursey ( ) near Tewkesbury certainly does and she entertained November’s garden club meeting with a detailed run through of many, many perennials and shrubs that will do the trick.

The talk covered plants for all types of shade, spots near rockeries and ponds as well favourites for hot and dry areas. Certainly, too many to recount here but Julies big message was that you can’t go too far wrong for any problem area with hardy geraniums and cyclamens are also far more resilient than I realised. Indeed, my top memory from the talk was the importance of ants to establishing cyclamens. So we should look after ants if we’ve got them, they transport seeds very effectively!

The meeting also heard about the sterling work going on in the churchyard with the village school, where a new bed, up near the manor wall will be developed and looked after by the children themselves. Anyone who has spare herbs, particularly rosemary and lavender, the school would be really grateful for them. Get in touch with Mike Cook and he will arrange to pick them up.

Finally just a reminder for the Christmas meal at the Social Club on December 6th. Please get there for 7 pm, the meal starts at 7.30pm.

October Meeting (Thursday 4th Oct)

At the beginning of this well attended meeting our Chairman, Mike Cook, was very pleased to announce that our membership had now reached a 100 strong. Barbara and Alison quickly delivered the club notices before we welcomed the speaker.

Our speaker this month was Joan Bomford, a local celebrity since becoming BBC’s farmer of the year in 2015 and releasing her autobiography ‘Up with The Lark.’ We have waited a long time to hear her speak as unfortunately heavy snow fall in March this year prevented our meeting going ahead when she was originally booked.

 Her opening statement was ‘I am not a gardener, I don’t know about gardening’, you might think that would lead to a disappointing talk for a garden club but no! She talked about her life in agriculture and soon had the members laughing at the accounts of her escapades over the years. From helping her father on the family farm to coming to Littleton as a married woman and in addition to working on her husband’s farm there she also established a riding stables. Joan spoke about the land, farming and the changes she had lived through in her time at Moyfields Stables .South Littleton.

She shared her memories from childhood and as she talked a picture emerged of the hardworking folk and their sturdy machines that had sustained farming in the last century. Being of diminutive stature it was most surprising to hear of the tasks that presented themselves and which she embraced as part of her everyday life. Her understanding of the land and animals had not come without cost, she had sustained many injuries over the years but never been tempted to leave the farm. She is still working full time now even though she is in her 8o’s.She spoke of the effects of this exceptionally hot summer.  Her fortitude when battling against the elements to provide feed for her livestock are challenges that most of us will never face and indeed might run away from. She has seen many changes both in the usage of the land and the technological developments of the machines that she worked with……… from steam through to digital age.!!!

She is such a quiet character normally that once when she turned up for a 100 mile ride over the Moors she was assigned a very docile pony but the organisers soon realised she could master anything with four legs and reassigned her a more energetic steed.

A very enjoyable, colourful and amusing speech which inspired the many questions that followed. Joan could of course answer them all with ease. One question inspired a debate about whether horses should be shod or unshod…..she was adamant that not shoeing the horses reduces the damage to the lower leg caused by shock vibrations from the metal shoes. Another question did cause concern as it raised the issue of farming in years to come. Will anyone now choose to take on the challenges of a farming life?

Joan was given a robust round of applause from the members before our tea break during which we are pleased to report that the plant swop is going from strength to strength. Some members are now ‘token’ rich .

We are all very much looking forward to the coach trip to Wisley on the 20th of October which promises to be a super day out.

Our next meeting is November the first at Bretforton Memorial hall ,7:30 start for a talk about ‘Awkward Plants’.

Everyone welcome for more information contact Barbara Jenman on 01789 720514.

September 2018 Newsletter
Please have a look through our recent Newsletter.
September 2018.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.8 MB]


Please look at the Programme page to find out more about our events.

It costs just £10 per year to be a member.

We normally meet at the Memorial Hall in Bretforton on the first Thursday of the month, but check the Programme for details.

Guests are welcome to come to meetings at £3 per head.

If you would like to get in touch, you can email us at