All posts by loiswakeman

Potter, photographer and technical author living in Devon, England. A bit of a geek too.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

On behalf of members and committee, Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Society would like to record their sadness on hearing of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society and lover of gardening.

Her Majesty in 2015

Summer is almost over – time for Autumn events

With the shorter days, our thoughts turn to indoor events.

On September 28th (Wednesday) at 7.30pm, Mark Diacono will be talking to us at Uplyme Village Hall on ‘Herbs: A Taste of the Unexpected’. A look at less familiar herbs, how to grow and get the best from them in the kitchen.

Our next event is on October 8th (Saturday) from 10am till 12 noon, when we hold our Autumn Show – our fun informal show has moved to a Saturday morning. Celebrate the Autumn Harvest with classes for produce, flowers, preserves and baking.
Autumn Show Schedule Oct 2022

We also have a number of daytime coach trips planned – see our events page for more details.

Plant Sale and Coffee Morning – Saturday 14th May

We’d love to welcome you to the Uplyme Village Hall this Saturday to our first big fund-raising event and social occasion. There will be some plants specially grown for the sale, and a variety of donated plants from members.

Refreshments and a tombola will be on offer too – so you can enjoy catching up with fellow gardeners over a cuppa and cake.

Entry £1 on the door, open at 10 until 12 noon.

Our donation to Woodroffe Gardening Club

 In late January a few members of the Society attended the planting of an orchard by the Woodroffe School Gardening Club, with eight heritage fruit trees funded by the Society. This was one of a series of activities that have been funded by the Society as part of our donations for 2021.
The planting was carried out by year 7 and 8 students, supported by sixth formers who are working on the garden as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award. The orchard will help the Gardening Club in its ambition to grow more food crops, supplementing vegetables and herbs that are being grown in a formerly waste area in the school grounds.

Photo: Members of the Woodroffe School Gardening Club at the planting of a new orchard in January. Justin Loveland, Head of Humanities (6th left) and Jim Johnson-Hills, Groundsman (7th left) are leading the project. Jo Benke-Smith (2nd left) and Tricia Boyd (3rd right) represented the Society. The orange-handled spades were among several purchased using the Society’s donation.
Credit: Brian Neesam

Joanna Benke-Smith, Joanne Neave and Tricia Boyd joined the students for the tree planting, under the supervision of groundsman Jim Johnson-Hills and Head of Humanities Justin Loveland. The eight trees funded by the society included local heritage apple varieties Oaken Pin, Devonshire Quarrenden, Devonshire Buckland and Adams Pearmain, plus two Conference pears and a late plum, Marjorie’s Seedling, which should hopefully fruit late enough for students to enjoy in the autumn term.
Our eight trees were supplemented by another five obtained by the school as part of an ‘orchards for schools’ initiative.  Jim Johnson-Hills said: “It will be great for this group of students who will be able to harvest fruit from these trees when they get to years 10 and 11. And of course it’s ideal to be doing this in 2022 when we’re all being encouraged to plant trees for the Queen’s Jubilee.”
Joanna Benke-Smith congratulated the pupils on their initiative and encouraged them to enter the Society’s Summer Flower and Produce Fair. She said: “It was great to see how enthusiastic these new gardeners are. In spite of the cold afternoon they quickly set about digging planting holes and gently spreading out tree roots, whilst our job was to rescue the earthworms before the watchful robins did. We are looking forward to any contribution they may be able to make to our Summer Flower and Produce Fair in July.”
The school’s Gardening Club developed out of the school’s Environmental Action Team and was set up at the end of 2019 not long before Covid hit. The aim was to clear a derelict area at the top of the school grounds which had not been touched for around 18 years and create a forest garden. This uses trees, shrubs and perennials to mimic the structure of a natural forest and is designed to be biologically sustainable, productive and low maintenance. Justin Loveland, who spearheaded the Environmental Action Team initiative and now the Gardening Club, said: “We always wanted a really practical project for students to work on. They’re creating a usable space that we hope our well-being team will be able to use in due course.”
Not surprisingly, Covid has disrupted the Club’s plans, but students have now been able to clear a sizeable area of bramble and dense undergrowth and install terracing. Last year pupils started growing crops – pumpkins and squashes, beans, herbs, strawberries and raspberries. Jim Johnson-Hills used some of the pumpkin to make pumpkin cake for the students to taste to inspire their future veg growing.
Late in 2021, the Club approached the Uplyme & Lyme Regis Horticultural Society to see if they could help in any way with funding. The Society decided to donate £500 to the Gardening Club, recognising the importance of engaging young people with horticulture early in life. The Society’s donation has made a big difference to the Club. Justin Loveland said: “It’s made the whole project feel more real. We’ve been able to buy tools and gardening kit that mean we can get the students involved in a more hands-on way. This has proved valuable in developing these students’ self-esteem and communication skills. Sixth formers who come to help, act as role models for the younger students and build great links between students across different year groups.” 

How the donation is being spent

To date, the funding has been used on a mix of gardening ‘hardware’ and plants. Forks, spades and trowels, wellies, safety gloves and watering cans mean the students can all get active and join in. A 4.5m polytunnel purchased with the funds will give more growing area and get plants off to a good start. The eight trees recently planted, together with spring bulbs such as alliums and scilla, seeds, and dahlias for late summer colour will all help turn the reclaimed area into a productive and beautiful garden. And the funds are being spent carefully, with more left in the pot to use in the future on water butts, tools such as billhooks, and plants.

The whole project has thrown up some surprises. At the top of the plot, the remains of a large pond were found underneath a mass of brambles. No one knows the pond’s origins or how it was originally used. It is too large and deep for practical use as a pond in a school setting today but instead an old water trough found on the site will be used within the area as a water feature with suitable surrounding planting. It is hoped that some log seats and benches will eventually make this an attractive area.
Looking to the future, Jim, who has a background in gardening within social enterprises, is keen to expand what pupils can achieve. He said: “We’ll be doing structural work such as hedge laying and teaching students how to take cuttings and graft trees. We’re also looking to grow more food that can be passed on to the food tech kitchen and that students can take home to their parents.”
Justin concluded: “It’s going to be exciting to see what emerges in the newly cleared patch. We’re already seeing bluebells coming up and we hope there may be other plants we’re not aware of. We’ve left plenty of rough patches for wildlife and pollinators and the spin-off benefits in being able to grow produce for the Food Department and study the science of wildlife make our school garden a very valuable project.”

Coffee morning this Saturday 5th February

We’re delighted to invite you to the Uplyme & Lyme Regis Horticultural Society’s coffee morning on Saturday February 5th at Uplyme Village Hall from 10am to 12 noon.

The committee thought a daytime weekend social event would be a welcome change as an opportunity to get together. Members and anyone interested in finding out more about the Society, or in joining, are very welcome to attend. We’ll have details of our coach trips for 2022 on display, you can collect a copy of the events programme for this year, and committee members will be on hand to chat and answer any questions.

Potato tubers for the ‘Potato in a Bucket’ Competition at the Summer Flower and Produce Fair to be held on July 9th will be available at £3 each. This year we’ll all be seeing how well we can grow the variety ‘Rocket’. There are a generous, but limited, number of tubers available so please come along and buy your spud.

Entries from a past show

2022 subscriptions

This is also the ideal time to renew your membership, at only £6 for the year, or collect your membership card if you have already paid.

 To pay by bill payment (preferred) please give your name as reference and use the following details.

Lloyds Bank Sort Code 30-90-37 Account Number 00590002 
Account Name – Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Society

If you do not use online banking, payment can be made by cash, or cheque payable to Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Society. If you have any queries about membership please see Monica Mellor at the coffee morning or contact her on / 01297 442193.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Invitation to Zoom meeting – at home and at Uplyme Village Hall

On Wednesday 26th January, Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers will present ‘Plain Jane or Super Model?’, looking at whether more commonly available plants can give just as good an effect in your garden as the super models of the plant world.

If you are joining from home, you can use the  link below. Please join from 7.00pm for a prompt 7.15pm start.

Topic: Plain Jane or Super Model? by Bob Brown, Cotswold Garden Flowers; Time: Jan 26, 2022 19:00 London

Join Zoom Meeting

We shall also be showing the talk from Uplyme Village Hall. Doors will be open from 6.45pm for refreshments. To help us organise the seating and catering it would be much appreciated if you could please reply to if you think you will attend the Village Hall (we won’t hold you to it!). (Non-members pay £3 on the door – so it only takes two meetings for you to recoup your subscription. See the Join Us page for more information.)

We look forward to seeing you there!

Membership renewals

Monica Mellor will be available both before and after the talk on the 26th to take membership renewals and for members to collect cards if they have already paid. If that is not convenient, Monica will be available in the Village Hall car park on Saturday 22nd January between 10 and 11am.

Seed Swap in Lyme Regis, 29th January

by Turn Lyme Green

Saturday 29 January – Lyme Regis Seed Swap, 11.30am to 1.00pm

Seed swaps have arisen to help maintain heritage varieties that might otherwise become unavailable. The aim is to distribute these open-pollinated seeds freely to local gardeners to preserve local and regional varieties and to encourage growers to save seed from them and return with them to the seed swap in the following year.

  • Who? This is Turn Lyme Green’s first seed swap
  • What? Bring seeds to share with other gardeners.
  • When? Saturday 29 January – 11.30am to 1.00pm
  • Where? The Driftwood Café, The Baptist Church, at the top of Broad Street, Lyme Regis

Is the event free?

Yes! You can come in for free. 

I don’t have seeds to swap, can I still join in?

Absolutely! YES!
Everyone has to start somewhere, and we want to get everyone growing

Are the seeds free?

Yes! We want as many people as possible to grow food and to get into gardening generally. Money should be no barrier to doing so. 

2022 programme announced

Please see the events page for all the trips, talks and social events we are planning for next year. After the Christmas meeting on 15th December with Bex Partridge, we start 2022 gently with a Zoom talk to watch at home on January 26th (Wednesday) at 7.15pm, followed by a Coffee Morning in the Village Hall on Saturday February 5th.

Our Summer Show theme this year is “Trees” – so keep your eyes open for the schedule later in the year, and if you’re a photographer, don’t miss the chance for some nice winter, spring and summer shots to enter!

Report from the 2021 AGM

Below you will find a transcription of the Chairman’s report. You can also read or download the minutes of the AGM:

ULRHS Chairmans Report, November 2021

This report covers both 2019-20 and 2020-21 periods, as we have not held an AGM since 2019. I did, however, produce a short report which was circulated in the Newsletter in November 2020, so I do not intend to rehash that content – we have moved forward in many areas, but the pandemic and its effects are still not behind us. We did decide to make the 2020 subscription cover 2021 as well, as we have not been able to offer our regular programme in full in either year.

In the past year, we have experienced a lockdown, then tapering limitations, followed by removal of all restrictions on July 19th (just too late for our Summer Show!). This has impacted our programme considerably, and we are only just returning to meetings in person and coach trips. Despite those limitations, we have staged several Zoom talks, a few garden visits, and a surprisingly successful Summer Show. The monthly newsletters led by Tricia and Lois have, we hope, kept our members involved and informed, and I am very grateful to them and the other regular contributors for all the work they have put in. Now that we can gather at our monthly meetings (though some may still be reluctant to come in person, for perfectly valid reasons), it has been decided to cease the newsletters and use the meetings and the website as the primary route to communicate our activities to the membership.

The Summer Flower and Produce Fair, with its theme of Lavender, was able to proceed despite some restrictions being extended almost at the last minute. This required a fair amount of rejigging of arrangements (particularly by the Catering team), but everyone pulled together, the weather was kind on the day, and we saw in excess of 1000 visitors come through the gate to enjoy the exhibits in the marquee, the stalls and entertainers on the field and the cafeteria service from the doors of the Hall. A surplus was achieved, and donations made to three local organisations as promised in the 2020 schedule. We now look forward to a more “normal” 2022 Show, and preparations are already in hand

Three long-serving Committee members (Pam Corbin, John Routley and Rose Mock) stood down in 2020 and they should again be thanked formally for their tremendous service to the Society. We now have two more retirements to report. Anita Routley has been Membership secretary for a number of years and has adapted well to the considerable increase in our membership and the associated record-keeping workload – it has run smoothly as we have grown. We are deeply grateful to her and hope that Monica Mellor can continue in the same vein. I shall be standing down as Chairman after four interesting years – I do not believe in the job being done by the same person for too long – but will not be leaving the Committee and am confident that the new team will take us forward into the new decade. There is still space for new blood on the Committee – more hands make lighter work for each – so please consider how you can help the Society with some of your time and skills.

Finally, we have a motion to amend our ability to make donations to good causes. There is little point in the Society hoarding money which can be helpful to others, and I hope you will see fit to approve the amendment to our Constitution. The Committee has been very careful in managing our finances so far, and I am sure it will continue to be so.

Robin Britton

Our last event of 2021 – festive fun!

Create a festive Christmas table
Demonstration by Bex Partridge

Bex Partridge of Botanical Tales shows how to create a table centrepiece for your dining table at Christmas using all-natural materials.

Wednesday 15th December at 7.30pm, Uplyme Village Hall

Non-members welcome, £3. Refreshments from 7pm including mince pies and mulled wine (non-alcoholic version available).