Two special gardens to visit – 15th September

An invitation to visit two private gardens on Tuesday 15th September

We have the opportunity to visit two private gardens north east of Beaminster on Tuesday 15th September – Corscombe House, Corscombe and Harvard Farm, near Halstock. You are able to visit either or both of the gardens as you choose and need to book by Thursday 10th September latest.

The gardens

These two gardens are not usually open to the public, not even through the National Garden Scheme, so it’s a special opportunity.

In the morning we’ll be visiting Corscombe House, arriving in own cars for 11am. James Bartos, owner, will be giving us an introductory talk and then you will be free to wander round this ‘room’-based garden. It’s a formal garden on axes, with vegetable area, wildflower meadow, orchard, pond, lower garden and secret garden. Cost £10 per head.

In the afternoon at 2.15pm, we’ll be visiting Harvard Farm, about 12 minutes drive away. Harvard Farm has been featured in both Gardens Illustrated and Country Life. It’s an Arts and Crafts-style garden with apple tunnel, cloud pruning and topiary, evergreens, trees and pond. Dilly Hobson, owner, will be giving an introduction to the garden. Her son Jake Hobson, is a specialist in topiary and cloud pruning so you should see some good examples in the garden. Cost £12 per head.

The photo above shows some of Jake’s work at Harvard. Image © Niwaki Ltd, used with permission


As Covid restrictions mean no coaches are running at this time, we need to be a bit more resourceful about our arrangements. People will need to organise their own travel and lunch arrangements. We have travel directions and lists of potential places for lunch/picnic and coffee on a separate sheet for those who book.

If you would like to visit either or both of the gardens, please book with Tricia Boyd (, 07767 261444) by Thursday 10 September at the latest. Payment will be required in advance of the trip. As these trips are specifically arranged for us, we will not be in a position to give refunds after Thursday 10th as we shall be paying the garden owners in advance. If you have any questions, please contact Tricia.

We hope you will be able to join us on this special trip!

ULRHS goes Zooming!

Our last meeting on 26th August was ‘attended’ by about 20 people, who had photo tours and talks round four members’ gardens. We learnt about the habits and care of three favourite alpines from Jean Stacey, heard about Jennie Pearson’s love of recycled art to enhance her cottage garden, had a video tour of Jo and Brian Cursley’s garden, and finally, heard about a wildlife pond and associated habitats from Lois Wakeman. The meeting finished with a professional tour video from John Massey’s garden, owner of Ashwood Nurseries.

The meeting was positively received:

“Just to tell you how fantastic it was tonight and what a wonderful job you all did to achieve it. It’s so lovely to be able to continue our monthly meetings in this way, and such a good idea to look at members gardens which I found interesting and valuable”

“Many thanks for this evening’s chat, it was a great success and fascinating to see other people’s garden. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the usual talks. Lovely to look at four different gardens, lots of ideas and as I am also very keen on found objects, pieces of wood and stones in my garden, I had a ball! It was a great evening.”

“Thanks again for the zoom session last night – very informative and enjoyable.”

“Thank you for arranging it all.  It was all so interesting to to hear and see what people are up to in their gardens and pick up tips about all sorts of things.”

“That was great 👍,thoroughly enjoyed last night, so glad that I had had a practice before the meeting”

“Thank you for organising and helping me through the Zoom event. I am now a believer in the benefits of social media for such purposes and look forward to future events and will be thinking of how I might be able to make a useful contribution.”

– which makes all the work put into organising it worthwhile. We are planning a real-life meeting at two special gardens near Corscombe on 15th September, but may well have more online meetings, especially when the weather gets colder and wetter!

Time to get in touch!

Two Horticultural Society events coming up which need action today if you’d like to take part!

Group visit to Mapperton House August 11th

There will be a group visit to Mapperton House on Tuesday August 11th. Tickets can be purchased via Jenny Harding (; 07773 604137) at £10 each, or £8 if ten or more people purchase.

The gardens are open but not the house. The café is also open or you may take a picnic. Opening times 11-5. Please advise Jenny if you wish to visit by end of day on Friday 7 August.

Share people’s gardens in our next Zoom meeting

Our next Zoom meeting will be held on Wednesday 26 August at 7.30pm. Members will be speaking about and showing some of their favourite plants and recent garden projects. There will be time for Q&A after each speaker so that we can learn from each other. We will also intersperse the chats with a virtual tour of a sumptuous garden.

We already have some speakers lined up for the evening and would like a few more who would be willing to share aspects of their garden with others. All you would need to do is provide 2-4 photos illustrating your chosen topic. We would look for people to chat for around 3-6 minutes (depending on how many photos they have) and then answer questions from other members.

Please send your name and a sentence about what you might like to share with others to by Friday 7 August.

The Show is in waiting!

We’ve had quite a few entries and the webmaster is busy uploading them all and getting the virtual show ready.

Special thanks to the Barnes Meadow entrants who had their own potato unveiling and award ceremony (see above). Nice to see people entering into the socially-distanced spirit!

Come 1pm on Saturday, you’ll be able to see all the entries on the Summer Show page.

Our Virtual Summer Flower and Produce Fair

Undaunted by coronavirus, the Uplyme & Lyme Regis Horticultural Society has replaced its real summer show with a virtual one.  The event will go live on Saturday 11 July at 1pm, the same time as the original show would have opened.

The virtual Summer Flower and Produce Fair will consist of galleries of photographs to be displayed on the Summer Show 2020 page of the website. There will be one gallery for each of 12 classes, covering flowers, fruit and veg, floral art, baking, art and craft, and photography.

The popular Potato in a Bucket competition will still run and there is a class for under-16 year olds, as well as two classes themed to reflect our lives under lockdown.

The show classes will be for fun and there will be no judging. A maximum of two entries is allowed per class. People are encouraged to start compiling their entries now for submission in July.

Entries need to be emailed as landscape images and must be submitted between Monday 6 July and Wednesday 8 July. The photo galleries will be live on the Society website at 1pm on Saturday 11 July.

For further information about the classes and details of how to enter the show, please download the Schedule from the link below (PDF file).

Virtual Summer Show Classes 2020

Virtual Show Poster
Virtual Show Poster, 2020


Roy Keeley – a tribute

Roy Keeley, one of our long standing Uplyme members and Horticultural Show exhibitors, passed away at the age of 80 in May.

Roy came to Uplyme from Charmouth aged 9 and started gardening with his dad, Walt, aged 10. From 1968 Roy, his wife Ann and Walt ran Blossom Hill Nursery in Pound Lane growing plants, flowers, fruit and veg. Over the years they supplied Hartleys with fruit and veg for their shop in Lyme Regis, Potters Funeral Directors in Axminster with flowers and Otter Nurseries with plants, as well as selling direct to the public from their nursery and home.

Roy exhibited his produce at the Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Shows for over 40 years, both summer and autumn, initially in the Professional classes when we had Amateur and Professional classes, a distinction abandoned in 2003. He regularly won prizes and cups including the 1977 Woodroffe Challenge Cup for the most points in flowers and foliage.

He won the Banksian medal for the most points in the horticultural classes at least six times, most recently in 2014. Roy had many successes with tomatoes and onions, and begonias and carnations, winning the Williams Challenge Cup for the most points in fruit and veg in 2014 and the Worshipful Company of Gardeners Award for the best flowering plant in 2016.

Fittingly in 2019, the 90th anniversary of the Horticultural Show, Roy won his final cup – the Seamark cup for the best exhibit in flowers and foliage. He’s 5th from the right in the photo above.

Gardening to the end, Roy took pride and joy in consistently producing high quality plants, flowers and vegetables which we were lucky enough to share when he exhibited at the Horticultural Shows.

Tomato plant sale this weekend

At this time of year, we’d normally be running our fund-raising Plant Sale and eager queues of gardeners would be lining up to stock their veg plots. Sadly this isn’t the case in 2020, but a few lucky people can still get some plants.

Our member Bob Mercer has been busily raising seeds for the Society, and they now need to go to new homes. Bob will put his plants out in the pull-in for Yawl Farm from 10am on Saturday 16th, with an honesty box for the Food Bank. We suggest a donation of £1 per pot for this worthy local cause. Get them while you can – anything left over on Sunday evening will go on the compost heap – so don’t miss out!

There will be 50-60 plants in all – 20-30 Shirley toms, similar Rose de Berne, plus other such as his own JB tomatoes (small cherries), plus a few cucumbers, chillis and aubergines. These are on a first come-first served basis, so please leave some for other people! As usual, the tomatoes are bigger and better grown than most at this time of year – about 15 inches tall (and supported).

We hope not to see a swarm of people, but a steady trickle of socially distanced but happy plant hunters! Yawl Farm is on the right hand side of the B3165 going towards Hunter’s Lodge – look for the curved stone wall.

If you plan to walk from Uplyme, please take care on the road – the traffic can be intimidating on some stretches.

With best wishes from the committee, and hoping to see you at an event in the not too distant future.


Find us on Facebook!

More and more people are joining Facebook to keep up with local news, support and opportunities, so we’ve created a page for the Society:

If you can, please Follow the page and get some snippets of gardening news between the regular newsletters. We welcome your garden-related photos, news and links, so please feel free to chip in! (Your contributions will be sent for approval, so we can avoid any spam or otherwise unwanted stuff!)

Hope to “see” you soon….

Places open for gardening business

In the current difficult times it is still possible to obtain plants and garden supplies by click and collect, post or by delivery.  All of the following local companies are still operating in some way so please check them out if you’re looking for anything. We recommend you call first.

Our spring and summer plans

Needless to say, our current schedule of outings and talks is on hold. Here is a quick summary:

  • Plant Sale 16 May cancelled
  • Summer Flower and Produce Show 11 July cancelled
  • Lavender theme and 2020 schedule of classes will be used in 2021
  • Potato in a Bucket competition 2020 may run
  • Talks and trips will recommence when venues reopen
  • Expanded Autumn Show expected
  • New look newsletter with member input to keep us in touch short term (sign up here)

Plant Sale and Summer Show – keep growing those potatoes!

With regret we have decided to cancel the Spring Plant Sale on 16 May and the Summer Flower and Produce Fair on 11 July, given the 12-week ‘shielding’ timeframe for coronavirus.

Summer Show exhibitors will be contacted by the show organisers. Winners of trophies at last year’s show may keep their trophies until 31 May 2021. We shall be using the theme of Lavender and this year’s schedule of classes for next year’s show, so on the plus side there will be plenty of time to plan and prepare entries!

Society members who have purchased tubers for the Potato in a Bucket competition are urged to keep their potatoes fed and watered.  It is hoped that the Society will be able to run this competition in some form during the summer. Keep an eye out for news in our monthly newsletter and on our poster sites.


Expanded Autumn Show

The Society hopes to run an expanded Autumn Show later in the year. As many people will be spending more time in their gardens this summer we hope there may be some excellent exhibits ready for showing in the autumn. Further details will be published later in the summer.

Talks and trips

The Society’s programme of talks and trips will recommence as soon as Uplyme Village Hall reopens and gardens are open again to visit. We’ll get in touch with members when we have positive news on dates. Any trips or talks that have to be cancelled will be rebooked. If anyone has paid for trips beyond April, the organisers will be in touch with you.

Keeping you in touch

We shall keep the situation under regular review so that we can react to any changes in circumstances. Our monthly newsletter will be a key way to keep in touch and we will be changing its format for the short term. We will be asking for contributions from members of photographs, tips, recipes and other gardening related items. More details will follow in the next newsletter.

Gardening, social events, shows, and visits in East Devon and West Dorset