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.

Uplyme & Lyme Regis Horticultural Society action regarding coronavirus

To avoid putting our members at risk we have taken the immediate steps of cancelling our March and April talks (Matthew Wilson, Star Plants for Small Gardens and Chris Perring, British Owls). We have also cancelled both our April trips (to Minterne Gardens/Max Gate and RHS Cardiff Flower Show).

The committee will review further action in early April as government advice evolves and will be in contact with members again after that review.

Ticket holders for the March talk have already been contacted. The April talk will be rescheduled in due course.

If you have already paid for trips to Minterne Gardens/Max Gate and RHS Cardiff, one of the organisers will be in touch with you to arrange a refund.

We are sorry that this is necessary but I am sure everyone appreciates that these are unprecedented times.

Blow away those winter blues

Snowdrops galore!

Colesbourne Park was the destination for our first, early trip of the year. More than 40 members enjoyed the fantastic mass planting of special snowdrop cultivars, along with other early spring planting. It was really good to be able to speak with the members of the Elwes family, who have gardened there since 1789, and their head gardener. Despite being sandwiched between Storms Ciara and Dennis, we enjoyed good, if windy, weather. Plenty of snowdrops were on sale and many of us brought some back, although I think most of us managed to resist the £120 ones!

What’s on next?

Our next event is on February 26th (Wednesday) at 7.30pm – a talk ‘How to grow Clematis Successfully’ with pruning demonstration by Marcus Dancer. Marcus will talk about all the different groups that make up the Clematis family and culminate the talk by looking at pruning in detail with a pruning demo. Plants for sale.
Marcus trained at Hillier Nurseries and has been growing and producing clematis plants for 20 years. He enjoys propagating and producing his own stock and is always interested in growing something different but garden-worthy.

Competition for summer show: One potato tuber, grown in a container, both of which will be supplied by the Committee. Available for purchase (£2.50) at the meeting.

Our next coach trip is on March 10th (Tuesday), departing at 8.15am from the village hall car park to Lanhydrock, Bodmin. This Cornish garden boasts beautiful herbaceous borders, a fabulous formal parterre and colourful gardens filled with camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons. Also, discover two sides of Victorian life: from the kitchens, nurseries and servants’ quarters, which offer a thrilling glimpse into life ‘below stairs’, to the luxurious family areas, elegant dining room and spacious bedrooms which reveal the comforts of ‘upstairs’ living. Restaurants/shop/plant centre/picnic areas.
Cost NT Members £18 Non NT £25. Please ring Annie Kobus 01297 443346 to book.

Dates for your diary:

March 25th (Wednesday) 7.30pm Talk ‘Star Plants for Small Gardens’ by Matthew Wilson – one of our big events which are always very popular, so make sure you book! Matthew is a Garden Designer, regular panellist on Gardeners’ Question Time and former curator of RHS Hyde Hall and Harlow Carr.
Ticket cost: members £5, non-members £8. Bookings Sue Hadcock 01404 831942.

Plug plants will be available to grow on for the Summer Show at the March and April meetings.

Coach trip April 7th (Tuesday) departing at 9.15am from the village hall car park to Minterne Gardens & NT Max Gate. On this double trip, see the gardens at Minterne landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown with a unique collection of Himalayan rhododendrons and azaleas, as well as many fine and rare trees. Small café/restaurant or bring a picnic. Then we visit Max Gate in Dorchester, designed and lived in by Thomas Hardy and his wife. He created a vegetable garden, flowerbeds, a croquet lawn and nut walk, and a pet cemetery. Self-serve refreshments.
Cost NT Members £15 Non NT £20. Please ring Jo Neave 01404 831942 to book.

Jenny Knight (who has demonstrated for the society) is running two willow weaving workshops at the Old Bakery in Branscombe. You can make a dragonfly or alternative decoration, and the price is £35 including all materials, tuition and tea/coffee. The workshops run from 2-5 and 6-9pm on Thursday 26th March. Booking in advance (please email jennyknight.jkwillows@gmail.com).

Welcome to 2020!

Now the festivities are behind you, why not treat yourself to an afternoon of inspiration and prairie planting, without having to venture into the cold and wet of a January garden?

In just over a week, the Horticultural Society  is hosting its first film in Lyme.

On January 12th (Sunday) 3pm, at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
Film – Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

Piet Oudolf is one of the most influential garden designers of the last 50 years. This documentary follows him over five seasons as he designed gardens from New York’s High Line and Hauser & Wirth’s prairie garden in Somerset to his own private garden at Hummelo in Holland.

According to The Guardian: “The photography is exquisite (sun behind petals, wind through grass, rain on leaves), but Oudulf’s melancholy philosophising is just as beguiling.”

Film length 75 minutes. Upstairs bar open 2-3pm, film starts at 3pm. Ticket price £6 plus online booking fee of £1.06.  Visit https://tiny.cc/ulrhs-film to book. Or call Tricia Boyd on 07767 261444 if you have problems booking online.

  • “A spell binding documentary that tugs at your heart strings” The Plant Hunter
  • “His gardens are so fascinating that they almost assume the status of abstract art”  The Guardian
  • “Oudolf is like a botanical David Attenborough” The Times
  • “Lovely, revelatory and relaxing to behold” The Irish Times

    We hope to see you there!

Christmas Tree Festival

Do come along and see our Society’s lavender-themed tree, to complement next year’s Summer Show theme! On from Friday till Sunday 22nd.  In the Baptist Church in Lyme Regis, at the top of Sherborne Lane.

And on Saturday – coffee and carols as well!

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