CHELTENHAM HORTICULATURAL SOCIETY

 

Shows

2017 SUMMER show schedule

2017 SUMMER show entry form



The dates of our shows in 2018 are:


Spring Show - Sunday 18th March 


Summer Show - Sunday 19th August


    

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The major events in our calendar are the Spring and Summer Shows. The Society has been holding these annual events for over 75 years and they are always very popular with members and the public alike.

 

The shows are designed to allow both expert growers and beginners to show off their gardening ability in friendly competition with each other.


It is hoped that by entering the Show, gardeners will study their own plants and vegetables more closely and so learn to become more expert growers. A lot can also be learnt from studying the entries of other members at the shows and by taking tips and advice from the experienced growers. 

 

We hope that members will rise to the challenge and enter as many classes as possible in our shows. Let us fill the show tables with entries and fill the hall with colour and scent in the lovely surroundings of the Pittville Pump Room.  Several classes are open to non members.


 



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Events

Special Anniversary lecture – Friday 6 October 2017


During the Society’s 75 year existence our gardens have increasingly reflected “globalisation” through the introduction of the exotic, peculiar and beautiful plants discovered by and brought to us by the intrepid plant hunters.  Many of us look at our gardens and do not realise how many of the plants come from the other side of the globe.


So as a special event this year we has asked Nick Macer to talk about “Plants from around The World”


Nick Macer is an experienced and passionate Plant Hunter, owner of PanGlobal Plants and last year was a co-presenter on BBC’s Gardeners’ World.


Come and join us to listen to and see some ‘plant highlights’ from far flung places around the world.

 

The talk will take place at Balcarras School, East End Road, Cheltenham GL53 8QF  7.30pm

Tickets cost ÂŁ6.00. Light refreshments will be on sale from 6.30 pm before the talk.



 Tickets are on sale at the door.  If you have any questions contact Dot Ward on 01242 579750


All proceeds will be given to the Butterfly Garden at Dundry Nurseries. 


 



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Tips and tricks

Welcome to our compilation of clever ideas, good advice, timely tips and gardening tricks. Drawn from a wide variety of sources including gardening pundits, head gardeners, our own members and other experts, they represent a wealth of knowledge and practical experience which we hope you will find interesting and useful.  We want to build this into a valuable resource for all our members and visitors so if you have any favourite tips or tricks that are not featured, please let us know. Just click on any of the categories below and click "top of tips" to get back to this menu.
 

Soft Fruit

Vegetables

Bulbs & Cut Flowers

Pruning, Training & Supporting

Tools & Equipment

Propagation

Compost & Fertilizers

Pests & Diseases

Old Fashioned Tips & Remedies

Culinary Tips

General






Soft Fruit

Ripen Green Tomatoes - place them in a drawer or a shoe box with a banana. The ethylene from the banana causes the tomatoes to ripen.
 
When are Apples ready to pick? Lift the apple gently and twist. If it is ready it will snap and part from the branch easily without having to be pulled.
 
Grow quick growing bee-friendly annuals like borage and calendula with tomatoes and other soft fruit to attract pollinators and improve fruit set.
 
When choosing or ordering an apple tree for wall training, ensure the variety is a spur and not tip-bearer. Three good spur-bearing varieties are Cox`s Orange Pippin and James Grieve (dessert) and Bountiful (cooker).
Courtesy Ted Bullock, Head Gardener, Felbrig Hall, Norwich.
 
Once you`ve picked your strawberries, don`t get them near water - they`ll turn soggy and tasteless.
 
Strawberries are a good way to clean your teeth - they remove plaque and leave your mouth feeling fresh.
 
To peel apples in half the time, blanch them first in boiling water.
 
Store fruit so that each fruit does not touch another, and do not store different types of fruit together.
 
To stop fruit in a bowl going mouldy, place a piece of kitchen paper in the bottom. It absorbs all the moisture.




 

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Vegetables

When thinning carrots, fool the carrot root fly by rubbing handfuls of mint leaves together and sprinkling them along the rows. The strong fragrance of mint disguises the smell of carrots.
Courtesy John Teevan, Head Gardener, Fenton House, Windmill Hill, Hampstead, London NW3
 
Tall sunflowers with runner beans growing up their stems make an attractive and effective screen.
 
Mix runner beans with sweet peas on the same support. Pollinating insects will be attracted to the sweet peas which will help to pollinate your beans.
 
Use newspapers to line a bean trench before filling up with compost and soil. This helps to hold moisture in, especially if there is a dry spell, and the rotting paper will feed the roots.
 
To ripen tomatoes quickly, place them in a paper bag along with one ripe tomato.
 
Don`t store tomatoes in the fridge because they will blister under the skin, destroying the cell structure and ruining the flavour.
 
Plant African marigolds alongside your tomatoes to keep greenfly away.
 
Growing peas and beans will increase the nitrogen levels in the soil.
 
Cut down your peas and beans to ground level but leave the roots to add nourishment to the soil.
 
Peas and beans don`t like garlic so never plant them next to each other.
 
New Years Day is the time to plant broad beans in the South and the Midlands.
 
If you leave French beans on the plant until the beans develop in the pod you`ll have flageolet beans. Leave them even longer until they dry on the plant and you`ve got haricot beans which you can dry and store.
 
Always water vegetables in the evening.
 
Grow dwarf French beans among sweet corn to make best use of the space.
 
Corn cobs are ready to pick when the tassel at the top of the cob turns black.
 
Potatoes are ready to be lifted when they flower.
 
The simplest way of storing carrots, beetroot and swedes is to leave them in the ground. Lay some straw down for frost protection in the colder months.
 
If your hands are stained from beetroot or red cabbage, rub them with a raw potato.
 
Drop some pieces of raw potato inside a glass vase and swirl them around in some water until the glass is clean.

Use egg boxes to chit potatoes
courtesy of Ruth Knowlman, Cheltenham Horticultural Society
 
The more purple the turnip, the better it will taste.
 
If you want whiter than white cauliflower, add some milk to the water when cooking it.
 
Add a bay leaf to the boiling water to stop cabbage from smelling without affecting the taste.
 
Mushrooms won`t shrink when cooked if you soak them in a little boiling water first.
 
To cook delicious broad beans add some chopped parsley to the water.
 
If you want raw onions in your salad with a milder taste, soak them in some tepid water first.

Keep onions away from runner beans.
 
If your hands smell of onions soak them in some milk.

Plant Shallots on the shortest day and harvest on the longest day
courtesy of Ruth Knowlman, Cheltenham Horticultural Society
 
Tear lettuce instead of cutting it to avoid the leaves turning brown.


 




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Bulbs & Cut Flowers

To grow the best sweet peas, plant the seeds when the clocks go back and plant them out when the clocks go forward.
 
When growing Hyacinths in water do not let the base of the bulb touch the water in a bulb vase or it may rot. Place a small piece of charcoal in the water to keep it sweet and fresh.
 
When choosing bulbs, `big is best`.
 
Cut hollow stemmed flowers under water to avoid trapping an air bubble which would prevent the take-up of water in the vase.
 
Remove the stamens from lilies to prevent the pollen from staining clothes and furnishing fabrics. Wipe away any pollen from polished wood as it will mark the surface.
 
Alternatively, spray the lily stamens with hairspray to contain it.
 
Lift pollen from carpet or fabric with sticky tape. Do not rub it or wipe it with a cloth, this will only make it worse and leave an indelible stain.
 
Do not mix daffodils/narcissus with other flowers. They give off a gas which prematurely ages other flowers. Also, daffodils do best in very shallow water in the vase. Do not cover more than two inches of the stems. Change the water every two days.
 
To clean a narrow-necked vase, fill with water and use a couple of denture-cleaning tablets!
 
To clean a smelly vase, fill it half full of water and add a tablespoon of mustard. Shake the mixture and leave for an hour.
 
Store oasis in a bucket of water - it should never be allowed to dry out.
 
Always use lukewarm water when arranging flowers; it has less oxygen in it so you don`t get as many air bubbles up the stems of the flowers.
 
Add a shot of vodka to the water in your vase - it will keep your flowers fresh for longer.
 
Alternatively, place a shiny copper 2p piece in the vase - this is supposed to freshen the water too.
 
A pinch of salt or sugar, a tablespoon of white vinegar or a few drops of bleach help to feed the flowers and keep the water cleaner for longer.
 
Strip all the leaves off the stems which would be under water in the vase to prevent them rotting and fouling the water.
 
Keep vases of flowers or flower arrangements away from ripening fruit. The ethylene gas given off by the fruit will age the flowers more quickly.
 
Scented flowers don`t last as long as non-scented because they use up extra energy creating their scent.
 
If your flower arrangement is going to be in a warm room, keep the blooms looking fresh by popping some ice cubes into the water each morning.
 
If your flowers are flagging, revive them by dropping a soluble aspirin in the vase.
 
Alternatively, add a splash of carbonated lemonade to keep them fresh and perky.
 
Use a spray of foxgloves to prolong the life of cut flower arrangements.
 
Alternatively, make an infusion of foxglove leaves and flowers by pouring boiling water on them and leaving overnight. Add this water to your vase of flowers the next day.
 
To keep a small posy of roses fresh, punch holes in a raw potato and insert each stem into a hole. Your flowers will stay fresh and pretty for a considerable time.
 
To prevent lily bulbs from rotting in wet weather, plant them on their sides. This prevents water building up in the loose scales which form the crown.

Soak tulip, fritillary and crocus bulbs for an hour in flat tonic water before planting. Squirrels hate the taste and smell of quinine and will leave them alone. 




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Pruning, Training & Supporting

For shrubs with alternate buds prune to just above a bud or shoot using a clean, angled cut. The lowest point of the cut should be opposite the base of the bud. For shrubs with opposite shoots prune to just above a strong pair of buds or shoots using a clean, straight cut.
Courtesy Phillip Rollinson, Head Gardener, Saltram House, Plymouth.
 
When pruning - think before you cut and cut with a purpose!
Courtesy Andrew Sawyer, Head Gardener, Cragside House, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland.






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Tools & Equipment
 
The best plant labelling pen I have found is an Artline Garden Marker EK-780, Black ink, 0.8mm tip. I found it for Ł1.79 +p&p on Ebay. It has a long lasting acrylic fibre tip, dries instantly, has fade resistant ink, is totally waterproof, UV stable and will write on any surface. Labels are still clear after two years in the sun and rain. Others I have spoken to also recommend the `Sharpie` fine point permanent marker.
Courtesy David Simpson CHS
 




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Propagation

Save your used tea bags, re-soak them and use them to start seeds off. When the seed has germinated, pop the whole thing into a pot of compost.
 
With hardwood cuttings, slit the end of the stem and put a grain of wheat into the cut before planting. As the wheat germinates, it encourages the root of the cutting to form.
 
Those irritating post office rubber bands around your letters or lying on the pavement are the perfect size to hold a plastic bag over a 9cm pot of cuttings.
 
Take thin branches of Willow, the thickness of a pencil, strip the leaves off and cut the stems into one inch pieces. Soak them in water for a week and strain. It is said that the indolebutyric and salicylic acids which leaches out of the willow act as a natural rooting hormone and encourage seeds to germinate and cuttings to strike.
 
To help your carnation cuttings take root, place a grain of rice alongside the cutting in the pot.
 
If your Hawthorn hedge is a bit thin at the base, bend some of the pliable stems down into the soil. Secure them with wire hooks and, in time, they will root and thicken up the hedge.
 




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Compost & Fertilizers

Scatter Growmore between layers of leaves in a bin or container. It makes them rot quicker and the end result is more nutritious leaf mould.
Courtesy Nigel Colborn, Garden News
 
Place a banana skin in the bottom of the planting hole for clematis.
 
Use banana skins around roses
 
Sprinkle used tea leaves, tea bags or coffee grounds on the surface of potted camellias.
 
Azaleas respond to a drink of two tablespoons of white vinegar added to a litre of water.
 
Crush eggshells into a bucket of water. Leave for two weeks and strain. Use the water as a calcium rich tonic for geraniums
 
Perk up your plants by feeding them with half a can of Coca-Cola
 
To make nettle tea, fill a bucket with crushed nettles and weigh down with a brick. Fill with water and leave for two weeks. Strain and dilute the liquid 10 to 1 for a nitrogen rich fertilizer on all garden plants in Spring and early summer.





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Pests & Diseases
 
To get rid of unwanted nettles, cut them down the moment they appear. Under constant persecution, they will eventually give up.
 
Thistles cut in May return the next day
Thistles cut in June come back soon
Thistles cut in July are sure to die.
 
To stop mice and birds eating your pea seeds, soak the packet in paraffin and leave for 24 hours before planting. Don`t worry, the resulting peas on the plant will be quite safe to eat and won`t taste of paraffin!
 
A bruised garlic clove left at the entrance to a wasp`s nest will clear it in hours.
 
Soak tomato leaves in a bucket of water for a week and use the water as a spray to control caterpillar damage to cabbages.
 
Planting marigolds around the base of a rose will deter aphids.
 
At the first sign of mildew, give the plant a feed of seaweed extract and keep it well watered. No guarantee but it often helps.
Courtesy: Marina Christopher, Phoenix Perennial Plants, Alton, Hants.
 

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Old Fashioned Tips & Remedies

Conkers (Horse Chestnuts) placed discreetly in the corners of rooms deter spiders in autumn.
 
Place conkers or bay leaves in your wardrobes and drawers to keep moths away.
 
Shift stains from plastic garden furniture with a paste made of bicarbonate of soda and water. Leave the paste on the stain for about two minutes and then wipe off.
 
Alternatively, use lemon juice to remove rust and stains from resin furniture.
 
Raise wooden furniture off the ground in winter to prevent any rot setting in from wet ground.
 
To remove rust from garden tools, mix two tablespoonfuls of salt with one tablespoonful of lemon juice. Apply this mixture to the rust and rub hard with a cloth.
 
Use old net curtains to keep birds off fruit bushes and to protect plants from frost.
 
An upturned hanging basket filled with straw protects the crown of perennials from frost and winter wet.
 
Paint bamboo canes green or black so they become invisible in the border.
 





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Culinary Tips

Placing a single leaf from a lemon-scented geranium under the greaseproof paper lining before baking will perfume the whole sponge.
 
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) produces spice-scented seeds which can be used in cooking.
 
Heartsease can be added to salads, sundaes and drinks.
 
Use rose petals to add flavour and scent to ice cream, cordials and salads.
 
The edible flowers of pinks can be used in salads, vinegar or to decorate cakes.
 
Nasturtiums have a strong peppery flavour which works well in salads and sandwiches.
 
Pot marigolds are so called because they were used to flavour soups and stews.
 
Crushing the petals of pot marigolds produces a `poor man`s saffron` which is ideal for colouring rice dishes.
 
To dry herbs instantly, place them in the microwave for a few seconds. This works especially well with parsley.
 
Make sure your parsley stays green - only add it to a sauce once the liquid has boiled.
 
Freeze parsley on its stem in a clear plastic bag. When you need it, remove it from the freezer and rub it between your fingers. Your parsley is automatically chopped!
 
To get rid of garlic breath, chew some parsley.
 
Keep flies away - place fresh mint on the kitchen window-sill.
 
To clean up any spills in the oven, sprinkle some salt and cinnamon over the spill. It will easily lift off with a spatula.
 
Float Borage flowers in a glass of Pimms.
 
Young Borage leaves have a slight flavour of cucumber and can be chopped up and stirred into soft cheese and salads.
 




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General

Always moisten the compost of pot-grown plants before transplanting, teasing out the roots and discarding the top in/2cm of compost to reduce the risk of `importing` weed seeds. This applies equally to home-grown and purchased potted plants. Most compost in pots contains weed seeds which will germinate and multiply in their new surroundings.
Courtesy Peter Hall, Head Gardener, Dunham Massey, Cheshire.
 
For cheap plant supports, pull a wire coat hanger into a square, straighten the hook, turn it at right angles and push it into the top of a cane. Gradually raise the cane as the plant grows.
 
Porous terracotta pots are attractive but lose moisture quickly in hot weather. Line the pot with several thick layers of newspaper before adding compost. The paper conserves moisture.
 
Split the contents of a grow bag into four pots rather than using the usual three holes. It makes the compost go further and makes more room for the roots.
 
Cut up old margarine tubs and yoghurt pots and use them as plant labels.
 
Get free used shotgun cartridges from your local clay pigeon club. Place them over the ends of canes so you don`t blind yourself!
 
When transplanting, remember to water plants ten minutes before you dig the holes for them.
 
A cardboard toilet or kitchen paper tube coated in peanut butter and rolled in birdseed makes a good re-cycled bird feeder which can be slipped over the branch of a tree.
 
Thoroughly wash newly acquired pond plants to prevent introducing even the tiniest piece of duckweed which would multiply.
 
Batch-sow your favourite annuals throughout spring and early summer to prolong the flowering period.
Courtesy: Marina Christopher, Phoenix Perennial Plants, Alton, Hants.
 
Pine cones make great lightweight drainage material in pots and troughs.
 
If the basket surface gets too dry and the water runs off, add a few drops of washing-up liquid to the water which will then be able to penetrate the surface.
 
Avoid lifting heavy watering cans up to hanging baskets by using a one litre plastic water bottle which contains just about the right amount of water for the task.
 
Put an empty jam jar by the sprinkler. When there is one inch of water in the jar it`s time to move the sprinkler.
 
Use water at room temperature to water house plants, seedlings and other greenhouse plants to avoid shocking them. Fill your watering can the night before and leave it to warm up.
 
When buying plants, don`t be afraid to knock plants out of their pot to check their root ball.
 
Avoid plants with moss, algae, liverworts or weeds growing in their compost. This usually means they have been in their pot for too long.
 
If you come across a shrub that has been pruned in an odd fashion, don`t touch it. It probably means that the plant was damaged in some way.
 
Plant foxgloves next to azaleas and rhododendrons; it is said to keep them healthy.
 
Viticella clematis are bred from a species found in southern Europe, particularly Spain. They tolerate
drier conditions naturally and they never suffer from clematis wilt.
 
Pot up young clematis plants bought in spring and summer. Keep them well fed and watered and plant them out in September with some bone meal and they will establish well. 
 


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Giving

The Society raises money each year for local charities and good causes by holding plant sales and raffles. Recently, we have been inspired by the wonderful work done by Chris Evans, the owner of Dundry Nurseries in Bamfurlong Lane, Cheltenham who has created The Butterfly Garden, an educational, therapeutic and recreational scheme, based initially on gardening, but now offering so much more. It is a project for people of all ages dealing with disablement of any kind. It caters for those looking to escape the world, those looking to re-enter it and some, who are still just looking. It's doors are open to anyone without obligation.
For more information please go to The Butterfly Garden
In June 2013, the Society sold plants donated by members and others at the Prestbury Open Gardens Weekend and raised £524.32 for charity, which was divided equally between St. Mary’s Church in Prestbury and The Butterfly Garden.


Gloucestershire Tool Amnesty 2013
During August 2013, the Society collected 569 garden hand tools for The Conservation Foundation, a charity co-founded in 1982 by David Bellamy OBE to promote environmental awareness, participation and education. Seven other gardening clubs and two local garden centres took part and the majority of the tools have now been transferred to HM Prison Cardiff where they will be refurbished in educational workshops to provide new skills training for the inmates. When they are finished, they will be returned to Gloucestershire and donated to schools and community projects encouraging the next generation of gardeners and helping those less fortunate than ourselves.