August Newsletter

Hi Everyone,

The weather seems quite unusual this year! Just when we think we need to learn about hot, dry gardens, along comes a cool, damp summer to confound us! But at last my tomatoes are starting to ripen, and as always, some plants are loving the conditions that others hate. Do let us know what is doing well in your garden, and don’t forget we need photos for our August calendar (and it’s not too late to add some for previous months).

We don’t have a meeting in August, but we have events and visits to look forward to in September, and we need to finalise arrangements for those, so please let us know if you will be able to join us.

Next meetings

Firstly, on Saturday 4th September, the mairie in Lauzerte is arranging a Fête des Associations at the Salles des Fêtes, from 14h to 18h. It is hoped that all the local associations will be present, to share news about what they do. As part of this, we are going to run a Seed Preparation workshop at 15h – this will cover when and how to collect seeds, how to clean and store them and key tips for sowing. We will also be showing you how to make your own seed packets. This should be a timely activity, as there should be plenty of seeds ripe and ready to be collected, and it will enable you to get ready for our October Plant and Seed Swap. I hope you can come and join us for this activity – places will be limited to allow for social distancing, so please reserve your place as soon as possible, using our reservation form at the end of the newsletter.

Les Jardins de Coursiana

Our meeting on Tuesday September 14th will be at Les Jardins de Coursiana, 32480 La Romieu. These beautiful gardens, on silty clay soil, in the Gers, to the south west of Agen, are about 1hr 15 minutes drive from Lauzerte. Another of the “Jardins remarquables”, the gardens were created in 1975, by an eminent botanist M. Cours Darne with the planting of about 300 trees and shrubs. The current owners took over in 1992, and under his guidance, continued the enrichment of the gardens, developing an English garden and then a garden of medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as a potager. We plan to have a guided tour, which including entry to the gardens, will be €8,50 per person.

L’etape Angeline

Knowing how our members enjoy going out for lunch, we have arranged a meal beforehand at l’Etape Angeline in nearby La Romieu. They offer a menu for 19€.

You could make a full day of it with a morning walk around the historic town of La Romieu, and a visit to the church, Collégiale Saint-Pierre, which dates back to 14th century. A visit to the church is 5€.

For this visit, we will be car-sharing, so please let us know if you are willing to drive, and how many places you can offer. The round trip would cost around €16 to €20 for a typical car, so we suggest that each person gives their driver an appropriate contribution.

To summarise the overall possible cost for the day :-

  • transport about 5€
  • visit to church 5€
  • lunch €19
  • visit to garden with tour €8,50

We need to know numbers as soon as possible, so please complete our form, which you will find at the end of the newsletter:

Recent events

On July 13th, we had our wonderful coach trip and Summer Picnic at the Jardin de Martels. We were really lucky with the weather, in that it mainly stayed dry, until we were under the cover of the pergola during lunch! The gardens are stunning, what a treat that was.

On July 27th we held a Cuttings Workshop at our gardens at the Maison de Retraite. It was a really enjoyable morning, and the gardens are looking wonderful. We took cuttings from penstemon, salvia, rosemary, cistus, lavender, phygelius, and hebe.

At short notice, on July 30th, Edwina organised a Glass Fusion workshop for some of us at Reay Art in Tournon d’Agenais, which was an absorbing and challenging way to spend a few hours. I can’t wait to see how they turn out after firing!

Dates for your Diary

With social distancing requirements, we are very limited in how many we can accommodate at the Salle de l’Eveillé, and we don’t want to be turning people away at the door – so I hope you appreciate that we are concentrating on outside visits and those where we can use the grand hall at the Salle des Fêtes, for the rest of this year.

September is the last month for submitting photos for our Photo Competition, as then we will move on to judging and creating the calendar. Most of the entries are being added to our albums on Facebook, but you can send them directly to me if you don’t use that.

We are awaiting confirmation of a date for the Brocante in Chantal’s Garden, which we have had to defer a couple of times already, due to the pandemic. We are hopeful that this can go ahead in September and will let you know the date as soon as possible.

For our meeting on 12th October, we will get together in a member’s garden for a Plant and Seed Swap. We want to see packets of clean seed being shared please! So if you want to learn about how best to gather, clean and store seeds that you collect in your garden, please join us on Sat Sep 4th for the Seed Workshop mentioned above. If you are lifting and dividing congested plants, please pot up any spares to share with members and give them at least a couple of weeks to get settled before the meeting. If taking cuttings, get started as soon as possible, so that you will be able to pot on well-rooted cuttings. Don’t forget to label everything! For our refreshments, we will be asking you to bring something made from produce in your garden (or if you don’t have a potager, something made with seasonal produce) along with a recipe, so that we can have a Garden to Table tasting, and inspire each other with what to grow in future. If you would like to host this meeting, please let me know, otherwise I am happy to do so.

In November, we will be thinking mainly about TREES. Our meeting on Tuesday 9th November will be a visit to a specialist tree nursery, with we hope, some expert advice. Then Sunday 21st November is the Journée de l’Arbre, at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte, where we will have a stand. Volunteers needed please, so put this date in your diary. This will also be the launch of our 2022 Calendar with entries from our Photo Competition. We will be asking you to pre-order copies, so that we get an idea of how many we will need to print. They will make great Christmas presents and we hope that every member will want to have one at least for themselves. Price will depend on the quantity we order and any discounts we can take advantage of, but should be no more than about €15 each.

Our final meeting of the year will be the Photo Exhibition and Prize Giving on Saturday 4th December at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte. We are planning to make the most of the space by holding a Christmas Decoration workshop during the afternoon. This is a great opportunity for all members of the club to get together, to celebrate our winners, and all the super things we have managed to do together this year, despite the restrictions. I am thinking mulled wine and mince pies, perhaps?

Looking ahead to 2022

Julia and I have been working on the 2022 programme and already have some exciting things in store for you all. We are using the feedback you have given us on the membership forms to help shape the programme, but we are open to suggestions for specific things to include. We all love the meetings where we have an expert come to talk to us, with the opportunity for them to have plants/products for sale afterwards. But who should they be? Do you have any suggestions for particular speakers? Would you like to host a visit for the club in your garden? Is there a garden visit, workshop or activity that you think we should have in the programme? It’s your club, and we want to do the things that you are interested in. There is space in the reservation form to give us your suggestions.

This has become a long newsletter. I am reminded of a guy I worked with who always apologised for a long email by saying “I don’t have time to write a short one” It’s true, it takes ages to be concise.

Wishing you a happy August and looking forward to our next meeting, in the meantime, please don’t forget to let us know – about the Seed Workshop, the visit to La Coursiana, and suggestions for the 2022 programme, and put all those dates above in your diaries!

e.g Montaigu, Montcuq, Lauzerte, Moissac....
Please give your specific suggestions for expert speakers, workshops/activity leaders, gardens or nurseries to visit, with contact info if possible

If you have any queries, you can contact me, or Edwina our secretary.

Belinda

xx

Invitation to our Summer Picnic on Tuesday 13th July at Jardin de Martels

Please come and join us for a day out in a beautiful garden… to celebrate summer, our love of gardens, the end of confinement, and the opportunity to get together again.

We will be transported by comfortable air-conditioned coach to Jardin de Martels, a magical place to spend a few hours.

We will have a guided tour and then have free time to explore or just relax and enjoy the company of other members in a delightful and tranquil environment, full of beautiful plants.  

Bring a sun hat, some water and a picnic lunch… 

also a shopping bag for your purchases from the nursery…

This visit should provide some wonderful subjects for our Calendar competition, so don’t forget your camera.

We have 44 places on the coach, which we hope to fill with members for our first outing together in ages. It’s going to be lovely, I can hardly wait!

Thanks to the Vide Jardin, we can reduce the cost to our members and offer you a ticket to cover transport, entry to the garden and the guided tour, for just 18€.

If you would like to join us, and you are already a member, please let Ingrid know by email to as soon as possible, to reserve your place. Your payment will be required in advance, to be received no later than 5th July.  See the Reservation form in the attachment to the email from our secretary, for details. If you aren’t yet a member, then go to our Join Us page and follow the link to complete our membership form. You will then be able to reserve a place and then pay for both the trip and your membership at the same time.

We plan to arrive at the garden by 10h15 for a tour starting at 10h30. Pickups will be in Montaigu de Quercy, Lauzerte and probably Castelsarrasin. The journey takes about 1.5 hours. The tour lasts 1 hr 15 mins. We will leave the garden at 15h

About the gardens

Jardin de Martels is at Giroussens, 81500, 30km north of Toulouse. It is classed as a Jardin Remarquable 

Visit their website to read their story and get a glimpse of the delights that await us.

https://www.jardinsdesmartels.com/

This asian-inspired / English landscape floral garden of almost 9 acres has 1000s of different plants, in a variety of gardens,  including amazing lotus ponds (they should be at their best), an exotic greenhouse for aquatic plants, a banana plantation, fabulous agapanthus, hydrangeas etc… they also have a wonderful nursery with locally grown plants.

Since our last visit with the club in 2015 there have been many additions, including a rose garden, a Chinese temple in the Indonesian garden, a revamp of the colours garden and reconstruction of the turtle ponds, and the addition of an iron gazebo. So even if you have been before, there will be plenty of new things to discover.

 The nursery has its own website, which is bound to make you realise that there is ALWAYS room for another plant…  https://pepiniere.jardinsdesmartels.com

I am looking forward to it immensely and hope to see you on the day,
xx 
Belinda

May 2021 News

 Hi Everyone, 

I am very pleased to see the gradual easing of restrictions and the continuing roll-out of the vaccine programme, which I hope means that we will be able to have more sociable gatherings soon.

The weather is getting warmer, and we have had some much needed rain, so hopefully our gardens are now starting to repay all the hard work, and bring lots of things to delight us, along with the wonderful songbirds.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on TUESDAY 11th May 2021 in Liz Mitchell’s Garden (please note that our calendar mistakenly said 12th). What a treat! 

Thanks to the easing of restrictions, we are now able to travel freely, however there are still limits on how many people can gather together. Liz has kindly offered to host visits for small groups of people, and will give a tour of her garden.

Please let Edwina know immediately if you would like to participate in this visit, and whether you will be travelling with other members. Depending on how many people wish to go, time slots will be allocated.

One of the nurseries on our recommended list, Delmas Gautier, Les Serres de Dausse, is nearby, so that would make a good addition to your outing.

Recent Meeting

Our AGM, on April 13th, was well attended. Members should all have received a copy of the minutes.

Following this, at our most recent Admin Group meeting, the Bureau were re-elected. The current team is as follows:-

The Bureau

  • Julia Barton  – Vice-President 
  • Belinda Berry –  President
  • Marga Grondsma – Treasurer
  • Edwina Silver – Secretary
  • Ingrid Batty  – Events
  • Shirley Sears-Black – Refreshments
  • Tracy Stewart – Membership Secretary
  • Lucinda Wilson – Publicity & Marketing
  • Rosamund Williams

Welcome to our new Members

I am delighted that this year we have had several new members join us, despite not being able to have face to face meetings yet. Welcome. We are really looking forward to getting to know you and your gardens, even if just through photos for now. 

Here is a contribution from Iona who joined last month.

Membership Renewals due

If you have not already renewed your membership, please do so quickly, or you will stop receiving our regular communications. It is really easy to do this online by using the form on our website. Please don’t wait to get a reminder from our Secretary!

Go to https://www.cjl82.fr/membership/ and fill in the form, then you will get a message to let you know how you can pay your fee.

Important Changes and Dates for your Diary

On Saturday 5th June we are holding a Vide Jardin in Lauzerte, from 9h to 13h, next to the War Memorial, opposite our usual meeting room La Salle de L’Éveillé. This is part of the Rendez-vous aux Jardins weekend which is a national event. We need volunteers to help us on the stand please (from 8h), and we need your donations! We hope to see you all as customers too of course.

Do you have (or perhaps someone you know has) some spare gardening tools or equipment? Some garden decorations or some garden themed crafts? Have you divided some plants, taken cuttings, or have you some extra ones that you raised from seed? Whatever you have that is garden-related, in usable condition, we would like it!  Please let Ingrid know if you are willing to help on the day, and what you will be able to donate. We will arrange to meet you to collect your items, or you can deliver them to Belinda or Ingrid. All plants must be labelled please!

All the funds raised will be for the benefit of the club – we would like to organise an outing to a delightful garden where we can have a picnic, once such things become possible again.

This vide jardin will take the place of our monthly meeting, which was intended to be a visit to Jardin d’Ingrid and Atelier du Vegetal, which we will organise for later, when car-sharing becomes a more realistic option for us all.  So no meeting on Tuesday 8th June. We are also deferring the Brocante in Chantal’s garden (which was scheduled for 30th May) and hope that we will be able to hold that in late Summer/early Autumn.  

But please look out for emails about other garden visits, which we may arrange at short notice

L’Argentée Médiévale (Maison de Retraite)

Our volunteers have been given permission to visit the garden again, and everything is looking really good. Please let Julia know if you would like to join in with the activities.

To Do This Month

Sarah Pegg’s wonderful clematis

It is full-on glorious gardening time now, I hope. 

I shall be busy planting out the tender plants like tomatoes, courgettes and chillies, and preparing the 3 sisters bed for the corn, squash and beans.  I also have lots of annual flowering plants that I have grown from seed to fill gaps in the borders and to replace the spring bulbs in pots.

Cut back spring-flowering shrubs once flowering has finished.

If you have Box hedging, please be vigilant for the box moth caterpillars, which have made a re-appearance this year. Put up pheromone traps, and pick off caterpillars as soon as you see them, and spray with a product containing bacillus thuringiensis, which seems to be the most effective way to control them.  

It is a constant effort to keep on top of the weeds before they all go to seed! But do consider taking photos of them, as it was suggested that a database of what weeds we have to look out for here, would be very useful.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your favourite plants for when they have shoots suitable for taking cuttings. Semi-ripe cuttings taken in May and June should be well-rooted by the time we get to our plant swap in October.

And lastly, remember to take photos of whatever is looking good and submit your best shots for our Photo Competition.

Future Activities

We are really playing it by ear now, waiting to see what the restrictions are and how comfortable people feel about meeting in larger groups. Fortunately, we can happily spend time outdoors in gardens and nurseries!

Enjoy your garden, and we hope to see you soon.

xx

Belinda

.

April 2021 News

Hi Everyone,

What a mix of weather we have been having! The garden has really benefitted from the warmer, sunny days, and then we got hit with a cold snap. I can see some signs of damage to new growth, but hopefully everything will be able to recover. We shall have to wait and see whether there are any cherries – but the blossom has been fabulous!

an April posy amid the Banksia rose

I look forward to seeing what is flourishing in your gardens this month, as you share your photos for our Calendar Competition. We have some super entries so far.

Don’t be worried about having special equipment, you can take a perfectly good photo with your phone, like this, which will be of sufficient quality for printing, as long as you share it full size.

I have had a sneak preview of the prizes, and they are fabulous! So get snapping, and start sharing.

Our next meeting

is on Tuesday 13th April at 2pm. This will be our AGM, which was deferred from it’s usual slot in February. Due to the ongoing restrictions, we will be holding this by Zoom. Do please make every effort to join us, this is an important occasion for the club, especially this year, when the members of the Admin Group get elected for the next 2 years. You should all have received an Invitation, along with all the supporting documents, in a recent email from our Secretary, Edwina. Do please read them. The info is also available here, apart from the Finance Report (I will see if I can add this). We will be able to take your anonymous votes online during the meeting. The meeting info is Meeting ID: 827 2649 9311 and Passcode: 82110 or just follow this link: Join Zoom Meeting. If you need any help with getting Zoom working, or would like to try it out beforehand, just let me know, I will be happy to help.

I will be reviewing all the interesting things we have managed to achieve last year, despite the health crisis, and looking forward to the year ahead. Please come with your Questions – about the Club, or about gardening, and your ideas for what things you would like us to do together.

Normally, you would be renewing your membership at the AGM, but you don’t need to see us in person to do that, we have made it as easy as possible by creating an online form for you to fill in, and you can either pay by sending a cheque to our Treasurer, or using the details in the AGM invitation to set up a ‘virement’ using online banking. Please do keep your connection with us, and help to keep the club active, by supporting us with your 10€ subscription.

Recent Meetings

In February, Julia and I shared with you about “How to Plant for Flowers in Succession“. We had some super feedback on this and we hope you found it informative and inspiring. The first parts of the presentation have been made available in the Members Only area of our website (the password is the initials of our club, in lowercase, followed by the Lauzerte postcode). Or you can view or download the whole Powerpoint presentation from Dropbox.

In March, Julia demonstrated the techniques of Seed Sowing, to help you all get started with growing your own veggies and flowers. Following on from this a few members were able to visit Fiona’s polytunnel for a practical session on Pricking Out. These sessions are something we will repeat in future, when we can have a hands-on workshop for everyone.

Upcoming activities

We were looking forward to the opportunity of seeing some of you at the Place aux Fleurs in Lauzerte on Sunday 18th April.

The event is still going ahead, but sadly, only the commercial growers are permitted to participate in the open-air market. So we will not have a stand this year.

Those that live within 10km of Lauzerte will be able to enjoy visiting and buying plants, shrubs and trees.

It will take place as usual at Place des Cornières, from 9h to 18h.

On Saturday 5th June, as part of the weekend of activities Rendez-vous aux Jardins, in Lauzerte, the club will be holding a Vide Jardin from 9h to 13h.

This will take place opposite our usual meeting room the Salle de l’Éveillé, next to the War Memorial in Lauzerte.

Do you have (or perhaps someone you know has) some spare gardening tools or equipment? Some garden decorations? Can you divide some plants, take cuttings, or raise some extra ones from seed? Please think ahead and start putting things aside for us, for this event, and let us know what you will be able to donate.

All the funds raised will be for the benefit of the club – we would like to organise an outing, once such things become possible again.

Please put Sat 5th June in your diary, we will want volunteers to help us on the day, and of course, we will want to see you!

Future Meetings

It will be lovely if we are able to visit Liz Mitchell’s garden on Tuesday May 11th, but we may need to delay this depending on the restrictions in force at that time.

With the vaccination programme accelerating, I am sure that many of us will feel more confident about meeting up as the year progresses, whilst of course continuing with appropriate measures such as masks and hand sanitising. Perhaps some smaller gatherings in each other’s gardens will be possible.

Open Gardens

Some of the Open Gardens scheme gardens, including Sue Sargeant’s, are opening to smaller groups on a regular basis, rather than on a single day. If you are within 10km of a garden, you will still be able to enjoy a visit, but pre-booking is generally required. For more information please go to the Open Gardens site – this link will take you directly to Sue’s page, with dates. Her gardens will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but other dates can be accommodated by request. Please email Sue to book.

Publicity and Social Media

Are you a reader of The Connexion? Look out for the article about the club on the Community pages in the April edition! We are also now in their Community Directory (under Environmental/Nature/Green), as well as in The Buzz directory.

We have produced new A5 flyers, to bring all our information up to date, so we will be looking for places to put these, where potential members may see them, so if you have a local noticeboard or a venue where you think they would be appropriate, please let us know.

Are you a user of Instagram? We welcome additions using the hashtag #cjl_82 – here is a snapshot of our recent info and you can click on it to visit our page.

Stay safe, and enjoy your garden!

Belinda xx

February 2021 News

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on 9th February 2021 at 14h, via Zoom.

Our topic this month is “How to Plant for Flowers in Succession”. Discover which species to choose to stagger flowering throughout the year. Julia and Belinda will be giving the presentation, which will be a feast for the eyes, with lots of lovely photos, and plenty of information to help you have a beautiful and interesting garden throughout the year. We hope you can join us.

Members will receive an email from our secretary with the details of how to join the Zoom meeting. If you need any help with getting started with Zoom, please don’t hesitate to ask.

AGM delayed

As we cannot meet in person yet, we cannot hold our AGM as planned this month. We can delay it until June at the latest, and we will give 2 weeks notice beforehand. 

Membership Renewals due this month

In the meantime, we do have ongoing expenses, including our monthly subscription to Zoom, our website and our email services, so we are inviting members to renew their membership this month, as usual, please.  As we will not be seeing you, we have put the Membership Form on our website, and you can find it from the “Join Us” page, or going directly from this link https://www.cjl82.fr/membership/

The Admin Group have agreed to recommend that we keep the membership fee at €10 for the year, which is something members would usually vote on at the AGM; we hope this meets with your approval.

Membership Form on the website

You can complete the Membership form directly online, and when you click Submit, the results will be sent to Rosamund, our membership secretary, who will contact you with the details of how to make your payment, by cheque or bank transfer.

Please note that there are some optional fields on the Membership form, including your Areas of Interest. We encourage you to have a think about it and complete this, as it will really help us to plan our future programme. We would also particularly like to know if you have a specialist subject that you would like to talk to members about, or give us a demonstration of, or would like to host a visit to your garden. You can use the “Other Areas of Interest” box for that.  There is also an opportunity to let us know if you are willing to volunteer for the Maison de Retraite (see below for more info), Ground Force, or generally help out at events or meetings.

We do hope that you will renew your membership and help keep the club going. We have a full programme of activities for the coming year and will be arranging visits, activities and meetings as soon as feasible. Meanwhile, our Zoom meetings have been more enjoyable than many were expecting, and it is really super to see everyone even if only via a screen. If you haven’t already done so, give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Previous Meeting

Our January meeting was a Fun Zoom Quiz. Actually, it turned out to be a lot more fun than people expected, and we covered all sorts of garden-related topics, including identifying some glorious gardens around Europe.

Can you name this garden, and where it is?

Date for your Diary

Next month, on March 9th, we will be holding a Seed Sowing workshop. As we did with the Christmas Decoration workshop, if we cannot get together, we will do it over Zoom, and those interested can meet up with Belinda if they need to get materials (pots, labels, compost, seeds), so that you can follow along at home.

Photography Competition

Have you contributed to our Photography Competition yet?  We will arrange voting on the winners later in the year, so you can still submit photos for any month from October onwards.

Photos should be from your own garden, or gardens that we visit together, and should show something seasonal. Let’s see what is looking good in your garden!

If you would like to participate, but are not on our Facebook group, please send an email to Belinda.

L’Argentée Médiévale (Maison de Retraite)

Dear Members

A few years ago, the Club de Jardinage de Lauzerte took on the project of designing and planting a garden at the local EHPAD for the residents, their families and friends and as a project for ourselves to help learn about how to tackle gardening in our fairly inhospitable climate.

The results have been very well received and our members have benefitted from the opportunity of working with fellow gardeners and sharing skills and ideas. This year we plan to hold a Cuttings Workshop at the garden on Tuesday 13th April, in which you will have the opportunity to take cuttings from existing plants material and grow these on for your own garden.

We have a regular team of Volunteers who give up a couple of hours once a month to carry out regular maintenance work on the garden. You do not need to be an expert gardener but can benefit from other members experience. The jobs usually involve dead-heading, general tidying up and some watering when it is dry.

We have teams of members who are responsible for each section and it is these people who decide which plant goes where and what needs moving. They are Moon Garden – Julia, Raised Beds – Rosamund and Sun Garden – David and Louise.

If you feel that you would like to be involved please tick the box on the Membership Form, or contact Julia  as she keeps the ongoing list of volunteers and organises the visits. Please do this even if you were on the list last year as we all have changing commitments from year to year.

Thank you,
Julia

To Do This Month

Things are starting to show signs of new life again, and the days are getting longer. Yesterday an Anemone that has been in bud for weeks, opened for the first time, and I have snowdrops and hellebores too. If you have clumps of snowdrops, it is best to lift and divide them ‘in the green’.

This is a prime time to start getting ready for the growing year ahead. Some jobs got delayed as the weather was so cold, and then so wet during January. I am still pruning roses and fruit trees, and starting to think about clearing away some of the untidy remains of perennials. I leave seed heads as long as possible, as they are decorative and provide food for the birds.

I have already started with sowing seeds – chillies in particular need a long growing season, so I get them going in a heated propagator, along with some tender annuals such as geraniums and impatiens. Next up will be tomatoes and aubergines. There are lots of seeds you can sow this month for the potager, and they are all detailed in the “Jardinez Avec la Lune’ guide, which I use to help me organise my time.

In the flower garden, there are useful lists of things to do on the Thompson & Morgan site, here is an example:

Pruning and tidying

  • Prune wisteria now, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds. For advice on the best way to do it, check our wisteria pruning guide.
  • Cut back shrubs, such as cornus and salix cultivars (grown for their colourful winter stems), down to their bases.
  • Prune summer-flowering clematis towards the end of the month, before active growth begins. For advice on the best way to do it, check our clematis pruning guide.
  • Cut back the old foliage from ornamental grasses before growth begins. Clip them to within a few centimetres of the ground.
  • Prune overwintered fuchsias back to one or two buds on each shoot.
  • Prune winter-flowering jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) after flowering, to encourage new growth for next year’s blooms. Cut back the previous year’s growth to 5cm from the old wood.
  • Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent plants becoming leggy.
  • Prune winter-flowering shrubs such as mahonia and viburnum x bodnantense once their colourful display has finished.
  • Remove faded flowers from winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will encourage a flush of new flowers when the weather warms up.

There is certainly plenty to do to keep ourselves busy while social activities are restricted.

Future Activities

Have you completed any projects in the garden this last year, or have you found more joy from the garden than you might have expected, especially during lockdown? Do let us know about your experiences, and do please take photos of your achievements, we may be able to feature them in our display for the Place aux Fleurs on April 18th, which we hope can go ahead as planned.

I hope that the recent flooding has not impacted you or your garden badly.

Stay safe, stay well and enjoy your outdoor space.

xx

Belinda

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on 9th February 2021.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to meet in person yet, so we will be using Zoom.

This means that we cannot hold our AGM as planned. We can delay it until June at the latest, and will give 2 weeks notice.

Our topic this month is “How to Plant for Flowers in Succession”. Discover which species to choose to stagger flowering throughout the year.

December 2020 Newsletter

Our best wishes for a happy festive season and a positive outlook for 2021, from all the Admin Team – Belinda, Edwina, Julia, Ingrid, Luci, Marga, Pam, Rosamund and Shirley xxx

Well this has been a strange year indeed. When we had our last meeting in the Salle de l’Eveille in March this year, we had started taking precautions, but of course, none of us could foresee the extent or duration of the restrictions that would take place this year. 

 Thank goodness that we have been able to use Zoom to keep connected with each other and continue some of our activities at least.

Our one face to face meeting in October was a brief respite from lockdown and made me realise that it is much easier to manage social distancing in an outdoor setting. So in the coming year, we are focussing on activities that we can hold outdoors and on visits to gardens, until such time as we can start using the meeting room again.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th January at 14h

This will be a fun Zoom quiz. I do hope you will join us for some gardening and general knowledge questions, and of course to share news of what you have planned for your garden in the coming year. If you haven’t got going with Zoom yet, please do give it a try – I am more than happy to help with installation and to run through how it works ahead of time, so don’t hesitate to email or call me on 05 65 31 49 72 if you are a bit hesitant about it.

Recent meetings

On our meeting on November 10th, I talked about “Gardening by the Moon”. I hope Santa will bring me a copy of “Jardinez avec la Lune 2021”, which will be my guide for when best to sow seeds, prune and plant out. The booklet is full of timely tips and recommendations and also helps improve my gardening vocabulary in French.  Here are some resources for more information:

Due to the restrictions, we couldn’t hold our Christmas Decoration Workshop with Isabelle Durand, as planned, but Julia Barton stepped in and gave us a fantastic, informative demonstration using Zoom, on December 8th. It was really a lovely way to spend the afternoon and as you will see, there were some super decorations made by our members. If you made some more after the workshop, do please share your photos with us. The illustration for our Christmas card was created by Liz Mitchell.

The club now has a stock of Oasis, at €1,50 per rectangular block. A useful website for craft and floral decoration materials is buttinette.fr

Isabelle Durand’s stall in Montcuq market

I hope that many of you will look for Isabelle in the Lauzerte and Montcuq markets, where she sells her lovely decorations as well as Christmas trees. Hopefully we will be able to do a floristry workshop with her in future.

2021 Programme

You should have all received our combined Christmas Card / 2021 Programme in the post. You will see that we have a wide range of activities planned, aiming to encompass the need for social distancing and minimise indoor meetings until such time as the health crisis has diminished. We are focussing on outdoor events and will continue to use Zoom as needed, but really hope that we can meet again as usual before too long. There are some things that we had to defer from 2020, such as the Brocante in Chantal’s garden, and the visit to Jardin d’Ingrid, and there are plenty of visits to look forward to. There may well be some additional outings that we can add at short notice,  and as always, we welcome your suggestions.

Photography Competition

 A new challenge for you all is the Photography Competition for our 2022 Calendar, to show off what is looking good throughout the year. 

We kicked this off early so that we can complete our calendar in time to launch it at the Journée de l’Arbre in November, so we already have some great entries on our Facebook Group. 

If you aren’t on Facebook, you can still participate – you can download to Dropbox or Google Drive, just drop me an email and I will send you the links you need.  

We are looking into ways in which you can participate in making the final choice for each month’s winning entry, and we are recruiting sponsors for the prizes for each month. Please let Luci know if you, or a company you are involved with, would like to be a sponsor.  

Between us we will create an inspiring library of images featuring the plants that do well here throughout the seasons, as well as the wildlife that we find in our gardens.

Garden to Table

Another new idea is our “Garden to Table” feature, for sharing your ideas and recipes for using seasonal garden produce. When you have a glut in the garden, it will be really useful to have suggestions of what to do with it. We hope you will have delicious goodies for us to taste along the way, especially during our October meeting.

One thing that isn’t shown on the programme is our celebration meal, but we will arrange that when it becomes possible to do so – we will certainly have something to celebrate then! 

The year will culminate with an exhibition of your photos and a prize giving for the monthly winners, to which all our sponsors will be invited.

To Do this Month

Flowering Yucca

I also want to get some more Dahlias and perhaps some summer flowering bulbs, and would be looking at Farmer Gracy for those. Again, please let me know if you are interested.

It may seem that there is not much to be done in the garden in December, once you have protected everything against possible harsh weather, but on fine days, you could be pruning climbing roses and overgrown shrubs, and this is also a good time to prune apple and pear trees,  as well as planting bare-root trees. It is also ideal for sowing some flower seeds indoors or in a heated propagator, such as Sweet Peas, pelargoniums, hardy cyclamen and snapdragons. In the vegetable garden you can sow broad beans and plant garlic sets outdoors, and start lettuce such as Winter Gem and Lamb’s lettuce in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame.

A late-flowering rose in Sarah Pegg’s garden

Don’t forget to put out fresh water for the birds as well as encouraging them to pick pests off your roses by hanging feeders nearby. I have an ongoing battle with keeping the pigeons off my green veggies, do please share any proven techniques!

Update from the MdR garden

 Our volunteers were able to get back to the garden during the summer months, and really enjoyed seeing how it is maturing.  Dead-heading and cutting back some of the vigorous growth have been the main tasks, along with some weeding and watering, although M. Claude has been diligent at keeping the garden tidy and watered throughout the periods when we have not been able to visit. David and Louise, together with Luci and her husband, were able to finish the job of laying the remaining gravel and tidying up, so everything looks very smart now.

Once again, since the end of October, the garden has been left to look after itself, and we hope to be able to start again some time in the New Year. If you would like to be added to the volunteer rota, then do please let Julia know. We hope to be able to hold a cuttings workshop there in the Spring, as there should be plenty of material for propagating from, and it would be lovely for more of our members to be able to see the results of all the work that has gone into the garden. It has certainly been appreciated by the staff and the residents and their families, and thanks to all your efforts the garden has continued to thrive and provide non-stop colour and interest, even in the hottest and wettest periods.

Changes to the Bureau

Since the very beginning of the club, some 7 years ago, Pam Westcott has been doing a fabulous job as Secretary.  Through the changes of other officers of the club, she has provided continuity and made sure that not only do we abide by the rules and regulations, but that we keep you all up to date with the information you need. From making sure that we have meeting rooms, to answering all kinds of queries, Pam has developed the contacts we need and been a friendly and welcoming presence at our meetings. I can’t thank Pam enough for all that she has done for the club over the years, or for all the help and support she has given me. The club has grown and thrived thanks to her selfless and generous attitude towards all the little things that need doing behind the scenes. 

Pam has been saying for some time that she would like to have a change, so whilst I am very sorry to see an end to her tenure, I am really pleased to be able to announce that from early January, Edwina Silver has agreed to take over as Secretary.  Pam will continue to be a member of the Admin Group and will be helping Edwina to transition into the role.  I know that I can count on you all to support Edwina as she gets familiar with her new responsibilities. 

I am also very happy to announce the appointment of Julia Barton as our Vice-President. I am really looking forward to working with Julia on our 2021 programme. These two roles, together with those of President and Treasurer, make up the Bureau, or the executive of our Association.

Please join with me in thanking Pam for all her amazing contributions over the years, and in welcoming Edwina and Julia to their new roles.

Our AGM is due to be held in February, and will include elections to our Admin Group. We would welcome some new participants, who will help make things happen for the club. So please let our secretary know if you are willing to join the AG, then we can include your nomination in the info sent out before our AGM.

Season’s Greetings to you all.  Stay safe, stay warm, stay well. Belinda x

Changes to monthly meetings

I hope you have all stayed safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. While the restrictions on large gatherings are in place, we are using Zoom for our monthly meetings, and the details of how to join us can be found in your invite email from our secretary.

The recently restored glasshouse at Kew gardens, with glass sculptures by Chihuly.

Our next meeting, on Tuesday 9th June, will be “Inspiring Gardens Around the World”, when members will be sharing their memories of some special gardens and what they particularly loved about them. Do come and join us.

Our July meeting will be a week earlier than usual, on Tuesday 7th July, when Rosamund will be showing us a before and after of how the garden at her new house has developed. We changed the date as it otherwise would clash with the Fête Nationale.

We had planned to have a BBQ in July, instead we are hoping it may be possible to have a little gathering at the salle des fêtes at Montbarla, having a picnic with each of us bringing our own food. This would be in the evening of 21st July. We will keep you posted.

February 2020

Our AGM in the Salle de l’Eveille

Our AGM was held on 11th February, and all members should have received a copy of the minutes, sent out by our secretary. There have been some changes to the published programme, which have been highlighted, and this site has now been updated to reflect the latest information. If you a paid-up member and have not received this email, please contact our secretary

There will be an Open Morning at our MDR Garden on Friday, 6 March, between 10 and 11:30 am.  If you haven’t yet seen the garden, or are thinking of offering to help maintain it, this is an ideal opportunity as there will be  will be volunteers available to show you round and answer any of your questions.  If you would like directions to the garden, then please contact our secretary

Also, would you be able to help with laying some gravel at the Maison de Retraite on the morning of Friday 13th March? If you could help out, please contact Julia Barton

If you were not able to come to our AGM, you can view our President’s report, which highlights the many different activities enjoyed by club members last year, and looks ahead to what we will be doing this year. The presentation also includes a copy of the Treasurer’s Report. You can view or download the presentation on Dropbox by following this link.

a wonderful array of cakes were on offer after the AGM