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. We have arranged a menu, for 20€ including wine and coffee.

  • Starter: Salade de jardin
  • Main course:
    • Pintade fermière sauce au poivre, or
    • Poisson grillé a la plancha et legumes
  • Dessert: Croustade aux pommes maison

Please let us know your choice of main course and if there are any foods you must avoid, or you are vegetarian.

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 €20
  • visit to garden with tour €8,50

We need to know numbers by 3rd September, 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!

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