Newsletter, September 2019

Hi Everyone, 

How has your garden fared this hot/dry/late summer? 

We all have ideas about what we can do better to prepare for our variable climate, so let’s discuss this at our next meeting and pool our experience and solutions to the challenges. If you have photos to share, especially of your Hot Weather Heroes, please post them on our Facebook group, or send them to me in an email.

Liz Mitchell’s hot weather heroes – achillea millefolium, a. filependulina and vitex agnus-castus

September Activities

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 10th September, 2pm at the Salle des Fêtes, Lauzerte. As well as talking about how to cope with heat and lack of water, we will be sharing our learning (and lovely photos) from the gardens that we visited in Languedoc Roussillon in May this year, and Fiona will be giving you a taster for what we have in store for our next trip.

On Tuesday 17th September, Sue Sargeant has organised a trip to 2 of the gardens in the Open Gardens Scheme. We will visit Les Peyrières, Anglars-Juillac and Moulin St Jean near Grezels, with lunch at Le Clau del Loup. 14,50€ for lunch, and 2€ for each garden. Full or part day. Reservations to Sue please, by Sep 11th. See file attached with the newsletter.

Ordering Bulbs & Seeds for Autumn

We now have a 15% discount with Farmer Gracy bulbs (

See your emailed newsletter or our Facebook group for the code to use.

Shipping is free for orders over £50, or £5.99 standard delivery. I did place a large order for those who contacted me in July, and there will be a few spares. Not sure if they will arrive in time for the next meeting, but I will bring a list along of what will be available.

You can now order directly from King’s Seeds to get our 50% discount on seeds. Please see your emailed newsletter or the Facebook group for the registration code.

Delivery is only £3.50 for any number of seed packets. Please note that you need to select UK as the country when you first register, but you can later add a new address for billing & delivery.

I am waiting on delivery of the new catalogues and order code for Dobies for the coming year.

To Do this Month

My garden is really suffering from lack of water, but cooler nights will be a relief. I shall be preparing for some autumn sowing in the veg garden, with onion sets, broad beans and some leafy veg like pad choi, spinach and lettuce. I also plan to sow some green manure to dig in in early spring. The rest of the garden has pretty much had to fend for itself this summer, but all now needs a bit of tidying up so that I can plant bulbs.

Recent events

In July we had a lovely summer get together at the Salle des Fêtes in Montbarla. Everyone brought delicious dishes to share and Chrissie & Graham did a fantastic job on the barbecues. We really liked the location and format and will probably do the same again next year!   

We had to delay our July outing due to the exceptionally hot weather, but a small number of us were able to go the following week and had a thoroughly enjoyable day out at the Water Gardens and Bamboo Gardens.   Thanks to Ingrid and Sally for the planning and arranging.

Don’t forget, we would like to gather together lists of gardens to visit in various areas, at home and abroad. Please let us know where you would recommend!

Dates for your Diary

Tuesday October 8th, we will be looking at what we need to do to prepare for winter and reviewing how the straw bale gardens have fared this year. We will also be having a plant and seed swap. As part of preparing for winter, we will look at some simple ways of making a small bug hotel, for those all-important solitary bees, lacewings and other beneficial insects. I’ll let you know what materials to gather and bring along, it should be fun. Our best efforts will be displayed at the Journée de l’Arbre in November. 

Tuesday November 12th, we will delve into a little plant history and trace the origins of some of our favourite garden plants with “The Christopher Columbus Legacy”.

Sunday November 17th Journée de l’Arbre, Salle des Fêtes, Lauzerte. The club will have an area where members and visitors will be welcome to enjoy a display including our best bug hotels and photos from our events this year. We will need volunteers for the stand, so please make a note of the date.

Plant Fair: La Salicaire, Sunday 20th October, St Nicolas de la Grave

Maison de Retraite

An update from Yvonne: 

This is the garden of the retirement home, designed and maintained by club members on a voluntary basis. The gardens have been a delight through the seasons this year but now we can see that there is still some work to do to make the Sun garden as united and harmonious as the Moon garden. 

One of the main problems in this garden was that there were useable mature plants, which I thought we could incorporate, but which in in retrospect we should have taken out because they have continually given an unbalanced feel to the garden.  Now, in order to achieve a balance, the Rosemarys have been pruned back severely and we are going to take out the two large Phygelius, so that we can reinstate the circle of grasses and tall perennials round the tree.  Any plants which have struggled this year will be removed and potted up and can go to good homes/gardens.  As the Phygelius are taken out, many other plants will be moved around and annuals will be discarded, remembering that one of the important goals in the project was low maintenance.  

The Sun garden gets more sun wind and rain than the Moon Garden, so this has to be a major consideration in the final decision of which plants can stay and which to remove.  In small areas like this, each plant must have more than one attribute to earn a place.  Could be foliage, flower or habit. 

The main work for gardeners is to deadhead, trim back where necessary and water. As in any other garden, there is always work to do to keep the more adventurous plants in check while providing conditions which will encourage the slower ones to establish.  

Seems to have taken a long time to finish the short path between the beds but this will hopefully be completed early autumn-the materials have all been agreed by the MDR and we would love some extra help for that.

2020 Programme 

We have the bones of the programme for next year, but there are one or two slots available. Would you be willing to host a visit to your garden? Can you suggest an interesting seasonal walk for the group? Do you know someone who would like to talk to us about a gardening-related topic? As always, we welcome your suggestions for speakers and topics for our programme.

Local events

A couple of exhibitions with work by our members that you might like to visit this month.  

First of all Sarah Bellis-Jones will be showing her gorgeous pastels and watercolours, together with Ken Maxwell’s photographs and wood creations, at Galerie34 in Lauzerte, from 17th to 30th September.  

I will be showing some of my recent garden-themed macro photos, and some past favourites, as part of the PhotoViva exhibition, along with works by Nina Adler, Graham Berry, Mark Newman and Mo Newman at the Mairie in Montcuq, also from 17th to 30th September. 

CJL Website and Facebook Group 

Don’t forget, our private web pages can be accessed by entering the password, but most of the content here is available to everyone. 

Our Facebook group is great for sharing photos, events, and gardening-related information, and for asking for advice from other members. 

I think that covers it for now, I hope to see you on 10th.

Belinda x

February 2019

February meeting

Our next meeting will be our Annual General Meeting, which will be on Tuesday 12 February 2019, at our usual time of 2pm, in the Tournesol Room at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte.

In addition to the President’s Report and Financial Report, we will be electing the members of the Administrative Group for the next 2 years. It’s not too late to volunteer to join us, if you would like to help out with some of the tasks behind the scenes that help keep the club vibrant and successful.

You will have received the papers from our secretary Pam, which includes a subscription form so that you can renew your membership.

Following the business of the AGM, we will be showing some of an inspiring film about the Lost Gardens of Heligan, in Cornwall – a place I would love to go and visit.

Of course, it is our official birthday! So we will be celebrating with tea and cake.

I hope to see lots of you there.

Pam’s Salted Caramel Cake

To Do this Month

Encouraging signs of life, with bulbs poking through, and now the first irises and snowdrops in flower – welcome nectar for any bees that come out foraging in the sunshine. If you have large clumps of snowdrops, it is good to divide them and plant new groups ‘in the green’, as they finish flowering.

This month is when work really starts again in the garden, pruning and trimming and tidying – but more cold weather is in the forecast, so tender plants still need protection.

Now is a great time to start sowing some seeds, especially if you have a heated propagator or soil-warming cables and a good light place for them to grow on. I generally start chillies and some tomatoes at about this time, and flowers such as impatiens and petunias.

For more suggestions of what to do in the garden this month, I usually check out the Gardeners World site.

I also use the guide “Jardinez avec la Lune”, which helps me organize my time and if it gives me a little added advantage by being in tune with the Moon, I am all for it. You can get a book from Gamm Vert, or see their monthly summary online.

January meeting recap

Our January meeting included a fun picture quiz, set by Fiona. It was great to see how much knowledge everyone had to share and it was a good way to get to know each other too.

There were 6 different sets of photos to identify, and 5 teams.

We had a fantastic selection of nibbles to enjoy afterwards, thanks so much to everyone who brought something.

Yes, those are watering cans that Fiona is wearing! Aren’t they cute?

Thank you so much to everyone for the help given to get the room set up and cleared away afterwards, a fantastic team effort.


December 2018

Christmas decs
Wishing all our members and their families our warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year xxx from all the admin team

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 8th January, at 2pm in the Tournesol room at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte. We will be having a fun gardening-themed quiz, with drinks and nibbles, so do come along and flex those brain cells and start thinking about the gardening year ahead.

Great news that we have enough people to confirm that our trip to Languedoc will be going ahead next May. Don’t forget that you will need to pay the next instalment by the end of December.

Many thanks to those who have already agreed to join us on the admin team, we can still take a couple more, so if you are thinking about it and would like to know more about what is involved, have a chat with Pam or myself.

To do this month

This is the time of year for taking a bit of a break from the garden – even Monty Don says there is not much to be done, but he does like to sow onion seeds on Boxing Day – these can be grown 3 or 4 seeds in a module of potting compost, and kept in a cold frame or polytunnel. He also suggests that this is good time to pay some attention to your tools and give them a clean and sharpen.

Those of you who like to browse through plant and seed catalogues, please note that we now have new numbers for both Dobies and Suttons, which will give you 50% off seeds. I will also be placing an order with King’s Seeds shortly after our January meeting, so please be ready to give me your list for anything you want from them (or you can send to me by email). I do have some catalogues to bring along, but you can also order your own copy from any of those suppliers, free of charge, or of course, do your browsing online.

Recent Events

Bales planted

At our November meeting, Chrissie and Guy Biddlecombe gave us a really informative and inspiring talk on Straw Bale Gardening which generated lots of interest and questions.

They really made it sound like a very appealing way of easily adding a raised vegetable plot – which would be particularly helpful for anyone with a lack of good soil.

Bales flourishing
The tomatoes and other vegetables really flourished
Bales harvest
A great harvest of spaghetti squash
Bale conditioning
The steps to follow to condition the straw bales prior to planting
Bale book
The book by Joel Karsten explains the whole procedure very clearly

Earlier in the month a small group of us had a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Les Jardins de la Poterie Hillen for autumn colour. Once we arrived, we realised why they waited and waited for the right moment, the Japanese acers were really stunning, and there was lots of interesting use of grasses and ornaments throughout the gardens – plus really delicious “gourmandises” in the Tea House. Highly recommended for another visit, and we were told that late Spring would be a particularly good time to go.

Below you should see a slide show of photos from our visit – click on one to see it full screen and then you can scroll backwards and forwards using the arrows to left and right of the photo (click the X top right to close the slideshow and come back to this page).

Our display at the Journée de l’Arbre was full of ideas and inspiration for growing in containers, of all sorts. Special thanks to Ingrid for organising everything and giving the demonstrations of layered bulb planting and thanks also to all those who helped out on the day.

CJL Stand
CJL Stand

Finally, for our December meeting, we had our Christmas lunch at Les Voyageurs, it was really a lovely atmosphere and most enjoyable. Special thanks go to Shirley Sears-Black for organising it so well – loved the little picture tokens with our choices on!

Christmas Lunch

It has been a year of mixed emotions, but what a lovely group of people our gardening friends are. Make the most of the festive season, may it bring good health, warmth and comfort – see you all in 2019.