The Winter meetings are held at the Well, Retford, in the main Hall on the 3rd Thursday of the month (Except December). This date is usually brought forward for the December meeting so please check on the programme below.
There is an annual membership fee of £10.00 and a monthly attendance charge of 50p. You will be given a raffle ticket for a prize of a £10.00 Gardening Voucher.
Please see below for Meeting and Visit Reports.
UPDATE 14th April 2021
Retford U3A have received details of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) for 2021 and the Gardens that are open in our area. Further details can be obtained from the links below :-
GARDENING GROUP VISITS and DATES 2020
Thursday April 16th
AM - Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire
PM – Coton Manor, Northants , 15mins away from Kelmarsh £27 HHA members free
Thursday 21st May
AM - Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham.
Garden Tour, and Soup and Sandwich lunch included £29.80 £25 for NT members
Please note this does not include access to the house.
PM – Wentworth Garden Centre in the village of Wentworth. Free time to browse village, plant sales, shop and tea rooms.
Thursday 18th June
Sledmere House, near Driffield, Yorkshire
The day will include coffee/ tea on arrival, tour of Garden and House, access to woodland walks, free flow access to tea rooms, short walk to church £24.50
Thursday 30th July
Wollerton Old Hall gardens – Market Drayton - longer journey
To arrive by 12noon when gardens open – probably leave 4.30pm - gardens only as private house
Free flow café / tea shop – no picnicking, plant sales £17 HHA free
Saturday 19th September – most likely date
Harrogate Autumn Flower Show at Newby Hall – access to house available
More details to follow as tickets not available until March 2020
We will start taking bookings and money for the first two visits at our January meeting on Thursday 16th January 2020 when Jeanette Merrilion will be speaking about The Brighter side of Winter – foliage , bark and berries.
As usual cheques made out to Retford U3A please
Our winter season begins on Thursday 17th October at 2pm with our AGM, review of the year (in words and pictures!) and joining meeting. Our annual fee is £10, which covers the cost of the hall, refreshments and speakers. Memberships can be paid at our Gardening meetings and at the General meetings until December.
Our speaker dates for this season are as follows:–
Please note the earlier dates in Nov / Dec
Details of speakers, your ideas for places to visit and lots, lots more will be revealed on the 17th October when we look forward to welcoming members old and new.
There will be a plant swap stall as last year, but please take your plant home if it’s not snapped up!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us on the number above if you would like any further information.
Visits in 2019
April - RHS Harlow Carr
May - Elton Hall near Peterborough
June - Arley Hall Flower Festival in Cheshire
July - Thornbridge Hall in Derbyshire
September - Brightwater Gardens and Pottertons Alpine Nursery, both in LIncolnshire.
We also managed a local visit in August to Morton Nurseries at Babworth.
These two photos were taken on our visit to RHS Harlow Carr in April 2019
BREEZY KNEES GARDEN 21ST SEPTEMBER
The Gardening Group final visit of this year was to Breezy Knees Gardens -The Flower Garden of Yorkshire - near York. For those of us who hadn't been before it was a delightful surprise. Started from scratch in 1999 on approx. 14 acres of arable land it has been transformed into 19 gardens of different specialities. The highlight for us was the September Garden with its reds, deep pinks of Sedums and yellow / oranges of Rudbeckia and Heleniums . We had plenty of time to wander amidst the conifers, rock and rose garden in passable weather until 1. 30 when the rain came down in earnest! However we were able to sample the delicious homemade refreshments in the cafe and some braved the elements to visit the nursery and stock up with perennials. After a unanimous decision we left 1/2 hr early as the weather seemed to have settled in for the worst.
However I am sure that many of us will want to return perhaps at a different time of the year when other plants are at their best. We have had some super trips this season and can now sit back and decide where to go next year. Never a dull moment !
EASTON WALLED GARDENS 6TH JULY
On a glorious summer afternoon the group visited Easton Walled Gardens set in the Lincolnshire vales near Grantham . The gardens were reclaimed from years of neglect and ruin in 2001 by the Cholmeley family whose ancestors have run the estate since 1561. Ursula Cholmeley is the gardener whose inspiration has driven forward the changes which now include wildflower terraces,meadows,orchards and of course their famous sweet peas. Sadly these were not at their best due to the weather conditions, but the rest of the gardens amply made up for for this.
CHATSWORTH RHS SHOW 8TH JUNE
A group of 60 members travelled to Chatsworth House for the RHS show on a rather damp morning. It was the 1st time the show had been held there and it would be fair to say that the organisation to get in to the show left something to be desired. However once in the show, in the lovely surroundings beside the river Derwent, there was a lot to see admire and purchase.
The theme was Design Revolutionaries which linked to the pioneering work of Joseph Paxton who among other things was the Head Gardener at Chatsworth. He was the architect for the Great Conservatory built between 1836-41 (the model for the later Crystal Palace) There was a huge inflatable re-imaging of this housing an exhibition dedicated to Paxtons work. Either side of the Great Conservatory were the Floral Marques where nurseries created fantastic displays, sold plants and dispensed free advice regarding their specialities. It was very pleasing to see that Morton Nurseries near Babworth, run by Gill McMaster, had won a Silver Gilt award.
Outside in showground were the 8 very different Show Gardens, the 8 FreeForm installations that were experimental and innovative, designed to provoke a reaction and the Plant Village with lots of plants to tempt us.
The floral Palladian bridge was impressive, as were the examples of Well Dressing. Members went into the theatres to watch the demonstrations, found a smart place to eat in the dry, tested out the food in one of the food courts, rested in deck chairs when the sun came out, or just browsed and bought a plant or two.
As always the coach was full not only with passengers but in the hold too. People will be busy for the next week or so.
After lunch the group travelled on to the Yorkshire Arboretum, located within the Castle Howard estate, North East of York. This 120 acre garden is set in a stunning landscape of park land and lakes and ponds. It is managed by a small team and an army of volunteers. Originally developed in the late 1970s this National collection of 6,000 trees, from all over the world, is added to each year. Many of the trees are very rare, being the only ones of a species in existence. There is a strong emphasis on education, for children and adults, and conservation/ propagation of the trees of course.
On 6.4.17 the group enjoyed its first Garden visit of the year to Floral Media at Caunton, on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon. We were welcomed by the owners Steven and Paula Routledge with a cup of tea and biscuit in their charming events venue which is decorated in a relaxed country fashion. After a short talk on their 30 year history, we were taken on a tour of the delightful immaculate garden overlooking rolling countryside. We were able to ask for advice and were given tips with the opportunity to purchase plants before returning to the hall for a demonstration.
March 2017 This was the last indoor meeting of the season and our speaker was Dr. Andrew Ward from Norwell Nurseries. It was a much awaited return visit from Andrew and his topic was "A Year of Garden Colour". He concentrated mainly on plants, shrubs and trees to provide colour, interest and scent in Autumn, Winter and Spring, but did include some for Summer. There was a wealth of information, so it was helpful that Andrew provided us with a list of plants used in his talk, many of which are available at Norwell Nurseries. These ranged from the white bark of Betula utilis jaquemontii to the tiny Narcissus Golden Bells to the RHS Plant of the Centenary Geranium Rozanne, accompanied by over ﬁfty excellent slides which not only served to illustrate, but also to inspire. All this was interspersed with advice on suitable conditions for growing and how to look after plants or which to put together for maximum effect. We all picked out particular plants that would be suitable for our own gardens and there was something for everyone. Andrew's particular favourite, if he could only have one plant, would be a Winter ﬂowering honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima. It ﬂowers from November, so you could have the smell of honeysuckle with your Christmas decorations. We found out it was a shrub rather than a climber, but you could prune it and keep it against a wall. If you want a plant with the "Wow factor" go for Iris chrysographes dark form, with ﬂowers that hang like bats! More general advice was to buy named plants for better ﬂowering, particularly with regard to Erythroniums (or dogtooth violets). Andrew ﬁnished with colourful pictures of asters and chrysanthemums, including Aster "Little Carlow" which is not at all little! Norwell is renowned for its Autumn garden and now has the National Collection of Hardy Chrysanthemums. I am sure a lot of us will visit Norwell Nursery either during their normal opening times or during the NGS Open Gardens in May, June or October (see yellow booklet). Andrew brought plants that people had pre-ordered and there were also plenty for people to buy on the day, which was very popular. This was an excellent way to ﬁnish our Winter season and we are now looking forward to our ﬁrst visit to Floral Media on 6th April.
The speaker today was Stuart Dixon from Down to Earth talks. He provided a really good insight into the discovery and subsequent restoration of the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. The property, originally owned by Willian Tremain, fell into neglect at the time of the First World War when so many of the gardeners went off to fight the war and sadly did not return. Time stood still for seven decades and the gardens were only rediscovered following the hurricane in 1990. Tim Smit, who had been involved in the creation of the Eden Project, set about with a team to restore – not conserve, the stone walls, glass houses, buildings and structures, formal and kitchen gardens and the lost valley.
The January meeting of the Garden Club was held at The Well with about 80 members attending. Liz Webster from ' Garden Blooms ' at Fishlake near Doncaster, gave us an interesting and informative talk on Plants And their Places. The photos of the plants were particularly clear and well labelled. Her Nursery specialises in perennial plants which are mainly propagated on a 4 acre site acquired in 2009, which is also a licensed caravan park! Liz will be exhibiting at Chatsworth RHS flower show in June to which the group is going, but she will also host an open weekend in late spring to enable purchase of her perennial plants. A nice fairly local site to visit!
The program of visits for the summer is being finalised and will be available at the February meeting on Thursday 16th at The Well 2 pm.