New Year’s Greetings

Sunrise from Sylvia’s Gentleshaw garden

There are many things to be cheerful about when you’re a gardener, even during a third lockdown – bulbs poking through, buds waiting to burst open, the days lengthening, the sparkle of snow! And a fabulous sunrise from your garden if you’re very lucky.. 

Our regular meetings are still on hold due to the current situation so in the meantime we are pleased to bring you a very seasonal http://www.cwggc.co.uk/gallery/ of photos shared from our member’s gardens and the local area, here are a few samples. Onwards and upwards as the GQT saying goes!   

A brave rose!
Sylvia’s perky little box balls

We wish you all a hopeful Christmas……

Festive cheer
Sparkle!
Sylvia’s front door

…….and a very much better 2021! We are looking forward to when we will all be able to meet up again at some point next year and we thank you all for your continued support. In the meantime we will continue to update our members via email, and please do have a look at http://www.cwggc.co.uk/gallery/ for more Christmas photos plus some great snaps of our members’ gardens. Thank you to our contributors this month: Amy, Lesley, Rosalie, Sylvia, Wendy & Derek. Wishing everybody a peaceful Christmas and healthy New Year.     

Amy’s cheerful winter pot
Before the birds stripped the berries…
Does anyone have a spare rake?
Frost on Viburnum tinus

Fabulous Fungi!

Amethyst deceivers

This month, instead of Ron Rock’s fascinating talk on the Secret Lives Of Solitary Bees, we invite you to look through two new galleries of our members’ photographs http://www.cwggc.co.uk/gallery/ and see more of Sophie’s wonderful photos of fungi and a very autumnal Cannock Chase, how lucky we are to live here! The other gallery is of members’ gardens, including two examples of cloud pruning plus “before & afters” to show what a good sort out in the garden can do! Thank you to June, Lesley & Sophie for all of those. 

It looks as if we won’t be able to meet up again as a large group just yet although hope is on the horizon for sometime next year………in the meantime, happy gardening! 

Coral fungi
Magic mushrooms?
Autumn colours on Cannock Chase
June’s rudbeckia
Rosalie’s garden

 

Second members’ gallery

Chris & her Echium

Next Tuesday, if things had gone as originally planned, we would all have been meeting up for Graham & Jane Wagstaffe’s “And Now for Something Completely Different” presentation…but in the absence of that, we hope that you enjoy looking through our 2nd members’ gallery by clicking here http://www.cwggc.co.uk/gallery/ .

Thank you this time to our contributors Chris (shown here with her giant Echium), Ivy, Lesley, Lora, Pam, Rosalie & Val. Ivy’s beautiful Streptocarpus was given to her by Ann and has flowered all summer! Our new canine star is Frida, basking in her favourite outdoor spot. Please keep sending in your photos so that we can keep in touch this way.

Frida!
Ivy’s Streptocarpus
Lesley’s apples
Rosalie’s onions

New members’ gallery

At this time of year we would normally be posting photos of our annual produce show so in the sad absence of that, thank you to Mark & Elizabeth, Pam, Rosalie and Sylvia, who responded to our request for photos to keep us all in touch until we can hold our meetings again. Here are a few to start, and you can see them all by clicking on http://www.cwggc.co.uk/gallery/  

Mark & Elizabeth’s radishes
Pam’s oleander

We hope that you enjoy looking at these, and will be encouraged to send in photos of your own garden, veg, fruit or wildlife during the coming months, especially as we move into the next season, and we will create more galleries to share them all. 

Rosalie’s pond
The hot border in Sylvia’s garden
Alfie!

And into the autumn…..

We have recently contacted all of our 90 members (some via their “email  buddies”) to advise that we have taken the reluctant decision that the sensible way forward in the current circumstances, with a club of our size & demographic, and with some of our planned autumn speakers unable to attend, is to cancel all our meetings for the rest of this year and review the situation in January.

We have already had some positive feedback on this decision and some suggestions which we are currently considering. We are truly sorry that we cannot all meet up at present and we look forward to the time when it will be possible. In the meantime, we hope that everybody continues to enjoy their gardens and stay safe.

Whilst we are unable to meet in person we have invited all our club members to share photographs of their gardens, favourite plants, vegetables or wildlife to keep us all connected. We gave three different ways that photos could be sent to our coordinator and we will post a few every month on our website blog, hopefully with enough for a gallery page too. To start us off, here are are a few favourites from my own garden: 

Munstead Wood, superb old rose perfume
Casa Blanca lilies by the back door, more heavenly perfume!  
Last but not least, an Abelia which is adored by bees 

June update – the next chapter!

We hope that you are all keeping well and have been able to take full advantage of the good weather that’s been with us for a while to enjoy your gardens. And we did need this recent rain!

We know that many of our members are shielding, and others are busy helping family, friends & their community during these challenging times. We’ve heard some heartwarming tales from those of you who have put out spare plants for free collection by passers-by, and been unexpectedly rewarded by thank you notes and small gifts from the grateful recipients!

Lockdown is gradually easing but we appreciate that most of you will not relish the prospect of being in a room for a couple of hours with a large group of people even when permitted. As the health and safety of our members is our priority we have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel our July and August club meetings plus our August produce show. Val our programme secretary is working hard to rearrange all the speakers for the future as she had such an excellent programme for us. We’ll be contacting all members by email or phone call about this as we know that not everybody has access to the website.

 Our club has been thriving, with membership numbers at their highest, regular meetings and all events well supported. We’ve missed out on our cheese and wine evening after the AGM, coach trips, a summer social event that was in the planning and of course last weekend we were going to support Val & Steve Wroe’s garden opening in aid of the Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre  https://gf.me/u/x3mq3w 

But we look forward to brighter times – onwards and upwards as the saying goes!

COVID update

We hope that all our members are keeping safe and well. In line with current Government advice we are cancelling our 12th May AGM. The invitations and paperwork were ready for distribution but in view of the situation we will simply continue all memberships for the time being, and as garden centres are currently closed, it doesn’t matter that we can’t reissue membership cards.

Our treasurer Lesley prepared the year-end accounts which have now gone to the auditor as usual, and organised the labelling and distribution of the Bessera elegans corms which had already been purchased for our Produce Show ‘members only competition’ – many thanks too to Sophie Griffiths, Val Wroe and other kind helpers for popping those through members’ letterboxes when they were out on their essential journeys. The Show might not go ahead but we hope you enjoy them anyway.

Lesley has also contacted everybody who had paid for our first coach trip of the year which was due to take place this coming Sunday 26th April but now cancelled – thank you to her for all this hard work!!

 Our 9th June meeting is also cancelled and our Programme Secretary Val Lewis has been in touch with speakers to rearrange their talks. At present our July and August meetings are “on hold” although likely to be cancelled too. It is a shame but we must all “do our bit” and we appreciate that a number of our members may want (or have) to continue their self-isolation beyond any official lifting of social distancing.

We will post further updates on this blog and at some point contact all members by email,letter or telephone. In the meantime we hope that you can all continue to enjoythe health & wellbeing benefits of gardening at home, until we all can meet again.

 

April Meeting Cancelled

Following the recent Government announcements, we regret that our April meeting is cancelled. We will consider other pre-arranged future events and issue further updates. In the meantime, we hope that everybody stays safe and well to enjoy their gardening which we all know is so good for us!

Wines from my new garden

Ken chatting to Bob over a cup of tea
Barbara & Jean sharing a laugh!

Our March meeting was a bit different from normal when our speaker Ken Marshall brought samples of wines that he had made from produce in his new garden, sometimes with added hedgerow blackberries, dried fruit & the odd banana! He thought that his wine-making hobby was finished when he & his wife Barbara moved house a few years ago,but he came to see it as an opportunity which has clearly worked out well, judging by everybody’s enjoyment of the evening.

Ken guided us through how the experts taste wine (drinking it all was not compulsory & spittoons were provided!) and there were four different ones to sample – white, rose, red & a fortifiedsherry/dessert-type. We were encouraged to identify the source fruit and other ingredients, and it was apparent that his previous career as a science teacher had enabled him to become an expert winemaker. Recipes and advice were available!   

The winner of our monthly competition was Ros with her lovely vase of daffodils. All the spaces on our coach trip to Chomondeley Castle are now taken but things are changing rapidly and as the health & safety of our members and guests is very important to us, we will stay vigilant and follow government advice concerning Coronavirus. If our April meeting cannot go ahead we will post a notice on this blog, ditto the coach trip. Hoping everybody stays well! N.B. STOP PRESS – The SAGG Spring Show & AGM at Walton on Saturday 21st March is cancelled.