Newsletter 2018

Society President dies on his birthday

It is with sadness that we report that Laurence (Laurie) Halls, one of Ashtead Horticultural Society’s most active and accomplished members, died in January on his 89th birthday.  He joined the Committee in 1995, during which time he took the roles of Vice Chairman and Membership Secretary and was elected President  in 2009.

In his retirement, gardening, horticulture and hill walking were Laurie’s principal hobbies. He was a keen exhibitor and his achievements on the show bench are testament to his ability to grow both vegetables and flowers of the highest quality.

He won the award for best exhibit at our Summer Show on numerous occasions with either fuchsias or a collection of vegetables. Since  1991, he won the Pelargonium trophy 19 times, the Challenge Cup for Summer flowers on 11 occasions and the similar trophy for vegetables 7 times. Large marrows were one of his specialities and in 2005 he showed one weighing over 18Kg (41lbs).

Laurie’s attendance at our plant sales was always eagerly awaited when he would arrive with trays of plants grown from cuttings which would sell-out within minutes.

We shall all miss this quiet and modest gentleman.

Thanks to Road Stewards

Road stewards play an important role in the operation of the Society. They deliver the annual Shows & Events programme and membership card, and collect subscriptions from members. They may also be asked to deliver copies of the  newsletter, although the majority of these are now sent by e mail.

We now need several new road stewards to cover Links Road, Woodfield Lane, Leatherhead Road, Farm Lane and other minor roads near them. There are, on average, around 10 addresses for each road steward to visit once a year. If  you can help, please call Judi Whitmarsh,  our Membership Secretary, on 275026.

Reducing the use of plastic in the garden

Concern has been raised about the amount of plastic we use, how some of it ends up in the sea, and what it does to our marine life. Below are some ways in which we can play our part in reducing its use in our gardens.

  • Make wooden seed trays. Or, if you can get hold of mushroom trays, line them with cut-up compost bags, put holes in the bottom and you have a seed tray.
  • Use newspaper or toilet roll bases to make pots for sowing seeds, particularly sweet peas and runner beans. There is no need to remove the plant when sowing in the ground, just plant all of it as the pot will break down in the soil.
  • Use glass jars to store seed and other small materials in the shed. Yoghurt pots and other plastic food containers can be used as garden pots or small seed trays.  Just put holes in the bottom for drainage. 
  • Butter and vegetable spreads that come in plastic containers can be cut up to use as labels. And the wooden stirrers available in coffee shops make nice natural labels.
  • Make more use of clay pots. Some people give them away, and you can still buy them in second-hand shops.

When you want to dispose of plastic pots do not put them in the dustbin. Instead, take them to a garden centre  which has a bin for recycling. These are small, but valuable, steps that  every gardener can take to ease the environmental impact of garden- related plastic waste.

Colin Cheeseman

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