Sandal Gardening Club
THE AIM is to organise a group where members can enjoy gardening together, with a programme that includes regular meetings and outings.
Members meet at 7.15pm on the third Wednesday of each month, usually at the West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club off Walton Lane. If you would like to join as a member (£5 per year) or only for one meeting (£4), please contact Delma Stimpson. You will be most welcome.
To see a Wakefield Express feature on the Gardening Club, click here
For an album of photos of club members helping decorate Sandal for the arrival of the Tour de Yorkshire riders on 3 May 2015, click HERE
February 21: Our first speaker of 2018 was Michael Myers (right), returning for a second time, talking on this occasion about 'Winter Colour'. He is a self-confessed galanthophile - an enthusiastic collector of snowdrops. His illustrated talk showed many varieties, prices and locations. He then went on to tell members about other plants which provide winter colour, such as crocus, iris, aconites, hellebores, cyclamen and dwarf daffodils. Shrubs such as winter flowering jasmine, viburnum, witch hazel and daphne were given a place in this panoply of colour.
March 21: Sarah Hopps talked to us about 'Right Plant, Right Place'. She is a writer, broadcaster, travel guide and gardener and was on her third visit to the club. Sarah's passion for plants and gardening shone through her talk. As she is so experienced, her recommendations are very practical, taking into consideration the soil, shade, size and degree of wetness of the planting site. She illustrated her talk with many examples, both in pictorial or plant forms. Another very successful evening to a receptive , appreciative audience.
April 18: Our committee for 2018-19 was elected at the AGM: front row, from left, Jackie Milner (raffle organiser), Pauline Snellgrove (refreshments), Marjorie Wilde (chair), Judi Fewster (treasurer), and newcomer Jane Langley; at the back, Delma Stimpson (secretary) and Barbara Preston (programme organiser). Once the formalities were over there was tea, coffee and homemade cake, followed by a pictorial quiz.
May 16: Our guest speaker was Harry Lodge BEM, a local man who guided us through the creation of a beautiful hanging basket. Harry (pictured left), who is also a Friend of Newmillerdam Country Park, has been growing flowers and vegetables for several years and has had great success at local shows. He gave a very practical, informative talk and demonstration covering all aspects of hanging basket creation from the sourcing of the materials, plants, compost etc to construction from start to finish with lots of useful tips on aftercare too. In total 26 plants were used, including variegated trailing nepeter, petunia Surfina, begonia Non-stop and bidens. He added lots of humour and local interest to an already fascinating demonstration. Harry very kindly donated the finished hanging basket for the first prize in the raffle and a selection of plants to make your own for the second prize. A very successful evening in all.
June 20: The talk this month was "Hostas, Hostas, Hostas" by Sue and Richard Proctor, local experts from Clayton West. They have 400 varieties in their catalogue and they brought some examples along to support Richard‘s illustrated talk. We heard about different shapes of leaves from rippled, narrow and cup-shaped, to twisted and pie crust. Richard showed us different colours - blue, gold and green, often with more than one colour on a leaf. A recent innovation is a red one. Then there were the textures and flower colours. A vital part of growing hostas is to create the best conditions for them to thrive and it is even more important to deter slugs and snails. Another thoroughly enjoyable evening and we look forward to visiting their garden in August.
August 15: Guest speakers in June were hosta experts Sue and Richard Proctor, from Clayton West. This time it was our turn to visit them at their garden and nursery. There were over 450 varieties of hostas on display, from miniatures to giants. The garden is surprisingly located in a residential area, hidden behind a large conifer hedge. It has been created by Sue and Richard from a large, sloping, lawned plot into a garden with many areas, each offering a different feel. As well as many types of hostas, the garden also features a large border display of colourful annuals, acers, shrubs and climbers, with a woodland walk and a magnificent bank of water features, planted with hostas and cordylines.The evening raised about £175 which will go to the National Garden Scheme charities for which Sue has already raised nearly £2,000 this year by opening her garden to the public.
September 19: Aaron Hickman returned for a third time on Wednesday to present another Gardeners' Questions session. Aaron, who is always a popular visitor, used to work at Askham Bryan Agricultural College in York but is now head gardener at a large private garden so he has a vast amount of gardening and plant knowledge.On this visit he took questions which covered topics such as how to treat dead grass in the lawn, seed sowing and compost mixtures, problems with vegetables, pests and diseases in the garden, mulching, selecting the right plant for growing a screen, how to pot on tender plants such as olive trees, and how to tame a garden that has been neglected. Aaron is very informative and knowledgeable but as always friendly and humorous. As well as dealing with members' questions, he continued to chat with them during the refreshments to help them with their problems in the garden. He is pictured here with Jane Langley.
October 17: We had an interesting talk by Clifford Cairn from Fruitscape, which was started in 2008 to offer expert guidance to amateur growers on producing fruit, whether on trees or soft fruit. Clifford provided plenty of good advice and tips on growing fruit, predominantly apples. He described how to grow espalier trees in different shapes, using a fence or a wall to give support and heat to the tree. He explained how bending the tree to at least 45 degrees fools it into fruiting mode. Space is not an issue; a narrow border is all that is required as apple trees have a small root system. Clifford gave tips on pruning, rootstock and pollination, and also offered advice on growing blackcurrants, redcurrants, strawberries, peaches and blueberries. As a special treat for club members, Clifford (pictured left) provided samples to taste of some of the more unusual apples he produces. He grows over 300 types of apples and soft fruit.
November 21: The club's final topic of 2018 was 'Planting a Beautiful Mixed Border', a presentation by Tracey Foster. This was the second visit from Tracey, a well respected garden designer, who since her last visit has won a Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. Tracey (centre in our photo), while showing examples of beautiful borders, gave a very full talk on the principles of planting a good border. She spoke about the structure, size and shape of a border and making sure it suited the type of garden you had, e.g. sunny or shady, and the type of garden you wanted to achieve, e.g. jungle, seaside or meadow. She gave the meeting lots of information on considering plants that gave inspiring colour palettes, all year round interest, consideration to wildlife and scent. Tips were also given on structural choices, such as fencing colours and plant supports. She talked about the importance of research into your plant choices and making detailed plans to ensure everything you wanted from your border was achieved. Common mistakes made when planting a border made everyone chuckle as we had all been guilty of at least one of them at some time!
February 16: The speaker at our first meeting of 2017 was Peter Mathers, whose title was 'The Development of the Public Park'. With his illustrated presentation, he took members on a journey beginning with the first public park in Birkenhead, established in 1847. We then visited parks in York, Hull, Bridlington, Leeds, London and Harrogate, before finishing at the latest open space set up in 2013 at Birmingham City Library.
March 15: Peter Williams, from Seaton Ross, spoke on 'Shady dodgers and shy maidens' - in other words shade loving plants. He took us on a tour of his spectacular five-acre garden, much of which is woodland which provides protection for underplanted herbaceous plants and bulbs. His pictures of the garden illustrated these beautiful plants, some of which came from as far away as Japan. Plant propogation is one of Peter's passions and he gave us invaluable advice. He kept his audience entranced and keen to visit his garden when it is open to the public.
April 19: The club's committee (pictured) was re-elected at the annual general meeting at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club. They are: chair Marjorie Wilde; secretary Delma Stimpson; treasurer Judi Fewster; programme arranger Barbara Preston; raffle Jackie Milner and refreshments Pauline Snelgrove. Once the formalities were over members were treated to a wonderful selection of cakes made by Barbara, This was followed by a quiz
May 17: Our speaker was very local, Sharon Darwell (assisted by Matt Gordon) from Agbrigg Allotment and Community Garden off Agbrigg Road. It is a wonderful place to visit. You are assured of a warm welcome and will be amazed at what has been achieved in two years. The allotment produces fruit and vegetables which can be shared by volunteers .As well as the produce, there are lots of health and well-being benefits from gardening as well as the social aspect. Members of the club may soon be helping with a variety of tasks as well as donating equipment. Sharon's enthusiasm is infectious and it is a pleasure to see the space going from strength to strength (this includes the recent addition of chickens).
June 21: Stella Exley, from Hare Spring Cottage Plants, an independent nursery near York, came to talk to us us about 'Camassias, Chris, Chelsea and Chaos' and it soon became clear why this was such appropriate title. Stella has the National Collection of this versatile plant and is clearly passionate about it. She met Chris Beardshaw, who commissioned her to grow 2,000 camassias for Chelsea 2015. She grew 14,000 and proceeded to tell us of the trials and tribulations of growing these plants in a bad winter and getting them to Chelsea in peak condition.She obviously succeeded as the garden was awarded a Gold Medal. Stella is pictured (right) with club chair Marjorie Wilde and treasurer Judi Fewster.
July 19: This month's meeting featured a talk by Hilary Hutson,a botanist from Sheffield,on Patio Panache. Defining a patio as an enclosed or sheltered area, Hilary began with ideas from around the world. She then listed the requirements of a patio, emphasising the use of containers and the plants best suited to them. This was beautifully illustrated with excellent photographs. Club members were left with lots of ideas to enthuse them and interesting botanical hints and wrinkles from an experienced and knowledgeable gardener. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.
August 16: A large group of members gathered in Newmillerdam car park where we were divided into three groups. These groups were then conducted around the dam by three volunteers from the Friends of Newmillerdam Country Park. They were Jeff Stimpson (chair), Don John and Dennis Edwards. We saw the valuable work done by the volunteers maintaining the park as the excellent amenity we have on our doorstep. Some of the areas we saw were the rhodedendron clearing,the Boat House, the Lawns Dike Trail, the arboretum and the Gnome Roam. Our members are very appreciative of the work done by the volunteers.
September 20: Aaron Hickman, from Askham Bryan College, paid a return visit to talk about greenhouse and house plants. Aaron is a self-confessed enthusiast for orchids and had lots of super examples of these plants to show us, some very costly. He explained feeding and caring for these beautiful plants. He again had examples of house plants and explained feeding and propagation. His extensive knowledge and relaxed but professional style meant he kept his audience enthralled. He was received so enthusiastically that we have booked again him for next year! Aaron is pictured here during his visit two years ago.
October 18: Our speaker was Doug Stewart, returning for a third time. His subject was 'Ten Ways to a Better Garden', some of which were compost, creative, colour, intimate areas, screening unpleasant views and framing the good ones, hard surfaces and finishing touches. All these points were beautifully illustrated and were combined with practical advice and amusing anecdotes. An excellent evening and we look forward to a fourth visit! Our photo shows Doug being introduced by our chair, Marjorie Wilde.
November 15: Roger Parkinson, chairman of Wakefield Tree Wardens, talked to us about The Woodland Trust and the work it does. Roger is a passionate advocate of the benefit of trees and he described some of the projects in which he is involved. One is working with schools in Featherstone, focusing on people from the area who lost their lives in the First World War. In this inspirational prpoject, the children research an individual soldier and plant a tree in his memory.There is multi-faith tree planting in Wakefield with a collection of oak trees from around the world.In Normanton. One project culminated in 3, 000 trees being planted. Then there is also the very successful arboretum at Newmillerdam. At the Rose Garden Nursery in Thornes Park, Roger is involved in valuable work with adults with special learning needs. Three years ago he was awarded the British Empire Medal for creating woodlands and the members of the gardening club could see how richly he served it.He is pictured here was club chairman Marjorie Wilde (front) and committee members Judi Fewster and Delma Stimpson.
December 13: Our Christmas party started with a picture quiz, followed by a Cinderella sketch performed by the committee. The evening continued with supper and a surprise visit from Santa. Ruby Macintosh, our local retro pop siren (pictured), rounded off the party at with a medley of songs accompanied on the guitar.
February 17: The first meeting of 2016 got the club's year off to an excellent start when Michael Myers (pictured left) told a large audience about his favourite Yorkshire gardens. His beautifully presented illustrated talk showed why he admired these gardens, some well known and some unfamiliar, both for the flora and the imaginative hard planting.He certainly made you want to visit them.
April 20: Once the formailities were over at the AGM the fun really began - including a design challenge with Play-Doh! Teams (one of which is shown on the right) sat down to model 'A Garden Fit for a Queen'. And that was after home-made cakes and a quiz to test members' gardening know-how. During the business part of the meetiing, Marjorie Wilde was re-elected to the chair, with secretary Delma Stimpson, treasurer Judi Fewster, programme arranger Barbara Preston and committee members Jackie Milner and Pauline Snellgrove.
May 18: Our speaker was Don Witton from Sheffield, pictured here at the meeting with his wife. Don, who has the National Collection of Euphorbias, showed us just a few of his many euphorbias and also slides of spring flowering perennials, pictured at his favourite time of year.A gardener of over 40 years experience, he based his talk on his wide knowledge and it was delivered in an enthusiastic and entertaining manner. He also brought plants for sale, which was popular, as always.
June 15: Christine Robinson, the retired housekeeper at Chatsworth, recounted the history of the house and the development of the wonderful garden, including the famous cascade, serpentine hedge and greenhouse. No account of Chatsworth would be complete without reference of the work of Joseph Paxton whose involvement was immense and is still evident today. Christine's illustrated talk was made even more interesting by the fascinating anecdotes she told us. She is pictured at the meeting with her husband and our chairman, Marjorie Wilde.
July 20: Speaker at a packed meeting was John Summerfield accompanied by his wife Gail (both pictured here). His talk was entitled 'Gardening at the Front' and his photographs showed a wide range of front gardens and some of the challenges experienced by homeowners. His entertaining and informative talk illustrated his wide knowledge of plants. Gail, a botanist, contributed to the evening with her knowledge of plants and garden design. A great night at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club was rounded off with a sales table of super plants.
August 17: A large group of club members met in Thornes Park on a lovely sunny evening. We were greeted by two CHaT volunteers, Chris Welch and Ian Deighton, who guided us through the rose gardens - which were a riot of colourful blooms - into the glasshouse to see the exotic displays of cacti. The culmination of the visit was a tour of the fascinating Secret Garden which holds many interesting artefacts from Wakefield's past.The team of volunteers are working hard to make it even more attractive. To complete an excellent evening we retired to Holmfield Arms for a very enjoyable meal.
September 21: Our speaker was Mary Swan, a Royal Horticultural Society qualified horticulturalist and garden designer who talked about 'Design tips for Small Gardens'. Mary began by describing the four main principles to follow when designing a garden. Then after a tea break we were split into groups with the task of designing a garden. Quite a challenge even armed with Mary's expertise and advice!
We were joined on this occasion by The Community Gardener a super scarecrow (pictured) made by Jane and David Langley, gardening club members, which won a well deserved Highly Commended in Sandal Scarecrow Festival.
October 19: Liz Webster from Garden Blooms Nursery, Doncaster, talked to us about Pests and Diseases.She gave us a very comprehensive review of these, some of the culprits being old enemies such as slugs and snails, white fly, vine weevil, aphids, red spider mite and rodents to list just a few! Liz gave us valuable advice and remedies on pest management. It makes gardeners seem an optimistic bunch!
November 16: Tim Godson from the British Trust for Ornithology was our speaker. Members of the Trust provide unbiased information, by observation, about birds and their habits. The Garden Birdwatch data is used to inform the public and environmental policy. Tim showed us many pictures of garden birds and provided information about each. Some members of the club were excellent in identification! As gardeners we then asked many questions which Tim ably answered, as we are keen to make our gardens work for birds. Another excellent evening.
December 16: The speaker at our Christmas Party was Eric Scaife, publicity officer of the Yorkshire Dialect Society and a passionate advocate of retaining and embracing the Yorkshire dialect. Eric brought along a quiz he had compiled and sad to say we members were not very good! After the quiz we had an excellent supper before Eric regaled us with a 'Tyke Talk' combining history and humour. To round off a most enjoyable evening we had a visit from Santa.
And here's what we did in 2015
February 18: There was no meeting in January but the year got off to a great start in February when members enjoyed a talk on agapanthus by Steve Hickman. He explained the four main points in the successful growing of agapanthus and demonstrated splitting and re-potting plants. Members' questions were answered ably by Steve as he holds the National Collection of Agapanthus and exhibits at Chelsea.
March 18: The speaker for this meeting cancelled at very short notice leaving the committee with something of a dilemma. However, secretary Delma Stimpson saved the day by devising a gardening-based quiz which proved very enjoyable. Barbara Preston outlined the coming year's programme.
April 15: At the AGM the following officers were elected - chair Marjorie Wilde, secretary Delma Stimpson, treasurer Judi Fewster, programme arranger Barbara Preston, committee Pauline Snellgrove and Jackie Milner, Once the formalities were over there was coffee and home-made cakes followed by a beetle drive.
The committee also said farewell to June Tomlin (second from left) who was stepping down from the committee
May 20: Members enjoyed an afternoon visit to Wentworth Castle Gardens (right), this time to see the vibrantly colourful azaleas. Again we were very fortunate to be joined by club member and volunteer Marjorie French, who, as always, dispensed knowledge both historical and botanical. We rounded off a very pleasant afternoon with a visit to the cafe.
June 17: Our speaker was Ronald Kirkman, a clematis enthusiast and past president of the Clematis Society. He took us around the year from January to December with 85 slides of clematis in flower, ranging from popular ones to rare examples. There were hints on pruning and cultivation along the way.
July 15: Due to ill-health, Radio Leeds gardener Joe Maiden was unable to get to our meeting so at short notice Helen Barker chaired a Questions and Answers session with a panel which included committee members Barbara Preston and Jackie Milner. There was a good attendance of members who also enjoyed a quiz.
August 19: The garden party in aid of Admiral Nurses. held at the home of committee member Barbara Preston, raised £500 for Admiral Nurses. Barbara is pictured here (right) with the city's first Admiral Nurse, Matthew Burns, whose task is to support victims of dementia and their families. With them is Wakefield Rotary Club member Sheila Wainwright, who has led the fundraising to get Wakefield its first Admiral Nurse. For an album of photos from the garden party, click here
September 16: Our talk on Autumn Colour in the Garden was delivered splendidly by Aaron Hickman (left) from Askham Bryan. He introduced us, with samples of plant material, to both popular and unusual plants. In addition he gave us advice on successful display in the garden. Members appreciated his excellent knowledge and delivery.
October 21: The topic of carnivorous plants was slightly unusual but Peter Walker enlightened us with a fascinating talk. He gave us interesting facts about the life and nurture of these plants, delivered with knowledge and humour. He brought along a wonderful selection of plants to illustrate his talk, the success of which could be observed by the brisk trade he conducted at his sales table.
November 25: Club secretary Judi Fewster was only one of those who had the pleasure of getting close up with the owls brought to our monthly meeting by Steve Arabskyj from Yorkshire Owl Experience at Ossett. He introduced his birds to members, spending an hour talking about the owls, their habits and their training. Steve gives regular talks to local schools and clubs.
December 16: We celebrated Christmas with a quiz, supper, a visit from Santa and entertainment by Darren Mac, a British Magic Champion. During the meal at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club Darren mingled with members at their tables, performing baffling magic close up. He followed this with a wonderful blend of comedy and magic.
And a record of our activities in 2014 ...
February 19: We started the year with an excellent talk on Wakefield's Green Spaces by Ranger Sue Worral. Members were fascinated to hear, and see, about areas of Wakefield previously unknown to most, for example, the Southern Washlands Nature Reserve. Sue's presentation reflected her passion and knowledge about all these areas. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably be out and about exploring new places very soon!
Sue is pictured here (third from left) with committee members Barbara Preston, June Tomlin, Judi Fewster, Delma Stimpson and the club’s chairperson, Marjorie Wilde.
March 19: Judy Popley gave us a very interesting talk on the trials and tribulations of organising garden plant fairs. She showed some of the wonderful venues she has sourced and some of her nurseries. She certainly imbued club members with the enthusiasm to visit one of her Flower Power Plant Fairs.
April 16: At the AGM the following officers were elected – chair, Marjorie Wilde; secretary, Delma Stimpson; treasurer, Judi Fewster ; programme arranger, Barbara Preston; committee, June Tomlin, Pauline Snellgrove and Jackie Milner. Once the formalities were over, there were coffee and cakes and a chance to buy plants being sold by Hall Green Nurseries. The evening was rounded off with a game in which members had to guess the object sealed in a bag.
May 21: Our May meeting was entitled Potions, Polishes and Poisons. Beryl Sanders and Barbara Appleyard talked about household remedies and cleaning products of the past, ingredients that are often in use today. We now know how to deter ants, slugs, cats, moths and mosquitoes. We also know how to polish brass, wood, silver and taps, clean windows and remove water and heat marks from furniture. They produced leaflets explaining the various procedures. And at the end of an interesting evening they gave us a delicious chocolate cake!
RIGHT: Our picture shows Beryl (left), with Barbara next to her, with club members Chris Westwell, Helen Barker, Keith Norfolk and Diana O'Sullivan
June 18: We were joined by six gentlemen Stickmakers from Crofton. They explained the complexities, and joys, of making walking sticks and showed us wonderful examples of their craft using various woods, horn and other materials.
July 16: Our July meeting was a visit to the Asquiths' garden behind their cul-de-sac bungalow in Wrenthorpe. What a delight this hidden, very extensive, garden is. Even a sudden downpour did nothing to dampen members' spirits as they explored this amazing garden. To make it even more special committee member Barbara Preston made delicious cakes to have with our cup of tea. We made £176 for Wakefield Hospice.
Our picture shows some of the club members enjoying the garden.
August 20: The speaker was Roger Brook (second from left in our picture) whose talk was entitled 'Organic Gardening'. However, at the outset he declared he was not an organic gardener but a 'no dig gardener'. He went on to explain his philosophy and the practicalities of his method.This provoked some interesting questions from the members. Roger gardens at Bolton Percy churchyard and Worsborough cemetery using his methods.Lots of information can be found on his blogs.
September 17: Members enjoyed an evening visit to Wentworth Castle Gardens. Our guide was Marjorie French, a member of the club and a volunteer at the gardens. We are very lucky as Marjorie gave us a wonderful tour. She was so knowledgeable and was a fount of botanical and historical facts. She certainly whetted our appetite for a return visit next summer. And as if that wasn't enough we all left with a commemorative glass to celebrate the restored conservatory.
October 15: In spite of miserable weather, the meeting was very well attended. Andy Richardson (pictured), from Wakefield Street Scene Services, talked about recycling and composting. He spoke about present and future plans for recycling throughout the district and gave plenty of advice on home composting. He also brought a good supply of leaflets.
November 19: Our speaker was Tracy Foster who took us behind the scenes at Chelsea.Tracy is a past Gold Medal Winner for her Bronte show garden and was well equipped to give a fascinating insight into the complications and planning involved in this daunting but exhilarating task.
Our photo shows Tracy (second from right) with committee members Geraldine Hickling wearing a Bronte bonnet that featured in the award-winning garden, Helen Barker who organised Tracy's visit, Judi Fewster and chairwoman Marjorie Wilde
December 17: Highlight of Sandal Gardening Club's Christmas party - apart from a visit by Santa - was a performance by local singer-songwriter Ruby Macintosh. The evening at West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club began with a quiz and was followed by a pie and pea supper and desserts prepared by the committee. Described as a 'retro pop siren', Ruby, who is inspired by the music of the 50s and 60s, sang a medley of songs accompanied by guitar.
Pictured left: Committee members with Ruby Macintosh (second from right): Barbara Preston, Pauline Snellgrove, Jackie Milner, June Tomlin, Delma Stimpson, Judi Fewster and (extreme right) club chair Marjorie Wilde.