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The event: AGM and HISTORY OF GARDEN PLANTS with Martin Newcombe 
Where: Vestry Hall, Marden
When:   Tuesday 11th February 2020 at 7.30pm 

Following on from our Annual General Meeting, tonight’s talk is by Martin Newcombe,  a professional ecologist and founder member of the East Kent Badger Group. He runs an ecological consultancy, MN Wildlife, which does most things such as ecological surveying, mitigation and planning, practical work etc. He has extensive woodland experience and has done wide ranging work in other habitats including long-term surveying of a large private estate. He holds or has held Natural England licences for badgers, bats and dormice.

Martin started MN Wildlife whilst teaching in a variety of institutions, including university, Agricultural Training Board, in prison and for the Workers’ Educational Association amongst others, having managed woodland and other land for nature conservation purposes for a number of years.

Photographic competition: Trees in Evening Light
£10 voucher to the winner

A YEAR IN A COBHAM GARDEN – Tues 14th Jan 2020

The event: A YEAR IN A COBHAM GARDEN with Nigel Gibson 
Where: Vestry Hall, Marden
When:   Tuesday 14th January 2020 at 7.30pm 

Nigel Gibson has worked in Horticulture for the last 42 years. He began working for local authorities, and then became a Landscaper working on private gardens. During the 42 years Nigel has worked in Interior and Exterior Landscaping (both Industrial and private gardens), Industrial and Private Garden Design and the Hardy nursery stock industry.

He was part of a company that won the overall top prize and a RHS Gold Medal at Chelsea Flower Show 1983 (with John Vellam Gardens), and has also worked on many other show gardens at Hampton Court (Courtyard Garden Design and Scenic Design Company). Nigel also helped design and build a garden at the San Francisco Garden Show 1997(Andy Hibben Gardens-Gardens with an English Accent), which won joint top prize. He has had two articles published in The Garden Design Journal on ‘Grasses’ and ‘Hemerocallis’.

Nigel is Sales Executive and Plantsman at Provender Nurseries which is an established, independent, wholesale, trade only supplier of quality plants, soils and landscaping kit serving trade professionals throughout Kent, London, the South East and further afield. In March 2017 the Provender Nurseries team were over the moon when Nigel received an RHS Long Service Medal for 40 years of service to Horticulture.

Nigel lives in Kent, with his wife Sheilagh, their three dogs Molly, Osi and Masie and Sapphie, Ollie and Nellie, the cats.


Nigel’s visit coincided with the height of Storm Brendan. Despite the dreadful weather a good number of members turned out to welcome him after a difficult journey from Cobham, which had involved closed roads, retracing steps and having to stop to remove a fallen branch. We were very relieved when he made it to the Vestry Hall.

The garden in question belongs to a National Trust cottage, which was completely overgrown when Nigel and his wife took it over. Near the top of the Downs, it has a shallow layer of soil over chalk and is dry and quite windy. The year in question was 2010 which started with heavy snow, and from then on we were taken through the year with photographs of plants for all seasons. Nigel is clearly an expert plantsman with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Reassuringly this is tempered by a relaxed attitude towards weeds, and his talk was a very personal look at the beauty, quirks and the   requirements of the plants he grows. Many old favourites were there, as murmurs of agreement from the audience  attested: hellebores, euphorbias, iris, tulips, alliums, hardy geraniums, roses, as well as shrubs , grasses and climbers to name but a few.  Particularly good varieties were highlighted, but equally Nigel was frank about his failures, and plants to be avoided: for example he was glad when the winter of 2010 killed off his phormium, but it was a devil to dig out.  

The evening was an intimate look at a well loved garden, which we  could all identify with, and learn from.   



The event: REVIVE YOUR GARDEN – How to breathe life, style and good health back into tired gardens  with Nick Bailey of Gardener’s World
Where: Memorial Hall, Marden

When: Tuesday 12th November 2019 at 7.30pm 

Tonight we are delighted welcome Nick Bailey, the well known garden designer, best-selling author, columnist and presenter on BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World.

Nick has worked in horticulture for 25 years and has created and managed gardens on four continents, including redesigning the gardens and diversifying the plant collection at London’s famous Chelsea Physic Garden the past  seven years.  In 2016 he designed his first Main Avenue Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower show, receiving extensive plaudits from the press and judges along with a Silver Gilt Medal.

He began his broadcasting career presenting Gardens Wild and Wonderful in South Africa (’95-’96) and spent four years as a panellist on BBC Radio Norfolk’s Garden Party.  

Nick has since appeared on BBC 2’s Great British Garden Revival, Big Dreams Small Spaces, ITV News, The One Show, BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme, and presented RHS Flower Shows coverage for the BBC.

His horticultural media career spans some 15 years, including work as an editor for Garden Answers and Garden News, and freelance writing for RHS The Garden, The Mail, The Times and The Telegraph.  Nick currently has regular columns in Garden News, and BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine for which he was awarded Property Press Awards’ Garden Journalist of the Year 2017.

Nick has also recently published a book “Revive your Garden”, so if you don’t catch everything he says tonight, no need to worry.


SLOE SEDUCTION – Tues 10th Dec 2019

The eventSLOE SEDUCTION with Katherine Hook
Where: Vestry Hall, Marden
When:   Tuesday 10th December 2019 at 7.30pm 

Katherine Hook, from Spenny Lane, Marden, has been making (and consuming) Sloe Gin for many years and has a passion for all things cocoa related too.

Using fresh Sloes (Prunus Spinosa) handpicked on the family farm and neighbouring farms, she had a vision of combining these two wonderfully versatile ingredients to see what shecould create – what happened next was to be a great adventure of fun and experimenting.

The end product – a deeply rich Belgian chocolate with the intense tongue tingling taste of Sloes drenched in Gin for a while and added to a blended ganache, combine these fine ingredients together for a truly irresistible seductive chocolate.

When better than our pre-Christmas meeting to learn more …

Drinks and nibbles.
Competition: Seasonal table decoration
£10 voucher to the winner


Where: Vestry Hall, Marden
When:  Tuesday 8th October 2019 at 7.30pm 

Maureen Rainey, is Development Officer for Kent Wildlife Trust and is running their ‘Wild About Gardens’ award scheme which is open to anyone who has or is developing a wildlife friendly garden in Kent.

Tonight she will be talking about what we can do in our own gardens to make them a haven for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are declining in Britain – a third have been lost since the millennium. So raising awareness of what they need to survive is vital for these well-loved little animals.




The event: GARDEN LORE, FACT OR FICTION with Jude Lawton
Where: Vestry Hall, Marden
When: Tuesday 10th  September 2019 

Our speaker tonight is Jude Lawton, Chairman of Plant Heritage Kent. Jude spoke to us about Plant Heritage Kent in February 2014.

This is a change to the published programme due to unfortunate ill health of the advertised speaker. 

Competition: A plate of seasonal produce
£10 voucher to the winner


Our speaker at the September meeting was Jude Lawton, whose talk was entitled ‘Garden Lore – Fact, Fiction or Matter of Opinion?’.  Jude used to be employed as a gardener & compiled this talk after wondering where the gardening ‘rules’ came from.  She mentioned that many years ago when large houses employed staff, they often had numerous gardeners, trainees or apprentices who had to be kept occupied throughout the year, so they were given jobs to do that perhaps weren’t entirely necessary. Examples of this are the washing out of plant pots which isn’t really needed unless there’s been an infestation of insects, and digging, which can redistribute weed seeds and make soil dry out more quickly.  Earthworms will aerate the soil if left to do their job.  Another myth is putting stones in the bottom of plant pots for drainage, which apparently is not necessary.  She also pointed out that its not important what time of day plants are watered, just do it when you have time & the plants are drying out. One of the best tips Jude gave us was that old potting compost can be reused.  Just add some fresh compost and slow release fertiliser to it and the plant will grow just as well.


The event:  RHS HYDE HALL FLOWER SHOW  coach trip
Where: Leave the  library car park at 9.30 and back by approx 5pm.
When: Sunday 4th August 2019  

For details see link

 The Gardens have undergone different projects since our last visit and we have never been to the flower show that has specialist nurseries, gardening sundries, expert advice, craft and gifts, live music and the chance to explore the garden in full summer bloom.

We will leave the library car park at 9.30 and should be back by 5pm.

Please sign up if you have not already done so.  £5 for members – £12 for non members. 

CREAM TEAS – Sun 21st July & Sun 11th Aug

Heather Scott and Kay East have kindly offered to hold cream teas on the 21st of July and the 11th of August.  An ideal time to view their gardens and enjoy a summer afternoon.  Full details below:

SUNDAY JULY 21st  at 2.30pm with Heather and Richard Scott 
Cream Tea in aid of McMillan Cancer Support at
3 Chainhurst Cottages, Dairy Lane, Chainhurst.    
Cost £3.50. 

SUNDAY AUGUST 11th at 2.30pm with Kay East 
Cream Tea in aid of Parkinson’s at
Fairwinds, Hunton Road, Chainhurst. 
Cost £3.50.  

These gardens are very close to each other. Taking the Hunton Road out of Chainhurst, you will find 3 Chainhurst Cottages if you turn left at the second turning into Dairy Lane. It is the last cottage in first row of cottages on the right.

Fairwinds is the house on the right in Hunton Road just beyond this second Dairy Lane turning.  

Please feel free to bring friends and family. 

MHS committee will be organising the teas but if anybody would like to help please contact Heather on 01622 820483 or Kay on 01622 820328.