COMMITTEE   At the AGM we thanked David Mills and James Alexander, who have left the committee.  The rest of the committee said they were willing to stand again for another year and were all re-elected at the AGM.  We had co-opted Anne Pember to take David’s place.  At present we are looking for a new committee member to join the show committee, to take up the role previously taken by Roger Lowe and then James Alexander.  They liaised with King’s School and organised the hiring and setting out of the tables at the show and the collection of display boards from where they are stored at Gants Mill. They were helped on the day by two strong lads.

As required by the Rules of the Society, the chairman and vice-chairman resign after the AGM.  Alison was re-elected as chairman and Jan as vice-chairman by members of the committee.


NEWSLETTERS  At the end of 2018, our membership stood at 102 and most can receive these newsletters by email.  We also deliver some by hand or post. If you have not already done so, please give us your email address, either at a meeting, or by emailing Alison on We never pass on email addresses.

Our meetings are on the diary pages of the Dove, and the whole programme for the year is on together with reports and pictures of the annual show and visits.  If you have gardening friends, why not bring them along to meetings or visits, as we are always looking for potential new members.  You could forward this newsletter to them by email, so they know what is coming up.


SEED ORDER In 2017/18 the Dobies seed order raised £34 for the society.  This year the discounts for members are 40% for seeds and 10% on other items.  Orders are made directly by members either online, by phone or by post and catalogues are still available to browse at your leisure.  Please help raise money for the society by placing your orders with Dobies using the society’s discount code.  This is shown on the group booking form but if you are booking online or using the non-group form, please email Janet on to request the code.


SHOW PHOTO CLASSES  So that you can keep a lookout for good subjects to photograph over the next few months, here are the photo classes in this year’s Show Schedule:

The colour red

Bloomin' marvellous

Jack Frost

'I don't believe it' - optical illusion

Historic buildings

Bruton at its best

Racing around

Mug shot


Classes for children:

Happiness is …

Guess what?


THE PROGRAMME   Jennie and Anne have put together a great programme for this year.

The booking form for all the visits is on the last page.   Please complete and return the form to Janet.  There is a handy box to tick on the programme, so you remember what you have booked.


If you have any good ideas for meetings or talks in future, please send them to Janet Jones, “Crow’s Nest”, Holly Hill, Batcombe, BA4 6BL, 01749-850509 or email:


PLANT SALE The Plant Sale and Coffee Morning is on Saturday 4 May, so please start now potting up divided perennials, and extra seedlings or cuttings.  Please label them so we know what they are.  


SHOW  The Annual Show Schedule will be available at the Plant Sale, and from the Community Office and the usual High Street shops well before the Show, which is on 18 August.  


MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION  This is due now for 2019

EITHER  post your details and cheque payable to Bruton & District Horticultural Society to:

Jan Juneman, Town Mill House, High Street, Bruton BA10 0AL

OR Pay by BACS.   Sortcode 40-47-28 and account number 51332414.  The reference should be Your name/Sub.

OR Set up a Direct Debit to pay your sub on 1 January each year.





Bruton & District Horticultural Society traditionally kick starts the New Year by having a very jolly Winter Lunch open to all members.  January 2018 at The Montague Inn was a particularly happy occasion as we were celebrating the engagement of our Chairman and Treasurer, which reinforces the view of both Joe and Alison that being a member of the Horti Soc, is a good thing!


Our series of Winter/Spring/Autumn Talks, as always proved very interesting.  The talk on The Trees of Stourhead, familiar to many, was fascinating, as was Christine Stone’s photographic tour of nine centuries of stunning French gardens.


In March Steff Hafferty spoke inspirationally on the merits of a perennial kitchen garden, with myriad ideas on how to prepare the veg and foretaste of what we were to enjoy at our Annual Garden Supper in July.  


‘A Passion for Climbers’ was presented by Jane and Toni from Tynings Climbers, illustrated with gorgeous photographs and inspiring members to cram in as many different climbers as possible!  


The Gold Club talk in October provided inspiration for our odd corners and containers in our gardens.


Employ My Ability which now runs Thorngrove Nursery, reminded us in November, that any support we might give is very valuable in promoting the well being of those in our community with learning and physical disabilities, whose gardening skills and self confidence are being honed by working there.


The first of our annual garden visits took place on an icy, blustery February day, when we visited Nynehead Court.  Sadly the snowdrops were going over but the trees with their great crusty swirling barks were a sight to behold; as was the original planting done with such foresight, so many years ago.


There was still some snow on the ground when we visited Forde Abbey; undaunted, valiant heathers, cyclamen and snowdrops provided colourful carpets showing surprisingly little damage.


April’s visit to Minterne Gardens took place on a damp and windy day to see the azaleas and rhododendrons which were at different stages of flowering, and the group enjoyed the meandering bluebell lined paths to the river and ponds.


Cranborne House was planned for June to catch their notable display of roses, and as always their plentiful blooms and beautiful scent were breathtaking.  


An extra visit to Stavordale Priory took place in the same month, and was fully subscribed.  The layout of the gardens invites one from ‘room’ to ‘room’ where each area may be savoured for its scents and blooms and designs, each space providing new delights, from formal garden to kitchen garden and a murmuring rill flanked by fruit trees and climbing roses.  


The long awaited trip to Jekka McVicar’s Herb Garden took place later in June on a gorgeous day, and it was a thrill to meet the doyenne of the herb world (and holder of more than 300 varieties), who shared her huge knowledge most generously as we toured her inspirational and deliciously scented herb garden.  Her cookbook is a treasure too!


Knoll Gardens in September with its dramatic display of grasses did not disappoint, and looked splendid, having outwitted an incredibly dry summer.  Woven into the grasses were views through plants to statues and fallen trees which in turn looked beautiful and provided gladed shade for the wanderer.


Our three Annual Events were all very popular and well received.  The Plant Sale in May was a great success with good support from Bruton and our members. Takings were excellent and 95% of the plants were sold.  This event relies heavily on members generously sowing and growing, and now is the time to do the former!


The Annual Summer Garden Party held at Charles Dowding’s Homeacres in early July, provided us all with a chance to see how to grow vegetables in the No Dig method, Charles so passionately espouses, and note the amazing successes year on year.  It was a hot sunny evening and the perfect place to celebrate the garden.  We were treated to Steff Hafferty’s delicious food, all vegan and flavourful and colourful AND grown in no dig gardens.


The Annual Show went off in a blaze of colour and a record number of entries, superbly organised as always by Janice Halstead, Janet Jones and James Alexander.  The pinnacle of the growing year, it is always a great joy to see the fruits of everyone’s labours.  At this time, Malcolm Hord (himself a passionate gardener and recent host of our Annual Summer Party) stood down as our Society President. We thank him for his years as our leader!  Roger Lowe has kindly taken on the mantle of President and the Annual Show saw him presenting the prizes for the first time.


The death of Johnny Neugasser in December is sadly noted here – a stalwart of the judging circuit and fantastic vegetable gardener himself – he and Cynthia have been very hardworking on the committee and exceptionally supportive members of The Bruton & District Horticultural Society for decades.  Our thoughts are with Cynthia and her family at this challenging time.


It is a great pleasure putting this report together in the darkest days of the year, a reminder of what a great association we are,  and what a fantastic variety of events is put together by our hard working and dedicated committee members.  It is also a reminder that even as this is being written; new life is stirring beneath the surface of the soil, full of promise for the gardening year ahead!