Waldringfield Gardeners

The gardeners are an RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) affiliated society with members drawn from Waldringfield and surrounding villages. This active group organises a varied program of events each year which includes visits to RHS and other gardens, talks and practical courses. The most popular event is the Open Gardens which attracts a large number of visitors to the village. For this years callendar of events click on this link. We are a group for everyone who grows for pleasure or production, to share their enthusiasm and expertise. We are part of the Greener Waldringfield community, encouraging wildlife, biodiversity and co-operation in caring for our environment. You automatically become a member of the affiliated societies (RHS and National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd), with part of the £5 subscription (due each November) and have the benefits of their magazines, insurance, legal advice and, with the NAS, access to their discounted seed scheme with E W King & Co. We also have an active WhatsApp group for sharing information, advice and pictures etc.

We extend a very warm welcome to new members and if you need further information please contact us via phone or the email address below.

  ***   Chair   Nell Sully   and  Jacqui Waghorn.

Contact us: info@greenerwaldringfield.org   Or Tel: Betsy Reid   01473 736506

Pumkin Party

This was the best attended event of the year, with most of the village's children turning out with their pumpkins. After a parade at dusk from the school to the beach via Church Field, the children launched their bio-degradable boats on the river. Nell then entertained reading ghost stories, followed by a very scary pirate (Phillip) distributing his treasure (chocolate dubloons).

Photos from the Pumpkin Parade

Visit to RHS Hyde Hall, Essex
27th September 2021

Eleven of us went on this visit and had a very good guided tour of the gardens, ending up at the Dry Garden, which conveniently surrounds the restaurant, so we could look at it both before and after our lunch. Several of us were especially interested that the gravel mulch was mostly only one stone thick, but the stones were quite big, so less likely than pea shingle to get clogged with earth. And some were specially wowed by the World Food garden where the sunflowers dwarfed even the best Waldringfield achieved and many exotic crops flourished. And by the tree growth – only four old trees remain: most were dynamited by the farmer/ previous owner to make way for crops, but in the 25 years since many have been planted and grown well, even on this dry hill. We will be arranging another visit in a different season – it’s well worth the journey.

Produce Show September 2021
Vase of Cut Flowers (Liz Lord)

Although only a small number of people visited the displays of produce and flowers, mainly because of C19 concerns, there was an exceptionally large number of entries in the many classes. We couldn’t enter baked goods etc. this year, again C19, but what did happen was good with 157 entries from 27 exhibitors (several new to the village – thank you!) and in spite of a very difficult year with rain, cold, drought and chilly north easterly winds there were some good entries – specially enjoyed were the yard long gourd and Liz Lord’s flowers (Photo).

Colin did the Auction as usual and embarrassed himself by momentarily forgetting the difference between blackcurrant and blackberry and then telling Alexis blackberries were wild – from her garden, she said - and then redeemed himself by congratulating her for ‘wild gardening – which is what we should all be doing now’. We raised £99.40 towards the costs of a future allotment site.

I (me, Betsy) was even more embarrassed to win the overall prize – for the severalth time. The cup (a hand-on from the now deceased Waldringfield WI) has rotated between the Ian and Christine Kay, John and Alexis Smith and me with only one exception. Either we three need to show more voluntary restraint and not enter so many classes (so tempting, if one has something that will quality!) or the rest of you need to enter more exhibits!

Flawless organisation by Alexis specially commended and all helpers warmly thanked!

Some judges’ tips for next year:

  • Three veg – must be of as equal a size as you can manage
  • Stalks to be left on plums and apples

First prize, cut flowers, awarded to: Liz Lord

Visit to Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm - 5th July 2021

This was Waldringfield Gardeners second visit this year. Only four people could make this – and we did not cycle, in spite of it being within the distance! All the same Ryan Boyd, the grower and the only permanent employee at the farm, gave us a very generous hour’s tour in which we learnt much about the farm – and also much about how we each could be growing better. The farm is a dozen or so years old and produces a veg box weekly for each of the sixty or so families who subscribe – with their help. Ryan had rapidly to direct a mother and son to their tasks before he could deal with us. We were inspired again by the Community Supported Agriculture concept (as at Wakelyns) and could see how well it is working in practice with fields of veg in good heart and a beautiful cut flower garden and very co-operative chickens who don’t fly over the double , but not high, electric fence to keep the foxes out. The site was originally four acres, but three have been sold to Kiln Farm Nursery, adjacent and are being re-wilded. The most recent addition to Oak Tree Farm is a wild flower meadow: now three years in and marvellously beautiful. We were especially impressed to learn that the farm is adequately financed, relying only on small scale grants for particular projects like the larger poly tunnel currently going up, after the initial grant from the Esmee Fairburn Trust.

More beautiful photos from Oak Tree Farm

Oak Tree Farm Website

Wakelyns Inspiration 24th May 2021

The experimental farm, occupying over 50 acres, was established in the 1970's and pioneered the planting of rows of protective trees with crops in strips between. Running north south the trees were planted in pairs, one side copiced the other polarded and provided protection from wind bourne diseases.

On May 24th eighteen of us paid our long delayed second WG visit to Wakelyns Agroforestry. Much has been developed at the farm since our last visit when Prof Martin Woolfe, who founded the farm as a series of experiments in agroforestry, showed us round shortly before his death. This time we were shown round by his son – day job environmental lawyer with Matrix Chambers. We also benefitted directly from one of the small enterprises in their ‘enterprise stacking’: Henrietta Inman’s food was lovely – using lots of Wakelyns grains – and several of us admired her ingenious Portuguese bread oven. There are more than fifty strips of arable, with different widths and separated by different kinds of trees – some hazel and willow for coppicing for the farm’s wood burning energy generation, some native trees, some fruit – producing such abundance that birds are welcome to share. Wildlife flourishes in this diverse setting with so much shelter and food – it keeps crop pests at low levels and the belts of trees prevent air borne pathogens spreading from one strip to another. Wakelyns has specialised in the development of a population of rust resistant wheat: commercial wheat is a clone – every plant in a field identical – but with a population there will always be some which do better in adverse conditions or resist pests. The genetics of YQ wheat at stable so yield and taste and storage qualities etc are reasonably predictable, but not set, so evolution can take place in that step-dance that hosts and predators are so good at. Interesting is that Wakelyns wheat grown by farmers in different places has evolved to be locally specific. We talked at length to one of the ‘stacked enterprises’: a nascent Community Supported Agricuture scheme, aiming to grow for 30 families, with their practical input, and saw evidence of others: wood craft and pottery. We were all entranced by the newly refurbished pond, restored to the 1960s profile, when it was last dredged. It is in origin a Victorian pond with one end shallowly shelved so that carts could rest there overnight allowing their wooden wheels to expand back into the metal rims. The pond used to be connected to a ditch draining from the adjacent ‘conventional’ farmer’s land but on the recommendation of SWT an earth ramp has been build between the two and the farmer’s ditch diverted back onto his land. His ditch was murky and full of nasty algae fed by the nitrate and phosphate run-off from his fields (no chemical fertilisers on Wakelyns ever – only leaf fall from the trees and proper rotation) whereas the new pond was filling with clear clean water. We ended with a lovely lunch, very sociable – and Colin’s plea for us to watch out for his Tilley hat, which started its journey on the roof of the car, on our way home – and indeed Mariah picked it up at Dallinghoo!

Copyright 2021 GW