Chairman’s Report  2019

2019 a year of highs and lows.
The minutes of our review meeting for 2018 have been agreed as a true record of that meeting by the full committee of the society and all matters arising having been dealt with now form part of this review.

2019 – a year of highs and lows for the society. The highs were the excellence of the improvements to the RHS gardens at Wisley,the venue for our coach trip in October, completed since our last visit there in 2017 and the high standard of our speakers throughout the year together with increasing membership numbers. The lows the loss of our friend and society treasurer Geoff Cook. In his role Geoff worked unstintingly for the advancement of the society and to ensure its financial stability for the future. He achieved these targets and his ever cheerful presence will be sorely missed.

Geoff’s position has been filled by a brave volunteer, Janet Fairweather, whose first report is attached. Cathy Constable who organised our monthly speakers for many years has moved from Heathfield and her position on the committee has been filled by Margaret Coady whose 2020 programme will be available in December /January.

Our indoor meetings took us with the shepherds of the South Downs and to the Lewes Bonfire with it’s long and intriguing history. We learned of the plants that we should have in our gardens to attract wildlife.We also know how to forecast the weather and how to set up a vineyard. There was one disappointment as John the Trug, who was due to demonstrate the construction of this ever useful garden container, was ill and unable to attend.However we learned how local Sussex trug making is to this area and how few families have been involved over the years up to the present day..

Our bulb growing competition 2018/19 proved,due to the improved quality of bulbs supplied to us, to be more successful than last years huge flop. Encouraged by this our stock for this year has been emptied by those members eager to take on the challenge and present the results at our March 2020 meeting.

Our annual spring and summer shows for 2019 attracted a good number of high quality entries and presented their usual colourful appearance for visitors.The pop up cafe at these shows continue to be very popular.Our thanks are extended to the local traders and individuals who continue to support both shows with advertising in the show schedules and the donation of raffle prizes.
Our gardeners forum in May, comprising of a plant swap and sale, again proved a well attended and successful event and will appear in the programme for 2020.

Our June outing was to the National Trust’s Scotney Castle where we enjoyed a guided tour of both the restored walled garden and the wider estate gardens.

Coach trips went to RHS garden at Wisley as previously mentioned, and Lullingstone Castle a private family home with some quirky gardens.Our thanks to Sue Young aided and abetted by Chris Kemp for the organisation of these trips.

The open gardens continue to go from strength to strength with a variety of gardens providing interest (with tea and cake!) for fellow members. Our thanks to the brave members who invite others to see their gardens. They say unanimously (after the event !) how much they enjoyed it.

I would like to thank all the officers, committee members and members of the society for their contributions in the past year. It is particularly encouraging to note the willingness of our members to volunteer their help in many areas including the cake baking rota organised by Hilary Elphick to cater for the open gardens and show refreshments. Thanks also to those who find their way to the kitchen and help with the washing up after meetings although a few more willing hands would prove useful.

These examples of working together as a team for the benefit of the society and their fellow members bodes well for the future.

Your committee feel that they have supplied a full varied and interesting programme for the year.However if you feel that there are things you would like to see included in future programmes that are not currently covered please say and all ideas will be considered. It is after all your society.

Last year saw the innovation of a Facebook site (Heathfield & District Horticultural Society) for your society. This is a closed group but once accepted you may post your own photos and comment on society matters. Please make use of this.

Information on the coming years programme can be seen on our website from January 2020. This site,administered by Graham Young, is generously sponsored by our Society President Stephen Moody of Frogheath Landscapes holders of numerous Gold Medals from both the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows in addition to many landscaping industry awards.

Cec Earl Chairman

Generously sponsored by