Allotment Society News 2011

Newsletter - Winter 2011

The horticultural section of Rolleston Club’s re-vamped Village Gala “grew” this year with a marquee well-stocked with a wide range of produce (see the Gala article). It was obvious that several new villagers had responded to the call and were pleasantly surprised by the awards that they received. However we still rely on a few people with large entry lists to fill the tent and we hope that even more will get the confidence to make a contribution.

We have come to the end of another quirky English allotmenteering year. This time the subject has been lack of water. We are fortunate in having a well distributed supply but most members are aware of the need for conservation and it has been used sparingly.

In spite of the difficulty we have seen some good autumn crops and plots have scored well in our autumn competition.

  Full Plot Half Plot
1st Neil Crump Peter Longbottom
2nd Steve Eszrenyi Mrs Julie Husband
3rd Ted Killick Mrs Maureen Clarke
4th Geoff Faulkner Mrs Karen Salisbury
5th Bryan Bennett Dave Cawser

Points accumulated from this year’s three seasonal competitions mean that Steve Eszrenyi just scrapes home from Neil Crump to be “Full Plot Gardener of the Year”. No one is yet challenging Peter Longbottom as our “Half Plot Gardener of the Year” but there are clear signs that some of our lady members are out to get him. We will be celebrating these achievements at our annual social evening on 17th November.

Newsletter - Autumn 2011

The Society is sponsoring the vegetable section in the Horticulture Marquee of Rolleston Club’s Village Gala again this year.

That was the easy bit, now to the more difficult task of persuading more novice members to enter and bring the money back home! It is always daunting to enter for the first time but there are some excellent crops on site. Win or not, one of the functions is to add to the produce and create a good harvest festival atmosphere in the tent. From the number of “I’ve got better than that” comments last year, there must also be a number of villagers hiding their talents in their back gardens. Even if you are too late this year please think about it for the future, just for the fun of it.

Our expanded Summer Competition has brought some new names to the top of the list including some of our “half-plot” ladies (no insult intended!) and produced the following result –

  Full Plot Half Plot
1st Neil Crump Peter Longbottom
2nd Steve Eszrenyi Mrs Petula Paul
3rd Ted Killick David Morgan
4th Geoff Faulkner Mrs Maureen Clarke
5th Roy Ottewell Mrs Karen Salisbury
6th James Harvey Mrs Alison Hasdell

Best crop not on a winning plot – Bryan Bennett for his bed of onions.

Time now to prepare for autumn and celebrate the year at our annual November Social Evening

Newsletter - Summer 2011

An unusually cold winter, the driest April on record, some late frosts – there’s always something to moan about! Nevertheless, the site looks in good condition with all members making a good start to the season.

Our waiting list is on the increase again with regular enquiries from other areas of the Borough – unfortunately refused.

With our move to a larger number of half-plots we have now added them to our informal year-round competition. The Spring Competition produced the following result –

  Full Plot Half Plot
1st Steve Eszrenyi Nicola Bull
2nd Geoff Faulkner Peter Longbottom
3rd Ted Killick Karen Salisbury
4th James Harvey Maureen Clarke
5th Neil Crump Michelle Willetts
6th Tom Martin Dave Cawser

A trial visit to the new “Edible Gardening Show” at Stoneleigh by two members of the committee proved disappointing. The show was small, too early in the season and filled out with several unrelated stands. A number of gimmicky (and expensive) gardening aids for new small gardens or patios seemed likely to fail to deliver and actually discourage a novice gardener. A joint visit to Malvern Spring Flower Show with Tutbury Flower Club again indicated this to be the best major venue in the Midlands for a whole range of gardening activities.

Newsletter - Spring 2011

The year-end saw a larger number of plot changes than usual. This has allowed us to make a dent in our still substantial waiting list. Three quarters of new plot holders were ladies – although they often had dutiful husbands trailing behind. We also have now equal numbers of full and half plots to suit changing life-style and crop choices.

The extreme cold weather this winter will have tested some of the newer varieties of winter vegetable. Some excellent parsnips, sweetened by the frost, have been lifted from the ground but crops of winter hardy leeks have turned to mush.

The harsh weather has also brought evidence of the wild life that only seems to appear when no one is around. Unprotected winter greens were rapidly stripped by a variety of birds and any root crops exposed on the surface showed the teeth marks of unknown rodents.

On the positive side the frost should have been deep enough to cull some of the pests that build up in milder seasons. Natural control of disease is becoming more important. Without being classed as “organic” members generally make minimum use of pesticides on site and government/EU controls are continuing to limit what is available. Even the generally accepted traditional copper based fungicide “Cheshunt Compound” is being phased out this year.

The Society will be returning to the Malvern Spring Gardening Show on Friday 13th May for its annual outing this year. This is a favourite venue for cost and travelling distance. It also provides a comprehensive start to the season with plant and material supplies. The coach usually returns weighing twice as much as when it left. Coach tickets not taken up by members may be available to Rollestonians: contact Tom Martin (813320) for details.

A new horticultural show this year is “The Edible Garden Show” at Stoneleigh, 18 – 20th March, claiming to have a wide range of garden, allotment and smallholder exhibits. Not far to go, it is worth a trial visit. See the website

(Nearly) The Ultimate Accolade

Village flower arrangers Mrs Marilyn Ottewell and Mrs Janet Stone so impressed observers with their decorations at Chatsworth that, this February, they were invited to dress the High Altar in Westminster Abbey for a memorial service to Joan Sutherland, the singer. Next step, a royal wedding....?

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Last updated: 30 December 2011