Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society

Incorporating The Garden Club

Leave a comment


Talk about Climate Change! What happened to those April showers? We’ve just had the driest April since forever and the coldest one for 60 odd years too. And now its the May Bank Holiday – time to plant up the hanging baskets, finish hardening off the plants in the greenhouse, take cuttings of the dahlias that are sprouting well . . . Somehow I think we will be tucked up by the fire this weekend and leaving the plants in the comparative warmth of the greenhouse too. But we do have some more talks (via Zoom thanks to the Tender Shoots Garden Club Network) this month to take our minds off the weather.

The first one is next Friday May 7th and the full list follows. You can find details of the talks, any plant lists to download and how to join the talks on our Programme page.

Friday May 7th at 7.30pm  –  ‘The Plant Hunters’.  Talk from Jeff Bates.  Sponsored by Austrey Gardening Society.

Tuesday May 11th at 7.30pm – ‘Extending the Season in your Garden’. Talk from Victoria Logue.   Sponsored by Ellesmere Garden Club

Thursday May 13th at 7.30pm – “The History of Herbs”.  Talk from Margaret George. Sponsored by Stone, Chrysanthemum & Dahlia Society

Wednesday May 19th at 7.30 pm – Talk from the National Arboretum Alrewas – Sponsored by Penkridge Garden Guild

Wednesday May 26th at 7.30pm   –  “Gardens of Paradise” (This talk covers the history, design and symbolism of Persian/Islamic/Moghul gardens). Talk from Adrian James. Sponsored by Evesham G&C.

Leave a comment

Easter Show (contd)

We’ve had a few late entries for yesterday’s virtual Show. First up are some marvelous Magnolias from Moddershall –

plus a random Trillium kurabayashii

Trillium kurabayashii

and a few more flowers

Don’t forget there are still several talks coming up this month – including two next week – from the Tender Shoots Garden Club Network. Details of the talks, plant lists to download, and how to join the talks are over on the Programme page.

Leave a comment

Easter Show

We asked members to go out into their gardens over Easter and take photos for a virtual show – and they didn’t disappoint.

First we have ‘gardens’ – some sent several photos (they’ve been working hard!), others one or two of interesting or favourite spots –

Then we have flowers in pots – at this time of year tulips seem to feature a lot –

Flowers in the rest of the garden produced a lot of Springtime favourites – daffodils, primroses, fritillaries . . .

The shrubs too were flowering well – Magnolias, Camellias (hope the recent frosts haven’t caused too much damage) and several others, including quinces and currants.

Finally some photos from Keele – an Easter walk to view the National Collection of Flowering Cherries

If you have been missing your garden visits then don’t forget the talk on Tuesday April 13th at 7.30pm  –  ‘The Dorothy Clive Garden, Seasonal Changes’. Full details and how to join in via Zoom or You Tube are on the Programme page.

Leave a comment

April talks and more

Members and friends should by now have received an email from Helen about a new virtual show in April. Please check your junk/spam mail folders if you haven’t found it. We are asking everyone, as it’s now officially Summer Time, to please grab your cameras or phones and take some photos outside.
We would like you to go out into your gardens over Easter between April 2nd- 4th and take a photo(or more) of the garden, of flowers, of shrubs and/or small trees – whatever takes your fancy, then send them before April 8th ready to go on to our website from the 9th
No prizes, just the pleasure of seeing your photo(s) on the website the same as we did back in September for our Virtual Show.

In conjunction with the Tender Shoots Garden Club Network we have a wide variety of talks available for you to join during April.

Tuesday April 6th at 7.30pm – “Succulent Gardens”. Talk from Howard Drury.  .

Thursday April 8th at 7.30 pm  –  ‘Millenium seed bank project’.  Talk from Sue Bosson.  

Monday April 12th at 2.30pm (rooms open 2.15pm)  – “Drought tolerant plants”.  Talk from Nick Hamilton (Son of Geoff Hamilton).

Tuesday April 13th at 7.30pm  –  ‘The Dorothy Clive Garden Seasonal Changes’. Talk from Kathryn Robey. 

Tuesday April 27th – Successful Fruit Growing’. Talk from Philip Aubury. 

You will find the full list and links on the Programme page.

We’re looking forward to seeing all your photos

Leave a comment

More March talks

You can find details of the virtual talks we take part in via the Tender Shoots Garden Club Network (TSGCN) on our Programme page. These take place via Zoom but you can also access them via You Tube and some are recorded so you can catch up later. These talks are all free for our Members and Friends. This month’s talks cover gardening as you age, garden bird evolution, the development of RHS Bridgewater and the Borage genus – something for everyone! Any plant lists or extra information from the talks can be downloaded from the Programmes page where you will also find links to the You Tube channel and TSGCN. Our next two talks are on Wednesday March 10th “The Making of Bridgewater Garden: Plans & Progress” and on Thursday March 11th “Brilliant Borages” – download the Boraginaceae plant list.

Elsewhere you will find lots of other fascinating virtual talks – some free, some you have to pay for. One of these this month is from Plant Heritage. You may remember that back in 2018 we had a trip to Keele to see the collection of cherry trees (and we also went to Middleton Pottery and finally had tea at Whitmore). On Thursday March 25th Plant Heritage have a  Zoom/ Webinar talk to be given by Chris Sanders, VMH on “Japanese Flowering Cherries” many of which are present in the National Collection at Keele University. To attend you will need to book with Plant Heritage for fee of £4-00. They have a lot of other talks this month too so it is worth exploring the site to find out more – if there are enough talks you are interested in it might even be worth joining the Society as some talks are free for members.

Leave a comment


The 1st of March is not only St David’s Day, it also the first day of meteorological Spring and over in our Photo Gallery you will see some lovely Spring flowers starting to appear in our gardens thanks to the beautiful warm and sunny weather we have had over the last couple of February days – even if the nights have been rather frosty.

And as it is St David’s Day we bring you a daffodil (or two) in celebration.

There are several Zoom meetings planned for March – you can find details about this on our Programme page. – but here is a brief outline –

Monday March 1st – 2.30pm (rooms open 2.15pm) – Talk from Katherine Crouch (Chelsea Gold Medalist) – New tricks for old gardeners – Sponsored by Sutton Coldfield Ladies Gardening Club

Wednesday March 3rd  at 7.15pm – “Love & War, How we created our garden birds”  Speaker – Kevin Reynolds.   Sponsored by Great Bridgeford & District Garden Guild

Wednesday March 10th at 7.15pm  –  “The Making of Bridgewater Garden: Plans & Progress”. Speaker – Marcus Chiltern Jones.  Sponsored by Wolverhampton Horticultural Society.

Thursday March 11th at 7.15pm –  “Brilliant Borages, starring the pulchritudinous Pulmonarias”  Speaker – Dr. Andrew Ward, Norwell Nurseries.   Sponsored by Stone Chrysanthemum & Dahlia Society Garden Club. The Borage family is very diverse and contains familiar and unfamiliar garden plants often with intense flower colour. This talk is great for spring and looks at Pulmonarias, Omphalodes, Brunnera, Symphytum, Anchusas and others plus plants from outside the family that will complement them.

Wednesday Mar 17th at 7.15pm – Quiz – from Kings Bromley Garden Club

Don’t forget to join our Breakout Room at the beginning and end of the meetings so you can catch up with your friends and fellow members even if, for now, it is only via video.

Leave a comment

Places to go . . people to see ..?

If only! However there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel now. First – places to go – the NGS are releasing their Yellow Book soon and you can pre-order from their website where you will also find details of gardens you can visit now for exercise if you pre-book, and as its snowdrop time you will find there are still snowdrop walks to go on; you will just have to go alone rather than in a group and stay local, remember. The NGS are also holding talks about some of their gardens and have virtual tours too. But as we need to keep local for now the National Garden Scheme, Staffordshire & West Midlands Booklet 2021 is now available and if you would like a copy you can send for one by post. You will need to send a self addressed STAMPED envelope size 22cm x 11cm to:-  Peter Longstaff, 18 Newport Road, Great Bridgeford, Staffordshire, ST18 9PR. Please note all visits will be subject to national restrictions so do check before you travel.

As for people to see ? Well, we have virtual talks and meetings still so, yes, you can meet people but only via video. It is better than nothing though. Our upcoming talks are all listed on our Programmes page but the next few are –

Mon Feb 22nd – 2.30pm (rooms open 2.15pm)  Talk from John Chambers (Knaresborough) “Wildflowers – Establishing & maintaining a wildflower area” – sponsored by Barlaston Village Garden Club

Wed Mar 3rd  7.30 (rooms open at 7.15) – Talk from Kevin Reynolds – “Love & War, How we created our garden birds” – sponsored by Great Bridgeford & District Garden Guild

Wed Mar 10th 7.30 (rooms open at 7.15) – Talk from Marcus Chiltern Jones – “The Making of Bridgewater Garden: Plans & Progress” – Sponsored by Wolverhampton Horticultural Society

Thu Mar 11th 7.30 (rooms open at 7.15) – Talk from Dr. Andrew Ward, Norwell Nurseries – “Brilliant Borages” – Sponsored by Stone, Chrysanthemum & Dahlia Society.

Links to fact sheets and plant lists that come with these talks are put on the Programmes page as soon as they are received. You will also find details there of the YouTube channel where any talks that have been recorded are available for you to watch for about a month after the talk. Also on YouTube are some ‘how to use Zoom’ tutorials that Indy (Barlaston Village Garden Club) has done. Each participating club now has its own ‘Breakout’ room so you can ‘meet’ with fellow members before and after the main event of the day for a chat. We hope to see some of you soon.

Leave a comment

Meetings Update

FURTHER UPDATE – our next talk is on February 15th – this is an afternoon talk on a Monday at 2.30pm (rooms open 2.15pm) by Nigel Hopes, Head Gardener at Ashwood Nurseries who will take us through ‘A Year in Johns Garden’. This talk is sponsored by Sutton Coldfield Ladies Gardening Club.

Our last talk was February 10th at 7.30. The speaker was Ingrid Millington from Hillview Hardy Plants talking about Auriculas and the talk was sponsored by Wolverhampton Horticultural Society. This was a really interesting talk covering both Auriculas and Primulas – download the factsheet. Ingrid has kindly offered a discount to paid-up members of Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society’s Garden Club (and other clubs sponsoring these Zoom talks) for the next 14 days only. Order online and then phone to claim your discount.

On the subject of discounts we can also now claim a discount from Suttons. Again this only available to paid-up members and you will need the discount code which you can get from Helen, who also has a limited number of catalogues available for those unable to get online or order one by post.

As you may know by now our meetings are being held in conjunction with several other garden clubs as part of the Tender Shoots Garden Club Network. They are all via Zoom and some have been recorded and posted on the YouTube channel. These include the January talk by Darren Rudge on gardening on a budget – and you can download the information sheet that accompanied his talk. The fascinating lecture from Simon Gulliver of the National Trust on the Secret Life of Trees will be available for a few more days – until about Feb 20th.

Jim Almond’s talk on Snowdrops and other Winter Joys was not recorded but you can download the list of plants he mentioned.

A list of talks scheduled so far is now on our Programme page and the next talk is Feb 15th – this is an afternoon talk on a Monday at 2.30pm (rooms open 2.15pm) by Nigel Hopes, Head Gardener at Ashwood Nurseries who will take us through ‘A Year in Johns Garden’. This talk is sponsored by Sutton Coldfield Ladies Gardening Club.

On Wednesday February 17th at 7.30 (rooms open at 7.15) is a talk from Jo Bird –  ‘The Story Behind David Austin Roses’ – Sponsored by a Barlaston Village Garden Club member. Download the plant list.

Keep checking here and watch out for emails as further talks are organised by other clubs and notified to the Network.

If you are unsure about Zoom there are videos on the TSGCN YouTube channel on using Zoom and also how to access the talks via YouTube instead.

Leave a comment

February Meetings

As a club we will continue to have  “virtual”  speakers, in conjunction with Barlaston under the Tender Shoots Gardening Club Network,  all via Zoom. The network now have a full programme booked for February, please note not all are on Thursdays and the times may vary.

Wednesday 3rd February 7-30pm  ‘Snowdrops & Winter/Spring Bulbs’  Jim Almond from Shrewsbury         Sponsored by Stone Chrysanthemum & Dahlia Society.

Monday 15 February 2-30pm  ‘A Year in John’s Garden’  Nigel Hopes, Head Gardener at Ashwood                  Nurseries.    Sponsored by Sutton Coldfield Ladies Gardening Club

Wednesday 17th February 7-30pm ‘The Story Behind David Austin Roses’    Jo Bird.    Sponsored by Barlaston  Village Garden Club Member

Monday 22nd February 2-30pm  ‘Establishing & Maintaining  A Wildflower Area’ a talk from John Chambers, Wildflowers, Knaresborough.

For each of these talks do log in about 15 mins before and join the Waiting Room , if you need any Zoom help/training please contact the Tendershoots Garden Club Network as Indy, the Barlaston Chair, is proposing to run a session at the beginning of February.

Members and friends should have received an email or letter with all the details. We will send out a full list for March later in February but do put March 11th in your very busy diary as Dr. Andrew Ward from Norwell Nurseries  will be the speaker.

We hope to ‘see’ some of you at these meetings and are looking forward to the time when we may be able to meet safely in person.

PS – Have you seen that the NGS are now offering live online talks from some of the gardens and gardeners in their scheme? They mostly cost around £10 a talk but there are some interesting ones coming up and it is one way to ‘visit’ those gardens we are currently unable to, as well as helping to raise money for the charity.

In the meantime – here’s a photo of Helen’s Hamamelis ‘Wisley Supreme’

Leave a comment

January Meetings

Our January meeting will be held this coming Thursday January 14th. This will be via Zoom with the Tender Shoots Gardening Clubs Network.

Our speaker is Darren Rudge with a talk entitled Gardening on a Budget – Teabags, Bras and Tights. It promises to be a very entertaining evening and one not to be missed.

Members and friends should have received an email or letter with details for joining in with these meetings. It is very easy and you do not need to install anything on your tablet or computer – you can even join in by phone.

The meeting is due to start at 7.30 but the ‘waiting room’ will open at 7.15 and you should find the opportunity to then move into the our club’s breakout room so you can meet and chat with friends beforehand – each club has its own ‘room’.

If you are not a club member or friend but would like to attend then please contact the Tender Shoots Network or Indy at Barlaston Village Garden Club for details on how to join the meeting.

On Wednesday January 20th at 7.30 we have the opportunity to join in with another Tender Shoots Zoom talk – this will be given by Simon Gulliver from the National Trust on The Secret Life of Trees.