Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society

Incorporating The Garden Club

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July and RHS Tatton Park

Gardens are continuing their slow re-opening and we are getting used to having to book a time slot for our visits. You can find further information on the various websites including the National Garden Schemethe National Trust, and our local gardens such as Trentham.

Next on our wishlist are the RHS Shows – we have had a virtual Chelsea and this month sees RHS Tatton Park which will also be a virtual show this year starting on July 22nd. You can read more about the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the RHS shows and gardens here.

Here are some photos from previous shows attended by members – first is the Harrogate Show in 2019

Chatsworth in 2017

Chelsea in 2017

and finally Tatton Park also in 2017

You’ll find lots of photos on our Instagram account at stone_candd_garden_club and we will post some of them here later in the month.

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Actually it is nearly July but the photos in this post are from June. It’s been lovely to get out and about a little, to visit friends for picnics in our gardens, or to visit some of the gardens that have been closed. Life is slowly becoming a new normal.

EDIT – Speaking of garden that have been closed – we have just had a letter from Wollerton Old Hall Gardens about their re-opening on June 25th. Download the letter and details here or go to their website where you can book your visit.

Back to the photos – flowers from the gardens first, some of these have been in our Instagram posts but not all.

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And then a few photos from The Common Plott, specifically the ‘historic haymeadow’.

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The 34th Annual Open Show

It is with great regret that we have taken the decision to cancel this year’s 34th Annual Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society Open Show. This was due to be held in September but it was felt that given current (and likely ongoing) restrictions it would be impossible to hold the Show and safeguard everyone’s health. Hopefully things will be returning to normal over the next twelve months or so and it will be possible to hold the Show next September.

Meanwhile many nurseries and garden centres have re-opened with restrictions in place so we can at last go out and buy plants and pots again. Some gardens are slowly, and carefully, re-opening too. Some NGS gardens, for instance, are re-opening with booking systems in place – see their website for details. The RHS has also opened its gardens – again see their website for details – but all their shows for the year have been cancelled. Likewise, the National Trust is opening some of its gardens, but not the houses, and details are on their website.

Closer to home both the Dorothy Clive Garden and Trentham Gardens are re-opening. See their websites for full details – the Dorothy Clive Garden is asking you to pre-book if possible but you may be able to have a wander round if you just turn up – it depends how many others have had the same idea. The toilets are open (always an essential consideration!) and the cafe is doing take-away refreshments. Trentham Gardens is currently only open to ‘Members’ (Season Ticket holders) – again the full details are on their website. Keep looking as they are updated regularly.

Here are a few of the plant photos that have been on our Instagram page during May (and a few that haven’t)


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A slow re-opening

The good news is that nurseries and garden centres are now allowed to open so some of us at least can go and browse and choose our own plants again, even if it means wearing a mask (can anyone really breathe in them?) and gloves or lots of sanitiser.

In the meantime our gardens have been blooming and growing (especially the weeds) but we have at least had the time to tend them and enjoy them. And maybe soon, if we don’t have a second wave of virus, gardens will be open to visitors again.

For those of you not on Instagram, here’s a few of the photos we have been posting.

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Trentham Gardens also have virtual tours on their blog, so if you are missing going there you can at least have a wander round from the comfort of home.

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Still not going out

Last week should have been the RHS Malvern Spring Festival and many of us would have headed off down the M5 for a day out. However . . .! But all is not entirely lost – you can spend a happy hour in the comfort of your armchair visiting the virtual festival. Next week you will be able to follow a virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show each day from May 18th (if you are a member) to May 23rd.

In our last blog post we highlighted a variety of places to ‘visit’ from the depths of that armchair but one we omitted is very close to home – the Trentham Gardens Spring Bulb Festival. This link will take you to their most recent blog post which has links in the sidebar to all the bulb festival videos and to some activities for children. If you are on Instagram it is worth following them as they have been posting some wonderful pictures lately.

The RHS Gardens all have virtual tours available now – Harlow Carr, Wisley, Rosemoor and Hyde Hall and you can also explore (via still photos) one or two of the gardens we have visited recently such as Newby Hall and Wollerton Old Hall. Two other gardens to explore are Hodnet Hall and the Sussex Prairie Garden.

What we may be missing most though is those informative talks we have each month. Again – there are informative talks to be found online – in the form of videos (often on YouTube) or as gardening blog posts. Searching online for these finds hundreds, if not thousands, of them but they can be whittled down a little by specifying UK or allotment or flower garden or whatever you fancy finding out about. Some kind folk, such as Thompson & Morgan have even produced lists of those blogs and videos they feel are the ‘best’ or those most worth time and effort. Other blogs (some of which are mentioned by T&M in the link above) that we’ve enjoyed are – look for her YouTube videos as well – the link is in the menu bar. – do have a look at the post from 26th April – titled ‘spare a thought for slugs in this dry weather’ and – known for her book The 5-Minute Garden.

As for more videos, Mark Lane (who often appears on TV programmes such as Gardener’s World) has his own website and his YouTube channels have a great many interesting and informative programmes. In the sidebar you will find a list of other similar gardening channels to watch so feel free to explore. There is also a list of good UK gardening videos online here.

Our own members gardens are full of inspiration too – Kathryn has recently sent some photos of her garden which are now in the Photo Gallery. If you run out of space on the ground, why not garden vertically as well?!

Also worth hunting out are TED Talks – this link takes you to the twenty three ‘gardening’ talks in English, many  of them are American. It is worth exploring Ted Talks for other topics that interest you.




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National Gardening Week

It’s National Gardening Week this week so we thought we’d go wandering around the internet to find as many gardens for you to ‘visit’ as possible, especially as it’s raining. Before that though – just a reminder that our local nurseries and garden centres may not be open to visitors but you can still phone them or email them and order compost, pots, plants and seeds to be delivered. There will probably be a delivery charge and even a minimum order but you can always shout over the fence to your neighbours to see if they need anything as well.

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Our summer trips have been cancelled but the gardens we were to have visited have plenty of photos on their websites to look at. So Moreton Hall Gardens (  has a virtual tour (still photos not video) of the garden and last year’s tulip festival and Meadow Farm Nursery (  also has lots of photos on the website. In July we were to go to Coton Manor ( ) which has a lot of photos of the gardens on their website. Click on ‘Gardens’ tab at the top menu for an overall view and then choose from options in the drop-down menus from there for more detail such as herbaceous borders  or garden areas which has another drop down menu as does garden calendar to see the garden month by month. And over on our Photo Gallery page you will find a slideshow from our February visit to Colesbourne Gardens to see the snowdrops.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show next month has been cancelled; instead there will be a ‘virtual’ show. Go to their website ( ) for details and for a list of the exhibitors with links to their websites so you can still buy  from them.

Likewise all the NGS gardens are closed for the foreseeable future but many of them are participating in the virtual garden tours on the NGS website ( Don’t forget to donate – as you would for a real visit – to keep raising money for charity.

A new website to keep us all connected is The Great British Garden Show ( Join in, or just enjoy as gardeners old and new add photos or videos of their gardens around the country for us all to enjoy.

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Many of our Botanic Gardens have put virtual tours on their websites – some are just photos, others are videos so from the comfort of your armchair you can go to Scotland to see many of their wonderful gardens ( or to Cambridge ( and, Oxford ( ), or even all around the world ( ). Kew has put a lot of videos of both its gardens and those of Wakefield Place on their website (

Some of the glossy garden magazines have produced lists of the ‘best’ virtual garden tours. (,, and A few of the gardens may be the same but there should be enough here to keep you occupied for a quite a while.

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Enjoy the rest of the week, stay safe, keep well and, if you still need photos to look at, some of the photos from our Instagram feed are now in the photo gallery. If you need more gardens to explore there are plenty out there – just ask your search engine for virtual garden tours or for any of the gardens you fancy touring.

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Spring time

In this strange world we find ourselves in at the moment – ‘socially-distanced’ and isolated from friends and wider families – we do at least have the consolation of the warmer weather than comes with this time of year. We may not be able to get out to buy Easter chocolate, or plants but we can get out into our gardens.

As promised we have been putting a photo a day on our Instagram account and some of these have been posted on our Facebook page too. For those of you not signed up to either of those here is a taster –

first up are the daffodils

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next it’s random shrubs and flowers

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and finally its tulip time –

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If you are desperate for plants, seeds, compost or pots then be aware that although the nurseries and garden centres are closed some of them are doing online and/or phone orders – its worth contacting them to find out.

We hope you are all keeping safe and well and look forward to being able to meet again in September.


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April – July

Under the circumstance we have cancelled all our meetings for April, May, June and July. We hope to be able to book these speakers again soon.

The May Plant Sale is cancelled.

The June and July bus trips are cancelled.

We are sorry to have to do this but we feel the health and well-being of our membership is a priority.

We hope that the Annual Show will be able to go ahead in September, but keep an eye on the website to check.

Follow us on Instagram (Stone_CandD_Garden_Club) where we are hoping to post a daily Spring flower to cheer us all up in these uncertain times.


This was our trip to Keele to see the collection of cherry trees – a reminder of happier times.

All being well, we will see you in September.

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pelargonium1817aOur April meeting is on Thursday 9th when our speaker will be Heather Godard-Key from Fibrex Nurseries. This is a family business based at Pebworth near Stratford on Avon. They specialise in Pelargoniums and ivies – holding National Collections of both groups.

Don’t forget the Annual Plant Sale next month – May 2nd. Please keep growing and splitting those surplus plants!

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2019-08-06 17.10.30Our March meeting takes place at the Christ Church Centre, Stone on Thursday 12th March when our speaker is Colin Parkes, Vice-Chairman of the National Gladiolus Society. Unsurprisingly(!) his talk is entitled – Gladioli.

All are welcome to meetings which start at 7.45pm and cost just £1.50 payable on the door that evening.

Don’t forget our trip to see the Snowdrops on February 19th.