Newsletter               October 2006






Cookham and Cookham Dean Horticultural Society


NEXT MEETING: Wednesday  25th October 7.30pm

Cookham Dean Village Hall

“Herbs for House and Garden”

A talk by Richard Bailey

















The Winter season got off to a good start at the last meeting in September with a talk on “Wild Flowers in Crete”, Victor Scott certainly knew his stuff about Crete, having been there so many times.  He gave a potted history of the island, plus a host of information on the best sites on the island to visit in order to see the incredibly wide range of wild flowers.



Chris Sibbald, our new Seeds person in the Society, will be at the next meeting and will have seed catalogues from Suttons and Marshalls.  A 10% discount is offered from both these companies so do take advantage of this if you want to.


Thank you Chris for taking on this job. Thank you also Suzi Shellabear for the photographs of our recent visit to the Mill at Medmenham.


We will also be selling the bulbs for the Spring Show in March at the next meeting, if you can’t make the meeting but would like to participate please call me and I will keep the bulbs for you.


Brian 01628 484821



Copy deadline for November’s issue is 6th November. Apologies to those of you who do not get this by email as the photos will be in black and white!         Gill,  01628 483092                            

If recent garden visits have inspired you to greater things in the garden, try to join some of Brian Davis’s ‘Walking and Talking Plants’ days or his workshops. Brian came to talk to the Society last season and is very knowledgeable. There are visits to Westonbirt Arboretum, Hillier Arboretum and Savill Garden planned. Pruning workshops, garden design and basic skills courses are all very reasonably priced with hands on experience. See or ring Brian on 01635 860500


Left: planting against the house at The Mill



Before we know it tickets for next summer’s Chelsea Flower Show will be on sale. For those members who have not been to Chelsea here is an account of what to expect from Sandy Cripps


 Following torrential rain and strong winds in the morning, Barbara Broom & I set out from Cookham Dean @ 2.30pm on Wednesday May 24th  expecting the worst! I am delighted to report that the good points of the day far outweighed any bad, providing a thoroughly enjoyable inspirational day.

Bad Points

Rather confusing ground plan in the programme

Unnecessary queue at the toilets – poor organisation, leaving many empty whilst queues for others.

Deep crowds round all the exhibition gardens on arrival.

Very limited seating available in the Cafeteria @ tea time. Tables & chairs so close together, almost impossible to squeeze through with laden trays.

 Now for the good points which far outweighed the bad!

 Good Points

Choice of three admission times. –1) All day. 2) 3.30pm-8pm 3) 5pm-8pm. (3.30pm-8pm suited us perfectly!)

Excellent drive from Cookham Dean to Chelsea , well organized parking in Battersea Park and an efficient bus service from the Park to the gates of Chelsea Hospital.

Wonderful selection of exhibition gardens ( impossible to get near on arrival)  but a joy to view in comfort, once the masses had departed! By 6.45pm – delighted to find a very suitable 1 course supper @  ‘The Bistro’ attached to the champagne bar. (A most welcomed rest in preparation for the last half hour!)

At 7.30pm the main marquee was a pure joy! Bliss to wander at leisure, viewing the most amazing displays of pure perfection. The smells and colours were wonderful!

We were SO lucky to have dry weather until stopping for supper, followed by the protection of the main marquee.

At 8pm the bus to Battersea Park was waiting at the gate.After a careful drive home in torrential rain and floods, we both realised how very lucky we had been to squeeze in such a thoroughly enjoyable ‘dry’ afternoon at Chelsea.

I certainly look forward to a repeat visit next year.                                                                                        


Best Buys


It is some time since I reported on Gardening Which? Best Buy trials so here is a selection from the past few issues.

Tree Pruners

There are three best buys:

Wilkinson Sword Telescopic Universal Cutter £80 and cutter saw £13

Wilkinson Sword Tree Cutter Classic £40 (including detachable saw)

Wolf-Garten Telescopic handle £35, Tree Lopper £50 and Pruning Saw £27

The latter is part of the multi change range which I have found very well made and versatile.



All the best buys have pneumatic tyres, a good sized tray and a tipping bar. There are four products which met the criteria of comfort, ease of loading, balance and ease of movement.

Fort Weekender £54 and Fort Rancher £80 Fort Cosmo £54  (Tel 01789 400211 for stockists)

B&Q Sovereign £33 (the lightest and narrowest barrow)


Unfortunately, the other best buy, the Haemmerlin Landscaper £60, has been discontinued !!


This trial was published in August and there were three best buys in the mains electric category;

Bosch AHS48-16  £50  the cheapest in the trial and very light. Good performance for conifer hedging

Bosch AHS 6000 PRO-T £110  A bigger and heavier machine with a longer blade

Gardena EHT 480 vario  £100  Again, a short bladed machine but with good performace in the tests and with an adjustable rear handle  

Garden marker pens

The Edding 140s at £1.05p and the Edding8404 at £1.90.  Stabilo Write 4 all 156/46 at £1.29 is nice to use but prone to fading.


Late summer planting at The Mill  (by Suzi)





Grasses are at their best now and this picture was captured by Caroline Foster at Knoll Gardens in Dorset .

Over 5000 plant species can be found at Knoll, including many fine trees. The four acre garden is now a showcase for all the wonderful plants at the Nursery and provides the ideal opportunity to discover at first hand how they can be used to create a long season of interest with a minimal amount of work.

Full details of visiting times and ordering details for grasses and other plants at