Event Reports


Our first meeting of the year was, indeed, a bumper one with an excellent talk attended by many people from the village and surrounding areas.

Sally Gregson, gardener and author, from Mill Cottage plants at Wookey, gave us a fascinating and informative talk about Epimediums.

Many of us were familiar with the more robust evergreen varieties but Sally introduced many more, both evergreen and deciduous. We also learnt some interesting facts about some of the early plant hunters, in particular one Franz von Siebold (1796 – 1866). He went to Japan in the role of doctor but he had a vast knowledge and interest in plants, as many remedies at that time were plant based. Because Japan did not allow many visitors, he had to spend his time on a remote island where he managed to keep a goat. Under the guise of needing food for his goat, he sent out his servants to gather plants and subsequently sent two shiploads back to Holland plus another one at a later date! Hence the origin of many Epimedium species today.

With a range of colours including mainly purple, pink, white and some yellow and orange plus enticing names such as Night Mistress, Candy Heart, Purple Prince and Amber Queen, who can resist planting at least one of these!

Freshfields – a Garden from Scratch

At the Sampford Brett November meeting, Richard Horswood treated us to a multitude of photos illustrating the amazing transformation of his garden, originally containing only four plants to a garden full to the brim of an impressive variety of trees, shrubs and flowers.

Richard’s garden is situated about two miles from Honiton and is just under an acre. Many of the plants there have been grown from seed, including trees, and some have been given by friends. Bargain hunting is certainly high on Richard’s agenda as typified by a wonderful magnolia bought for just £1.50 from the Duchy of Cornwall garden!

Everyone was so impressed with Richard’s knowledge of plants and his eye for shape and colour. Now there are a few months to think about planting for next year as well as keeping an eye out for those bargain plants!

September’s talk by Phil Howse from Dunster Castle gardens was about plants in folklore, the good, the bad and one rather ugly specimen.

Many of our every-day garden plants and trees are steeped in folklore for both their beneficial healing and magical properties. Folklore surrounding plants has found its way into many ancient beliefs and customs and even into the plants’ names themselves.

In the herb garden basil, whose Greek origin means King, was used to ward off harmful spells and to keep away pests. In Italy, a pot of basil placed on the balcony meant that the woman who lived there was ready to receive suitors!

The Elder is a common tree but watch out, don’t plant one too close to your door or you may find a witch in your house!! Witches were thought to be able to turn themselves into elder trees and its wood used to make magic wands, as in the Harry Potter novels.

Whilst many of the old superstitions to do with plants are just that, we also know that many medicinal properties were and still are being utilised today. Hopefully, we are now a little more informed as to the folklore surrounding some of the plants in our own gardens.

THE GARDENING CLUB SUMMER SHOW 2019 (article written for West Somerset Free Press 26th July)

Growers, bakers, cooks and artisans came together from Sampford Brett and surrounding community to display the fruits of their labours last Saturday in St Georges Church and the Village Hall in the annual Sampford Brett Gardening Club summer show.

The event was well attended and the judges were pleased with the high standards of the entries. It always amazes me how much talent there is in such a small area and the willingness of people to take part in this event, said a club committee member.

Weeks ago, the great potato challenge was conceived with participants being issued with a bucket, a number and a seed potato. Planted out, come sun, rain and wind the little seedlings gradually grew and on Saturday morning they were harvested, weighed and an overall winner found from both adult and junior groups.  

Trophies were awarded to the winners of each category. A very special new cup was presented to the overall winner, Richard Currie. The Florence Plant Cup was donated by Florence’s sons in memory of their mother, president and founder member of the Gardening Club. The cup was presented by Ross McKee, current President of the Club who spoke warmly of Florence her great love of gardening and the legacy she has left. 

Cup winners 2019
Judge and steward making important decisions
Richard Currie receiving the Florence Plant cup
Weighing the potatoes
The cafe staff




Geoff Day



Richard Currie



Bridgette Burnett



Richard Currie



Stephen Pearce


Children’s Section

Olivia Holder & Ruby Holder

Best Novice / Newcomer

Bridgette Burnett

Florence Plant Cup

(most points in show)

Richard Currie

Potato Challenge - Adults

Stephen Pearce (4lb 8oz)

Potato Challenge – Children

Ella Bagg (2lb)

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