Report for the year September 2017 to September 2018                    

(to be delivered at the AGM on 11th September)


Chair Report


On Peter’s behalf the Chair Report was read out at the AGM by Acting Chair and member David Geach.

Our Chairman, Peter Goodenough, due to illness, is very sorry not to be with us at the AGM, but he hopes to be back next month. In Peter’s absence, and on his behalf, it is a great pleasure for me (David Geach) to be able to report another successful year for Sedgemoor Gardens Club, with a membership of 35, during the year from Langport, Curry Rivel and the surrounding villages. Peter has asked me to thank on your behalf the members of the committee, who have worked hard to keep the club running in his absence. All the committee members have taken on specific jobs - Elaine Douglas, our excellent treasurer, will be telling you more about the finances of the club in a minute, Margaret Wheeler has kept our website entertaining and up to date - Peter hopes you make full use of all the information on it.


Jean White is doing a sterling job as secretary and Sylvia has worked on our programme of speakers for the year and will soon be moving on to those for 2019/2020.  


Laraine has run our monthly competitions and Rosie has organised our membership cards and show schedules and helped with the important adding up of points at the show. Unfortunately, both Laraine and Rosie are now stepping down from the committee.


Firstly we would particularly like to thank Rosie for all her work on behalf of the club - as many of you are aware, she was secretary for some time and then took the Chair after Mike Cook stepped down. We all remember her anecdotes at the beginning of meetings with great fondness.


Secondly to thank Laraine for her work behind the “scenes” for the club. We are sure both she and Rosie will continue to support the club in the future. 


Finally a big thank you to Barbara Elliot, who is not on the committee, but who has organised the catering at our meetings and both the Christmas buffet and the teas at the Daffodil Festival. Our meetings and the show wouldn’t be the same without the delicious food and of course there would be no buffet supper at Christmas without it!


Again without being on the committee John Andrew stepped in to organise the very enjoyable trip to Mottisfont and we are very grateful to him for that. Also, Tony and Jenny Potts who liaise with the Long Sutton Village Hall management committee for us.


So, you see, people have worked very hard on behalf of the club, some on and some not on the committee. We will be asking for nominations for the committee later, but please be thinking whether you are able to help in someway - however small - with the running of the club. Publicity is very important - is there anyone who could take that on? Designing or just putting up posters, contacting local press and radio stations before our monthly meetings and the Daffodil Festival, thinking up questions for the Christmas quiz, making tea and coffee and perhaps some biscuits or cakes - all these are jobs that need doing. Please volunteer for the committee if you can or talk to a committee member about ways you are able to help.


Although, sadly Peter was unable to be with us for any of the winter talks, he has asked me to mention John Studley’s talk on Growing Vegetables. His was a very down to earth talk, literally, on growing vegetables on his allotment. We could not believe how much produce he grew and it puts our paltry efforts to shame.


Peter also asked me to mention the coach trip to Mottisfont this year, which he hoped you all enjoyed. It was a lovely summer’s day and I think we all enjoyed looking round both the gardens and the house. The rose garden was a riot of colour, and it was interesting to note that the flower beds were not just limited to roses but included herbaceous perennials in coordinated colours. Roses, generally, seem to have done very well this year. The rose growing on the wall of the central pond was a genuine delight and may be food for thought for some of our gardens. The walk along the trout filled tree lined River Test was very peaceful. There are some good photos taken there on the website - they will be coming off soon, so if you haven't seen them yet make sure you have a look. We are looking for some good ideas from you all for next year’s coach trip, so let us have your suggestions.


Also Peter hopes you all had a good display from Phil Kerton's sweet peas that you bought after his talk at our October meeting. Peter has asked to remind you not to forget to plant sweet peas this autumn to overwinter for next year. Peter will certainly need to provide more support for his sweet peas in 2019 as Phil's plants outgrew his supports this year.


Peter was with the group of us who enjoyed the evening visit to Bowden’s Farm on a lovely July evening. The 2 acre garden is beautiful - Peter was particularly impressed by the impressive entrance garden room, with its pergolas and wonderful climbers, which seemed completely unaffected by the dry weather. The amount of watering that must be involved doesn’t bear thinking about! The views from the garden where also very special, over the rolling Somerset countryside.


The discount evening at Brimsmore is always a very pleasant evening - a chance to stock up on gardening essentials at the start of the summer season at very reasonable prices with an interesting talk by one of Brimsmore's knowledgeable staff thrown in. What's not to like?


So here we are at the start of another year of activities. You will of course be aware that we have had to raise the membership fee after holding it at £10 for several years. This is largely due to the increased cost of speakers - particularly travel expenses. We have had most local speakers in recent years and it’s necessary to cast our net further afield to get new and interesting topics. This year we will have a special treat when Nick Wray, the curator of Bristol Botanic garden, will talk about Darwin and the voyage of the Beagle. Nick has been awarded the RHS Associate of Honour award for his services to horticulture and this promises to be a really different and exciting talk. As you’ll appreciate, he isn’t cheap and we have to pay travel from Bristol, but we hope you’ll think it well worth it. Likewise other speakers this year come from further afield but promise to be very interesting. Please let Sylvia or any committee member know if you have ideas for speakers in the future.


We had to update our Constitution to comply with the new General Data Protection Rules. We will be asking you shortly to vote for the changes we have had to make to this document. Finally, and following on from a comment received from one of our members, we are planning to use name badges to make it easier to identify committee members and fellow members in the future. Please use yours - put the name you want to be known as on the front, and return the badge at the end of the evening. Committee members will have different badges so you can recognise them easily.