Day 77 of (where is) Lockdown – the Gardeners edition

Day 77 of (wherNational Garden Schemee is?) Lockdown

On day 77 we start off with items of interest to gardeners and then quite a few more news items:

National Garden Scheme reopens

The National Garden Scheme has just started opening gardens.  You have to book a timed entry online (and pay Continue reading “Day 77 of (where is) Lockdown – the Gardeners edition”

Open Gardens 2018

Open Gardens 2018Open Gardens 2018

The Open Gardens 2018 event is on 1st July with over 20 gardens (see below) and the allotments being open from 11 am to 5.30 pm.  Some gardens and the church halls will be selling refreshments and there will be local artists exhibiting.  Morris Dancers will perform at two gardens and “Quire” will be singing songs from around the world at Continue reading “Open Gardens 2018”

Summer Events at Beth Chatto Gardens

Summer Events at Beth Chatto Gardens

The Beth Chatto Gardens have recently been in touch with a summer offer:

Beth Chatto Water Garden
The Beth Chatto Water Garden

We’ve come to realise that a lot of the local community have never visited the Beth Chatto Gardens before and so we’re offering free entry to the garden for children under 14, throughout the summer holidays (3 children per paying adult at £6.95), and we’d also like to invite you to a FREE evening of music and art on the 20th September.

It would be lovely to welcome members of your parish to the gardens and if you’d like to sign up for the events newsletter, please do here:

More events are listed on their website at:

Beth Chatto Gardens are based on the ecological and creative principles of their founder. They aim to provide an inspirational and sustainable, quality experience for all visitors. Education and enjoyment underpin the gardens’ philosophy.  They are located at:

Elmstead Market
Nr Colchester
Essex CO7 7DB

Contacts & links are:


Green Living – Food and Volunteering

Green Living – Food and Volunteering

Amongst other topics Food and Volunteering feature in Colchester Borough Council’s latest Green Living newsletter:

Love Food hate wasteSave big on tasty food this summer

Are you planning tasty garden BBQs and picnics out?  Make your money go further – get the most from the food you buy, store and cook.  Find easy tips, recipes and more to help you Love Food and hate waste. Over the year it could save you £hundreds – perhaps enough to enjoy a family holiday!  Visit the Love Food hate waste website to find out more.

Share your Green Home experiences

If you’ve already started greening your home through heating, lighting or power initiatives, big or small, why not show it off to others wanting to save £££ on energy bills?  Register as a Green Open Home host for the forthcoming September event. A great way to share tips, techniques and experiences of green technologies, and discover new sustainable living ideas.  You can see homes in the Colchester have already registered on the Green Open Homes website which also gives you the opportunity to register your own home.

Children at plant nurseryFresh air, new friends, feel great

This summer and year-round there are lots of ways to enjoy Colchester’s great outdoors, while giving a little back too. Whether you’re a budding gardener, enjoy walking or want to get stuck in to something practical there’s a volunteering opportunity for you!  From the town to the countryside and however long you’d like to be involved including:

  • Volunteering as a Countryside Volunteer Ranger,
  • Health walk leader,
  • The Big Garden – organic community garden (pictured right),
  • Castle Park volunteers,
  • Conservation volunteers.

Find out more on the CBC website.

Go green – go online

Did you know? Going online for services is better for the environment and can save you money on travel, postage and through online discounts!

Switch to take up core Council services online – whether you need to find information, make a payment or provide us with your details, its easy and secure with an online account. Plus if you need to, enjoy free friendly help at events borough-wide to brush-up your internet skills for shopping, finding local events, services and more.

Open Gardens 2015

Coggeshall Hidden Gardens 2015Open Gardens 2015

In previous years West Bergholt Gardeners have opened their gardens to the public in aid of charity, most recently in 2014 where well over £3,000 was raised for teenage cancer charities.  This year the organizers are taking a break, hopefully to be back reinvigorated next year, but for those still hoping to visit local gardens and get some ideas, we have recently received details of another similar event:

Coggeshall Hidden Gardens 2015

Sunday, 7 June 2:00 PM To 6:00 PM

This year Coggeshall is opening its garden gates so that you can visit walled gardens, kitchen gardens, tiny gardens, gardens that will delight and inspire you. There’s lots to do and see for young and old alike. Follow the children’s trail, visit the plant stall, enjoy a delicious home-made tea – a perfect afternoon out for the whole family! For more information visit the website at

If You Can’t Make Coggeshall

There are some 23 Villages/Parishes running Open Gardens in Essex this year, a small sample includes some relatively local:

  • Walton-on-the Naze – 27th & 28th June – Various gardens open in Walton-on-the-Naze for the benefit of Walton in Bloom. Come and spend a wonderful day by the sea. Refreshments, tombola, raffle, plant sales and crafts for sale.  –
  • Chappel & Wakes Colne – 7th June – About 12 beautiful gardens open in and around the Essex Colne Valley. Lovely garden location for refreshments.
  • Earls Colne – 21st June – A number of gardens will be open to visit, all within easy walking distance with garden trail for the young ones. St. Andrews church and tower will be open for views across the beautiful Colne valley. Refreshments on sale.
  • Tollesbury – 27th & 28th June – Over twenty gardens will be open, from small courtyard gardens to larger gardens, from community gardens to gardens as yet unseen by the public.
  • Pebmarsh – 7th June – This Trail includes a variety of gardens. Snipelands is a stunning two-acre garden in a peaceful setting, on the outskirts of Pebmarsh, at 10 Mill Lane are mature shrubs, herbaceous borders, and a fern garden under trees whilst Matson Lodge is a 1½ acre garden developed for wildlife.

There are more listed at the Open Gardens website.


Gardeners News Update – October

RHS AffiliatedWe held our first meeting of the Club year (Sept 2014 – Aug 2015) and were pleased to see new and old members – a total of 41 members and 6 guests.  The first meeting consisted of a Speaker followed by the A.G.M.  The speaker was Deborah Hart who gave a very informative illustrated talk on Hanging Baskets and Winter Containers, and also a demonstration on creating a hanging basket for the winter, which she kindly donated to our raffle.

At the A.G.M – the committee was re-elected, and Rosemary James who had kindly held the Chair and Secretary Positions for the last year, has handed over the Chair position to David Withnall and still retains the Secretary position.  David Draper who has been a committee member for several years stood down and was thanked for all his help over the years.  We also welcomed 2 new committee members, giving us a committee of 8.

Our speakers for the remainder of this year are:

  • 20th October – Darren Tansley on The Mammals of Essex
  • 17th November – Rob Sherriff on Dahlias
  • 8th   December – Ric Staines  – Gardeners Question Time & Xmas Buffet

All are welcome to our meetings – £10 membership or £3 non-members.  Meetings are held in the Orpen Hall, West Bergholt CO6 3BW at 7.30 pm and include free Coffee and Tea.

Outings for 2015

Cottesbrooke Hall & GardensJune 4th – Cottesbrooke Hall NN6 8PF

Cottesbrooke Hall and the estate in Northamptonshire, England is a Grade I listed country house and estate reputed to be the inspiration for Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, published 1814.  Cottesbrooke is a wonderful Queen Anne house dating from 1702, set in delightful award winning gardens in rural Northamptonshire.  More details at


Utling Wick GardensJuly 2nd – Utling Wick Gardens CM9 6QX

Nestling in the conservation area of the Chelmer Valley in rural Essex the eleven acre gardens at Ulting Wick have been redesigned, extended and developed over the past 15 years by Philippa and Bryan Burrough.  The garden is centred around three listed black Essex barns and a 17th century farmhouse. The buildings provide structure, shelter and a canvas for exuberant, colourful and vibrant planting of thousands of tulips in box-edged beds followed by an exotic display of dahlias, bananas, grasses, cosmos, sunflowers and other annuals to provide late summer interest.

Refreshments will be included in the ticket price.  Transport will be by own transport or sharing.

Tickets and Times will be published at later date and will be available to members and non-members.

For more details and up to date information go on to our web page.


Get Sheducated

Garden shed

Is your garden and shed secure?

The garden and its perimeter

Your garden should be your first line of defence against burglars. If someone can get into your back garden easily without attracting attention, it gives him/her more time to steal from you.

  • Keep hedges and fences low at the front of the house so an intruder has nowhere to hide.
  • Gravel on paths and driveways will alert you to someone approaching.
  • Make sure your fences and gates are in good repair.  Trellis fixed to the top of your garden fence and carefully-placed prickly plants will provide extra protection from intruders.
  • If there is a gate at the side of your house which leads to the back garden, it should be as close to the front of your house as possible.
  • Keep this gate securely locked. A simple bolt is not enough – use a good padlock.
  • Install security lighting. Low energy dusk to dawn lighting is environmentally friendly, cheap to run and better for home security than passive infra-red activated lighting.
  • Don’t make a burglar’s life easier by leaving tools around which can be used to force entry. Always lock them away securely after use and consider chaining them together with a padlock attached to a hasp and staple.
  • Likewise, don’t leave ladders lying around as these can be used by a burglar to reach other parts of your house. Ladders should be chained and padlocked to a strong post or wall.
  • Try to avoid leaving things like dustbins lying around they can also be used as a climbing aid.
  • Remote-movement detectors can protect costly garden furniture and valuable ornaments such as statues or stone planters. However, these are only suitable for heavy objects not affected by wind or casual vibration.  Alternatively, you can anchor these items to the ground using ground anchors designed for this purpose – even valuable plants can be protected in this way.
  • Hanging baskets are also worth protecting. Bending the bracket and/or hook so the basket cannot be removed may be enough to deter thieves, although locking brackets are also available for this purpose.

Sheds, garages and outbuildings

Garden sheds are a popular target with burglars as valuable items are often stored in them. Power tools, lawnmowers, cycles, golf clubs, etc., are all attractive to
thieves and very expensive to replace.
Garden shed

  • Has your shed survived the winter without any damage?  If not, don’t delay – fix it today!
  • Shed doors are notoriously easy to break into, so strengthen the door and frame if you can. Outside door hinges should be secured with coach bolts or
    non-return screws.  Use strong pad-bars and close shackle padlocks.
  • Up-and-over garage doors can be secured by putting padlocks through the inside runners or by fitting padlocks with a hasp and staple on either side of the
    door. Five-lever mortise locks are the best thing to use on normal solid doors.
  • Are the windows secure? Does the glass need replacing?  You could use perspex or polycarbonate sheet as a more secure alternative, as long as it is securely fixed.  Use a window lock on any windows which can be opened, along with a strong grille or heavy wire mesh panel. Consider using net curtains so people can’t see inside.
  • Battery operated alarms may act as a deterrent. If you have a house alarm, you could have it upgraded to include your shed or garage. If the garage is an
    integral part of your house, make sure the alarm conforms to BS 4737.

Thief in gardenYour property

You also need to protect everything you keep in your shed and garage.

  • Does your insurance cover the shed and garage and all the equipment stored in them?
  • Is everything postcoded so you could identify it if it was stolen?
  • Items can be postcoded by a variety of methods (etching, branding, paint stencilling, etc.) Making them easy to identify will make it more difficult for a thief to dispose of them, so they are less likely to be stolen in the first place.
  • Keep a record of serial numbers.
  • Photograph valuable items and keep the photos somewhere safe.
  • Make everything secure inside the shed, so even if someone did break in they wouldn’t be able to walk away with all your valuable items.
  • Chain cycles, mowers, ladders and tools to a strong anchor point, such as metal rings fixed in concrete to the floor, and use a close shackle padlock.
  • Sheds are not really designed for safe storage, so it might be better to keep a strong lockable box or cage inside your shed. Better still, store valuable items in a more secure place.
  • Ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your shed as well as the house and do the same for them in return.
  • If your shed is screened from view, cut down some foliage so you’re not providing cover for a thief.
  • When you’ve made your garden, shed or outbuildings more secure, remember to lock things away every time. It only takes a minute to pick something up and walk off, so don’t be tempted to leave everything outside while you go inside for a cup of tea. And NEVER leave cycles unlocked.

Natural protection

One of the best ways to keep thieves out of your back garden is to use nature’s own defence mechanisms. A barrier of prickly hedge may be all the protection you
need around your property. Here are some suggestions for plants to use. You can also ask for advice at your local garden centre.

  • BARBERRY (Berberis)
  • BLACKTHORN (Prunus Spinosa)
  • BUCKTHORN (Rhamnus)
  • FIRETHORN (Pyracantha)
  • GORSE (Ulex Europaeus)
  • HAWTHORN (Crataegus Monogyna)
  • HEDGING ROSE (Rosa Rugosa)
  • HOLLY (Ilex)
  • QUINCE (Chaenomeles)
  • ROSES – eg climbing and rambling roses, plus Rosa Pteracantha
  • SEA BUCKTHORN (Hippaphae Rhamnoides)

Thief gaining entryNeighbourhood Watch

And finally . . . are you a member of Neighbourhood Watch? If not, would you like to join a scheme, or perhaps even start one yourself?

For further information and advice please contact the crime reduction officer or problem solving officer at your local police station on 01268 532212.


Exhibitions at St Mary’s Old Church

Bluebells Pre-School contributions to the Exhibition
Bluebells Pre-School contributions to the Art Exhibition

St Mary’s are hosting 2 exhibitions in the coming month, one of art by local artists and another staged by the local History Group.

Art Exhibition

Currently being exhibited, are some large paintings which were painted by village resident, John Newman.  They were displayed in St. Mary’s Church in New Church Road during West Bergholt’s Open Gardens weekend.  The paintings feature gardens that were mentioned in the Bible including the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane.  Appropriate verses from the Bible and information about these gardens are displayed alongside the paintings.

There is also some art work created by the children at Bluebells Pre-School.  This exhibition will be displayed in the church for the next two weeks.

History Exhibition

The second exhibition is being staged by the West Bergholt History Group to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of WW1.  This will be a small display from 2nd – 9th August.

Open Gardens a success

Nicola and Richard Bowdidge
Nicola & Richard Bowdidge
Tom Bowdidge Team at Open Gardens 2014
Tom Bowdidge Team at Open Gardens 2014

Open Gardens 2014

Sunday 22nd June was a glorious day.  The sun shone and over 400 people turned out to visit 13 open gardens and the allotments in West Bergholt.  Apart from the beautiful gardens, some small, some large, there were donkeys to feed, a vintage Jaguar to admire and a 1960’s jukebox to listen to.  The church halls laid on refreshments, as did Garlands Farm.  Plants and other produce were on sale at the allotments and some gardens.

Fantastic Fundraising

The event, organised by the West Bergholt Gardening Association, raised over £3,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  In addition Tom Bowdidge’s family raised over £400 for the Tom Bowdidge Foundation at his grandparents open garden. To find out  more about these charities visit or

Far flung visitors

The event drew visitors from other villages and even from far flung places such as Ipswich (a charabanc full from their allotment society!) and Leigh-on-Sea.  The organisers would like to thank everyone who took part including the visitors.  They welcome comments, both positive and negative, please send to [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].

The Association are looking to make this an Annual Event .   Watch this space!!!

Gardeners Association Meeting

The club’s next meeting will be on the 15th September when DEBORAH HART will give a talk on Hanging Baskets and Winter Containers. 7.00 for 7.30pm.   Why not come along to the Orpen Hall, all are welcome.   There is a small charge of £3 including refreshments , also gardeners raffle.

Open Gardens 2014

Open GardensWest Bergholt Open Gardens Day, organized by the West Bergholt Gardeners Association, is taking place on 22nd June from 1pm to 5pm.  Admission is by programme available from the Methodist Chapel Hall, St Mary’s Church Hall and any of the open gardens on the day.  We are asking for a small donation of £4 (accompanied children free).  Proceeds from the event will go to our nominated charity “The Teenage Cancer Trust”, who supported a local young man through his terminal illness.

As well as 13 gardens to view you will also be able to pick up handy hints from our own keen “Allotmenteers” and see donkeys in one of the gardens!  We will also be offering the opportunity to purchase refreshments at the church halls as well as at some of the open gardens.

Ample parking will be available at the Orpen Hall.

More information from either [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or

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