Herb Society AGM 2015

Ryton Organic Garden in the sunshine

The Herb Society was very lucky with the weather for this years AGM which was held at Garden Organic near Coventry.

Herb Society day out in pictures

Thank you very much to Nicky Westwood, Penny Asquith-Evans and and Gwenneth Heyking for sharing their lovely pictures of the day! Click on images to enlarge.

Successful garden tour, talk and AGM

Events co-ordinator Nicky Westwood reports:

Despite the recent poor weather, the sun shone on the Herb Society AGM on Saturday 26th September. There were 29 attendees in all, and they were greeted by a range of teas, coffees and herbal teas – even local honey as a sweetener! With full attendance the AGM started at 11.30. We were sad to see Barbara and Peter Depledge leave us after all their hard work and success. Malcolm Dickson was formally elected as Chairman, and took us through the agenda. Some questions were raised about the location of the Society, the library and the managing of local groups. When the business of the day was over, members settled into a very nourishing lunch of various wraps, fries, and raw slaw with orange dressing. We finished with a mouth watering selection of cakes. Toby Buckland, our President, had driven all the way up from Devon. He gave an interesting and varied talk on the plants he has grown, rounding off with anecdotes and histories, including Pliny’s view of rocket! Everyone chipped in and asked questions. Afterwards we were taken by one of the gardeners around the Organic Gardens – which are beautiful and tranquil, with interesting and unexpected features, such as the Cuban garden and tropical greenhouse. Toby dug the first sod of the new herb garden, to our applause and laughter. There was still a buzz in the air when we all picked up our goodie bags (jute Herb Society shopping bags stuffed with good things) and left. End of an excellent day.

Thanks Nicky for organising a great event, and thank you to James and all at Ryton for hosting it! And thanks to herbfarmacy.co.uk and daisyshop.co.uk for contributing products to fill the gift bags.

Find out more about Garden Organic by reading a previous post about a Herb Society committee visit to Ryton which took place earlier this year.


Herb Society President’s Day with Toby Buckland

A warm welcome to herb enthusiasts at Powderham

Members and their guests were invited to visit Toby Buckland at his nursery at Powderham Castle in Devon on Sat 5th Sept.

Herbs, Hedgerows & History

welcome powderham

The Herb Society was offered a warm welcome at Powderham

Recently retired Chairman Barbara Depledge attended the day entitled “Herbs, Hedgerows and History” and sent the following report:

“The day was attended by members living both locally in Devon and others from London, Macclesfield, Leek and the Midlands.
The day started with an upbeat and informal talk from Toby in the marquee on hedgerow and coastal plants found in Devon and also covering some of Toby’s favourite herbs, trees and grasses.
Our group was really amazed by the incredible extent of Toby’s knowledge – he talked for two hours without any notes. Herb Society members had lots of questions so the meeting was very interactive.

Toby Buckland speaks about herbs

Toby is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker

We then had a delicious lunch in the Orangery Restaurant which presented a great networking opportunity for the group.
After lunch the group enjoyed a talk from Jan Greenland, Herb Society Fellow, on herbs from the Ice Age to the present day. Jan covered many aspects of food history and drew the whole talk to a conclusion talking about a very popular herbal beverage today…..Bombay Sapphire gin! Toby presented Jan with a herbal posy following her talk.

Jan herb posy

Toby with speaker Jan Greenland who is a Herb Society Fellow

Our final session was a tour around one of the stock plant areas of Toby’s nursery. Warm September sun shone for us as we enjoyed lots of interesting discussion with Toby on growing and cultivation tips for a wide variety of unusual edibles, shrubs perennials and the most amazing sunflowers.

toby nursery tour

Everyone who attended would like to thank Toby for hosting a really enjoyable day

All agreed it was a thoroughly enjoyable day and we would like to thank Toby so much for hosting the day. Our President is working hard to help raise the profile of the Herb Society and this has already been reflected in increasing membership numbers.
To finish the day members took away A Herb Society jute bag with gifts of soap and herbal tea.
For Toby his gift bag contained bubbly, chocolates and a herbal posy for Lisa Buckland.
Thanks Toby for a brilliant day!”

toby nursery

nursery herb stand

Fresh herb plants for sale at Powderham

Sounds like it was a fab day out – it’s great to have such a hospitable President.

Thank you Peter Depledge for the photos.

Herb Society AGM

The next event in our calendar is our AGM and members event on Sat 26th Sept at Garden Organic, Ryton near Coventry. Highlights will be another chance to meet Toby Buckland, a tour of the herb garden at Garden Organic followed by Toby cutting the first sod on the site of the new herb garden.

Full details can be found on page 8 of the September edition of Herbs magazine, or email Lynne in the office at info@herbsociety.org.uk.

Devon Herb Society

Devon residents with an interest in herbs may like to know that a new local group affiliated to the Herb Society has started in the area. Find out more at their new website:
Devon Herb Society

The Herb Garden at Ryton Organic

A few weeks ago, Garden Organic at Ryton was kind enough to host our latest Herb Society committee meeting. I was pleased to get the chance to meet the new trustees, as well as Lynne and Karen from our office.

ryton organic garden entrance

It was a really cold January day, but the sun did come out briefly for us to look around the garden! Chief Executive James Campbell (pictured second from right, below) showed us an area which will be developed into a new herb garden.

new herb garden ryton

new herb area

empty garden awaiting herb planting

The bones of the currently empty garden are well-defined and elegant. The existing herb garden is well-labelled, although James did comment that labels have a habit of going missing – something I also heard at Isle of Wight Lavender when I visited them!

existing herb area ryton

Looking particularly good in the wintry herb garden were some creeping thymes, and skeletal physalis. The low sun in the remains of the orange Chinese lanterns was fabulous!

thyme growing in ryton herb garden

physalis chinese lanterns

Garden Organic has ten acres of showcase gardens, including areas demonstrating the importance of the soil and compost, bees and wildlife. Display gardens include decorative borders as well as fruit and vegetable gardens, including the Heritage Seed library garden. It is located a few miles South East of Coventry.

Thank you James for your hospitality!

Herb Day at Hooksgreen

Local Herb Society Meetings

One of the great benefits of becoming a member of the Herb Society is the opportunity to meet like-minded people locally and join in with events.

A few weeks ago, such an event took place for the Northwest Herb Group at Hooksgreen Herbs (Stone, Staffordshire) led by Herb Society Treasurer Malcolm Dickson and his son Thomas.

Malcolm was pleased that the Spring weather was kind on the day. After a welcoming coffee, he made a presentation on “Showing and Growing Herbs” which gave everyone an idea of what Hooksgreen Herbs’ main activities were during a busy show year.

propagating herbs from cuttings

The members were then split into two groups and Thomas demonstrated sowing seed while Malcolm showed the other group how to take cuttings and split mint and oregano. Everyone had a chance to fill a tray with a variety of species which they took home. After a lunch break the groups swapped around.

propagating herbs from seed

Malcolm was pleased to report “The youngest member of the group Ronan was keen to source the herbs he had listed prior to his visit and was able to fill his tray with cuttings and seed.” We think Malcolm should be proud of his ability to inspire new generations, not only within his own family, but from outside it too.

young members welcome Some of Malcolm’s propagation methods were surprising, and he says “Some of the group were amazed to see the use of an old wood saw to split the large pots of mint and oregano, but the resulting four pots illustrated the need to slit and proliferate.”  The day was rounded off with tea and cakes and a quiz by Susie Dickson.

See more photos of the day on our facebook page at Facebook.com/herbsocietyuk

Local herb group information is available to members inside the Herbs journal and via our website at herbsociety.org.uk

The Dickson family sell their herbs online and through shows, winning a well-deserved RHS Silver Gilt Medal at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. Find out about their 2014 stand