Cirencester's Gardening Club

Stratton & Baunton Horticultural Society est. 1877


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Welcome - Come and Join Us!


We have been in existence for over 130 years as a community of gardening enthusiasts coming together to share knowledge, experience and friendship.

Meeting the second Thursday of each month between September and May we have many  interesting events including:

Seasonal parties
Annual shows
Gardening advice

Other than breaks during the 1st and 2nd World Wars and a brief period in the 1950's our horticultural society has been a continuous inspiration for many gardeners in the local area.


Cirencester’s Gardening Club


July is named after the Roman dictator Julius Caesar (100BC -44BC), who developed the precursor to the Gregorian calendar we use today.

Other notables, 5th July 1946 when the bikini was showcased for the first time, designed by Frenchman Louis Reard. 20th July 1969 the first Moonwalk, 25th July 1978 Louise Brown, the first test tube baby was born.

A busy time as well as a busy gardening time.

Last month we were able to host an outdoor event for the club, a coffee morning with bring and buy stalls of plants, cakes, and books for members in the beautiful garden of Paddy Booth. We had lovely sunny weather and Paddy had thoughtfully erected some marquees as we had been unaccustomed to such sunshine from the previous month.

Our first tentative event, it was a lovely chance to meet and chat with members we had not seen for over a year.

We have heard we might still be in lock down until the middle of July, but will advise members from our committee meetings of any plans for the club.

RHS tips for this month:

-Water wise – keep new plants, fruit, vegetables and containers watered , using grey water where possible.

-Keep ponds topped up and clear of algae and blanket weed.

-Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed

-Liquid feed containers, tomatoes and peppers regularly

-Consider stopping the height of climbing beans and tomatoes to maximise crops

- Plant Autumn flowering bulbs such as crocus, colchium and nerines.

-Cut back delphiniums and hardy geraniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage a second flowering and feed after cutting back

-Dead head flowering plants regularly to ensure further blooms.

-Early flowering irises can be lifted and the rhizomes divided. Replant only the healthy outer portions.

-Start collecting seed from plants you want to grow next year, such as calendula, poppy and love-in-a mist.

Some local gardens open for NGS (National Garden Scheme), but do check the website for up to date information at Currently, you do not have to pre-book to visit gardens, it is most enjoyable to see such different gardens and pick up any tips.

Charlton Down House, Tetbury Thursday 1st and 8th July 1-5pm

Cerney House, North Cerney Sunday 4th July (and other times not for NGS) 10am -7pm

Westonbirt School Gardens, Tetbury 4th July (and other times) 10am -4pm

Highnam Court, Gloucester 4th July and 25th for the rare plant fair (and other times) 11am-6pm

Awkward Hill Cottage, Bibury 4th July 2-6pm

The Old Rectory, Quennington Sunday 11th July 2-5pm

Sezincote, Moreton in Marsh 11th July 2-5.30pm

Stowell Park, Northleach Sunday 18th July 11am-5pm

Happy Gardening


Cirencester’s Gardening Club

Stratton & Baunton Horticultural Society

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made,

By singing ‘Oh how beautiful’ and sitting in the shade,

While better men than we go out and start their working lives,

At grubbing weeds from gravel paths with broken dinner knives.

                                                     An exert from the Glory of the Garden by Rudyard Kipling.

June, and Summer is just around the corner ( I hope), what a difficult gardening month May has been, but with it the delights of Spring blossom which seems to have lasted longer and beautiful to see while we continue with the Pandemic.

How many hours of our lives have we spent weeding ?  Weeds seem to proliferate in spite of our efforts. It is ironic they do so well with no effort, while we have angst getting our chosen plants to grow.  They are however a good food source for many insects and maybe we need to learn to live with some, to help our wildlife. Without using chemicals to control weeds, hoe on a dry day, mulch with a thick layer to suppress them and for persistent weeds, repeatedly dig out as much as you can to stop leaves feeding the roots below.

Some advice from the RHS :

Derby Day (5th June) is traditionally the time to trim box hedges if the weather is fair and providing no birds would be nesting.

Prune deciduous magnolias once the plant is in full leaf. If done in Winter when dormant, dieback can occur or in Spring, bleeding, so wait until Midsummer.

Prune Spring flowering shrubs such as Viburnum Tinus.

Give perennials, shrubs and roses a sprinkle of fertiliser.

Consider protection for strawberries with straw or similar against slugs and netting from the birds. Runners can be removed and planted elsewhere.

Plant out hardened off tomato plants, supporting individual plants with stakes. Summer bedding, hanging baskets and patio containers.

Consider thinning out clusters of plums, pears or apples after the natural June/ July drop that occurs for fewer but better fruit.

Look out for pests, viburnum beetle grubs which make holes in the leaves, caterpillars and aphids, check regularly before they get out of hand.

I enjoyed going to the recent annual Rare Plant Fair at Quenington Rectory, the next will be held at Rodmarton Manor on the 20th June and Highnam Court on the 25th July. At this time, you are required to book tickets in advance, visit to do so.

Open gardens for the National Garden Scheme are also welcome places to visit, and again advance tickets are required, visit Normally with a cup of tea and cake there to enjoy as well.

Locally we have on the 6th June Highnam Court, The Coach House at Ampney Crucis, Hodges Barn at Shipton Moyne (also on the 7th) and a group opening of gardens in Blockley near Moreton -in Marsh.

12th June a group opening of gardens in North Cerney and the Cotswold Farm.

There are many more within a short driving  distance, so look at the website for information.

Fingers crossed for the road map out of this pandemic.

Happy gardening in the meantime.




Cirencester’s Gardening Club

Stratton & Baunton Horticultural Society


 ‘ My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece’ by Claud Monet


I am still trying to get to see Monet’s garden in Giverny, from an aborted holiday in 2020, 2021 and now hoping for 2022 ! So will continue to enjoy gardens in the UK and perhaps a trip to Highnam Court in Gloucester where they have a bridge over a lake in homage to Monet.


May is the month the garden starts to unfurl at pace and tips for this month are :

To put in place plant supports for heavy headed plants like peonies that need it.

Look out for Viburnum beetles and scarlet lily beetles. Remove and crush or drench pots with a specific nematode to kill the grubs in the soil.

Aphids can multiply rapidly in mild spells so remove early to prevent them getting out of hand.

Hardy fuschia stems that were left over Winter, can be cut to ground level before growth to encourage new growth from the root or if sprouted trimmed to tidy the plant.

Cut back flowered shrubs such as ribes, forsythia, camelia to allow the plants to produce new growth that will flower next year.

Trim trailing plants such as alyssum and aubrieta after flowering to encourage new growth and flowers.

Continue to dead head Spring bulbs and feed with a liquid fertiliser .

Lift and divide congested bulb clumps as well as primroses and hostas when they come into growth.

Earth up potatoes.

Mow lawns regularly and water newly sown or turfed during dry periods.

Pot up houseplants if rootbound or top dress with fresh compost. Clean shiny leaves with a damp cloth and spiky plants with a soft brush.

Protect susceptible plants from slugs and snails.

A new environmental product is from the UK shellfish industry which generates an estimated 50,000 tonnes of waste shells a year, most of which go into landfill. Shell on Earth crush, clean and dry the shells which then can used as a mulch, added to compost to improve drainage or act as a weed, slug and snail control in place of gravel. Worth checking out their website

Towards the middle or end of May, plant out Summer bedding that has been hardened off and change Spring containers for Summer plants.

Also, towards the middle or end of the month start french and runner beans inside or protected outside.

Summer flowering bulbs like gladioli can still be planted out.


A note from the Phoenix Gardeners, that if rules allow, they will be having a stall at the Farmers Market on May 22nd from 9.00am to 12noon. If anyone has spare plants or are dividing plants they would appreciate your donations. All monies raised go towards shrubs and bedding for the tubs and troughs in the town. Please bring donations along to the stall or put in the  Parish church porch on Friday 21st May  between 5 and 7pm or they can collect if necessary. Please contact Val Timbers if required on 651243.


Something for us to look forward to. Happy Gardening.



Cirencester’s Gardening Club

Stratton and Baunton Horticultural Society


Home Thoughts from Abroad by Robert Browning

‘Oh to be in England now that April is here’……..


It was very sad that we were unable to have our Spring Bulb Show last month, but I hope you have enjoyed any displays that you would have had to enter in to the show.

April is surely a lovely month to enjoy the rejuvenating power of the garden, in our own or visiting others. Even pottering around, sweeping or snipping can help us stay fit and healthy. After time indoors take it easy and warm up knees and backs with a few stretches, and after gardening, before sitting down with a well earned drink, as I find it difficult to stop, there is always another task which I try and fit in.

Some tips for the month:

If you have over-wintered pelargoniums, now is a good time to take cuttings, trimming to below a leaf joint and removing all but a couple of top leaves.

Remove dead heads from flowering bulbs, to prevent them setting seed, but leave the leaves to die back and feed the bulbs.

Tender perennials such as penstemons and some salvias can be cut back to encourage new growth. Dead stems back to healthy wood and main branches to a growth bud or side shoot

Early Spring shrubs such as ribes, forsythia or garrya elliptica can be pruned straight after flowering. To keep them compact, cut back one third to 20 inches (50cm) each year.

Mow lawns – the latest thought, is not to mow too low but mow regularly, and leave on the clippings to mulch and feed the lawn, that might help with less in the garden bins as we only currently have a fortnightly collection.

Spruce up outdoor containers. Scrape off one to two inches of soil, sprinkle on a slow-release fertiliser and top up with fresh compost.

Add supports for perennials and apply a general -purpose fertiliser to beds and borders for hungry shrubs and roses.

Watch out for aphids which multiply rapidly in mild conditions and remove quickly, a squirt with water or with messy fingers works.

Protect emerging shoots from slugs and snails with environmental products such as ‘Slug Gone’ pellets from sheep wool or water in Nematodes, a parasitic roundworm both of which can be highly successful.

In case of need, to cheer us up, Arundel Castle in West Sussex have an annual tulip festival. In 2020 they planted some 126, 000 bulbs for their displays. If you would like to see a virtual tour of last years displays visit or search ‘Arundel tulip Festival’ on You Tube.

Happy Gardening.


Cirencester’s Gardening Club

Stratton & Baunton Horticultural Society

‘It is not Spring until you can plant your foot on 12 daisies’ So the country saying goes, and I hope this happens sooner than later for a feast for our senses as the season changes.

Spending time outdoors sowing, growing, picking and pruning brings a sense of purpose and control in an uncertain world, with the added bonus of creating something beautiful and delicious.

March brings the unofficial start of the sowing year, with temperatures rising and lengthening daylight.

 It is still too cold to sow most plants outdoors, but some vegetable seeds can be sown, like peas, and when mild, direct sow onions, carrots, parsnip, broad beans and potatoes.

Sweet peas can be started inside or outside under cover and  Summer bulbs planted.

Shrubs that flower on new wood should be pruned back such as buddleia, hibiscus, bush and climbing roses.

Shrubs grown for their bright Winter stems such as salix (willow) or cornus (dogwood) will need an annual prune for young stems to provide the brightest colour later on. Either cut back half or a third of the stems to keep a structure or all existing stems to ground level depending on your plant(s).

After flowering divide established clumps of snowdrops, replanting with some fertiliser to help build up the bulbs. Dead head any Spring flowering bulbs, but leave the foliage to conserve the strength of the bulbs and leave to die back naturally.

Refresh containers by scraping away 1 inch (2.5cm) of compost from the top and replacing with fresh. Add a few pellets of controlled release fertiliser.

Wallflowers can be fed with a high potash tomato food either watered or sprinkled on to help the plants as they spring into life.

If you can, mulch your flower beds, this will give a boost of nutrients and reduce the amount of Summer watering and help suppress weeds.

Finally, help the birds as they start to nest by leaving little piles of small twigs or moss for them to use in their nest building.

Happy Gardening.


Cirencester’s Gardening Club

Stratton & Baunton Horticultural Society

By Christina Rossetti :

The First Spring Day

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,

If Wintery birds are dreaming of a mate,

If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the warmth of the sun,

And crocus fires are kindling one by one:

Sing, robin, sing;

I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.


February will give us stronger light levels, and the garden come to life again, despite our own troubles.

There is plenty to do at this time of year, and encouragement to benefit from seeing new growth.

The first day of Spring is officially 1st March but for now, we can be full of hope.

General garden advice this month is to :

-          Prune Winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering

-          Prune Wisteria

-          Cut back deciduous grasses such as Miscanthus and remove dead grass from evergreen ones.

-          Start to sow vegetables under cover

-          Start to sow hardy, half-hardy annuals and Summer bedding plants

-          Sweet peas can be sown in a cold frame or cool room in a house, any sown earlier can be potted on.

-          Dahlias, Fuchsia, Pelargoniums stored over winter can be started into growth. Place in a light warm place to sprout before planting. Take cuttings if required when growths are long enough.

-          Towards the end of the month, mulch light soils and / or top dress beds and borders to feed perennials as they start back into growth

Now is the time to plan ahead a planting scheme for pots and beds and stock up with, seeds, plants, stakes and ties.

Diary dates, if these go ahead are  – RHS Malvern Spring Show 5th to 9th May 2021

                                                                 RHS Chelsea 18th to 23rd May 2021

                                                                 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 5th to 11th July 2021

Currently, Marchants Coaches from Cheltenham, have a day’s coach trip, picking up in Cirencester, Beeches car park, to go to RHS Chelsea and the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. They also offer a trip to the RHS Malvern Spring Show, but do not pick up in Cirencester for this, please check with the company for full details.

Wishing you happy, safe and warm gardening.



Cirencester’s Gardening Club

Stratton & Baunton Horticultural Society

A mild if very wet Winter so far, but January can be the coldest month, be ready just in case.

I am really pleased that the days will be lengthening and welcome any signs that the garden will re-grow.

I hope you managed to get outside for last month’s challenge to see what was in bloom on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

A quieter month in the garden, but do enjoy any good weather days outside, as a bonus.

The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) advice this month is to :

·         Clear your pots and greenhouse in readiness for Spring.

·         Start sowing seeds that require a little heat, in a propagator or seal pots in a clear polythene bag on a sunny windowsill of sweet peas, chillies or aubergines.

·         Consider the first sowings of peas, broad beans or shallots depending on the weather and soil conditions.

·         Prune apple and pear trees.

·         Prune wisteria , cut back the side shoots to two or three buds, avoiding any flower buds

·         Prune any old leaves of hellebores to the ground to expose the flowers

·         Start forcing rhubarb

·         Disperse worm casts on the lawn

·         Once the display of indoor hyacinths and narcissi are over, remove the flowers by cutting and feed with a houseplant fertiliser. This will build up the bulb reserves. Allow the leaves to die down then plant outside when dormant to add to your garden display.

·         For houseplants, keep the soil just moist, use a fertiliser to encourage new growth and wipe the leaves with a damp sponge to remove dust.

·         Order seeds and plants from catalogues.

·         Don’t forget to keep paths and patios algae free they can get slippery after all the rains,

Unfortunately, it is unclear when we might be able to meet as a club, but we will continue to monitor the situation and will contact in due course.

At this time, we would love to meet you all for our Spring Bulb Show, on Thursday 11th March 2021, please stand by with your bulbs and we will be in touch.

Meanwhile, our very best wishes, to all our members for 2021 and with the hope of meeting you soon.



Please make contact through our website if you have any queries.

Winter is on its way as our nights draw in and the temperature drops. A time to savour the sunshine and evergreens in our gardens and any flowers until the frosts.

On a recent walk I have collected acorns to see if I can grow some oak trees, always fun to see what you can grow. Tips from the Royal Horticultural Society are to make sure the acorns are in good condition, do not let them dry out, they should be green or brown with no holes. Choose a tall container to enable the roots to elongate and fill with compost to 2.5cm (1in) below the rim.  Plant one to four acorns around the edge of the pot 2.5cm -5cm (1 -2in) below the surface and cover with compost. Water and place outside, you may need to protect from animals and birds with some mesh. Seedlings can be kept in the pot until roots emerge and then potted on to a slightly larger pot.

November is a good time to:

 Plant tulip and lily bulbs and Winter bedding plants such as wallflowers and bellis.

To stop Winter moth doing damage to fruit trees, use grease bands to wrap around the tree trunks.

Plant up a pot for a Winter display. These will need to be in as much light as possible, to lift the pots on to feet or bricks to aid drainage and check the compost before watering, as overwatering can kill off plants. The pots will not need feeding during Winter as plants will grow very little, so make sure you have good sized plants to start with and sufficient numbers for an instant impact.

Flowering plants like polyanthus, violas, Winter flowering pansies, cyclamen, and heather, for foliage try ivy, grasses, or heuchera.

Bulb Lasagne pots work very well (named for the layering technique) , planted up for a Spring Bulb Fiesta. These can also be planted with Winter plants on top, to provide an instant display while waiting for the bulbs to emerge.

Start with your latest flowering bulbs, planting 25 to 30cm (10-12in) deep and spacing the bulbs 5cm (2in) apart. Cover with 5cm (2in) of compost before you add the next layer which will flower before the deepest bulbs. The bulbs that flower first should be in the very top layer, 2 or 3 layers of bulbs are fine. Drainage is key as bulbs do not like sitting in wet or soggy compost. Grit can be finished on top to prevent weeds and the compost drying out but, leave 1cm (1/2in) below the rim of the container for watering.

Leave outside ready for Spring or plant up the container on top for instant colour.

Best Wishes to all our members and continue as you can, to enjoy yours or others gardens (Gardener’s World on Fridays ! ) and the changing Season.








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