Autumn Club News Update

Autumn Walks

What a strange year 2020 has turned out to be - since March our gardens and the act of gardening has been a vital source of solace to many.

Over the spring and summer months gardens have been tended, flower borders have burst with colourful plants and shrubs and those growing vegetables for the first time enjoying home grown bounty.  Country walks have become popular, with the many footpaths and unspoilt vistas around the village being enjoyed by both old and young walkers. The garden has become an extra room outside – a place to sit, play and enjoy life!

Autumn WalksSince the clocks changed, the days are becoming shorter and the temperature is dropping as the winter months approach so now is the time to put many tender plants and shrubs “to bed”. If you have an empty shed or greenhouse, pots with tender plants or shrubs can be moved inside. Alternatively they can be wrapped in fleece or bubble wrap to give them extra protection.

Unlike Lockdown I, the garden centres can remain open this time, so there is still time to buy bulbs to plant in pots to give you a blast of welcome colour in the Spring. It is also a good idea to give shrubs and flower borders a mulch with compost (home made or purchased). This will help to give protection to the border plants from adverse weather and improve the fertility and health of the soil.

The RHS has advised that the garden at Hyde Hall is open if you fancy a trip out – but remember to book your entry time via the internet.

As 2020 starts to draw to an end, The Mountfitchet Garden Club would like to wish all our member and local residents a “Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year and 2021”

September Club News Update

It doesn't seem possible that we are now officially in Autumn - the spring and summer seem to have flown by and we have all been living with the Covid-19 virus for over six months now!

Hopefully you have kept well and have been able to get out into your gardens and allotments and made the most of the enforced lockdown time and are now reaping the benefits of a good harvest and have had plenty of flowers and shrubs throughout the summer to brighten your homes and gardens. With some of the NGS/National Trust/English Heritage as well as some private gardens opening you may have been able to take advantage of the good weather and the relaxation of some of the lockdown restrictions and ventured further afield. Although a lot of our hobbies and pastimes have been curtailed at least we have been able to enjoy getting outside either pottering or just relaxing.

I think these restrictions have made us all appreciate living where we do. As the days are now getting shorter and there is a nip in the air, we can look forward to the final blaze of colour as the leaves change into their autumn hues and the late summer flowers steal the show in the garden - do send photos of your gardens, allotments or gardens you would recommend to visit to me for our website.

Club Meeting Update
Unfortunately, there is no news regarding when the Day Centre will be reopening for club bookings or when we will get the "thumbs up" to start club meetings again so sadly the October and November meetings have been cancelled. But our club isn't the only village organization in this state of limbo and I'm sure everyone will be celebrating when we get the news that everyone's' club meetings can be resumed. I know that over the summer some clubs have tried (socially distanced) meetings/get togethers in the open, but as our speakers tend to use electrical equipment and the screen it would have been difficult. The TV companies have tried to help with the withdrawal systems though - as well as our "old faithful" Gardeners World, there have been several new gardening programmes from different parts of the country to give us ideas and more places to put on our "Must Visit" List!
Club AGM
As you know we normally have our AGM in April, but this was postponed. We have received guidance from the RHS today to say that due to these extraordinary times, AGMs can now be held when the club deems it to be safe - so we will hold ours before the next meeting we have. We will keep you posted should anything change.

The Mystery has been Solved!

A couple of years ago on a family visit to Hyde Hall, my grandson was watching gardeners picking seedheads, he told them that's what his Nana did and one of the gardeners said " would you like this for her" and gave him a seedhead.  He was so chuffed and the seeds were duly planted and they all grew!

We had no idea what the plants were, and intrigued by the mystery some of you purchased some of these young plants at a club meeting and at the WI Table Top Sale.  Last year the plants grew bigger but no flowers - so still a mystery. However, being patient is one of the things you learn as a gardener, as finally, this summer, the plants flowered. The name of the mystery plant is Eurybia Divaricata or White Wood Aster.

It has dainty narrow black stems laden with masses of tiny pinky - white flowers with yellow centres and blooms from late summer onwards. It thrives in a variety of soil and light conditions, but is best used in dry, shady locations. After trying for ages to find out about the plant, it has now appeared twice on Gardener's World during the summer!

The first time Monty Don took some cuttings from his plant and the second time was just a couple of weeks ago when Adam Frost planted a group of them in his garden - I wonder how many of you jumped up and down like I did and said "That's what I've got growing!!" . Hope you have enjoyed seeing them flower - the hover flies certainly like them!

Link Magazine Request

I have had the following request from the Editor of The Link Magazine - "Do you think there is anyone in your club who would be prepared to supply us with some monthly gardening tips as we no longer have our regular contributor on this subject."
If you are interested and would like to know more about what is required etc. - please contact Sarah Ludlow-Elston on .

Looking at ways to keep in touch

The Committee are looking into various things we can do to keep in touch with everyone and the new ZOOM computer programme has been mentioned. Can you let me know if you have the facility to use this programme.
We are aware that not everyone is au-fait with this system, has the equipment to use it or is even on email, but with the internet being the only way some people have been able to communicate with and to see family and friends over the past months, more members may now be on line. It would give us an idea of which members have this capability.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Happy Gardening

Maralyn Harris
Chairman - Mountfitchet Garden Club

Owning an Allotment

Club member Anne has been really busy during lockdown and worked hard on her allotment.  She recently sent us these fantastic photos of her allotment.

Stansted Parish Council established the Elms Farm allotments in January 2019 and Anne tells us that plot holders spent much of last year clearing ground and experimenting.

"The majority of us were complete novices with fruit and vegetables. It's quite a windy exposed site so everything from sheds to plants needed to be well secured (as some of us found out the painful way!). We have three water troughs on site to supplement our own water butt supplies and these have been a great bonus over the recent warm weather.

There is a great community spirit and folk are all willing to share tips and seedlings. Our allotment is at the top of the site adjacent to grazing land for horses and recently sheep and lambs so it's been an added bonus to have company whilst up there pottering.

We have tried to plan our plot so that we enjoy something home grown for as many months of the year as possible.

This year we have potatoes, beetroot, parsnips, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, broad beans, runner beans, peas, squash, rhubarb and courgette not to mention raspberries, blackcurrants and strawberries! We think that should keep us going!

I'm currently experimenting with melons in the garden at home! "

Thank you Anne, we look forward to seeing the results!

July Club News

Hope you are all keeping well and adjusting to Lockdown Life.

Where has the time flown to this year - can't believe its July already! Suspect you've all been keeping busy in the garden but remember to sit back, relax and enjoy the flowers, birds, butterflies, bees and the scents too - as the saying goes..... All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ... I think many of us will be having "staycations" this year so our gardens will be a good sanctuary.


Good news - The four RHS Gardens have re-opened but you must make contact via the internet and book an arrival time. Some of the Yellow Book Gardens, and private gardens like Beth Chatto's, have opened up too, but once again you must book a day and entry time.


I would like to thank the members who forwarded some photos last month to put onto our website - please keep sending them so that we can see your gardens as the summer progresses. Also if you do venture out to visit open gardens these photos will be welcome too (don't forget to give the name of the garden visited).

Please send them to me via email


At the moment there is no news on our meetings reconvening - the social distancing is still very important and the last thing we want, after everyone being so good during the Lockdown, is for this nasty Covid-19 to raise its ugly head again. As soon as we hear anything we will let you know.

Unfortunately I have some sad news. I must let you know that Brian Townsend passed away last month. Many of our older members will remember Brian and Janet - they were stalwart members of the club for many years, moving away to the Midlands a few years ago to be near their children and grandchildren. They were amongst the original members when the club was formed. The club's condolences have been sent to Janet and family.

Take care and keep safe everyone, enjoy the warm weather and long days.

Happy Gardening - and don't forget to send those photos!


Beautiful Back Garden

Club member Pauline says her daughter and granddaughter have been helping her during the lockdown period.   She has sent us these wonderful photos of her garden.

There are many different areas to the garden, with lots of lovely and unusual plants and she's also encouraging the growing vegetables. She said she'll send some more.

Pauline says she's so excited about this which is wonderful to hear.  we are very jealous as she has no holes in her Hosta leaves, and we love to see recycling which is good!

Well done Pauline!

Send us your garden photos

If you have been working hard in your garden, then please do send us your photos for us to display on our website. We love seeing the hardwork that has been put in by our members and friends, to keep the village looking wonderful.

A chance do those small jobs during Lockdown

Our Club Chair, Maralyn, and her husband Paul, have been very busy over the lockdown period putting new floor in their greenhouse and growing Tomatoes,Peppers and Cucumber.

Another lockdown job completed is the construction of some raised beds - adding some cat prevention measures too!  The yellow flower is Phlomis - the bees love it.

Transition to Summer

We are delighted to have been sent these wonderful photos, from our club member Gilly, showing her garden's transition to roses. As you can see she has been very busy during the Lockdown period.

Send us your garden photos

If you have been working hard in your garden, then please do send us your photos for us to display on our website. We love seeing the hardwork that has been put in by our members and friends, to keep the village looking wonderful.

Don't forget too that Stansted in Bloom is returning 26-28th June!

All information & an entry form is on the Parish Council Website.

June Club News Update (Covid-19)

It has been a very strange few months for the world, one which many of us did not expect to see. And I'm sure many of you have been especially affected as you have been told to stay home and stay safe! When I wrote in March no-one had any idea how things would evolve over the months and sadly the number of bereaved families has grown every day.

I suspect for those of you that have stayed home, your gardens are looking very well tended and that some of those jobs on your “When I've Got Time Job List” have finally been ticked off at last. Please send us photos of your gardens/flowers so that we can add them to our website. It is so lovely to get some inspiration from others.

As promised I am keeping you updated on Club Meetings and news.

Club Meetings

It will no doubt come as no surprise that the June, July, August and September Club Meetings have been cancelled. Our AGM will take place before the next meeting whenever that is held. Like every other village organization we must look out for the health and well-being of our members and friends and we will follow the advice given regarding group meetings and social distancing etc.

The Link

The editors of The Link Magazine have asked me to let you know that until further notice the magazine will be available online only.

Stansted in Bloom 2020

I have also been contacted by Penny Reeves, (she spoke to us at our last meeting), who passed on the good news that Stansted in Bloom 2020 is going ahead. The date of this being 26-28th June!

All information & an entry form is on the Parish Council Website.
Why not Have A Go!!

Other News
As well as Gardening, Sheila (our Treasurer) has been busy sewing for the NHS and is now currently making face coverings. She says she cannot call them masks as not PPE but okay to wear to give some protection. So if you or you know of anyone that would wear one and would like one or more, please get in touch with Sheila (01279-814973).

She is asking for a £3 minimum donation which will go to The Friends of Stansted Surgery Group who funded the scrubs she's been making.  Please do pass this information to other members/friends who may be interested.

Finally, please take care everyone, keep safe, and enjoy pottering around in your gardens and ticking off more of those jobs you have put off!

Kind regards
Maralyn Harris
Chairman - Mountfitchet Garden Club

Summer Sizzlers – A Visual Feast of Hot Colours

Our March meeting involved a kaleidoscopic slide show accompanying Nick Dobson's talk on “Summer Sizzlers”.

Using photos from in his own garden Members were shown the wide variety of flowers from all over the world that can be grown in flower borders, in pots, in window boxes and in hanging baskets to give a visual feast of hot colours that will brighten up the summer months. As well as flowers, shrubs and fruit can add colour too.

“Wow Factor” bulbs and plants should be planted in pots and placed in flowerbeds - once past their best, these pots can be replaced with other plants thus extending the season of colour. After flowering potted bulbs can then be dried out and stored ready for the next season.

Tips were given on propagation, feeding plants and colour combinations.


Sea front gardens, Clacton-on-Sea

The talk ended with slides of places to visit around the country where colourful flower beds can be seen – two were local; the Cliff Gardens in Southend and the seafront gardens in Clacton on Sea.

Club Christmas

Club Christmas Party

Our December meeting was a fun evening, followed by our annual bring and share Christmas supper.

Back by popular demand was the beetle game. A sedate start, whilst newcomers learnt the rules, quickly changed to frantic throwing of dice followed by cheers as a six was finally thrown.

The groans grew louder as beetle was called, sometimes before another player had even started!

A good evening was had by all.

St Marys Christmas Festival

Images of the abstract angel made out of gardening bits and pieces for the st Marys Christmas festival.