The West Malvern Garden and Nature Club was founded 27 years ago by three West Malvern ladies. We are still a thriving club with supportive and friendly membership. Meetings are held at the village hall on the third Tuesday of the month, usually at 7.30pm. A variety of speakers are chosen to reflect both the gardening and the nature interests of our club members. Meetings in the hall are held from September until May. During the summer there are organised trips, a Treasure Hunt and an Annual Show. Membership is £5 and £2 a meeting but visitors are always welcome £3 a visit, this includes refreshments after the talk. Membership also includes the chance to win trophies at the Annual Show; the chance to help at the Malvern Spring Show crèche and receive free entry; two ’Over the Fence’ newsletters; an Annual Dinner and a Christmas Party.

Our club year started with a talk about gardens by Brian Skeys about Gardens in Madeira. This was a last minute change because our planned speaker was unavailable. As it is the start of year membership fees are due. For £5 there are the club nights, Treasure Trail, Christmas Party and newsletters as well as other activities during the year.  Meetings are £2 for members and £3 for visitors and includes refreshments which are often home baked cakes! 

We meet at West Malvern Village Hall at 7.30 pm  (except for the A.G.M. in March when we meet at 7 pm) on the third Tuesday of the month. We are a friendly club and are always happy to see new people.  As we are a gardening club we welcome all levels of experience in gardening and wildlife.  So come and join us!

16th October 2018                         Rachel Salisbury        "The cottage garden". The  history and composition of a cottage garden.

20th November 2018                    Will Watson                  "Garden bees and wasps".  How can we encourage more to our gardens?

Tuesday 11th December 2019        Christmas Party     An event not to be missed.

15th January 2019                           Duncan Coombes         "Winter Colour and Interest in the Garden". Duncan will tell us how can to get some 

                                                                                                                       colour in those drab winter months.

19th February 2019                        Tony Conder                    "Canals in the Landscape". How are canals affected by geography and geology & 

                                                                                                                        how do they relate to the natural environment?

19th March 2019                               AGM July Richie            7pm start.  Small is beautiful - Alpines & Low Growing Perennials.  Don't forget 

                                                                                                                        nibbles for the Finger Buffet. Oh, and we had better have an AGM as well.

16th April 2019                                 Rosemary Winnall         "Nature in Focus".  Rosemary shares fascinating photographs of a diverse range of                                                                                                                              animals and plants in our region.

26th May 2019                                   Roger Umpelby             "Useful, Beautiful and Unloved - An Alternative Look at Weeds".            

Gillian Hale's visit, accompanied by 9 owls was the best attended meeting of the season! A large number of children came and sat quietly through Gillian's talk and waited, with keen expectations, for the owls.  For over an hour after her talk people were still taking photographs and stroking the owls.  It is amazing that the owls were so patient.  Gillian trains them from very young to accept various noises by taking them with her in a basket when she goes shopping! She didn't bring the eagle owl, which is the largest of the owls.  Its grip, with each foot is the equivalent of an Alsatian dog's jaw! They are used to hunt wolves in the Black Forest in Germany and are known to kill Roe Deer in Scotland.  Probably a little two fearsome for a Tuesday night in West Malvern although I think the children would have been keen to see it! These owls that Gillian rescues and cares for are unable to fend for themselves in the wild; and some are injured and need to be cared for to recover.  It really was an interesting evening, many people saying that they had never seen a live owl up close.  It really is a good way of educating old as well as young, to have this opportunity to get up close to them.  I am sure that any future visit from Gillian will be as well attended as this.
This meeting was the last until 19th September when the new club year begins.  In the meantime there are club trips and 2nd September is the ANNUAL SHOW open to everyone.  Come and join us for the show, look out for our 2017/2018 programme and join us for another interesting year.

Carole Houghton


The October meeting was ‘An Evening with Reg Moule’. A select gathering enjoyed a varied an interesting question and answer session with him after he gave us a short talk about insectivorous plants, ferns and making leaf mould.

This is good time to make leaf mould especially if you have a lot of leaves blown off your trees by Storm Brian! Use green garden sacks or black sacks and fill with leaves. If they are dry dampen them then tie up the top of the bag and make two holes in the bag and store it behind your shed, greenhouse or wherever is convenient. It takes at least two years for the leaves to break down. If you can use leaves of different species together this helps as they rot at different times. Reg said trees like walnut and horse chestnut need two years to rot as leaves produce a natural herbicide for their own protection and the longer they rot it will reduce the herbicide strength.dampen the leavespng

Leaf mould was used before peat in compost and it is good to mix it with peat or other composts. Leaves can be composted in heaps but need to be in a contained space, four posts with plastic mesh as walls to stop the leaves blowing away, and covered with anti-bird mesh over the top to keep the leaves in and to allow rain to get in.

Reg said that trees go to the toilet once a year. Trees put all their waste products into the leaves when they are shed. He also said trees have meaningful sex every three years – hence the abundance of acorns this year!

These were some of the questions.

1. Why is my tomato like this? A tomato with a brown top was shown.

Reg said it looked like the tomatoes had got cold. It wasn’t potato blight. We did have a lot of variations in temperature this summer and these tomatoes had reacted to being cold.

2. Can you store shallots like onions?

Reg explained the method of stringing up onions and thought that shallots could be stored in the same way but it is more difficult because the stems and necks, which are used to secure onions, were thinner and more fragile on shallots. He said storing in trays or nets so that air could circulate was better. We then had a discussion about seed and Reg suggested saving different sized shallots for seed; as the smaller ones produce less offspring so will be larger than using large shallots which produce a lot of off spring so they will be smaller. Jim said that he had got good results from shallot seed and Reg suggested that we buy from a reputable grower.

storage by pngshallotspng

3. When do you prune a hebe?

Reg suggested, as the questioner said it was a large hebe, to prune in the spring but to only do half one year and half the next as it might be a shock to the plant to do it all in one year.

4. He was asked about greenhouse and container cleaning.

Reg said unless there was a known disease in a pot or in the greenhouse then use something like Jeyes fluid or Citrox. Otherwise don’t bother, as research has shown that there are more beneficial things in the pots and greenhouse than bad and you don’t want to wash them away.

5. What are the while fluffy things on my houseplants?

Reg said that they may be white fluffy aphids or mealy bugs and said wash off with diluted washing up liquid in water and then use methylated spirit, surgical spirit or vodka! To dry them out.

gall mitepng

He also warned us about the fuchsia gall mite which, so far, hasn’t reached Worcestershire. Remove any infected looking leaves or parts of the plant if you see it.

The spotted wing drosophilia (fruit fly) a yellow bodied insect is now in Worcestershire and its maggot hatches out in cherries. It is very tiny, grey and white in colour. It is difficult to contain as covering a tree in really fine mesh is impracticable. Use drusophilia traps, Agralan Natural Products make them to catch the male insects.

 Fruit Flypng

As usual Reg covers so much in his talks that it is impossible to write about everything and do it justice. Come along and hear him speak next time!

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 19th March when we will be holding our AGM.