Flowers from the Farm – Home Grown Talent

On Tuesday 19th February we were pleased to welcome Rachelle Merrill who stepped in at very short notice when our scheduled speaker was unable to be with us.  Rachel and her husband run a family Christmas tree, foliage and flower growing business in Oakley.  In 2017 they opened up their farm to allow local florists to buy flowers direct from the farm.  In 2018 they started co-hosting workshops with local florists and also introduced “Pick Your Own” tours.  On their 70 acre site they have 8 acres of trees (five plots with 5,000 Nordmann fir trees on each plot) and 2 acres of flowers.  Since 2017 they have built two polytunnels for flowers which need more protection.

Merri Flowers, as their business is called, is a member of the “Flowers from the Farm” consortium.  This is a not for profit association which was founded in 2011 and now has 500 growers across this country, two of whom are in Bedfordshire.  This organisation provides British grown wholesale flowers, flowers for events, workshops and tours.  They also exhibit at most of the RHS shows, winning a Gold medal at Chelsea in 2018.

There are many reasons to buy British grown flowers.  Air miles and the chemicals needed to keep foreign grown flowers alive in transport are eliminated.  Wildlife tends to flourish on farms where flowers are grown – food is provided for the pollinators and British grown flowers tend to be more scented.

The flower season at Merri Flowers is between May and October.  The Early Spring sees narcissus, then follows ranunculus (grown in polytunnels), scabiosa, peonies, roses in mid June through to the dahlias in the early Autumn.  Of particular delight was the view of the sweet pea tunnel – we could only imagine the perfume!  Amongst the most requested flowers are antirrhinums, delphiniums, statice, roses, dahlias and sunflowers.

Rachelle and her husband are clearly passionate about what they do.  The flowers in her photographs looked stunning and their farm is very local to us.  They welcome visitors, but by appointment, as Rachelle’s husband works on his own and therefore needs to arrange his work schedule carefully.  We were very grateful to Rachelle for stepping in at such short notice and providing such an interesting and pleasant talk.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 19th March when Timothy Walker will talk about Plant Hunting in Eastern Anatolia.  Please do join us – just come along to the Village hall for a 7.30 pm start – you will be made very welcome.  

                                                                                                                       Linda Truscott

New members and visitors are always welcome.  For more information contact Linda Truscott on 01234 270747

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This Month in the Garden – February 2019

Here we are again at the start of another gardening year. As usual, we wonder what the year will hold for us and, in particular, what the weather will be like. Already, this year has been unusually dry and many of our lawns are still showing the damage from last year’s drought. I have been hoping for a natural recovery but this looks increasingly unlikely and some re-sowing may well be necessary.  It will be a good idea to scarify and aerate the lawn before any sowing. You can do this yourself on a small lawn, raking out dead grass and moss and going over the grass with a fork held vertically to dig holes in the soil. Professional lawn care companies will gladly do the job for you, at a cost but with a lot of saving in effort …

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My Garden – 2019

This year, at our meeting on 15th January, our speakers  on the subject “My Garden” were two BGA members; Liz Hurford and Rosemary Harris. Liz spoke about her garden in Church End and Rosemary talked about her garden in Nodders Way and her allotment in Queens Park on the Allen Park site … Continue reading

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Snowdrops for Nurses / Pavenham, Bedford MK43 7PD

Two gardens on the High Street – open for the National Garden Scheme raising money for Macmillan and Marie Curie Nurses
February 3rd, 23rd and 24th  1.00 – 4.oopm





Click for the link to the NGS website link

Admission £5. Disabled parking. Refreshments










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This Month in the Garden – December 2018, January 2019

What can a gardener do in December and January except sit indoors in the warm and think of Spring ? That idea has attractions but they are not very profitable ones when there is a lot you can do which will make Spring, when it comes, more rewarding. To start with you can say goodbye to Autumn by clearing up any leaves that are still laying about. Particularly on the lawn, leaves are not just unsightly but will damage the grass.

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This Month in the Garden – November 2018

After weeks of being passed by when most of the country was getting some rain we have, at last, had a significant amount of rain. The water butts have been filled up and my pond water level is where it should be. The rain comes too late to make a lot of difference to the immediate appearance of the garden but let’s hope it’s the beginning of normal rainfall to prepare for next year’s gardening, and that is really the main gardening theme for this of time of year; looking ahead, preparing and planning for next year …
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A zest for herbs by Caroline Holmes

The speaker at our meeting on 16th October was Caroline Holmes who gave a talk entitled “A Zest for Herbs”. Caroline is a well-known gardening author and lecturer who has written eleven books including works on garden history, studies of water lilies,  herbs and dung and books of general gardening advice. She has travelled widely giving lectures and speaking on cruises and giving tutorials.

Caroline started by giving us an opportunity to handle and smell a number of herbs  with examples of myrtle, rosemary, lemon-scented geranium, golden bay, rue, fennel, lemon verbena, lavender and thyme …

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This Month in the Garden – October 2018

Although much of the country has had useful amounts of rain,the drought continues in Bedford and we are likely to enter October with very dry conditions. Cooler weather and a little rain at the end of August and in September helped a bit and, at last, runner beans have started to produce an edible crop. The hot dry summer and the later date made finding entries to the Biddenham Show a challenge.  The fruit and vegetable sections both suffered with some classes very thinly represented and some not at all.  It was good to see quite a few people taking up the challenge however …
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“Garden Bugs”  Cohabit, Conserve or Control

We were pleased to welcome Dr Ian Bedford to our September meeting. Ian is head of the Entomology facility at the John Innes Centre in Norwich which is one of the UK’s leading Plant Science Research Centres. From a childhood interest in insects and butterflies Ian is now a leading expert in this field and he makes regular radio and TV appearances. During his 40 odd years at the John Innes Centre it has increased substantially in size and houses areas where native bugs can be studied as well as an area where insects from other parts of the world can be investigated and where a high level of quarantine must be maintained.
Research into insects from around the world is vital as many sap sucking insects transmit viruses. Ian cited the example of Cassava, a woody shrub native to South America and which is the staple diet of 50 million people – aphids can transmit diseases and decimate crops with devastating consequences for the population. However, we have to cohabit with insects and invertebrates as we share our lives with them in our homes and gardens. Continue reading

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BGA Annual General Meeting

The Biddenham Gardeners’ AGM was held in the Village Hall on 17th July.

The Chair reported on another successful year with a good variety of outside speakers and two meetings presented by our own members. There were outings to Ascott House near Leighton Buzzard in April and Deene Park, Leicestershire, in July. Attendance at meetings was slightly down on last year and the Committee are arranging a leaflet drop advertising the BGA to go to all the houses in Biddenham, including the King’s Field estate north of Bromham Road … Continue reading

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