Chairmans newsletter – May 2020

Dear Biddenham Gardeners’ Association member,

We have seen some beautiful late Spring colours in the gardens and I hope you have been able to visit our Gallery of Members’ Photos. It must be one of the most inspiring photo galleries of any local gardeners’ association and it is a reflection of the commitment and dedication you have shown to your gardens. We also appreciate the hard work of Ron Bessey in his presentation of the photos on the website. Thank you, Ron.

Many of the Spring flowers are now coming to an end but we are seeing the early summer colours. The roses are just beginning to come out –  my favourite being the Gertrude Jekyll rose. Allium is now in flower and if you have osteospermum and calendula plants, they offer a blaze of colour. Plants like penstemon are well on their way. I am sure you have many other plants that are giving colour to your gardens.

We have so many sources from which we can get advice on how to make our gardens flourish. We are very fortunate to have our own garden expert, Jeremy Arthern, who writes in the Loop and whose articles you can also find on our website.  I am sure you have been watching Gardeners’ World where Monty Don has been giving some useful tips. The programme has enabled us to enjoy very different types of gardens. There have been some interesting recorded programmes presented by Alan Titchmarsh. 

It is now permissible for garden centres to open. If you are thinking of visiting a local one, do check that it is open (one or two have decided not to open for the foreseeable future) and that safety measures are in place. At this moment, Milton Ernest Garden Centre is offering a delivery service if you telephone, as is Kempston Nursery. 

I am sure we are all looking forward to meeting up again. The Prime Minister in his address from Downing Street on Sunday 10th May has made it clear that it will be some time before public meetings can take place. We will keep you informed. I hope you will keep well and safe and will enjoy your gardens. Thank you again to all those who have contributed to the Members’ Photo Gallery.

Best wishes
Paul Fricker (Chairman)

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This Month in the Garden – May 2020

For a while now, the RHS has been running a campaign promoting the benefit of gardening for mental health and wellbeing for individuals and communities and the prolonged lock-down is bringing home to those of us lucky enough to have a garden what a huge benefit they are. We are not confined to four walls, there is always something to do and we can enjoy all the benefits of being in the open air, hearing the birds sing and revelling in a long period of wonderful sunshine. Lovely as it has been to see the April sun, gardeners will have been thinking it was time for rain and today, as I write this, there has been some really good rainfall; perfect timing to save me putting the sprinkler on the lawn after a treatment of fertiliser … Continue reading

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Plants & Vegetables for Sale in Biddenham

Dear BGA member,
I have been informed by my neighbour, Julie Clay, that Katie Lee of Kempston whose family sell plants at Bedford market will be selling and delivering plants and vegetables to the Biddenham/Bedford area at weekends.

If you are interested in purchasing, ring Katie on 077639 60604

examples of prices – a 12 pack of vegetables such as peas, runner beans, chard etc are £2, pot grown vegetables £1, perennials including hardy ferns are £3 and shrubs in a pot are £7.

A massage from Katie: ‘One thing to note – we do sell on a market but it’s not bedford market, we don’t want to upset anyone ‘

I and all of the BGA Committee hope that you are all keeping well. We look forward to happier times in the (hopefully) not too distant future, when we can gather together to share our love of gardening.

Best regards,
Paula Church (BGA Secretary)

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A message from our Chairman …

Dear BGA member,

Despite these sad and difficult times, many people have found great pleasure in spending time in their gardens. We have enjoyed some wonderful spring colours. The magnolia blossom was beautiful. We have seen displays of daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, camellias, hellebores, primulas, pansies,  forget-me-nots – and in our garden we have calendula and osteospermum in flower.  Also the forsythia has been impressive …

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Biddenham Gardeners’ Association – Important Message

As new reports of Coronovirus (Covid-19) continue to develop along with Government advice to withdraw from social activities, the BGA Committee took the decision to cancel the Gardeners’ Question Time talk which was due to take place on Tuesday, 17th March. The health, safety and wellbeing of our members and visitors is always our first priority.  This is an unprecedented and dynamic time which is continuing to evolve.  At the time of writing (17th March), we are pleased to say that there are no known reported cases of the virus amongst our membership.  We hope this remains the case and we are closely monitoring the changing Government guidelines.  

Unfortunately, the 30th birthday celebrations and talk from Nick Bailey in April has also been cancelled. With regards to our future talks in May and beyond, it is currently impossible for us to know if they will be able to go ahead.  We believe it is critical that we do our bit to help reduce the transmission of Covid-19.

We hope that our members and associates keep well and take comfort in the fact that we are all connected through our love of gardening.  Please do refer to our website for further updates and for a source of support and inspiration with regards to our love of gardens.  All comments and queries are welcome on the website.  Further queries can be made to Paula on 01234 602039. For any queries regarding membership, please contact Linda on 01234 270747. 

In addition to the above changes, please note that our outing to Theobalds FarmHouse, Wednesday 24th June, 2020 – is also Cancelled

Paula Church (BGA Secretary)

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It is very sad that the celebration of new life at Easter and in springtime that should be the main feature of this month is being dominated by the isolation, illness and fear associated with coronavirus. Many of you may well feel that with all the problems and worries at this time gardening will take a pretty low priority. On the other hand, if like my wife and I you are amongst the isolated, this may be an opportunity to give the garden more attention than usual and it will help to keep you positive as you reap the benefit of being out in the open air …

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This Month in the Garden – March 2020

When you read this, the snowdrops, the first display of Spring, will very largely be dying down. If you want to have an even bigger and better display next year, or you have been inspired by the idea of having your own snowdrops, now is the best time for doing something about it …

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Posted in Bulbs, Lawns, Snowdrops, Spring, This month in the garden, Winter | Tagged | 1 Comment


The speaker at our meeting on 18th February was one of our own members, Joanna Baxter. Joanna is a knowledgeable gardener who specialises in acers and she has spoken to the BGA on a couple of occasions. The subject of her talk was “Mythology of Plants” and it was very clearly presented with a wide range of illustrations …
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This Month In The Garden – February 2020

Jeremy in the garden

How are your New Year resolutions going?  If paying more attention to the garden featured amongst them this is the time to start putting your resolve to the test. Busy times lie ahead and it is a good idea to get going as soon as possible.

The best place to start is with pruning. You can prune apples and pears much earlier than this but you do need to get it done by the end of February …

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My Garden – 2020

We started our new Biddenham Gardeners’ Association year with an excellent turn out of members and visitors.  The “My Garden” talks, which we feature every January, are always very popular and this year was no exception.  Two very different gardens were described:

First up was Jan Page who lives in The Old Barns. Jan’s garden came into being in 1987.  It is a small plot 40 ft x 30 ft and originally consisted of just grass and gravel.  However, Jan had other plans and over the years has created a very special oasis for many exotic and unusual plants.  Walls were built and we enjoyed seeing the photograph of the concrete being piped in over the roof top of the house during the wall’s construction.  A most attractive brick shed was built, a pond was formed from an up-ended sewer pipe, an acid bed was made and a raised bed was constructed from stone dug out from the wall foundations.  Fresh top soil was brought in to ensure that the many exotic plants were given a good start.  Much of Jan’s garden is quite shady but she capitalises on this with a variety of ferns, hostas, azaleas, bamboos and other shade loving plants.  In 2014 Jan dug everything out of her garden, she potted plants up and asked friends to look after them for her whilst her garden became a construction site as a new conservatory was built.  The garden was replanted with the green and textured  plants that Jan favours.  Fatsia Japonica, Calthifolia, Asarum, and Zantedeschia to name but a few.  Plants are crammed into every space giving an almost tropical feel.  A sambucus has not only a rose but also a clematis growing through it.  Jan is a true plants person and we were delighted that she was able to share her passion with us this evening. A small selection of photos from Jan’s presentation:


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