Middle Rasen & District

Horticultural Society

The club meets from September to March on the second Thursday in the month. Meetings, with speakers on various subjects, are in the Village Hall, LN8 3LD, at 7pm for a 7.30pm start

Officers ~ Membership

President .............. Mrs Joyce Rhodes
Chair ........................  Mr John Bennett    
General Secretary....Mrs Janet Davies
Treasurer .......    
Seeds Secretary .....

Meetings & Events

The September & March meetings are small shows for members with the points going towards  The Hubbert  Trophy  for the most points throughout the year. September also being the AGM. meeting the December & January meeting may be a little different as it may be the Christmas Dinner.

Two shows take place in the year. The 3rd Saturday in June is The Sweet Pea Show The 3rd Saturday in July is The Annual Show & Fete, both are now held in the Village Hall.

Dobies seed catalogues come in late September & distributed to members, usually having to share. The orders to be back to the seed secretary by 1st December at the very latest, so that hopefully no one is disappointed with their order. We usually get 40% off the seeds & 10% of plantletts & garden equipment, with buying in bulk & the orders distributed at the February meeting.

Gardening tips from Community Spirit by John & May Bennett


Make a TREE for Christmas


•  To be made by adults or children with a little help!

•  Select a bottle to be bound with wool.

•  Clean bottle and leave to dry.

•  Use three or four strips of double - sided tape and fix to the bottle – top to bottom. How many you use depends on the size of the bottle.

•  Select your wool to go with your colour scheme, fairly thick. Then bind round the bottle top to bottom very neatly.

•  Get a branch of contorted willow to stand in your bottle. Any leaves left on should be stripped off. I like to leave the branch a natural colour but if you wish to spray it gold, silver, or give a white effect for snow it is up to you. Make sure the size of the branch is in balance with the size of your bottle.

•  Then it is decorating with baubles, stars, chocolates or sweets etc. Again the size of your decorations must be in balance with the size of your bottle and branch.

•  It is a lovely tree when decorated to stand on a table or sideboard for


•  Nice for Grandparents to have when expecting Grandchildren to visit.

•  Cheap to make, and is very colourful. Enjoy.

Propagating plants from root cuttings in November

•  The following can be propagated from root cuttings now :- Acanthus, Oriental poppies, Japenese anemones, Echinops, Verbascums, Phlox and even climbers such as Passion Flower and Solanum.

•  Root cuttings need little care and should be done whilst the plant is dormant.

•  Lift a clump carefully and wash the root ball , to remove soil and expose roots.

•  Only take a few from each root and plant it back in the garden immediately.

•  Select a few roots about the thickness of a pencil, that look healthy.

•  Cut into sections about 5-10cm. Cut off any thin pieces or fibrous side roots. Use a straight cut at the top and a slanting cut at the bottom.

•  Then pot them up using 50:50 mix of multipurpose compost and grit. Insert the straight cut into a pot or cell tray making sure the cutting is flush with the top of the compost. Then cover with a thin layer of grit.

•  Water and put in a cold frame.

•  When rooted in the spring pot up individually.

Growing Sweet Peas - October

•  Easy to grow, needs NO HEAT whatsoever.

•  Sow in the first two weeks of October to flower in June.

•  Grow in good seed compost. Water compost two days before sowing and allow it to drain.

•  Sow five seeds in a plastic pot or one seed into a toilet roll card.

•  Leave in a COLD greenhouse or even better transfer to a cold frame.

•  Leave lid off cold frame at all times except when very wet or an extreme frost. If frost is extreme cover with an old carpet.

•  Do not pinch out tops from an autumn sowing.

•  Plant out in March when weather is suitable.

•  Can be grown up tripods, netting or even in large pots on tripods, but for best results grow as cordons.

•  Key is to cut the flowers regularly, and cut off the tendrils to keep the stems straight.

•  Grow named varieties like Gwendoline, Jilly, Mrs Bernard Jones, Charlie's Angel, or Windsor to name a few.

Go to www.rpsweetpeas.com for loads more information on growing these beautiful flowers.

Propagating PENSTEMONS .

•  Many are not reliably hardy, if a hard winter. Take cuttings in late summer as an insurance.

•  Fill 3 ½ inch pot with perlite or sharp sand and compost.

•  Take non flowering tip cuttings. 4-5 inches long and trim just below a leaf node.

•  Remove bottom leaves and trim remaining leaves by about a third to prevent moisture loss.

•  Each pot can take up to five cuttings.

•  Label, water, and allow to drain.

•  Put in a propagator or cover with a plastic bag. Do not allow the cuttings to touch the bag.

•  Should root in about four weeks.

•  Can be left undisturbed over winter or potted on separately.

•  Grow on in a cool, frost free place.

John & May Bennett, Middle Rasen & District Horticultural Society


July - plant a new STRAWBERRY patch.

•  Can be grown in borders, containers and hanging baskets.

•  Avoid area prone to frost and where you have previously grown potatoes and tomatoes.

•  Can use your own runners but advisable to buy new plants from a good supplier.

•  Prepare soil by incorporating well rotted manure or garden compost.

•  Plant 35cm apart and leave 75cm between rows.

•  Water well to get plants established.

•  In early spring apply some Growmore (fertilizer).

•  Give a liquid potash feed during the growing season.

•  May need to net to protect the fruits from the birds

•  If frost threatens ripening fruits, cover with fleece and also tuck straw beneath plants to keep the fruit clean. Enjoy.

June is time to take softwood cuttings

•  Shrubs to try are, Philadelphus, Deutzia, Ceanothus, Cotinus, Euonymus, Forsythia, Hydrangea, Lavender, Ribes, Spiraea, Hebe, Cistus, Sambuca, etc.

•  Cheap way of extending your stock and can swap rarer varieties with friends.

•  Use clean, sharp secateurs.

•  Handle the soft cuttings carefully and make them about 4-5cm long.

•  Trim the shoot, cutting just below a node, and remove the lowest pair of leaves and the soft tip. Cut any large leaves in half to reduce their surface area.

•  Fill 13cm pots with cutting compost.

•  Then dib holes around the side of the pot and insert the cuttings.

•  Water.

•  Put in a propagater where they will root quicker.

•  Or if one is not available put a clear plastic bag over the pot and secure with a rubber band.

•  Make sure the bag does not touch the cuttings, as they could rot.



For the Horticultural competitions, as announced by Janet Davis.

•  For Wheelbarrow and containers very important to provide drainage by having holes in the bottom and cover with old crocks or polystyrene.

•  All baskets will need a liner.

•  Use good compost and beneficial to add water retaining granules to compost at time of planting.

•  Fill all containers to no more than 2 inches of the rim to allow for watering.

•  Very important, water daily and twice if hot as last summer.

•  Deadhead regularly.

•  Be bold with colour and mix flowering plants with grasses and other foliage plants.

•  It is good to use plants that hang over the sides of the barrows as well to cover the raw edge of the container.

•  Plenty of flowering pot plants and annuals to choose from.

•  Keep inside until the risk of frost has passed.

•  Need not be expensive, it's the finished colourful display that matters.

•  Good Luck! Make Middle Rasen a blaze of colour.

John & May Bennett, Middle Rasen & District Horticultural Society.

Creating a “mini” landscape using ALPINES in the Easter break

•  Can use an old sink, an old galvanised container or an alpine pan. Make sure you have suitable drainage holes in your container.

•  Fill your container with a John Innes potting compost and mix about half of sand or grit into your mixture.

•  Place a few rocks to make a landscape, keeping in mind the size of your container.

•  Set your plants.

•  Topdress the surface of your container between the plants with gravel, stone chips or pieces of slate. Will give it a nice finish.

•  Water in and place in full sun.

•  Silver leaved saxifrages can be attractive all the year round. But a selection of a mixed variety of plants can also be as attractive.

•  Avoid rampant plants.

•  Do your research for true alpine plants, and your trough will be look good for a long time. Deadhead any flowering varieties when required.

John & May Bennett, Middle Rasen & District Horticultural Society.




Hints from The Horticultural Society to Middle Rasen Residents.

1. In both cases make sure that there are drainage holes. Add a layer of broken pots or gravel to allow drainage.

2. Use a John Innes No.3 soil based compost or a multi – purpose compost.

3. Before planting water all plants and allow them to drain.

4. Go for mixed colours or a colour co-ordinated scheme.

5. Can use bedding plants, home grown geraniums, annuals, begonia corms or plants, herbs, ivies and other foliage type plants, also succulents.

6. Could do a herb planter

7. Or a mixed variety of succulents dressed with gravel. This is a cheap way if you grow them yourself.

8. Bedding plants of your choice in the wheelbarrow or planter. Could use grasses as a focal point in the wheelbarrow.

9. Another cheap way is to plant calendula seed NOW direct into the container and put nasturtium seeds around the edge.

10. Do not put bedding plants outside in containers until risk of frost has gone in May.

11. Water regularly, and dead head too to keep in peak condition.

12. Put container undercover when rain is forecast, to prevent the blooms from becoming marked.

John & May Bennett, Middle Rasen & District Horticultural Society.


Earlier Articles By John and May

Colourful Flowers for Cutting – The Gladioli

•  Plant corms in deeply dug, well drained soil with added sand and leaf-mould, especially if your soil is heavy.

•  Plant the corms in succession from the 2 nd week in March to the 2 nd week in May, at fortnightly intervals.

•  You will get continuity of flowers until the autumn.

•  Plant the corms 6 inches apart and 6 – 8 inches deep. They should not need staking.

•  Can grow in rows for cutting but as border flowers, plant in groups.

•  If growing for exhibition, can give weekly feeds of liquid manure once the flower spikes have started to open, but water first, if the ground is dry.

•  When the flowers have finished at the end of the season, allow to dry naturally. As soon as the corms are very brown, dig them up and tie in bunches, each variety labelled if this applies to you. Hang in the shed!

•  Can be cleaned and stored in sand.

•  You may have small offsets forming – you can plant them immediately in a prepared bed of good soil, over old manure and leave to grow on for 2 years until they have reached the required size.

•  Enjoy! They are superb cut flowers for the home.



WHITE GARDEN – for all the year round interest.


•  This was brought on by our favourite – Snowdrops - slit the plants now whilst they are in the green. Plant immediately, do not allow to dry out. They will look lovely under shrubs, naturalized or anywhere in the garden or tubs.

•  Other bulbs to plant in the Autumn – Daffodils, Tulips, Crocus, Allium, Anemone blanda, or Leucojum vernum ( known as the snowflake).

•  Annuals to sow seed in March – Cornflower, Statice, Achillia, Cosmos, Busy Lizzie, etc.

•  Biennials- Honesty, Foxglove.

•  Shrubs – Camellia, Philadelphus, Buddleja, Jasmine, Spiraea, or Choisya ternata.

•  Perennials – Delphinium, Peony, Phlox, Primula denticulata, Pulmonaria, Lily-of –the valley, Hellebores, Campanula, Astilbe etc.

•  Climbers – like Roses and Clematis or Sweet peas.

•  Agapanthus in pots. Then can be placed in the garden where a gap needs filling.

•  For soil types, height and exact planting time, and also the months they flower, do research from catalogues or the internet.

•  You may find many more favourite flowers to include.



Grow some NERINES for autumn flowering.

Someone asked when to plant Nerine bulbs so that sparked the subject for us to do for January. Beautiful bulbs that are out now.

1.Beautiful. Comes in shades of pink, red, and white.

2.Grown from a bulb.

3.Nerine bowdenii is hardy and can be grown outside.

4.Plant bulbs in spring or early summer.

5.Plant outdoors in a well drained soil or in a container, or at the foot of a wall.

6. Will NOT FLOWER in a shaded area. Must be in full sun.

7. Leavers appear in spring, die down at the end of summer. Flowers follow in the autumn. Average height is 60cms.

8. Clear away foliage when it has died back.

9. Lift very congested clumps in early summer and divide.

10. If the summer is very hot like last year, containers etc. may need a little water.

11. Suggested varieties to grow are:- Nerine bowdenii – Isabel – dark pink flowers. HT. 18 inches. Nerine bowdenii – Nikita- pale pink flowers. HT 20 inches and Nerine bowdenii – Blanca Perla – white. Ht 30 inches.


We wish you all the best of health for 2019 and happy gardening!

Naturalising bulbs in grass or putting bulbs and plants in containers. Baskets, pots and all shapes of containers can be used. In lawns plant crocus, daffodils and dwarf iris or aconites. Scatter the bulbs randomly and plant where they fall.

You can grow many types of bulbs in containers, daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, alliums, crocus, dwarf iris, anemone blanda is a favourite of ours.

To guarantee dense display of colour-on your patio next spring by layering bulbs in pots. Put large bulbs like daffodils and tulips at the bottom and smaller bulbs like crocus and iris at the top. Cover each layer with multipurpose compost.

Plant pansies, violas, heathers, ivies etc in tubs or baskets along with crocus, dwarf iris, etc.

A bowl packed with single colour dwarf tulips can be stunning.


Can be taken from: Buddleia; Camellia; Choisya; Forsythia; Hebe; Hydrangea; Potentilla; Weigela; Lavender etc. Choose shoots that are almost fully grown except for the soft tip. Pinch the soft tip out.

Length of cutting 3 - 4" long. Strip the lower leaves from each cutting.

Can use root hormone if you wish, but not essential. Insert cuttings around the edge of a pot. Put in a cold frame or cloche.

Remember to label and water thoroughly.

Check that they do not dry out at any time.

You can supply your friends with your new plants as well as stocking up your own garden.

John & May Bennett Middle Rasen & District Horticultural Society

To the Top

Reports & News (3 months)

Despite really heavy rain and floods in Middle Rasen, our members turned out to hear Jo Bennison give an interesting talk on Peonies. I never knew there were so many varieties! In December we got into the Festive mood with a quiz night and supper. This was the first time we have held a meeting in December and we hope now to make this an annual event.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 9th January in Middle Rasen Church Hall. Our speaker is Leigh Perkins who will be presenting Carnivorous Plants. The evening starts at 7.30p.m. Entry is £1 which includes coffee, tea and biscuits.

We are looking forward to our Festive dinner later this month at Jossals, we always enjoy a really good meal and have lots of fun.

On behalf of our committee and members I would like to say thank you for all your support at our shows and wheelbarrow competition and wish you all a very happy and peaceful 2020

Janet Davies Jn


We were treated to a really good evening at Our Open meeting in October, which was really well attended with guests from other local garden clubs joining us. We were delighted to have well known gardener and author Steffie Shields as our speaker, her talk was on Capability Brown and his connection to Lincolnshire. We were amazed that he had designed both gardens and houses in local villages with one or two members having spent some of their childhoods in these villages, we finished the evening with a lovely supper.

Our Christmas social evening with a quiz and supper is on Thursday 12th December at 7.30pm. As this is now election day (sigh) so we will be relocating to the School Room at Middle Rasen Methodist Church.

May I take this opportunity on behalf of our members to wish you all A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS and look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

Janet Davies


With the recent fine weather, we have been spending time in our gardens, deadheading and giving them a good tidy up.

In September we held our AGM, which was well attended, at which we elected committee members and sorted our business agenda. We also held the first of our member's small shows, which despite the previous bad weather, produced a good number of entries.

it was with great sadness that we heard of the loss of two of our previous members, Mrs. Ann Naylor and Mrs Peggy Leach, both who have contributed so much to our horticultural society over many years, we would like to send our condolences to their families at this time.

We also heard the sad news that our friend Fred Hyde had been a victim of vandalism, resulting in the loss of his beloved allotment shed. Fred is well known on BBC Radio Lincolnshire on the Sunday morning gardening program, where he often broadcasts from his shed! We have been fortunate enough to have Fred at our recent shows, he is always a big hit, answering questions and presenting the winning trophies! Many of us have visited Fred on his amazing allotment, which he uses to teach local children and community the joy of gardening. We have sent a donation to the appeal for restoring Fred's shed and hope we can visit again soon.

The speaker at our November meeting is Jo Bennison with “Bennison Peonies” if you would like to know more on this subject than please join us on Thursday 14 th November at 7.30 pm in the Middle Rasen Church Hall. Entrance is £1.00 and this includes refreshments.

Here's hoping for a kind winter and lots of inspiration from our seed and plant catalogues Janet Davies Oct/Nov



Dobies Seed & Equipment Catalogue 2020

The new catalogue for 2020 will be out at the beginning of October. You don't have to belong to the Horticultural Society to qualify for 50% off seeds & 12% off equipment.

If you wish to receive a catalogue please contact

Carole Sellars 01673 842645



The Horticultural Society holds it's Annual Sweet Pea & Summer Flower show in the Village Hall on a Saturday in early June.

There are normally more than 30 classes of exhibits and thers for children's art work & plants they have grown. Visitors see an array of fragrant displays of sweet peas and other early summer flowers such as Delphiniums, Carnations and Roses.


For more information and an exhibitors entry form contact May Bennett (843206). Raffle prizes donated by local well wishers and businesses are gratefully received



May Bennett sent a very special thanks went to Mrs Joyce Heath and family for hosting the show for some 41 years. The committee offered thanks to the Heath family for the use of their garden and for everything Joyce and her family had contributed over the years. It was Joyce and the family made every show a huge success. May Bennett


Mrs Joyce Heath enjoying a quiet moment in her garden after a very busy and emotional day

Rev'd Chris & Julia Harrington with the winners at the 67th Annual Horticultural Show and Fete held by kind permission of Mrs Joyce Heath (front)

The members of Middle Rasen & District Horticultural Society would like to express how sad they were to hear of the passing of one of their active long-term members, Mrs. Joyce Heath on 23rd May having suffered from ill health for several years.

Joyce had been a Vice-President and an Honorary member of the society. The Annual Show had been hosted by the Heath family at "Rosslyn" for around 40 years. In the early years Joyce would knock on doors collecting prizes towards the tombola on show day and organise it in her garage. She also acted as a steward on the day, after baking, making lemon curd and doing flowers to enter in the show, winning many trophies. That was not all, she would bake for the refreshments too. Joyce was well known for her very tasty sausage rolls whenever we had a meal coming up.

Her home was also open for many tasks on show day. Committee meetings were also held at her home for many years. We could go on, but the hospitality of Joyce and the whole family will never be forgotten. A true member of the community, and our society. Joyce was also a regular worshipper at Middle Rasen Parish Church where she helped with the brass cleaning, flower arranging and after Church coffee. She loved her garden and would potter around for hours. She wouldn't give in until whatever she had started had been finished! She loved company and was always pleased when someone popped in for a chat and a cuppa! She loved her family, enjoying spending time with her 3 Grandchildren and 6 Great Grandchildren!

Thank you Joyce, we will all miss you.

Home page