21 Members present. Apologies - W.Grauberg, A.Evans, E & M Curtis, G & D Smith.

Norman Clyde-Watson introduced Stuart Dixon from Hebbs Farm who gave an illustrated talk called 'Gardens Great & Small'.

Stuart, a knowledgeable and keen 'gardener' informed and amused members with many anecdotes about gardens he had visited. One needs to visit and relive his experiences personally.

They include:-

  • Hidcote Manor which is National Trust and in the Cotswolds. According to Stuart, it is full of visitors, busy Tea Rooms, expensive with a shop -but does have beautiful Borders and Gardens.
  • Kidscote - A smaller garden nearby which is less crowded, has better and cheaper tea and sales of Plants grown within the garden.
  • Durdsley - Stankem Park - open by appointment only with the owner, Mrs Barlow. A 22 acre garden of which 4 acres is formal garden including a Walled Garden and a Secret Garden.
  • Barnsley House - Gloucestershire, now a hotel. Garden has delightful Borders.
  • Harlow Carr - an RHS Garden near Harrogate. Spectacular Azaleas, Heathers and Roses.
  • In Ireland - in the centre of Dublin. A Garden belonging to Helen Dillon with very old types of Roses and Borders with a collection of Bearded Irises. A useful tip with Irises is 'Do Not bury the rhizomes - leave them uncovered so that they get the sun and they will flower much more'!)
  • Co. Wicklow - Garden called Butterstriniz - No loos, no cafe but well worth a visit.
  • St Michaels Mount Cornwall - An NT property is a Sub-tropical Garden, not open to the public, but may be accessed by talking to the Gardener! It is open only 2 days a year and is a real hidden treasure of sub-tropical plants from all over the World.
  • Channel Islands - Jersey - St.Heber - Samares Manor , Garden designed in the 1920's. Good Rose Garden and open to the public.

Norman then thanked Stuart for, once again, a very entertaining talk.

Other Business

  • Members had been circulated with a letter from the Committee with proposals for the future of the Friends Group. especially in relation to the viability of meetings and guest speakers, due to the potential loss of The Rose Grower as a venue. Some Comments: -
    • Members present felt Meetings were important if a new venue could be found and if necessary, Subscriptions raised to cover costs.
    • The Group needed to attract more young members. but previous attempts had not been successful in the longer term .
    • Meetings with Guest Speakers are becoming more difficult to find and at reasonable cost.
  • The Committee would meet again to explore costs and would welcome further comments from the membership about the proposals made. Contact any Committee Member ASAP.
  • Norman advised Members that Broxtowe BC had agreed to fund and restore the bridleway at the top of Sandy Lane - improving the surface and drainage.
  • Local Councilor, Steve Carr, had circulated an email asking that, following an increase in lawlessness: drugs, etc. on the Lowes Estate, would members please report any suspicious activity, vehicle registration numbers etc. to the Police - Crimestoppers or dial 999 if serious. You are advised to ask that only plain clothes Police visit (if necessary). The response from the Police is somewhat variable, but do not be put off !
  • Chris Riley, BBC, is keen to seek 'Green Pennant' awards for local Conservation/ Nature Reserve areas. This involves an application to be made by Xmas. The Committee to consider in due course.


  • Next Meeting on Monday June 2nd will be a 'local' Evening Walk. Meet at the Rosegrower at 7:30pm or at the end of Moor Lane at 8pm.
  • Monday July 7th will be a visit to ‘Naturescape’ at Langer. Meet at the Rosegrower at 6:30pm (for car share). There will be a small charge for the visit and refreshments - allow approx £3.00.

The meeting ended at 9:00pm.

The Friends are always looking for extra pairs of hands to help out or to simply support their work, so...

  • to find out when the next work session will take place, click here, or
  • to find out about becoming a member please contact us here, or
  • to discover what goes into managing the sites click here.

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