National Garden Scheme 2020

Two of our members’ gardens were open this year, for what was a very different NGS weekend.

Ashwell, a large steeply-sloping garden with a vineyard, is situated close to the centre of Bovey Tracey and looked perfect as always.

Club member Jeanette Pearce raises extra money for the NGS charities by selling jams from her extensive soft fruit areas and also wine from her vines.


2 Redwoods belongs to Club chairman, Julia Mooney, and it was especially good to see recent hard landscaping, clearly carried out by a perfectionist! A garden of two parts – a shady fernery and a sunny gravel garden, with a leat running between them.






The garden we were asked to start at was Gleam Tor, the lovely garden belonging to Gillian and Colin Liddy, with its long herbaceous borders, wild flower area and prairie planting. We missed Colin’s wonderful afternoon tea, however. Maybe next year.

Many thanks to these garden owners for agreeing to open their gardens in the present circumstances. They are three very different gardens and it was clear that visitors were greatly enjoying the chance to “do normal things” again.


Photos from Members

                                                     Life is just a Bed of Roses                                                          (though perhaps not at the moment)

Photos below from rose-grower Roger Hottot.


Roger has been winning the rose classes in the Bovey Tracey Garden Club Summer Show for many years.










Roger receiving the Sir Ben Smith Rose Bowl for his rose entries in 2019.

If anyone knows anything about Sir Ben, we’d like to hear about him.

Our gardens during the Coronavirus

Thank goodness for our gardens. Everyone I know has been spending lots of time gardening and I imagine Bovey gardens are as near perfect as is possible. Sadly, we cannot visit our friends’ gardens, so if you have a photo I will post it here. To start the ball rolling, here are the hostas in my courtyard.

Acer and hostas at Church Steps, May 2020



“Our Small Garden” by Joyce and Alan Nightingale

The photo below shows the garden as it was when we moved in. As you can see, at the back of the garden we had a fairly steep granite bank which had to be addressed so that I could plant on the top of the bank.
I did a design keeping that in mind and I also needed a shed and a utility area for compost bins, wheelbarrow, plant pots etc which would not be on view.
We were very lucky to find a landscape gardener who was happy to follow my plan and suggested cutting into the granite bank and making a utility area which has been very successful.  He also created a path on the higher level which has enabled me to plant shrubs against the back fence and also to plant the fairly steep area below.


Access to the higher level is via steps on to a decking with lovely views towards the Moor.

We have chosen small shrubs and plants as the garden is not large and we do not want it to look overcrowded.







Many thanks to Joyce and Alan for their description of their now lovely garden.


“Winter 2018/19” by Carol Hudson

Winter can be a sad time of year, when the weather plays cruel tricks on us and our gardens.  In some ways it seems strange that the main problems feature around the fact that it is not cold enough.  I hear from a farming friend that this is a serious problem for arable crops, with too many pests overwintering. So this is likely to affect our gardens also.

There are many microclimates around Bovey, and so my garden has had almost no frost and one brief snowfall.  However this garden is on a steep slope, so that the seemingly endless rainfall, means that it is trying to run away, downhill. The supposed “lawn” is becoming more lumpy and uneven with each winter.

It generally seems sheltered, yet another tree has been blown down, which is always sad. However the trees do look beautiful when the sun shines!
Winter is the time for most gardeners to plan for the coming summer, start seeds and so forth.  Sadly I am no longer fit enough to do much of this, so I hope that other Club members are making better progress.

“Autumn” by Angela Tibbs

Autumn, the quietening down of nature towards the hibernation of sleepiness for the Winter, and the ever-changing charms that the seasons have unrolled become relaxed yet full of harvest and colour. Hints of gold peep through the glistening array of browns, yellows and reds. The cooling off period is upon us as the early mists creep alongside the colder nights – a warning sign of what is to come!

My Grandmother used to say ‘Autumn dries up walls or breaks down bridges’ such is the chemistry of the weather.

As most plants turn their glorious blooms to carrying on the next generation of seeds many birds gather to enjoy their offerings. The Goldfinch loves the thistle seed, and the House Sparrow oats – probably the reason these birds spend much time in the fields during the daylight hours, flying back with all their chatterings of news as the sun sets, wakening us at dawn with the busyness of leaving.

Continue reading

From our Correspondent

“Summer” by Susan Oliver

Many thanks to Susan for the article below, which was written earlier in the summer, before the current dry spell!

The gardens have transformed themselves, yet again. If you were worried, like I was,that your garden would never look good again, never fear. Because with a little help from the warm rain and sunshine they look beautiful again. Rather like the Ugly Duckling.

Whatever size your garden is there will be a surprise awaiting you every day at this time of year. Flowers and shrubs that you had forgotten about. Items that you thought The Beast from the East would have destroyed, but no, there they are again.Didn’t the snow look beautiful – twice within a month. We should have believed the forecast , they got it right this time.

However, back to Summer. Continue reading

From our Correspondent

“Spring” at Ashwell by Jeanette Pearce

Just a few days before the equinox and the clocks about to go forward – it should have been nearly spring. But why did the garden look a funny colour? Are Devon gardens meant to be covered 20cm deep with fluffy white stuff in mid-March? So much for my list of 20 things to do in the garden before the end of March.

At least I had the comfort of knowing that when I could get through to Newton Abbot, early March’s pruning and clearing efforts in a corner of Ashwell’s front garden, filling four builder’s dumpy bags, would only take two car trips to the recycling dump. Yes, I know I could shred and compost them – but hauling large and heavy bags up steps, gravel paths and slopes to the top of the garden is now beyond me.
Anyway, the compost bins will soon be full of shredded vine prunings from three months ago, when it stops raining. Continue reading

From our Correspondent

Our thanks to Nigel Gillingham, our new Vice-Chairman, for providing posts for From Our Correspondent for the last year. I wonder how many of you guessed that Professor Maurice Bard was Nigel.

Nigel in Show mode

Writing monthly posts is quite a demanding job, especially when the garden is awaiting your attention. From now on I plan seasonal posts, and am pleased to say that Jeanette Pearce wil be doing Spring, Susan Oliver Summer and our President Angela Tibbs will write the Autumn post.

From our Correspondent


It has been a while since I put pen to paper, or should I say ‘fingers to keyboard’ to tell you what has been happening in my garden. Then, suddenly it’s autumn and we are all clearing ground and preparing for winter and perhaps being a bit less busy.

Perhaps a reflection on the recent season would be a good start. Generally, not bad! But of course, gardeners are never completely happy with what they produce, and always want to try and do better next year. To begin with the broad beans planted last autumn produced a good crop, and I had no problem with blackfly which can be a pain. The potatoes grew well on the surface but I was disappointed with my first early crop, a variety called ‘Winston’. They produced a large potato for a first early, but only one or two on a plant – and the flavour was not wonderful. The second earlies, ‘Nicola’ were much better, and tasted like a new potato should, although I have to admit not as good as ‘Charlotte’. Continue reading