Issue 99                                                       Spring 2016




AGM Agenda

Trading Report 2015

Obituary – Ed Hill

Show Committee Report 2015

Membership Secretary’s Report 2015

Syd’s Snippets

Trading Update

Spring Show programme

FGA Calendar 2016


Seed Box opening on Wednesdays


Tthe Seed Box will be opening on Wednesday evenings from 6.30 to 7.30 this will continue until the end of May.


Cookery classes for the Spring Show


Following last year’s success, we are continuing with two cookery classes in the Spring Show, although they'll probably be staged at the opposite end of the hall from the checking in table to stop me being tempted into trying them before the judging.


This year the classes are for a Chocolate Cake and a Quiche.


Colin Stennett

Show Secretary



The Flitwick Gardeners’ Association


We are an association run by members, for members. Our aim is to promote gardening in Flitwick and the surrounding villages.


We have a members’ shop ‘The Seed Box’ where we try to stock useful items including seeds, tools and chemicals at very competitive prices. There is a library and a small range of loan equipment.


We also run shows, organise an annual quiz and run the occasional trip to visit a garden.


How to Find us


The Seed Box is situated behind the Flitwick Leisure Centre on Steppingley Road. MK45 1TH


Seed Box Opening Hours



6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. (Feb to May)


7.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. (Feb to Nov)


2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. (Feb to Nov)




Outside of these hours you can always leave a message for us on the answering machine on 01525  717289


Email addresses


General enquiries etc.




Show info and entries



Web site address


Web site





Thursday 14th April 2016

The Rufus Centre, Flitwick





1.            Apologies for absence.


2.            Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 23rd April 2015.


3.            Presentation of Annual Reports.


4.            Presentation of the Financial Report.


5.            Chairman’s Address.


6.            Election of officers:-


a)            Chairman

b)            Treasurer

c)            Secretary

d)            Trading Officer

e)            Executive Committee.

f)             Sub-Committee Additional Members.

g)            Honorary Auditor.


7.            To consider the motion proposed by the Secretary and seconded by the Treasurer that the Annual Subscription, Joining Fee and Re-Joining Fee remain unchanged at £2.00 each and that the Surcharge to the Annual Subscription Fee where applied remains unchanged at £3


8.            Report on the Future of the Seed box.


9.            Any other business.


Nominations for the four Officer appointments are to be lodged at the Seed Box or with the Secretary, Colin Stennett, 10 Salisbury Road, Flitwick, Beds, MK45 1UD at least 21 days prior to the meeting.


Current Committee Members



Executive Committee


Syd Pye



Colin Stennett

Secretary and Show Secretary


Dave Pateman


Jim Godden

Trading Secretary

J-P. R. Carter

Deputy Chairman and Show Committee


Laurie Arnold

Seeds and Deputy Trading Secretary


Cliff White

Show Committee

Sandra Ridgeway

Membership Secretary

and Rota Co-ordinator


Jonathan Wilde

Publications Officer and Deputy Treasurer


Ann Lutley


Anne Corbett


Show Committee


Dave Empson

Kath Stennett

Ian Holman




Honorary Life Members:


Dave Empson, Linda Pitts, Dougie Rees, Cliff White





2015 was a strange year with ‘interesting’ weather. I was not alone in having an awful year for most of the squash family, they just seemed determined not to grow. Early potatoes were not good but the main crop seemed determined to make up for them.


Trading at the Seed Box continued at similar levels to previous years and I made significant progress in reducing the total number of stock items, this will continue this year. I apologise for the fact that with no notice we had to abandon the Tuesday opening, realistically Dave Pateman was a lone person manning Tuesday’s and he became unavailable for several weeks at a time and this will continue there was no-one willing to take over or cover Dave’s absences. My personal thanks to Dave for opening the Seed Box on Tuesdays for several years. This year we are opening Wednesdays as Dave and I can share the load, do come and see us any Wednesday before the end of May.


I’ve also made clear my intention not to continue as Trading Secretary. I’m very willing to shadow a new Trading Secretary but do wish to step back a little and get some weekends back for Anne and I. Some members seem to take those who help at the FGA for granted, I’ve often been asked ‘do you work here?’ answer: NO I’m a volunteer and so is everyone else! To then have a weekend where I had a frozen shoulder, was virtually alone in the Seed Box and was in such pain from trying to do what I really should not have that at 3.30 I closed early. The following Monday one of our members saw Dave Pateman in Tesco and was rather forceful in questioning my commitment to FGA, sorry I do not need that.


The most asked question has been about the future of the Seed Box now that the Leisure Centre development has nearly finished. The answer is given elsewhere but I have started a dramatic review of stock items and I’m planning to concentrate on Doff and Growing Success products, but where necessary I will still use other producers. You may also have noticed that we have stopped selling Unwins seeds. Compost consolidation is progressing and long term we are likely to have a smaller range than in the past, with probably only one choice for each ‘type’ of compost and especially continuing the very successful Clover compost offer as long as we can.


My last item for the year is the significant reduction I have been able to make in the bulk Potato order as more people take advantage of the 10 seed packs. I really must thank the other volunteers who do so much of the weighing each year as I take a weeks’ holiday to include my birthday. It is fantastic to return and find that the orders have been weighed up in a week. I then get the onions and they are completed in one evening! Not many members realise that we weigh up some 200 bags of potatoes and onions for Woburn Sands and Toddington gardeners’, this is crucial to keeping our prices down but does increase the weighing burden!


To summarise 2015 was another successful year and preparations for the future are progressing, I just wish I knew what that future held, whatever it may be I hope to be there helping.


Happy Gardening


Jim Godden

Trading Secretary


Magazine editor


After my brief spell as stand in editor of this magazine I fully expect the next issue to be edited by Justine Cullen. I’m not sure that Justine appreciates what she is taking on yet but I will offer as much guidance as I can. Thanks to Justine for volunteering and I hope she enjoys FGA as much as I still do.


Jim Godden

Temp magazine editor


Obituary - Ed Hill


We are sad to record the passing of one of the F.G.A's colourful characters.


Ed was born and raised in Pulloxhill and retained a dutiful love of the village. Born in 1937 he attended the village school and then started work as an apprentice in a typewriter factory in Luton. He moved to Vauxhall's in its various guises until he took redundancy in 1989, he then worked for Beaumonts on the Flitwick Industrial Estate until retirement at 60.


He was a chap who could turn his hand to most things and could "make do and mend" without problems, but he really showed much skill when his partner Beverley became an avid lace maker. Ed made her lace table and all of her bobbins, of which there were hundreds, and are still in use now.


He had an allotment on Steppingley Road site for many years and although Beverley did most of the hard work, Ed was an industrious foreman!


He struggled with leukaemia for many years from 1997 and it took its toll over the years until his death on Christmas Day 2015.


He will be missed by many and his one fingered salute will now pass into history.





Show Committee Report 2015


In my previous report I said that I hoped 2015 would be just as successful as 2014 - well this time I have to report that all the 2015 shows surpassed those in 2014.


The year began with a Spring show where we had a record number of entries and we were rapidly running out of places to stage exhibits. A combination of good weather and the date of the show meant we had a lot of good entries in all of the flower classes - amazing to see so many daffodils and tulips in such a small area. Once again the cookery classes were also well supported.


The Annual Show was held on the hottest day of the year and it meant people could not only get their exhibits for showing in relative comfort but people came to look around the show when it opened to the public. With just over 300 entries it was our third highest number of entries ever. The majority of the classes were really well supported and once again the hall looked amazing and the judges really earned the lunch we had provided for them.


The weather was still good for the Autumn Show and a record number of 177 exhibits were put onto the tables. These ranged from 3 pumpkins weighing over 95lbs, some 5 foot long Tromboncino Squashes, seriously heavy carrots, onions, cabbages and some high quality Dahlias and vegetables.


18 teams entered our quiz in October and by the end of the evening only 6 points separated the top 3 teams in a keenly fought friendly contest with 4 ladies from the Women's Institute being triumphant. All the teams again seemed to have enjoyed the evening.


All of the above events rely upon members taking the time to enter and it’s been wonderful not only to see members who regularly support the events still taking part but also a number of people taking part for the first time. Thanks to all of you for making it worthwhile organising these events, and we'd love to see more people taking part. 


I should also like to say a huge thank you to all of the people that helped organise the events, gave support on the day with administrative tasks, setting up and clearing down the hall and providing refreshments.


Colin Stennett

Show Secretary


Membership Secretary’s Report for the end of 2015


At the end of December 2015 we had a total of 401 fully paid up members of

 the Association. This compares to 438 members at the end of 2014.

We had 63 new members join our Association during 2015 compared

 to 92 new members joining in 2014.

Membership of the Association may be renewed up until the AGM for a fee of £2,

 after which a joining fee will also need to be paid, which is currently £2.

The AGM is being held at the Rufus Centre on Thursday 14th April 2016 starting

at 7.45pm in the Bishopsfield Room.  Refreshments are available. 

 Members who receive their magazines by post will be charged an additional £3

due to the cost of postage.


Colin Stennett






Syds Snipetts:


As we start this new growing season the potato and onion orders have all been weighed up and by the time you receive this news letter the majority would have already been collected the balance will then go on general sale. On your behalf I would like to thank all those who assisted in the weighing and bagging. 


I am also pleased to advise that we have now had three offers from members to go on the till rosta and at time of writing we may have another member willing to join the committee, but we could still do with your help, contact any committee member for more details.


We have also been advised that the new Leisure Centre will now open on 29th February so that weekend is likely to be very busy with the moving of equipment between the two sites. Following the changeover we understand the existing site will be put up for sale and when the buyer is in place negotiations will commence on our future on the site.


Hopefully we will be able to update you further at the AGM which will be held at the Rufus Centre on Thursday 14th April when I hope to see a lot of you there.


Syd Pye - Chairman



TRADING REPORT February 2016


As mentioned in the annual report Dave and I are opening the Seed Box Wednesday evenings 6.30 to 7.30pm until the end of May, replacing the Tuesday opening abandoned last year.


Potato orders were all weighed and available by mid-January and were mostly collected before the formal start of trading, thank you your rapid responses to our phone calls.


I’m very pleased to be able to say that all our compost prices are the same as last year, so continue to flock to us and make sure we can fully justify the lorry load again next year.


Having had some rather flimsy 4 foot canes last year I’ve purchased rather sturdier ones this year, unfortunately these are a bit more expensive but the 6 and 8 foot canes are the same price as last year, I just hope I have sufficient.


A couple of years ago Dithane was withdrawn and there was no obvious treatment left for potato blight. We have stocked ‘Bayer - Fruit & Veg Disease Control’ which offers an alternative but I only noticed this year. I spotted this when one of our members was given two outers of 6 sachet boxes, passing on this windfall means that I will be selling all stock at 50% of our normal price, but when it’s gone it is gone (as they say).


I also introduced a new lawn food/treatment, Vitax - Green up Enhance Lawn Feed, I’ve tried both the summer and autumn version with spectacular results, I was so pleased I got a bit carried away and have plenty in stock. One claim is that it reduces thatch, a layer of organic matter that builds up just below the surface of the soil and inhibits water penetration and root growth. I suspect I’m not alone but I had to cut my lawn in late January and it needs another trim already.


Consolidation of the Horticultural suppliers continues, Westland have bought Sinclair Horticulture (Arthur Bowers) and Tildenet have purchased Bosmere. After both these purchases I await further information on the impact on us.


I’m trying to determine if it is worthwhile having an open weekend this year. I need to go to our bedding plant supplier and negotiate a reasonable wholesale deal for plants or we will again struggle to have prices at which we can cover the cost of our plants, which has been an issue for the last couple of years. However can I make a plea to members, if you are splitting perennials, if you have excess cuttings, if you have excess items grown from seed, etc. pot them up and bring them along to the Seed Box. We can sell them and any proceeds will be put back into the FGA or added to the charity box on our counter.


Finally our charity box this year is for Keech Hospice, last years’ charity was the Air Ambulance I hope we hear soon how much we raised for that.


As I heard somewhere goodbye but ‘I’ll be back’ hopefully only as a helper.


Jim Godden

FGA Trading Secretary




Annual Show - Special Dahlia Class


Once again we've got a special Dahlia Class in the Annual Show in the hope of encouraging more people to try growing Dahlias for exhibiting at the show.


This year we're going to try a Minature Ball Dahlia called Tam Tam with a small number of tubers for distribution to members wanting to grow them to show 2 dahlias at the Annual Show.   These are available now - please ask at the Seed Box if you are interested

 in growing one for exhibiting at the Annual Show.


Colin Stennett

Show Secretary



Till Helpers


As Sandra is still recovering on behalf of all the members I would like to thank those that have agreed to go on the rota for this year. Their help is much appreciated and without it we would not be able to trade.


I would also like to thank Ann Lutley who has agreed to stand in and where possible will be ringing the helpers a few days in advance to remind them.


We are always looking for new helpers so if you would like to assist speak to one of the committee members on duty and they can advise what is involved. If this particular role is not for you they may be able to guide you to something that may be of interest to you.


Syd Pye - Chairman




 Saturday 2nd April 2016 at the Village Hall.


Staging of exhibits 12:30- 2pm

Judging 2 - 3pm

Public admitted 3pm – No admission charge




1.     All exhibitors must be paid up members of the FGA or members of the immediate family of a paid up member.

2.     Entries can be made at the show  when brought in for staging or Email entries in advance to: FGASHOW@Flitwickgardeners.co.uk


3.     There will be no entry fee for exhibits.


4.     Each Exhibitor may enter up to 2 entries in any one class.


5.     Classes 1 - 14, 17, 18, 21, 23 and 25 to be shown as cut flowers in vases to be supplied by the FGA.


6.     Entries for Classes 15, 16, 19, 20, 22 and 24 to 26 to be shown as grown.


7.     All exhibits in classes 1 to 25 (inclusive) and 27 must be grown by the exhibitor in their garden or allotment


8.     Pot Plants must be exhibited in terracotta or plain plastic type pots and for class 26 must have been in exhibitors possession for at least 6 months


9.     NO Exhibit should be removed from display until after the raffle has been completed (approximately 15:50).




·          Flitwick Gardeners Association Spring Show – Best Vase in Show


·          Flitwick Gardeners Association Spring Show – Best Bloom in Show




See page 16 for further information on the classification of daffodils.




1                     One Bloom Yellow Perianth

2                     One Bloom White Perianth

3                     One Vase, Three Blooms of one Cultivar




4                     One Bloom Yellow Perianth

5                     One Bloom White Perianth

7                     One Vase, Three Blooms of one Cultivar




8                     One Bloom, any colour

9                     One Vase, Three Blooms of one Cultivar




10                   One Bloom, any colour

11                   One Vase, Three Blooms of one Cultivar


Multi-headed Daffodil Cultivar (e.g. Cheerfulness, Tete a Tete)


12                   One Stem

13                   One Vase of Three Stems of one Cultivar


Any Other Daffodil Cultivar not mentioned above


14                   One Stem

15                   One Vase of Three Stems of one Cultivar


Pot of Daffodil – from any of the Divisions


16                   One Pot of Narcissi, any number of bulbs, one Cultivar (Pot not to exceed 300 mm (12 Inches) diameter)




17                   One Pot of Narcissi (Daffodils)






18                   One Bloom

19                   One Vase, three Blooms of one Cultivar

20                   One Pot of Tulips, any number of bulbs, one Cultivar  (Pot not to exceed 300 mm (12 inches) diameter)






21                   One Pot of growing Polyanthus or Primula

22                   One Stem of Hyacinth

23                   One Pot of one or more Hyacinths

24                   One Vase of Flowering Shrub of one or more varieties

25                   One Pot of growing bulbs, excluding anything mentioned  above

26                   One Vase of Mixed Flowers – at least 6 different types of  flower

27                   Any Other Pot Plant  (Flowering or Foliage)

28                   One Vase of 4 stems of Daffodil from 4 different Divisions

29                   One Decorated Hardboiled Egg (Children only)

30                   A Cheesecake (homemade) - any flavour / topping

31                   3 Cheese Scones (homemade)


The Basic Daffodil Dictionary

 Anther the pollen-bearing part of the stamen

Corona refers to the cup or trumpet

Filament the stalk of the stamen

Pedicel is the ‘neck’ of the flower which joins it to the stem

Perianth refers to the petals

Reflexed petals are those which are angled away from the corona

Stamen the male part of the flower, consisting of filament and anther


Further, more detailed information can be found on the Royal Horticultural Society web site at http://www.rhs.org.uk


Horticultural classification of Daffodils


Division 1: Trumpet

One flower to each stem. The corona is as long or longer than the perianth.


Examples: Golden Harvest, Rembrandt

Division 2: Large Cupped

One flower to each stem. The corona is more than one third but less than equal to the length of the perianth.


Examples: Armada, Carlton, Ceylon, Desdemona

Division 3: Small Cupped

One flower to each stem. The corona is NOT more than one third the length of the perianth.


Examples: Angel, Barret Browning, Birma, Lemonade

Division 4: Double

One or more flowers per stem, with doubling of the perianth segments or corona or both.


Examples: Acropolis, Golden Ducat, Unique

Division 5: Triandrus

Usually two or more pendent flowers per stem, perianth segments often reflexed.


Examples: Rippling Waters, Thalia, Hawera


Division 6: Cyclamineus

One flower per stem; perianth segments prominently reflexed. Flower at an acute angle to the stem with a very short pedicel.


Examples: Charity May, Dove Wings, Jetfire

Division 7: Jonquilla and Apodanthus

Usually 1 to 5 (more rarely up to 8) flowers per stem; perianth segments spreading or reflexed; corona cup shaped, funnel shaped or flared, usually wider than long; flowers usually fragrant.


Examples:  Lintie, Suzy, Sweetness

Division 8: Tazetta

Usually 3 to 20 flowers to a stout stem; perianth segments spreading (not reflexed); flowers usually fragrant


Example: Geranium

Division 9: Poeticus

Usually one flower to a stem; perianth segments white; corona very short or disc shaped, usually with a green/ yellow centre and a red rim, but sometimes of a single colour; flowers usually fragrant


Example: Actaea

Division 10: Bulbicodium

Usually one flower to a stem; perianth segments insignificant compared to the corona; anthers dorsifixed (ie attached more or less centrally to the filament); filament and style usually curved


Examples: Golden Bells, Julia Jane, Nylon

Division 11: Split Corona


Corona is split, usually for more than half it’s length.

a)     corona segments opposite the perianth segments; the corona segments usually in two whorls of three

b)     corona segments alternate to the perianth segments; the corona segments usually in a single whorl of six

Examples: Articol, Broadway Star

Division 12: Other

Miscellaneous cultivars which do not fit above classifications

Division 13: Other

Cultivars distinguished solely by botanical name




Flitwick Gardeners' Association



As at 11 April, 2013


1.Name: The name of the Association shall be the Flitwick Gardeners' Association.


2.Objects: To promote the interests of gardeners and allotment holders and to take joint action for the benefit of members; To conduct negotiations in respect of land; To take such steps as may be required by the local Authority for the good management and cultivation of allotments; To protect members from damage, trespass and theft; To arrange for instruction, lectures, discussions, exhibitions, and competitions and to distribute literature pertaining to these objectives.


3.Members: The Association shall consist of persons who are resident within the Town of Flitwick. Non-residents of Flitwick whose application for membership is approved by the Committee may join but may not vote at any General Meeting.


4.Fees and Subscriptions: There will be a joining fee for all new members and for lapsed members applying to rejoin after membership has lapsed in accordance with Rule 5. Every member shall pay an annual subscription, payable in advance of the due date of January 1st. Members receiving the magazine by Royal Mail shall pay an annual surcharge. The amount of the joining fee and of the annual subscription and the surcharge shall be set annually by the Annual General Meeting.


5.Arrears: Any member who is three months in arrears with his subscription shall be deemed to have ceased to be a member, unless explanation is given to the Committee in writing of extenuating circumstances.


6.Officers: The Officers shall be Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Trading Secretary. All Officers shall be ex-officio members of the Executive Committee.


7.Committee: The affairs of the Association shall be conducted by an Executive Committee of not less than eight members. A quorum shall be of not less than five members. Vacancies arising may be filled by co-option on the authority of the Executive Committee. All members shall retire annually and a fresh Committee be elected at each Annual General Meeting. Retiring members shall be eligible for re-election.


8.General Meetings: An Annual General Meeting shall be held during March or April each year. 14 days' notice shall be given and a quorum shall be ten members. At the meeting shall be presented the Secretary's Report and a set of Audited Accounts and the Officers and Executive Committee Members elected for the coming year. The Financial Year shall be from the First of January until the Thirty-First of December. The Secretary shall have authority to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting at any time after giving the due notice but he shall always do so if so requested by no less than ten general members in writing.


9.Discussions at Meetings: No party political or sectarian discussions shall be raised or resolutions proposed, at any Committee, sub-committee or General Meeting of the Association.


10.Funds: The Committee shall open an account with a Bank selected by the Executive Committee in the name of the Flitwick Gardeners Association and all monies received from any source on behalf of the Association shall be passed through the Treasurer or his nominee to be paid into the account. Cheques shall be signed by two signatories authorised by the Executive Committee one of whom shall always be the Treasurer or his nominee. But cheques may be signed by one Officer below £100.


11.Auditors: There shall be appointed two Auditors who are not members of the Executive Committee to audit the accounts and submit their reports to the Annual General Meeting. Only one auditor need be appointed if the auditor is a Chartered Accountant or person with an equivalent qualification.


12.Affiliation: The Association shall affiliate itself to any suitable Group providing it is non-political or non-sectarian and shall pay such annual affiliation fees as may from time to time be prescribed. Nominees may be appointed to represent the Association at the various organisations as determined from time to time.


13.Offences: The Executive Committee may terminate the membership of a member whose conduct is proved to their satisfaction to be detrimental to the Association or to the interests of his/her fellow members. Any charge against a member must be communicated in writing. An appeal from a decision of the Executive Committee may be made to a Special General Meeting on the requisition in writing of three members to the Secretary who will convene an Extra­ordinary General Meeting as soon as possible to hear the appeal.


14.Conversion, Dissolution, Etc: The Association may be converted into a registered society, or may be dissolved, or these rules may be amended by a two-thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote at a General Meeting convened with the due fourteen days' notice. The notice convening the General Meeting shall list the reason(s) for calling it.


15.Matters arising not covered by these Rules: Any matter not covered by the rules may be dealt with by the Executive Committee at its sole discretion.





Flitwick Gardeners’ Association Calendar


2 April


Spring Show

14 April


Annual General Meeting

7 May


Plant Sale at Tesco car park (tbc)

7 & 8 May


Seed Box Open Days (tbc)

11 June


FGA stall at Flitwick Carnival

20 August


Annual Show

8 October


Autumn Show

 24 Nov


FGA Quiz       (note date!!!)





Free Onion Sets


We will have at the Spring show, and afterwards at the Seed Box, onion sets for children to grow at home for exhibiting at the Annual Show. Make sure your children, and grandchildren, get theirs!


Colin Stennett

Show Secretary


2016 Photography Classes


The photography classes for the 2016 Annual Show are:


103 - Flora

104 - Fauna

105 - People

106 - Buildings


For the Children's photography class the subject is Flitwick.