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With how things stand at the moment with COVID-19, we still don't know when we will be able to resume our meetings, We are hopeful that maybe after Easter and with the vaccine being rolled out that some things might start to get back to normal but it is still too early to say. We will keep you informed as soon as we are given the go ahead. Meantime, we wish you all a better, brighter, safer 2021. Stay well, stay safe and obey whatever the current rules are for your area. Remember the virus moves when people move, that’s how it spreads. If you don't move, the virus dies. It’s that simple!

Please continue to stay safe.


Gardens to gander


West Dean gardens are open throughout the whole of January from 10.30am-4pm. Tickets have to be booked online at during the COVID restrictions. RHS members have free entry. 

Insector Clueso! 

A shield bug known in the US and Europe for damaging fruit crops and ornamentals has been found for the first time in Essex.


An adult brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) was captured in Rainham. Scientists are now looking for signs of a breeding colony. Originally from Asia, the bug was first recorded in the US in the mid 1990’s and are now established in 41 states.


The breed in such large numbers can be a real nuisance as they can hibernate in people’s houses. Found in most European countries with a host range of at least 51 edible and ornamental plant species, there is now concern for UK gardeners and commercial growers.


These shield bugs are sap feeders; they make fruit unsaleable by injecting saliva into fruitlets that causes distortion and stains flesh. If you think you have found one, them email a photograph to:


Check if you think you have by selecting ‘Shield bug’ option at

Weeders Digest






Learn to identify, treat and prevent plant pests and diseases with the help of the experts at the RHS. A detailed A-Z plant listing explains common plant problems so you know what to look out for in your garden. Explore more than 300 close-up photos showing symptoms and causes of ailments, helping you to identify and treat problems fast. Includes suggestions for organic, biological and chemical controls to keep you one step ahead of pests and diseases.

Keep your plants in perfect condition all year round.

ISBN: 1405341777

Top gardening jobs for January 

Often the coldest month.

January might be the middle of winter but as the days lengthen the garden starts to grow. Now is a great time to plan for the coming gardening year and to order seeds and plants. Enjoy the fresh air on dry sunny days and check your winter protection, stakes, ties and supports are still working after any severe weather. Also put food out for the birds and leave some garden areas uncut a little longer, to provide shelter for wildlife in your garden.

1. Recycle your Xmas tree by shredding for mulch 
2. Clean pots and greenhouses ready for spring
3. Dig over any vacant plots what have not been dug already

4. Disperse worm casts in lawns

5. Inspect stored tubers of Dahlia, Bergonia and Canna for rots or drying out 
6. Prune apple and pear trees
7. Start forcing rhubarb 
8. Plan your vegetable crop rotations for the coming season  
9. Keep putting food out for hungry birds 
10. Make a polythene shelter for outdoor peaches and nectarines, to protect them against peach leaf curl 


‘The holly bush, a sober lump of green,
Shines through the leafless shrubs all brown and grey, And smiles at winter be it e’er so keen
With all the leafy luxury of May’

John Clare ‘Winter Walk’


‘Anyone who thinks gardening begins and ends in the Autumn is missing the best part of the whole year, for gardening begins in January with the dream’

Josephine Neuse


‘Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true’

Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Ring Out Wild Bells

‘I like to think
That, long ago,
There fell to Earth Some flakes snow Which loved this cold, Grey world of ours
So much, they stayed As snowdrop flowers’


And finally an infection we all need to catch!

‘Smiling is infectious
You catch like the flu
When someone smiled at me today I started smiling too.
I walked around the corner
And someone saw me grin
When he smiled, I realised
I had passed it on to him.

I thought about the smile And then realised it’s worth; A single smile like mine Could travel round the earth.

So if you feel a smile begin, Don’t leave it undetected. Start an epidemic
And get the world infected.

Spike Milligan

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