Plant Sale 14 May 2022

Heartfelt thanks to all who helped make the Plant Sale such a huge success.  We were astonished at the generosity of all those who donated plants.  Thank you to everybody who gave so generously and bought so avidly.  We intend to run the sale again in May 2023 with the addition of a Plant Creche to assist you in your purchasing.

Photos from the event are in the Gallery

May 2022 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for May 2022.

The way prices are rising everywhere makes it even more important to grow your own where you can. This year the Capel Horticultural Society will be having its Plant Sale on Saturday 7th May and most of the plants, especially vegetable seedlings, will have been grown by members. This means that they will be used to the micro environment of our wonderful village and should flourish once the frosts are over. Look out for runner beans, courgettes, leeks and herbs amongst many other offerings at bargain prices. One national seed company is offering runner bean plants at over 60p per plant. It is probable that they will be at a much reduced price at the Plant Sale so come along to the Village Hall for the start at 10 o’clock.

May is a good month to divide primulas and polyanthus after they have flowered, move any that are badly placed (in full sun for example). Plant out sweet peas sown last autumn, and sow some more at the base of the supports to keep a succession going.

Remember that frost is still a threat, so be careful about planting out tender plants, especially in exposed areas of the garden. Better to wait until June. Sow biennials like Canterbury bells and Sweet William. Fast growing hardy annuals such as calendula, clarkia, cornflower, and nasturtium can also be sown, but do it early in the month.

In unheated greenhouses or coldframes, now is the time to sow basil, calabrese, summer cauliflower, French and runner beans, kale, lettuces, parsley and sprouting broccoli. Put up supports for runner beans and late peas, but make sure that they will not shade out sun-loving neighbours. Remember to continue to earth up potatoes to protect them from frost and to encourage more tubers. It is also the way to stop the tubers from going green. If they become exposed to sunlight, that’s exactly what they will do.

Sow courgettes and marrow at a minimum temperature of 18ºC. Keep potting-on tomatoes as they outgrow their pots until they are in the final growing spot.

Direct sow beetroot, winter cabbage and maincrop carrots

If frost is forecast, protect the flowers of strawberries with fleece.

With good wishes for Good Gardening


What a delight that the sun shone for our first Spring Show in two years!  How good it felt to be back meeting with friends and neighbours in the Memorial Hall.  Viewing the fabulous exhibits and catching up on news over tea and cake.

Congratulations to all participants, a total of 120 entries made for a great exhibit when the doors opened in the afternoon.  Cookery classes were well represented with everything from loaves of bread through to beautiful Simnel Cakes and jars of chutney.  The colourful array of spring flowers was truly stunning.  Stately narcissi and pretty posies in jam jars all contributing to the display.  Bright red sticks of rhubarb sat alongside trays of lettuce plants next to the always popular children’s entries.  There were some wonderful drawings of The Queen, an excellent crown, models, Easter cards, Easter gardens and cookery – well done to all the children for participating.

Special congratulations to the cup prize winners and sincere thanks to all those that made it happen.  It was good to be back on track, something of a warm up for the Summer Show.

For full results click here and check out the pictures in our gallery.

April 2022 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for April 2022.

I am always a bit dubious about advertising claims but recent experience with Aspen petrol in different petrol driven mowers makes me change my mind.  The company claims that their product is much better for mowers because it has no inclusions and makes it easier to start the machine.  This has happened to me with 2 different mowers one of which still had EU10 petrol left in it over the winter (a mistake in itself).  It was not until the Aspen petrol got through that it started.  The other one was dry, after refuelling with Aspen it started on the third pull.  Aspen is available from Horace Fuller in Horsham or in most garden centres.  It is not cheap.  I paid £20 for 5 litres last autumn.  There is no knowing what it will be under current circumstances but my shoulders certainly appreciated it.

Clematis are popular.  They are members of the Ranunculae, which are named after ‘Rana’ (the frog) and demand a cool moist root run.  When planting remember that they need shade at the base so it is a good idea to put a piece of stone or paving over the top after you have planted them out.

Plant late flowering herbaceous plants in April, such as kniphofias and michelmas daisies (Aster novi-belgii).  Old clumps of taller rudbekias, helianthuses, monardas and heleniums will benefit from being split up in April since this will revitalise them, especially if they have been producing smaller flowers and losing their lower leaves in the previous season.

Plant onion sets and keep up a succession of salad crop sowings.  April is the time to sow late summer cauliflower.  If frost is forecast, cover up any potato foliage that might be showing.  Make sowings of winter cabbage, purple-sprouting and spring-heading broccoli.

Don’t forget herbs.  You can sow dill, fennel, hyssop, marjoram, rue and thyme.  Parsley should be sown, allow time for it to germinate.  Old fashioned gardeners used to keep a little bit of seed in a waistcoat pocket with a hole so it fell out as they gardened!  (So they tell me).

If you have sweet peas they should be planted out now.  If you are going to try and grow the larger specimens as cordons, start restricting growth by removing all tendrils and side shoots and remember to support them otherwise the slugs and snails will have a feast.

Towards the end of the month, if we have had dry weather, start to thin out salad crops like carrot.  One tip is to water the row the night before so that it is easier to pull the roots out the next day.

Camellias will benefit from a top dressing of leaf mould.  Remember to prune early flowering shrubs like berberis, forsythia, and spiraea immediately after flowering.

Do remember that early morning frosts are a real danger all through April and May, it is not until June, (and even then it can be a bit dicey for the first week!) that it is safe to put out any vulnerable plants – unless you can protect them at night.

The Capel Horticultural Society Plant Sale will be held on Saturday 7th May in the Village Hall starting at 10 a.m.


Stewards needed

We are looking for some friendly folk to help as stewards in the marquee on Capel Show day 20th August.  It’s an easy task helping exhibitors and judges and a training session will be arranged for those who have not acted as stewards previously.  Please do consider participating and we promise you a free tasty lunch on the day!  Contact Mandy Schryver or 07889 756252

March 2022 Garden Tips

Garden notes for March 2022

It is a good time in March to increase your stock of perennials like delphiniums, pulmonarias, dahlias and chrysanthemums. The way to do it is to look for shoots of about 5cm long, take them as cuttings using a sharp knife to remove the shoot at root level. Pot them up individually in small pots using a mixture of 7 parts compost and 3 parts vermiculite. Put them in a cold frame, or an unheated greenhouse and they should root in about 10 days. Once they are rooted, repot in larger pots of compost (perhaps John Innes No.2). Remember to label them and if you have spare ones they would be very welcome for the Society to sell them at our Plant Sale in May to raise funds which have been rather depleted in the last two years because of the pandemic.

Snowdrops that have stopped blooming should be lifted and divided as soon as possible. Unlike other bulbs they should be multiplied whilst their leaves are still green. It is a good idea to do this at least once every 3 or 4 years as the bulbs may become too closely packed together to give a good show the following year if it is not done.

In order to give the best germination of any seeds that you want to start, make sure that the soil, or seed compost, you use is as warm as possible. So put out cloches over the area in the garden where you intend to start early crops. Do this at least a week or so before sowing in order to warm the ground. Equally, if you are using a seed compost, bring it in to a shed or greenhouse before making up the pots or seed trays so that it has been thoroughly warmed through. Most seeds need a soil temperature of at least 10ºC (50ºF), and do better if it is about 15ºC. This is a very general rule of thumb*, and there are many differences for different species, but it is true for a lot of the plants we grow.

Watch out for drying winds and sun days of March and try to get on the garden as soon as possible after that, because it is almost certain that rain will follow and you will not be able to do anything. It is all very well to give this advice for those who are able to follow the weather, but very difficult for the weekend gardener! Our clay is a very fertile medium if you can manage it properly. Over time the addition of humus from garden compost, farmyard manure and so on will help but it is a long term and continuing process.

Towards the middle or end of March, depending on the temperature, you should prune roses. If you want large blooms, prune severely, cutting all strong young growths back to 3 or 4 buds from where growth started last spring. For general garden purposes leave 5 or 6 buds. This allows for re-growth should any late frosts nip off the earliest growth.

Make sure that your garden mowing equipment is serviced and ready for use as the weather improves and the grass starts to get back to growing.

Sweet peas that have been growing in pots should be hardened off for planting out in April.

Dahlia tubers should be started off in gentle heat to get the shoots that will form the plants for growing on.

The Spring Flower Show will be held on Sunday 10th April in the Village Hall. The Schedule will be ready soon, so look out for your free copy at Capel News agency and Carters. Like the plants it will be emerging in March. Do have a go at one or more of the entries, it is good fun and you will be warmly welcomed.


Old Friends Lunches

On February 3rd the Horticultural Society took their turn at providing puddings for the Old Friends Lunch (now held monthly in The Crown).  Various committee members provided an amazing selection of sweet delights:  Creme Caramel, Blackberry & Apple Crumble, Bread & Butter pudding, Fruit-filled Pavlova, Apple Sponge, Fruit Salad and Lemon Meringue Pie all served with lashings of cream and custard were extremely well received.

CHS Group Competition

Now is the time to consider entering this year’s Group Competition which will be judged at Capel Show in August.  Any group of 4 – 8 people can enter.  There are different age group categories so whether a primary school student or a member of the Evergreens you can get growing together with friends, have fun and make a magnificent entry of home-grown fruit, flowers, vegetables or herbs at this year’s Capel Show.

Spring Show

We are pleased that our Spring Show will go ahead as planned this year on Sunday 10 April.  Do take some time to look at the schedule and consider an entry.  There are a few new categories in recognition of our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and plenty for the children to do through the Easter holidays.
We are pleased to re-instate the Potato Competition.  Seed potatoes and sacks will be available at the show for entrants to take away and grow for judging at Capel Show on 20th August.
Even if you don’t make an entry to the show, come along and enjoy a great piece of home made cake and a good cup of tea.  There’s always somebody to chat to and you might even win the star prize of a hamper packed with goodies for the price of a raffle ticket.

February 2022 Garden Tips

Garden Notes for February 2022.

Talking to a local gardener recently I was advised on the benefits of warming the soil early in the season using horticultural fleece as a protective and warming barrier. In this way any seedbeds that have been protected under cloches or garden fleece can be started to be sown with hardy vegetables such as parsnips. You can also start to consider sowing some early cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Divide and replant chives towards the end of the month.

Remember to keep your garden furniture in good shape for the coming season. If you can bring them inside to dry off, and then lightly sand down items made from natural sources. Then apply a mix of equal parts turpentine and linseed oil (raw, not the cooked type). Apply at least two good coats of this mixture.

Towards the end of the month dogwoods/cornus that have the lovely wood stems in brilliant reds and yellows should be coppiced, to encourage new growth for the next year’s winter show. Usually I am cautious and only cut about one-third to one half, but if you are brave, have a go and do the whole bush.

As the buds on the gooseberry bushes begin to swell, they will become ever more attractive to bullfinches and other birds, so give them some protection. Ideally, they should be protected by a fruit cage. Alternatively use the old trick of straining black cotton thread from branch to branch over the bushes.

If you sow sweet peas in mid-February (in a greenhouse) they will produce plants to flower later in the summer. Trim back winter flowering heathers as the blooms fade, with shears to prevent them from getting overgrown and straggly.

Now is the time to bring the stools of outdoor chrysanthemums into the greenhouse and give them a little warmth and all the light possible so that they make sturdy cuttings. Towards the middle of the month start dahlia tubers off in gentle warmth.

Consider starting some annual flowering plants such as larkspur, cornflower, godetia, clarkia and calendula under cloches. With care, they could be in bloom early and provide those lovely cut flowers in June.

Purple Buddleia davidii should be pruned towards the end of the month. You will be well rewarded provided you prune quite severely, but always leave at least 3 or 4 buds for the fresh growth, in case there are late frosts.

Keep an eye out for slug and snail damage on emerging plants, as this will cause severe damage. Use appropriate control measures.

Early onion seedlings raised under glass should be pricked off into boxes, 5cm apart each way to give them the best opportunity to develop before being planted out. Towards the end of the month it is a good idea to divide and replant chives.