December 2020 newsletter

December's Zoom workshop "Make a Wreath with Sarah Broom"

From the Chairman: 

"Welcome to the December edition of our newsletter, the last of this extraordinary year. Our gardens have not noticed it, though – I can see primroses out on the rockery as I write. In fact, I count all the flowering plants in the garden on Christmas Day, and usually reach 25 or more. Spring is just waiting for us! With luck (and vaccines), 2021 will be a better year for us all, and we will be able to gather for our usual talks, trips and Shows, so hold on to that thought! Meanwhile, the Committee is working on the programme and Summer Show schedule: more news in the next newsletter. Keep yourselves healthy and cheerful over the Christmas season and we will come out on the other side as the days lengthen, and our gardens come back to life.." - Robin Britton
In this issue:
  • Meet our new officers
  • Monica Mellor, Secretary
  • Alan Vian, Treasurer
  • What’s coming up?
  • Christmas shopping
  • Your Christmas flower photos
  • Gardening volunteers wanted for Pavilion at Uplyme
  • A recipe from Pam Corbin – Christmas Apples
  • Gardeners’ World Magazine
  • Members’ photos

Meet our new officers

Monica Mellor is taking over from Rose Mock as our Secretary and Alan Vian is following in John Routley’s footsteps as Treasurer.  Here’s an introduction to our new officers. Do say 'hello' to them when we’re all finally able to get back together again.

Monica Mellor, Secretary

Monica has been married to Paul for 49 years. They live in a house built for Paul’s grandparents in 1956 which they have been renovating over the last four years since they moved to Lyme from near Lancaster.  Monica taught primary school children aged 4-11 on and off while having three children and coping with lots of moving around the country necessitated by Paul’s work for Marks & Spencer.
Monica says: “I have always loved gardening and grown vegetables and fruit every year. Now I’m retired and with more time and a garden which needed some loving attention, I am having fun learning more about trees and flowers. It’s all good fun!”

Alan Vian, Treasurer

Alan came to Lyme Regis 16 years ago and since then describes himself as having been lucky enough to be involved in many of the sea front events like Carnival and Lifeboat Weeks whilst continuing to teach children at a local residential field studies centre. Alan has been Town Crier since 2012 and has supported the society’s Summer Show by making the announcements. Alan has also been treasurer of Lyme Regis Baptist Church, Hooke Court in Malawi and the Lyme Fireworks Fund.
Of his gardening, Alan says: “I am my wife Lynne’s ‘garden slave’ and in this special year I have taken even greater pleasure in our ‘cottage style’ garden. During ‘lockdown’ we were able to raise and sell £2300 worth of plants to support schools in rural Malawi. I am now lucky enough to be volunteering two days a week at Burrow Farm Gardens. I look forward to supporting the society’s activities.”

What’s coming up?

In-person get togethers are still seeming a long way off so our Zoom sessions are growing more popular as a way of seeing other society members and getting a regular gardening ‘fix’. As one first time participant in our previous session to share members’ gardens said: “Some of the atmosphere of a face to face meeting seems to have been generated - well done. I will certainly be coming along to the next Zoom meeting.”
So if you haven’t joined a Zoom meeting yet, why not give it a try? If you aren’t confident to use the technology, see if a neighbour, friend or family member might be able to set it up for you. We offer Zoom familiarisation sessions too, so if you would like one of these please contact Tricia Boyd at, 07767 261444.
We have circulated a provisional schedule for next year along with the membership cards. This can also be viewed on our website, where it will be kept up to date. We are currently exploring additional events for the early part of the year so do keep an eye open for announcements. 
  • **NEW** January 13th (Wednesday) – Marmalade matters
    Join at 7pm for a 7.15pm start
    Are you a marmalade maker or a marmalade eater? Of course you are.
    In which case you’ll be interested in our marmalade-themed Zoom evening. Led by World Marmalade Awards judge Pam Corbin, this evening will be your chance to find out everything you ever wanted to know about marmalade. There will be a Marmalade Question Time, you’ll learn what makes a truly world-class marmalade, and we’ll even extend our marmalade theme to plants and gardens. The programme is still being developed but make a note of the date. Further scrumptious information to follow.
  • January 27th (Wednesday) – ‘Grow your own happiness’
    Join at 7pm for a 7.15pm start
    Alan Heeks will be running this Zoom workshop on ‘Grow your own happiness’. The workshop will show how gardening methods can be adapted to improve your wellbeing and resilience, including a chance to try out some techniques. Just what we need in difficult times. Alan gardens with his wife in Bridport, and created a 130-acre organic farm and education centre at Magdalen Farm in West Dorset. The invitation to this event will be sent out in the new year but please make a note of the date in your diary.

Christmas shopping

We’ll all be glad that our local shops are able to open again and I’m sure will be supporting the local businesses that add to Lyme Regis’s character.
There is additionally a chance to view and buy unique arts, crafts and gifts at local exhibitions.
The Town Mill, Lyme Regis will be running ‘Christmas at the Mill’ in the Malthouse Gallery from 9th December to 3rd January. See
The Gallery on the Symondsbury Estate always has something of interest alongside the individual shops located onsite. See

The Artisans’ Bazaar at Sculpture by the Lakes reopens post lockdown through to 23rd December for individual Christmas gifts from over 80 makers. Café also open; tickets to the gardens can be purchased. See
Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens are combining Christmas shopping with a garden visit with their illuminated Wonderland Sculpture Trail from 5-20 December, running from 4.30-8pm daily.  The café will be open every evening and the shop will be fully stocked with quality Christmas gifts. Members from Dorset Food and Drink are expected to have pop up stalls inside the wedding marquee on West Lawn. Tickets £7.50 per person. Online booking essential. See


Your Christmas flower photos

If, as Robin described in his introduction, you like to wander round your garden on Christmas Day and see what’s in flower, why don’t you take a camera round with you and snap what’s in flower? Send your photos to and we’ll publish a selection in our January newsletter. Thank you.

Gardening volunteers wanted for Pavilion at Uplyme

The trustees of the King George V Playing Fields in Uplyme are looking for a little gardening help to improve the look of the area in front of the old pavilion.
Ideally, they would like volunteers to plant a bed about 3m wide and 0.75m deep in front of the paling fence on each side of the pavilion with seasonal herbaceous plants, so that there are flowers most of the time. A couple of hanging baskets would also be great.
The charity would cover the cost of seeds and plants but is hoping to keep these at a reasonable level. It would also be helpful if anyone was willing to tend the beds throughout the year or even just over the summer.
The trustees would welcome a group of interested volunteers to spread the work, working within any Covid restrictions.  If you would be interested and would like to be part of a group then please pass your name initially, without any obligation, to
The old pavilion at King George V Playing Fields, Uplyme
– looking for a little gardening tlc.

A recipe from Pam Corbin – Christmas Apples

Living in the beautiful Lym Valley, we know that apples are very much part of our heritage and should be celebrated and used to toast the festive season.   Over the years these simple apples have become part of our Christmas Eve tradition making a light refreshing pud to enjoy before the customary Christmas indulgences the following day.  You’ll find any left overs are delicious at breakfast time too, so it’s worth making a few more. The reason I suggest using eating apples is because they stay whole and won’t collapse to a fluff of snow like cooking apples do.

10 medium-sized eating apples e.g. Cox, Russets or another good-flavoured English apple
200g marzipan, shop bought or home-made
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 walnut halves or glace cherries
Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C/Gas mark 4

🍏Peel and core the apples. 
🍏Stuff the cavities with the marzipan.
🍏Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and roll each apple in to coat lightly. 
🍏Place in an ovenproof dish and place a walnut half or glace cherry on the top. 
🍏Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until the apples are soft but still hold their shape.  
🍏Serve with custard, ice-cream, cream or yoghurt
VARIATION:  fill the cavities with mincemeat, or even make ‘Tutti Frutti’ and fill with a mix of marzipan and mincemeat, - of course with a cherry on the top!


Gardeners’ World Magazine back issues

Moya Paul has a 2019 set of the Gardeners’ World Magazine, together with a few copies of Kitchen Garden Magazine to give away. If anyone is interested in these please contact Moya at

Members’ photos 

Above left and right - Christmas wreaths made at our last meeting/workshop by Rose Mock and Liz Davis, and below, Flowers from Sue Brunner's garden, and Rosa "Joie de Vivre".

Your contributions welcome!

We’re always looking for gardening news and photos of interest to our members. If you have anything to share please contact Tricia Boyd or call on 07767 261444

Thank you as usual to this month’s contributors, and keep your photos and stories coming to alleviate the difficulties of lockdown at a rather less sunny time of year.
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