VPA July News

On Saturday 8th June a small group of us visited The Vyne at Basingstoke and had a great time. The house is quite amazing and the new roof which cost £4M is outstanding. The room guides said how much warmer the house is and no more leaks into the rooms.

Our next event is the Summer Show on Saturday 13th July. The Schedules are now available at Blewbury Post Office, or Maggie Maytham at Upton (ring 01235 850126). You can also get it on line by emailing vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com. We want as many exhibitors as possible, so please make the effort and enter – even if you have only one item – you could win a prize!!

On the Thursday 8th August we have a very special event in Upton. Maggie Maytham is very kindly opening her garden (weather permitting – otherwise in the house) for an afternoon tea (cost £3 per head) starting at 5pm. After tea we will then walk to Prospect House and have a guided tour of the 2-acre garden. Alternatively you can drive from Maggie’s and park in the Village Hall car park. You MUST register for this event at Blewbury Post Office or with Maggie by the 1st August.

DID YOU KNOW? Bees are particularly attracted to blue, white, yellow and purple colours for their ultraviolet properties. It is no use planting red flowers in your garden to attract bees because bees cannot see red.

Happy Gardening Eileen

VPA Summer Show Schedules Now Available

Don’t forget our day trip on Saturday 8th June to The Vyne at Sherborne St John RG 24 9HL. The Vyne is a National Trust 16th century country house and estate. Full details of the time a nd transport arrangements will be available from Karen at Blewbury Post Office or from Maggie Maytham in Upton (01235 850126)

There has been a slight delay in producing the Summer Show Schedule – it should now be available either in the Blewbury post office or online by emailing Eileen on vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com or by ringing Margaret in Upton on 01235 850126. You don’t have to be an expert and it’s great fun taking part. Don’t forget the Childrens’ Section – hopefully we will have a few more junior exhibitors taking part this year.

DID YOU KNOW ?  “The sunflower is a native plant of the Americas, where the Indians used its seed as an important source of food.  The Incas of Peru were sun worshippers and used it in religious ceremonies.  The sunflower leans towards the sun in a process known as heliotropism.”

Happy Gardening—Eileen

V.P.A. to visit The Vyne.

Don’t forget we have a day trip on Saturday 8th June to The Vyne, Vyne Road, Sherborne St. John, RG24 9HL

The Vyne is a National Trust,16th century estate and country house. Following its huge 2-year roof project, this former Tudor palace has re-opened to tell the story of a Victorian brother and sister who saved the mansion. Full details of the time and transport arrangements will be available with Karen at Blewbury Post Office or contact Maggie Maytham in Upton (01235 850126).

The Summer Show Schedule will be in the Blewbury post office from May onwards or you can get it online from Eileen on vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com  or by ringing Margaret in Upton on 01235 850126. This is an opportunity for you to show off your skills – growing fruit, flowers and vegetables, or cooking, or handicraft or photography. You don’t have to be an expert and it’s great fun taking part.  There’s also a Childrens’ Section, so hopefully we will have a few more junior exhibitors taking part this year.

DID YOU KNOW ?  “The apple can grow at the highest latitude of all the fruits. Apple trees need almost 1,000 hours of cold autumn and winter air to produce their flowers, which explains why they cannot be grown in hotter climates. The apple was the earliest to be cultivated by man and, like so many other plants, it was introduced to Britain by the Romans. Today, China is the world’s leading apple producer.”

Happy Gardening



V.P.A. March Notes

Well, what about that March wind!!  On my allotment, one shed was blown over and two people lost (not literally)  their walk-in poly tunnels – they were crumpled up with the force of the wind.   Two polycarbonate panels of my greenhouse blew out, but fortunately didn’t break, so I got them back in with loads of clips.  I was surprised how well my over-winter broad beans survived – I now have flowers on them!   At home I’m still waiting to see if my red acer has survived from the heat of last summer – the leaves were burnt and fell off.   I can’t see any buds at the moment.   It seems as though everything else has survived and my Daphne and Viburnum have bloomed and smell beautiful.  Anyway enough of my personal ramblings.

We have an updated programme availabe in Blewbury Post Office and with Maggie Maytham in Upton.  It gives you the details of our event in August and also gives the correct date for the June outing – apologies for the previous error.

Don’t forget to look on the back of the programme for the tools we have available to hire for a donation.  You might find them useful when you really get going in your garden or allotment.   Our Mantas rotavator is up and running and is lightweight enough to make it so easy to use.

Karen is our Show Secretary now and is in the process of preparing the Schedule for the Summer Show – hopefully it will be in the Post Office soon and Maggie in Upton will also have copies.  So we can get our exhibits ready – there is a great variety of categories which cover gardening, cookery, handicraft, photography, so there must be something you can enter.

DID YOU KNOW ?  Raspberries can be grown anywhere from the Arctic to the Equator.   Strawberries were considered an aphrodisiac in the Middle Ages and a soup of strawberries, borage and cream was traditionally served to newly-weds for breakfast.”

Happy Gardening


V.P.A. Welcomes Members from outside the Villages


Well, so far so good with the weather – a bit of snow just to remind us all it’s still winter, but not too much rain to make it difficult to get into the garden and onto the allotments.

Many of you know I infiltrated the Blewbury and Upton VPA a good few years ago (although it was by invitation) and have been on the committee for quite a while. I live in Didcot on the Ladygrove Estate – I’m one of its original residents, having moved from London in 1988 and I’ve had an allotment on New Road since 2001. That’s the allotment site on the road coming into Didcot from Blewbury and Hagbourne.

The reason I am boring you with this information is to let anyone who is currently reading this edition of the Upton News and is not a resident of Blewbury or Upton know – “where ever you live, you are more than welcome to join us and take part in all our activities and events, especially our Summer Show.  Best of all Membership is free!”

If you would like a copy of our 2019 Programme send an email to vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com and I will send you a copy on line, or pop into Blewbury Post Office and pick one up.

Our first 2019 committee meeting took place last week and we discussed the Schedule for the Summer Show which takes place on Saturday 13th July at Blewbury Village Hall. Despite the really hot weather last year the Show was very well supported with over 30 exhibitors. Categories include exhibiting fruit, vegetables, flowers, cookery, handicraft, photography and also a childrens’ section. We also have a novice section in each category, so if you’ve never exhibited before – give it a go. It’s all great fun and you could win a trophy and prize money!!

Next month will have more details on the visit to The Vyne on the 8th June and we will let you know when the Summer Show Schedule is available.

DID YOU KNOW ?  Apart from being bad for cabbages, rue, is bad for many herbs. Some old wives’ tales say that it can make sage planted near it positively poisonous; but it is more likely to simply kill it, as it may basil. Many people plant gladioli in the vegetable garden, simply because the stakes that they need look ugly in the flower beds.  They are, however, extremely bad for peas and beans, and so bad for strawberries that these will suffer from them planted up to fifty feet away.”


Happy Gardening


New Year Update from the VPA

Our Annual Social took place on the 8th Dec and everyone had a very enjoyable evening.   The theme was France with French themed quizzes and a game of ‘Pin the flag on the Eiffel Tower’!   It culminated in a ‘snowball’ fight – I think the ladies proved to be better throwers than the men!

I can give you a few dates for our 2019 programme:

8th June – A visit to The Vyne (National Trust)   /   13th July – the Annual Summer Show at Blewbury Village Hall

August (date to be confirmed) – a visit to a garden in Upton and Afternon Tea in Maggie’s garden.

6th November – VPA Annual General Meeting    /    7th December  – Winter Social at Upton Village Hall.

Our programme is being finalised and we may have some more events planned.   Details will be in the next Upton News.

From all the Committee members of the Village Produce Association have a Peaceful New Year and we look forward to seeing you at our 2019 events.

DID YOU KNOW ?  Trees generally lose their leaves in the following succession:  walnut, mulberry, horsechestnut, sycamore, lime, ash;  then after an interval, elm;  then beech and oak;  then apple and pear trees, sometimes not till the end of November;  and lastly pollard oaks and young beeches, which retain their withered leaves till pushed off by their new ones in spring.”

Happy Gardening


VPA to visit Wisley Gardens

A couple of important dates for your diary.

Saturday 7th July – VPA Summer Show. Have you collected a copy of the schedule?? If you haven’t entered before, have a look – there is a great variety of categories – fruit, vegetables, flowers, handicraft, cookery, photography. Why not give it a go – you could be a winner!!  There are a few schedules left in the Blewbury post office or you can get it online by emailing Eileen on vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com or by ringing Margaret in Upton on 01235 850126.

Saturday 11th August – Day trip to the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisley.

Wisley was founded by businessman and RHS member George Ferguson Wilson who purchased a 60 acre site in 1878. Wisley is now a large and diverse garden covering 240 acres. In addition to numerous formal and informal decorative gardens, several glasshouses and an extensive arboretum, it includes small scale “model gardens” which are intended to show visitors what they can achieve in their own gardens, and a trials field where new cultivars are assessed.

If you are interested, the cost is £20 per person (includes entry and transport!). Book at Blewbury Post Office or for Upton residents, contact Maggie Maytham on 850126, as soon as possible.

Did You Know?  Oaks are among the slowest growing trees and usually don’t produce acorns until they are about twenty years old. Mulberry trees have been known to live for up to 600 years. Syon House in Brentford holds the two known oldest Mulberry trees in Britain today, both planted in 1548. Built for survival, if they are blown over in a storm they soon grow back again by raising themselves up on their branches.

Happy Gardening  Eileen


Latest Information from VPA.

Well, the weather has improved a little bit and now I might be able to retrieve my wellie boots which, over the Easter period, got stuck in my allotment when my hens were flooded.

Have you picked up your copy of the Summer Show Schedule yet? It’s in the Blewbury post office or you can get it online by emailing Eileen on vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com  or by ringing Margaret in Upton on 01235 850126.

Don’t forget our day trip to West Green House Gardens near Hartley Witney in Hampshire on Saturday 16th June, it is a beautiful corner of North Hampshire. The National Trust’s garden is an 18th century house surrounded by a series of walled gardens. It is a garden of contrast and inspiration created by acclaimed garden designer and writer Marylyn Abbott. It is one of Englands finest manor house gardens, marrying traditional style with contempory design.

If you are interested, to get full details – please contact:  Karen at the Blewbury Post Office, Eileen on 01235 510095 or Margaret in Upton on 01235 850126.  We will be travelling in cars, so if you need transport, please let us know.  Pick ups will be from Blewbury Village Hall and Upton Village Hall at 9.30am.

DID YOU KNOW ?  By 2006 the UK Water Industry had 1,584 boreholes, 666 reservoirs and 602 river abstractions.  Two thirds of our water comes from surface water and one third from groundwater.

Ralph Walso Emerson (1803-1882) said “The good rain, like the bad preacher, does not know when to leave off.”

Happy Gardening


VPA not happy with the Weather

What can I say?   We’re two thirds through March as I write this and has the weather improved since February?  No!! Then it was raining stair rods, blowing a gale and the weather gauge was showing 3.9 degrees centigrade!!  Now we’ve had the Beast from the East – Twice!! and Storm Emma from the West, with temperatures down to minus 6 degrees centigrade!!  At least in February I could sit and watch the winter Olympics!!  Now I’m just watching my broad beans and pea plants growing all spindly in the greenhouse as it’s too dodgy to try and put them in the freezing ground!! The only consolation is that at least the potatoes are still chitting nicely in the cool of the spare bedroom!!          !!! Have you ever seen so many explanation marks !!!

Good News!!  The Summer Show Schedule is now available from the Blewbury post office or you can receive it online by emailing Eileen on vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com or ring Margaret in Upton on 01235 850126.

More Good News!!  Full details of our trip to West Green House Gardens at Hartley Witney in Hampshire will be available in next months Upton News – the date is Saturday 16th JUNE – so please put it in your diary – with any luck we might have a bit of sunshine!!

DID YOU KNOW ?  Gertrude Jekyll said “Some of the most delightful of all gardens are the little strips in front of roadside cottages. They have a simple and tender charm that one may look for in vain in gardens of greater pretension.” AND:  Vita Sackville-West said “The more one gardens, the more one learns; and the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.  I suppose the whole of life is like that.”

Happy Gardening – weather permitting!!!


Details of the VPA Autumn Show

Our Autumn Show for 2018 is to be held on Saturday 7th July and will take place in the Blewbury Village Hall.

Anyone, no matter where they live, can enter.  In fact, a couple of years ago we had an entry from Canada!!

The VPA committee prepare the Show Schedule which gives details of the fruit, vegetables, roses, cut flowers, container plants, cookery, handicraft, informal floral art and photography which anyone can enter into the Show. Especially important is the Children’s Section which allows youngsters, in different age categories, to display their skills in gardening, cooking, together with arts and crafts.  There are trophies and certificates to win.

Bring your entries on the Saturday morning between 8.30am and 11.00am and then judging takes place between 11.15am and 1.00pm.  The Show is open to the public between 2.30pm and 4.00pm when the prize giving takes place.

We would love to see more people entering the Show – it really isn’t difficult. If you have some lovely fruit, vegetables or flowers – give it a go!  If you enjoy photography – give it a go!  If you enjoy cooking – give it a go!  If your hobby is handicraft – give it a go!   Just take a look at the Show Schedule to see what the Classes are for each Section – it’s so simple!

The Show Schedule will be available at the end of February from Blewbury post office or you can receive it online by emailing Eileen on vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com  or ring Margaret in Upton on 01235 850126.

We are looking forward to a bumper crop of entries this year!!

DID YOU KNOW ?  Broad beans should not be eaten in the evening because they are difficult to digest and have been known to cause nightmares.   In the Middle Ages it was thought that the souls of the dead lived inside the humble broad bean because it disturbed people’s sleep.  The Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras would not eat broad beans under any circumstances, so convinced was he that they were possessed by evil spirits. 

Happy Gardening