Gardening Group Leader - Claire Riley


The group meets 10.30 am to mid-day on the last Friday of each month at the Centre de Loisirs, Eymet, except during school holidays. Parking is adjacent to the centre.

Meetings are varied with Slide Shows and Talks on a wide variety of subjects, Garden Visits, Question and Answer Sessions, Seed Exchange and an annual Picnic and Plant Exchange.

The membership consists of people with varied interests and passions relating to all aspects of Gardening and Flora but with one thing in common, to share knowledge and to learn from others.

New members are always welcome.


For further information Contact Claire Riley


Gardening Group Programme 2018/2019

Friday, 26th October. Monbazillac Tour and wine tasting (CDL closed for Toussaint   holiday). Meet at Monbazillac at 10.30am
Friday, 23rd November, 10.30am, Center de Loisirs, Eymet – External Speaker The Open Gardens Scheme, France
Friday, 14th December, 10.30am, Center de Loisirs, Eymet – Christmas Meeting with mulled wine and mince pies. Demonstration of how to make your entrance hall floral display by Miriam Hammond
Friday, 25th January, 10.30am, Center de Loisirs, Eymet - Annual Raffle
Friday, 22nd February, Annual Gardening Group Luncheon – venue tbc
Friday, 29th March, 10.30am, Center de Loisirs, Eymet – The Spring Challenge
Friday, 19th April, CDL closed due to holidays (external event)
Friday, 10th May, Garden Visit and luncheon at Chartreuse du Colombier
Friday, 17th May, The Plant Swap and Iris Collection chez Hazel Vincent
Friday, 28th June, The Gardening Group Picnic chez Riley

Please bring your gardening queries along to the meetings for our Question and Answer time.

ACFAA Gardening Group Meeting - 27th September 2019

I hope you have all enjoyed your weekend and had a chance to plant some bulbs, whether it be tulips or onions.

There were around 50 of us at the meeting on Friday, with many new members as well as our existing members.  We were joined by Mary-Anne Boudreau, ACFAA Art Group Leader, who came along to judge the Bishop of Llandaff Dahlia Competition. She had a hard decision as there were a selection of well grown exhibits to choose from.  The winner was Carole Goodall; having the most flowers in bloom on her exhibit. The runner up was Di Thorby. Well done ladies.

There was also a delicious selection of goodies to taste, first was Cathy Heaton with her courgette bites and the runner up was Hazel Vincent with a pear and ginger confit. 

Well done and thank you to those of you who entered.  If you are willing to share your secret recipes with the group please let me know and I will forward them via email.

Following the results of our competition we had a Q&A session.  It is always a pleasure to see how much knowledge there is in the room that we can share with one another and hopefully some of the gardening issues shared were solved. 

With so many of us at the meeting, Jill and Tina were almost run off their feet trying to keep up the supply of coffee and tea, well done ladies.  I would also like to thank Sue Ruddick who very kindly donated an extra bottle of milk.

The plant sale table was a success and the money we made will go towards paying for speakers, reducing the entry price for our garden visits and prizes for our competitions.

Lastly, a big thank to Ian Cockrill who came early to help me set up the room and thank you to those of you who helped to put the furniture away at the end of the meeting.

Do let me know if you were at the meeting on Friday but didn't get to write in the signing in book and I will put you on the list of attendees.


Gardening Group Trip - 23rd July 2019

Dear Members

On 23rd July a dozen Gardening Group members braved the heat to enjoy the famous water lilie nursery Latour-Marliac.  A big thankyou to Sue Riddick for booking this date in our diaries as it has been on the ACFAA Gardening Group “wish list” for some time.
The nursery was created in 1875 by Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac.  Back then the only water lily in Europe was a white one.  He introduced other wild varieties from North America and hybridized them.  Almost 20 years later he was ready to present his creations at the World’s Fair in Paris, along with the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower.  His winning certificates for these glorious creations were on the wall in the museum today, along with other interesting memorabilia.
Attending the Fair in Paris in 1889, was Claude Monet.  He loved them, he was captivated by them, and after acquiring Giverny, he then ordered a huge quantity of water lilies from Latour-Marliac.  The resulting paintings are now on display in Paris at the Orangerie Museum. for info.

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Gardening Group Picnic - 5th July 2019

Dear All

I have just returned from a relaxing week in Spain, but would like to up date you all on our most recent Gardening Group event.

On Friday, 5th July, a week later than planned we met up for our annual picnic.  The weather was just as hot as the week before, so we took up residence in the shade of the stables.

With a special guest appearance from John Collyer, Guitar and Ukulele Group Leader playing a set on his guitar as people arrived and a glass of Pimms, we braved the heat to wander around the garden and then after lunch there was more musical entertainment from John and his fantastic Ukulele Group students.
I do hope you enjoy the summer break and look forward to seeing some of you at the ACFAA Registration Evening on Friday 30th August and the Salle Polyvalent, Eymet. 
There will be drinks and nibbles and a chance to put your name down for other ACFAA groups and see what projects are planned for the 2019/2020 season.

Please note in your diary that our next Gardening Group meeting will be the result of the Dahlia Competition on Friday, 27th September, at the CDL, Eymet, 10.15am for coffee, 10.30 start.  Further information on presentation of your entries to come nearer the time.


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Gardening Group Trip - 2nd July 2019

On Tuesday, 2nd July ten members visited Lherm Lavender Farm in the Lot. It was thankfully a cooler morning for travelling and upon arrival just before 11.00 am, we received a very warm welcome from Suzie and her Kiwi husband, Ian Dick, proprietors of Lherm.

The couple bought their land and property 20 years ago having decided to settle in France when they retired. At that stage the house was in a state of disrepair and the land overgrown and it wasn’t until they visited Ian’s family in New Zealand several years later and stumbled across a beautiful Lavender Farm with similar property and land, they had their ‘eureka’ moment and knew exactly what they would do back in France. As luck would have it, a horticulturalist from Kew Gardens specialising in Lavender was visiting the farm in New Zealand whilst they were there and she was able to advise them as to varieties of lavender they should grow in France.

Some 10 years ago, they began work to rebuild their stone house and clear the land and planted their field with 2000 lavender bushes of various varieties, many Hidcote, sourced from the UK, which they have nurtured and harvested ever since.

Suzie showed us their harvesting implement which is an adapted tea leaf harvesting machine and also their distillery, the distiller having come from San Fransisco and adapted by Ian. The couple work tirelessly together and yield around 2 litres of pure lavender oil per harvest. They use the oil and lavender water to make around 36 products ranging from face creams to insect repellents, which they sell in their small boutique shop.

It was a very interesting visit and after sampling Suzie’s delicious lavender biscuits and buying a few of their beautifully packaged products, we left at around 13.30 to head back, stopping off at the very pretty Hostellerie De Goujounac for lunch en route!

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 ACFAA Gardening Group - 25th January 2019

Good morning everyone
I am looking forward to seeing you all next week when we will have a demonstration on how to construct a home-made greenhouse heater by Victor Scovell, followed by the Annual Gardening Club Raffle, so please contact me if you have anything you would like to donate (new items only please).   
We will finish off with a question and answer session. 
I will also have information available on future events, and a clip board for your suggestions on places you would like to visit and gardening topics you wish to cover.  I cannot promise to fit them all in this season but it will help to get your ideas.
If you have a specialist gardening subject you would be willing to share with the group, please let me know.  We would love to hear from you.
Marina and Jill have offered to serve the hot drinks so please remember to bring your cup and if you would like to bake a cake or make some biscuits that would be a real treat.
See you at the Centre de Loisirs, Eymet from 10.15



Newsletter January 2019

Good Morning All

I do hope you all enjoyed your Christmas festivities and are now planning how you will celebrate the New Year. 

If you haven't got there already, it's a beautiful morning.  Come on out and plan your crop rotation in the vegetable garden, rake up the last of the fallen leaves and get them into a corner where you can allow them to rot down.  If you have compost, get spreading around your shrubs.  Cutting back, well we may still have some hard frost to come so leave your tender perennials, just clear away anything soggy that could be a hiding place for slugs and snails.  Finish pruning vines and tying in for next year.  If you didn't prune lavender at the end of July, leave it now until March.  Cut back asparagus and weed around it then spread a layer of manure to protect the crowns and improve nutrients in the soil.

Check your greenhouse plants; do they need a light water, have they shed some leaves or if it's empty, do some prep for spring.  Washing pots and a wipe down of windows and surfaces using a soft brush and some soapy water or J's fluid if you have it!

Bonfire ash contains potassium so can be scattered around fruit trees and vines to improve cropping.

Hardwood cuttings, a thick single stem with a bud on the top and bottom.  They are the newest shoots that have hardened ready to survive the winter.  Cut some and just stick them in the ground in the vegetable patch and see what happens. 

Clean out bird boxes with boiling water, no detergents necessary, as previous nesting material can contain bacteria harmful to young chicks.  If you grow grasses cut them back, a bit, not too hard yet, and leave the dried out material so that the early nesting birds can use it for their nesting material.  Keep bird feeders full up as birds get used to coming for the seeds and waste energy flying to an empty feeder.

If you are splitting perennials, ensure you give them a drink once replanted.

The RHS website has lots of information and gardening tips and I am sure I am not telling you anything you don't already know but come on out and enjoy this mild weather. 

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.



Past Events

ACFAA Association Gardening Group - 14th December 2018

Good afternoon everyone.
I hope you all enjoyed the fantastic "Designer Christmas Tree", created by Miriam Hammond this morning, it really was inspiring. Thank you Miriam and also for entertaining us with your wonderful stories about your experiences with NAFAS in the UK.  Also, thank you to Carol and Gerry Steel for providing the most delicious mulled wine.I will be sending out an update next week on what to do now in the garden and on pruning and cutting back.  Also an update on the meetings planned for the early part of 2019.

Last but not least, a thankyou to Tina for serving coffee and tea this morning and to those who helped move the furniture back to its original spot.

Have a good weekend everyone.


19th October 2018 Monbazillac Tour and wine tasting

Dear Members
We had the most fabulous morning at the chateau Monbazillac on Friday 19th October.  Our tour guide was extremely well informed on the history of not only the Chateau, but also the furniture and the ancient artifacts, and afterwards we tasted two of the delicious sweet wines they produce in the vineyards.  Thank you to all those who were able to make it.  
Please remember our next meeting is on Friday 23rd November, 10.15am at the Centre de Loisirs (CDL) Eymet.  We have a speaker coming to talk to us from the Open Gardens Scheme.  So hopefully some of our group may be inspired to open for this charitable cause.
Jill Burgess and Marina Braney have offered to serve coffee/tea so don't forget your mug and please bring along any plants you have spare for the plant sale table.
Our Christmas meeting will be at the CDL on Friday, 14th December, 10.15am, and our very own Miriam Hammond will be demonstrating "A Designer Christmas Tree".  Make a note in your diary folks.> Looking forward to seeing you soon.
P.S. I hope that you all saw the information on the ACFAA’s Christmas party on 8 December.  Look forward to meeting you there with your friends.

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28th September 2018 Meeting: Potato Challenge Results and Harvest Festival.

Our meeting on Friday 28th September, at the Centre de Loisirs, was a reunion of old and new members and the results of The Potato Challenge and Harvest Festival. Here are some photographs from the mornings celebrations. Congratulations to the winners.

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30th March 2018 Meeting: Potato Growing Competition

Just a reminder that we meet on Friday 30th. March at the Center de Loisir, Eymet at 10.15am for coffee and our meeting will begin at 10.30.
Potato Growing Competition: I will bring along the potatoes and the pots to grow them in.  Each potato will cost 1 euro and you can purchase more than one if you wish.
Each person will be responsible for the growing medium and at our September meeting, after the summer break, we will bring in our pots, containing the harvest, and see who has managed to grow the most potatoes in one pot.  1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded.  Anyone wishing to join in the fun, but is not able to be at the meeting on Friday, please contact me and I will ensure a potato is saved for you!
We will also have a short demonstration on sowing seeds of various varieties to get us motivated, and hopefully we will all have something to bring to the plant exchange later in the Spring.
Please remember to bring your favourite mug for coffee/tea.
See you Friday everyone.


December 2017

Dear Members

I would like to report on a spectacular end to the gardening club calendar for this year.

Not only were we provided with the most delicious mulled wine, prepared by Carol & Gerry Steel, but we were also witness to the creation of a stunning Christmas table center by flower arranging expert, Miriam Hammond. Miriam studied floral art for 4 years and is a member of the National Association of Flora Art. Whilst working here magic, she regaled us with the preparations for the celebration of the opening of the Commonwealth Games, in Westminster Abbey. The Queen and other important dignatories would be in attendance. She explained that all through the night a team of 40 carefully selected flower arrangers worked at their allocated floral display. The Abbey lit only by candles and the lights from the street reflecting against the stained glass windows of the Abbey. The sound of rustling leaves and blooms being precisely placed, not heard above the rehersal of the organist. I for one, and I am sure all of us were transported into Abbey. Not only was Miriam tasked with constructing a huge African theme column of foliage and flowers, but she was also asked to make a corsage to be presented to her Majesty and one to the Commonwealth President. I was left wanting to hear more and I think we all want to learn more from Miriams hidden talents. I can feel a Summer workshop coming on !

It only remains for me to thank all of you for your continued support by coming to our meetings, making coffee, moving furniture and sweeping the floor.

I wish you all a Merry Xmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.


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Safren Fleur Visit - 15th October 2017

Dear Members

I have just returned home after a most informative and enjoyable afternoon in the sunshine with over 50 gardening club enthusiasts. We watched a film and listened to a talk on the history of the saffron crocus from the time of Alexander the Great through to the current day. As there were so many of us we split into two groups and whilst Madame Forestier spoke to the first group, Monsieur Forestier gave the other group a tour of the saffron beds. We now know where it originates from, how to cultivate it, how to harvest it and then tasted some delicious recipes. We were able to buy some of the produce; chutneys, jams, liquers, etc

In May 2018 I will remind members that it is time to order your bulbs and if you are interested we can put together a bulk order as they need to be planted at the end of June, beginning of July.

I would like to thank Carol and Gerry Steel for recommending the venue and translating the finer detail.

A great turnout and a fab afternoon.


Summer Picnic - 27th June 2017

Garden Club members began arriving at 11.00am to set up their picnic aided by a cool glass of Pimms. The weather stayed fine, even though thunder storms were forecast and so we were all able to wander around the gardens and catch up with friends, before tucking in to our feast.

Some members brought along plants from their own gardens for others to enjoy and donations in the box amounted to just over 10 euros to add to garden club funds.

I would like to thank all those that were able to join the picnic and contributed to the gift purse.

Enjoy your summer and please put the inscription date of Thursday 7th September on your calendar, 6:30pm at the Centre de Loisirs, Eymet.

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Plant and Seed Exchange - 30th May 2017

26 Gardening Club members met at Hazel's for the annual plant and seed exchange. Proceedings began with a tour of her fantastic garden. With hardly a weed in sight and the plants and shrubs looking very healthy despite the recent torrential rain and high winds, we were spoilt for choice for a favourite, such is the selection of trees, shrubs and plants in this amazing garden.

We then took tea and cake on the terrace, all eagerly awaiting the signal to make a dash to the plant and seed table. Vegetables, perennials, annuals, small trees, seeds, the choice was huge. With our "booty" loaded, some very happy members headed off home to get planting.

On behalf of all of us, may I thank Hazel for hosting this event once again.


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Gardening Group outing - 25th October 2016

Undeterred by the inclement weather, 23 of us set off for Le Buisson de Cadouin on Tuesday. Our first stop, Planbuisson, a 1.5ha private garden created over the years by Michel Bonfils, filled with bamboos and grasses from all over the world. The gardener, Oliver Pianchais gave us a very informative guided tour of his spectacular collection.

We ate our picnic lunch sheltering from the rain at Lemeuil, where the Dordogne and the Vezere rivers meet. After lunch we set off for Chartreuse du Colombier, Paunat, a 17th and 18th century hunting lodge. Awaiting us was a walled garden, baroque pavilions, dovecotes, topiaries, avenues of trees and a magnificent potager of Tuscan inspiration. The garden was filled with an abundance of plants , bulbs, trees and shrubs, truly a feast for the eyes. Bernard Hautefort, the owner and creator of the garden gave us a fascinating tour of his charming garden, entertaining us with stories and able to tell us each and every plant name as we went along. Our most hospitable host then served us tea and cake in the drawing room, in lavish style! The sun came out as we headed for home, each of us vowing to return!


Visit to Chateau de la Jaubertie - 29th March 2016

 28 Members met at Chateau de la Jaubertie for a guided tour of the work and an explanation of the process of viniculture.  The vineyard was established during the 1970’s and still is owned by the Ryman family. 

The grape bushes are trained in an ark or half moon shape on the wires and the grapes are produced on year old wood.  No pesticides are used so wild flowers grow between rows to attract pollinators, with roses placed at each end of the row as an early warning sign of attack from pests or disease.Each grape colour ferments in a 16000 litre tank for 5 to 6 weeks before being stored in oak barrels for between 1 year to 18 months (depending on variety).  Around 250,000 bottles are produced annually.  We were fortunate to be able to sample the delicious selection of wine produced by the vineyard and many purchases were made by members.

 Claire Riley 

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