On an extremely wet day in August, a group of members visited two venues in Horsley engaged in growing things.
We arrived at Grace and Flavour while it was still fine and so opted to do the tour of the garden first. This is an amazing set up, totally run and worked by volunteers. For their pains they become members and can then purchase the fresh produce which is harvested weekly. The cost of the vegetables for you is then set depending on how much work you have put into the garden.
It is a no-dig system which seems to work very well – we certainly saw an awful lot of produce which would be harvested in the coming weeks. All the plants are grown from seed and the rotation of crops is carefully planned. There is fruit too – soft fruit and apples, pears and plums.
This year is their 10th anniversary and they have certainly come a long way from the walled area that was very overgrown with brambles and had become a dumping ground. They managed to secure a grant which helped them to build their large ‘potting shed’ which provided shelter for us as the rain hammered on the roof while John, the head gardener, told us all about the project.
Thanks to all at Grace and Flavour who gave up their time to show us around and particularly to John Fluker, a Society member and erstwhile chairman of Grace and Flavour who helped us set up the visit.
After warming up over lunch in the pub, we made our way to Plantpassion. We were particularly pleased to include a visit to a member of Surrey Hills Enterprises, another part of the Surrey Hills family. Claire Brown is indeed passionate about her flower growing and about providing flowers that are actually grown here locally. She gave us a quick introduction to what she is doing and then we wandered round the flower growing area looking at amazing dahlias amongst other things. Again the weather was not kind, but a cup of tea and homemade cake soon made up for it.
We then had a demonstration of how Claire puts together a bouquet from her flowers. We raffled the result which not only by chance gave the Chairman’s wife, Sue Jackson, a very attractive bouquet to take home but also raised some extra funds for the Society.
Everyone felt that we had made the most of a pretty awful weather day with interesting things to see at both venues.