North Nibley

Local Interest


North Nibley Gardeners and Beyond

All meetings at the Village Hall starting at 7:30pm

6th June 2013First meeting
11th July 2013Pesticide free gardening
12th September 2013Preserving
10th October 2013Apples and Cider
14th November 2013Jobs for the Winter
12th December 2013How to encourage animals in the garden
9th January 2014Hints and tips on pruning
9th February 2014keeping Chickens
13th March 2014Bee keeping
10th April 2014CANCELLED
8th May 2014Making garden structures
12th June 2014Medical and culinary herbs
10th July 2014Bring and Share supper

We had our first meeting on Thursday 6th June to talk about what people would like to see happen with the group. We agreed that our main aims would be to develop the group as a community resource to benefit the people in the village. We agreed that we would do this by:

This is just a start and we are open to other ideas and directions for the group to go in. The meetings are open for everyone to come along and participate. We will meet every month and start off with seasonal skill sharing events. These will include:

Thursday 10-10-13

George Macklin had been kindly researching on various ideas for equipment to start off the Garden Tool Bank. The top favourites were:

On the strength of the research it was decided to send in an application to the North Nibley Festival committee to buy these items to be accessible to anyone in the Parish/community. It was thought that if the equipment is loaned out a small hire charge should be requested. An application has since gone to David Chapman - so fingers crossed.

We shared people's ideas for an apple glut, everything from juice and cider making to cake, chutney jams etc - Chilli apple Jelly which can make an unusual Christmas present, being delicious with cheese and biscuits. We tasted some delicious home brewed cider with Dorset Apple Cake (recipe below). Apple quarters can easily be "dry frozen" - just peel and quarter, dip quickly in lemon juice and water to prevent browning - spread out on a tray to freeze them then bag up when frozen. Apple and Ginger Jam is also a favourite (recipe below). Apple rings dry well in the bottom oven of an Aga/Rayburn or kitchen range - or even threaded on a narrow bamboo cane and storing above the wood burner. Cider Apple Vinegar was also mentioned, with its medicinal and health giving properties. Someone is also going to look into the life cycle of the Codling Moth for next time!

Next month's discussion will be "Garden Jobs for the Winter" Next For December's meeting "How to encourage animals in the garden - Bees, Hedgehogs, Amphibians, "Bug Hotels", Chickens etc" Ideas and expertise welcome as always.


An application has gone in to the music committee for an Apple Press and Fruit Dryer. If the bid is successful there will need to be some discussion around where it will be kept and also how people can borrow it.


Autumn raspberries can be cut right back now. Also asparagus. Clear all fallen leaves and compost them burning all diseased leaves. Make your own leaf moulds from old pallets surrounded by chicken wire. Use it then for soil improver and mulch. Prepare sites for new lawns. Aerate your existing lawns. Dig up Dahlias and keep in the green house. Dig up beetroots but leave parsnips in the ground. They are better after the first frost. Plant tulips deep to keep mice away. Net purple sprouting to keep pigeons away. Wash down glass in greenhouse. Plant out bare root trees. Split fruit bushes and also plants around the garden.


Broad beans, peas Garlic, onion sets. Plant spring bulbs. Gather seeds for swapping.

NEXT MEETING seeds to swap and Encouraging Wildlife to your garden


We discussed the equipment that we intend to buy - decided that there was no rush for the apple press, but would look further into which was the right food drier to choose. A nominal hiring/borrowing fee would be charged and a deposit. A juicer was also talked about as our next target. We plan to publish - in O.T.E - a public 'Thank you' when we announce that the equipment is available. The idea of possible Community projects was put forward, - e.g.Wild flowers and Fruit Trees on the Council verges, particularly on the verge on the way to School... all of which we would have to maintain ourselves.Carol is going to contact the council about this and Julia will ask Rex Symons if there are any small plots of land available for an orchard.

Other ideas/subjects for 2014 were:- No dig gardening and soil fertility. Crop rotation. Beekeeping Keeping chickens. Making ponds - Simon Charter of 'Flowforms' could be asked to give a talk 'open to the village. someone will find out how much he charges. Visit to Highgrove - Vivienne to check how to put our names down for this. A ' what to plant when..' Calendar for 2015 Fund raising - event to sell divided plants and seeds in the autumn. Looking after Trees - ask Ian Pullen to speak. Use of chemicals in the garden - if any - sometimes need a few?

We exchanged ideas on how to encourage Wildlife into the garden, even Bug Hotels and Toad Abodes! Please bring any more ideas to the next meeting as we shall be planning ahead for the year. Hope to see you all this Thursday 9th January at 7.30p.m when Jenny Humphris is coming to give us some hints and tips on pruning.

January - Pruning evening with Jenny Humphries

Fruit trees and roses need pruning. Other things often need pruning because they get to big for their space - always try to choose a shrub that will fit the 'end space' when it has grown. There are often small varieties available. Some Rules of Thumb:

Deciduous Trees Prune in winter- fruit trees will be dormant. Exceptions: Prunus - plums and cherry - should not be pruned in winter - take the crop of fruit then prune. Reduces chance of silver leaf. Prune vines in January - sap starts to rise in February. Gooseberries, black and red currants can be pruned as fruit is picked and can be reduced by one third - not so much for black currants. Gooseberries can also be thinned out in early March - take out old branches, making air and space. A goblet shape is good for orchard standard trees.

3 Ds for Orchard Pruning. Anything Diseased, Dead or Damaged can come off, also anything crossing over. Cut cleanly just above a bud - the bit above will die. Always cut on a slant, away from the bud, so that the rain runs off.

Hedges Hedges need 2 or 3 cuts during the sewing season. Deciduous hedges - cut in winter. Cut little and often but Bays can be cut back hard.

Espaliers - 2 prunings a year - winter and July. Take any side shoot off laterals.

Roses - with long straggly stems with buds on in winter - enjoy the flowers then cut off in March.

Jenny recommended Rob Watkins of Lodge Farm Trees at Roehampton for old and local varieties of fruit trees as he is particularly good at winter grafting and July budding.

Recommended Books "The Fruit Garden Displayed" and "Pruning" by Christopher Bucknell - both from RHS.

And remember the old saying - "As the day lengthens, the cold strengthens."


Well...Chickens.....there were in fact only two members among the assembled group of Nibley Gardeners at the February meeting who hadn't kept hens, but they were considering possibly doing so. Whether the rest of us encouraged them or completely put them off, only time will tell! We covered everything from clipping wings, housing and runs to tips to keep them laying also Red Mite - in amongst many hilarious poultry anecdotes...ask Brian and Carol for their 'flying egg' story next time you see them!

The next meeting is on Thursday 13th March when Nancy Rollason is talking about Bee Keeping.

Anyone interested in supporting the Natural Beekeeping Trust might like to know of an event this coming Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd Feb in the Landsdown Hall (formally called 'The Space') in Stroud. A short concert with songs composed by well known choir leader Sheila Macbeth , naturally with Bee connections. Followed by tea and honey cakes. A collection on the door for N.B.T.


Firstly a big thank you to Nancy for such a detailed and inspiring talk on Bee Keeping - there is SO much to learn, all of it truely fascinating, that I think most of us were convinced that if we want to be bee keepers it is essential to join a BKA course, get ourselves a mentor and learn it all properly!!

This month - Thursday 10th April we are "Starting the Gardening Year" Do bring along any spare seeds you may have (why do all the packets always have more than you can use!!) and take home some different ones.

Over the winter weeks people have come to see what Nibley Gardeners is about, always with great ideas to offer. Please come back and join us to share your tips and experiences and remind us of those good ideas - we would love to see you again.

We are now proud owners of the fruit and veg drier - George has been experimenting with it so looking forward to a 'report',


"MAKING WILLOW STRUCTURES FOR YOUR GARDEN" Thursday 8th May at 7:00p.m (please note earlier start time this month)

We will be working in George and Janet's garden at Old White Hart, Barrs Lane (opposite the Black Horse Pub) - NOT at the Village Hall this time.

Please bring secateurs and suitable clothing for working outside.

Sticks provided but if you have any thicker sticks you would like to use, please bring those too - take home what you make - supports for sweet peas beans or climbing plants.

Take an evening off from sowing and planting and join us..!


What do we know about medical and culinary herbs?

A short introduction to the subject in preparation for a professional led "Herb Walk" in the autumn. Bring any tries and tested tips or information to share.