Diggers and Dibblers

The Forncett gardening club, Diggers and Dibblers, is at the heart of village activities. A popular and lively club, it offers a varied programme of specialist speakers and social activities. It was inaugurated in 2006 as a result of recommendations in the Village Plan. Everyone is welcome to meetings to listen to the talk (often accompanied by slides or beautiful plants) and to enjoy a cup of tea with our very friendly members. The club meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month in Forncett St. Mary Village Hall at 7.30 p.m.

For more information see our List of Events, Membership Details and Contact Details.

Diggers and Dibblers' 'Gardeners Query Time'

Written by Christina Wakeford on .

A keen audience for Diggers and Dibblers' 'Gardeners Query Time' absorbed a wealth of information and advice given by our experts for the evening.

(photos by Su Leavesley,
  click photo for slide show)

Our panellists were Charlotte Philcox, garden consultant and designer, broadcaster and teacher; Ben Potterton of Blacksmith's Nursery, with a string of horticultural and ecological titles to his credit, and Ian Roofe, gardener at East Ruston, and well known for his regular spot on Radio Norfolk's 'Garden Party'.

There was plenty of easy banter with witty interjections, (mainly sotto voce from Ben), as well as serious, in-depth discussion of people's gardening dilemmas, which ranged from Brian's invasive Carex taking over his lawn and Fiona's massive attack of ground elder, to lots of non-fruiting blueberries, plums and gooseberries and leaf dropping figs.

Lady Mole Catcher - Diggers & Dibblers July meeting

Written by Margaret Hickman Smith on .

Louise Chapman, BA Hons burst on to the D and D meeting in a whirl of information and hilarity! Louise started her talk with information about how she began her extremely unusual job. From Garden design to finding a gap in the market for a lady mole catcher! She made a film about what and how she caught moles and suddenly she was front page of the Wall St journal followed by The Daily Mail, the Jeremy Vine show, ITV news, The Times and the Telegraph. Her fame then spread as she went from mole catching to Brisbane to be in charge of Pest control! But moles are everywhere so Louise came home and set up her business!!

lady mole catcher

During the next part of the talk there was a great deal of hilarity and interaction! Lots of facts about moles were given to us so here are just a few! Moles are everywhere!! They eat 20 earthworms a day and if they are starving they come above the surface and die. In a population of 64 million people there will be 35 to 40 million moles! They have no natural predators as they are bitter to the taste. Traditional mole catchers were wealthy as catching moles was lucrative. Their breeding season is February to March, this year being early February. The female is in season for only 24 hours, governed by the soil temperature with the moles moving around during the mating season. Louise gave us a vivid description of courtship and mating.

Henstead Exotic Garden – what happened next

Written by Alison Willis on .

February's talk was given by Andrew Brogan from Henstead Exotic Garden . He entertained us all again with his story of how he had moved from urban London to rural Suffolk, and had gradually planted and landscaped his garden, whilst increasing its size by befriending the eccentric owner of the adjoining estate.

Andrew showed lots of photos of the garden (and an eclectic selection of additional images) on the large, new screen, which certainly enhanced the experience. He described arranging 35 tons of Derbyshire rocks, and showed some of the hard work required to construct the different areas of hard landscaping in his garden. One of his main themes was that it is not necessary to bring exotic plants indoors in the winter, as long as you plant carefully and are prepared to take a risk- one of his photos was of his plants covered in snow and ice. Although hardy palms do not like wind, he assured us that they can survive down to minus 17 degrees.

He also stressed the importance of creating a micro-climate in your garden and learning what will survive where. Andrew also uses a mixture of true exotics and other plants which help to create the impression, such as ferns. He has been very successful with bamboos, and mentioned one type which can grow up to a foot per day and reaches 30 feet high – not for the faint-hearted! He has also left native trees at the back of his garden as they help to create the right backdrop, despite not being 'exotic'.

There were two trees he showed, which particularly struck me - the strawberry tree – which I have looked up and shall be buying soon - arbutus unedo, which has beautiful red bark. Although it is mediterranean it grows in Ireland (and Suffolk!), so should be safe in Norfolk. The other was the evergreen magnolia, with huge, but short-lived lemony flowers in August.

Andrew also brought plants to sell.

Diggers & Dibblers Quiz and Chips night

Written by Margaret Hickman Smith on .


Photos by Su Leavesley
Click pic for slide show

The Diggers and Dibblers Quiz and Chips gave us a good start to the festive season. Everyone entered into the spirit of the occasion with tinsel, decorations and candles on Christmas themed tables.

Ladies in Red - AKA The Stocking Fillers- won the table prize but had strong competition from The Toffs who were impeccably dressed in evening attire with bow ties.

Alison had prepared delicious mulled wine which we drank while “mulling” over the first table puzzle.

John and Margaret Wilde as usual provided an excellent quiz – not too hard and not too easy – which resulted in a four-way tie for first place; Four Calling Birds, The Honeymooners, Goats of Christmas Past and Deepandcrispandeven. After a tricky tiebreak question the final winner was announced as Deepandcrispandeven.

Four Calling Birds (which included an honorary man!) won the table quiz prize and Bah Humbug took the loosing lemons. The raffle had some excellent prizes, mainly on a garden theme and most of them generously donated by local nurseries, and raised almost £120 For the Air Ambulance Thanks were given to John and Margaret, to the Committee for their hard work and to Andrew for impeccably keeping the score. A great evening was had by all.

Quiz Raffle prizes kindly donated by: Wymondham Garden Centre Cherry Lane Garden Centre, Highway Garden Centre, Myhills , The Foundry, Peter Beales Roses, The Garden Enclosure, Homestead Nursery. We would like to express our appreciation to all of the above.