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.

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.


Forncett Open Gardens 2016

Written by Anne and Brian Frith on .

On Sunday 10th July, Forncett 'Diggers and Dibblers' Garden Club organised an Open Gardens event in Forncett (plus one garden in Tacolneston), involving 13 private gardens, the village allotments, St Edmund's Church and St Mary's Church, where there was an Art Exhibition (which was also open on Saturday 9th).

Click pic for more.
garden photos John Metcalf, Village Hall photos Ally Rae

The gardens ranged from those of modern houses with a range of sizes and styles to those, generally larger, ones in front of, beside, around and behind some of our more established houses. Whatever the age and maturity, all show that gardens are rarely 'static'. There's always something to do or something to be done; a new idea to try; an old idea to update ... and even if you sit and do nothing nature will decide what changes it will impose!

The weather, when compared with the usual offering this year, was kind. Overall we had about 130 visitors, many having travelled a considerable distance, having seen the event advertised on ' opengardens.co.uk '. We managed to choose the 'Andy Murray final' day, British Grand Prix day and Euro 2016 Final Day, but that didn't seem to matter and we experienced genuine interest and enthusiasm from everyone who came to get a glimpse of our wonderful village from the other side of the front gate.

Thanks to everyone who contributed in any way - opening gardens, providing and serving refreshments, selling tickets and most of all making everyone so welcome.

Forncett Diggers & Dibblers Garden Club show

Written by Su Leavesley on .

Click pic for slide show
Photos: Su Leavesley

There was an extra event on Saturday at the annual produce show in the Village Hall: just before the auction of entries, the Club Chairman Sarah House was proud to present the Village Hall committee with a cheque for £900, from the Garden Club's activities this summer. The Village Hall is undergoing renovation and when the Garden Club decided to hold an open garden event in June, the proceeds were promised to the Village Hall to help things along. Much to everyone's surprise, £800 was raised; added to this was another £100 from the refreshment tent. Village Hall committee member Terry Henderson was very pleased to take delivery of the cheque, saying that it would be a great help, in addition to a Big Lottery Grant that had been approved recently. New windows and a coat of paint would be just the beginning.

Earlier in the day, members took as much care as possible making sure that the exhibits conformed to the schedule; a half inch out and the item is disqualified! Alison Walker is shown fiddling with her entry which proved to be slightly too short.