News from the Compost heap – January 2024

We hope you had a wonderful start to the new year and are looking forward to the upcoming gardening season. We have some exciting events planned for you in the next few months, so mark your calendars and don’t miss out!

Christmas Party Success!

We want to thank everyone who attended our Christmas Party last December. It was a great success, with over 60 members and guests enjoying a festive feast, Mini quiz, live music, and Dancing.

We hope to see you soon at our events and wish you all the best for your gardening endeavours. Happy gardening

Spring Show 2024

Firstly, we are thrilled to announce our Spring Show on 23 March 2024, where you can showcase your beautiful blooms and compete for prizes in various categories. The show will take place at the River Village Hall, admission is free for all.

9:00 to 10:45am – Bring your entries and set them up.
11:00am – The judges will start their work
2:00pm – The show is open to the public.
03:30 – 4:00pm (Estimated) – Awards ceremony, auction, raffle.

You can find more details and complete the entry form on our website: rivergardeners.com/event/spring-show

Relaunch of the River Photography Competition!

We are launching our FREE annual Photography Competition for 2024, the competition runs throughout the year with 3 separate shows to show-case your work.

There are a number of categories to choose from (you can enter as many categories as you like) for the first show:

1. Frost

2. Reflections

3. Human Form

4. Light and Shadow

5. Nostalgia

6. Up in the Air

The Show dates are as follows (entry’s to be received by Wednesday before each show)

23 March 2024

06 July 2024

14 September 2024

Entry form and more details available here: https://rivergardeners.com/photography-competition-2024/


Secondly, we invite you to join us for a fun and friendly Quiz Night on 13 April 2024, where you can test your General Knowledge and trivia. The quiz will be held at the River Village Hall from 7 pm to 10 pm, and tickets are £3 per person, with teams of up to eight. It’s an American Supper Style evening, so bring your own food & drinks.

You can book your tickets online, but hurry as spaces are limited: rivergardeners.com/event/quiz/

Dates for your Diary

Summer show: 06 July 2024

Autumn Show: 14 September 2024

AGM / Coffee Morning: 02 November 2024

2024 Show Schedule

Our 2024 Show Schedule is available to download on our website here:

The Year in Review.

Wow, what a year it has been for the RGA! We are so grateful for all the support and participation we have received from our members and the community. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of 2023 and get ready for an even more exciting 2024!

We had a blast at our all of our Shows, where we saw some amazing entries from local gardeners and artists. We were especially delighted to have Abbey Pre-school join us and display their creative work. Their art was a hit with the visitors and added a lot of charm to the shows. If you are part of a local club or group and want to showcase your talents, don’t hesitate to contact our Show Secretary at [email protected]. We would love to have you on board and help you get more exposure in the community.

We also had a lot of fun at our charity quiz in April, where we raised £100 for the Dover RNLI. Thank you to everyone who came and tested their knowledge. The quiz will be back in 2024, so get ready to challenge your friends and family and win some prizes!


Our AGM was held on 28 October, along with a coffee morning. It was a great opportunity for our members to catch up, learn about the club’s activities and plans, and welcome some new faces to the committee. We are thrilled to have a new Treasurer and a new committee member join us. They bring a lot of enthusiasm and expertise to the team.

The RGA is always open to new members, whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out. We offer a friendly and supportive environment where you can learn, share, and enjoy gardening with like-minded people. Membership is only £2.50 per year, and it gives you access to all our events and benefits. If you haven’t renewed your membership yet, please do so as soon as possible. You can renew at any of our events.

Christmas Party: December 9, 19:00, River Village Hall

Speaking of events, we have one more coming up this year: our Christmas Party!


This is going to be a fabulous night of food, drinks, live music, and dancing. We have some talented musicians lined up for you: Hannah Estelle, Anje Howie, and Megan Bannister. They will keep you entertained and get you in the festive mood. Tickets are only £6.50 per person, and they are selling fast. You can buy them online at here. You can book a table of up to eight people and bring your own food and drink. We will also provide a complimentary glass of mulled wine and a mince pie on entry.

Our Events for next year:

We hope to see you there and celebrate the end of a wonderful year with you. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for our events in 2024:

Coffee Morning: 17 February 2024

Spring Show: 23 March 2024

Quiz: 13 April 2024

Subscribe to our Events Calendar, and never miss an event again – here.

Thank you for being part of our club and making it such a success. We wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Spring Report

Our first major event for 2023 was the Spring Show, which, despite the difficult weather conditions, was a success. We were down on entries in Flowers, Vegetables and fruit, however Photography, craft and cooking classes were well-supported. Our continued out-reach with local schools helped to increase the Photography entries (thanks to Astor College) and art-work from local primary schools (thanks to Temple Ewell Primary School, Elms Primary School, White-cliffs Primary and Lydden primary school.) We also had exhibits from a local Cub-scouts group. If your school or club would like to get involved and showcase their work at our shows (It’s FREE), please contact our Show Secretary (Bev) on: [email protected]

“Back by popular Demand” – We held our fun, family friendly Quiz on 22nd April, which was well attended. The winning team chose to donate the proceeds of £100.00 to the Dover RNLI. We are hoping to host another quiz in the near future – keep an eye on our website (or our Rivall newsletter) for details.

Figure 1: some of RGA committee presenting proceeds to RNLI Dover representatives

Figure 2: Quiz Winning Team

Upcoming River Gardeners’ Events

All events held at River Village Hall. We hope to see you at some of these events.

  • Summer Show – 08 July 2023public entry 14:00
  • River Fete – 16 July 2023 – RGA stall
  • Autumn Show – 16 Sept 2023 – Public entry 14:00

We are also planning to host our first Wine & Cheese evening, details to follow shortly. (pre-booking will be essential)

Events from our Friends

We are also supporting other local Gardening Clubs:-

TEDPA – Summer Show – Saturday 22nd July 2023 opens at 2pm in Temple Ewell Village Hall

Whitfield Gardeners – Summer Show – Saturday 15th July 2023 opens at 2:30pm in Whitfield Village Hall

2023 Dates for your Diary

List of 2023 event dates are below.

Event NameDateTimeLocation
Coffee Afternoon18 Feb 202314:00 – 16:00River Village Hall
Spring Show01 April 202314:00 – 16:00River Village Hall
Quiz22 April 202319:00 till lateRiver Village Hall
Summer Show08 July 202314:00 – 16:00River Village Hall
Autumn Show16 Sept 202314:00 – 16:00River Village Hall
Seed Swap23 Sept 2023TBC156 Lower Road, River
AGM / Coffee Afternoon14 Oct 202314:00 – 16:00River Village Hall
Members Christmas Party09 Dec 2023TBCRiver Village Hall

All events will be published with full details on our Events page nearer to each event.

Subscribe to our Events Calendar here


Avocados are millennials’ favourite fruit, and adored by the rest of us as accompaniments to Breakfasts and Many cuisines, such as Mexican. However, did you know the environmental cost of producing and transporting these valued fruits across the globe?

However, did you know the environmental cost of producing and transporting these valued fruits across the globe?

Carbon Footprint Ltd estimates that two small avocados in a packet has a CO2 footprint of 846.36 grams, which is almost twice the amount of a kilo of bananas! Avocados often travel thousands of miles from tropical climates to reach the UK Super-markets.

Continue reading “Avocados”

Kings Seed Catalogues 2023 – Available now!

River Gardeners’ Association are offering Members and Non-Members alike an amazing 30% discount on orders from our supplier, Kings Seeds.

Continue reading “Kings Seed Catalogues 2023 – Available now!”

News from the Compost Heap – Summer 2022

Show Secretaries Corner:

At the time of writing this we are in the middle of a heatwave, with the hottest days of the year expected very soon, it has been quite a while since any rain fell and the gardens are in dire need of it, having said that we had a lovely Summer Show in July our visitors were able to see a colourful array of Flowers, Vegetables, Floral Art, Cookery, Photography, Craft and Children’s entries. We welcomed some new exhibitors and helped them to display the items that had been grown or made.

Read more: News from the Compost Heap – Summer 2022

Our next Show is the Autumn Show which takes place on Saturday 17th September at River Village Hall, Common Lane, River. We are looking for more adults and children to exhibit, if you can bake we have Cookery Classes for you:-

Easy Malt Loaf (using this recipe)

  • 350g (12oz) self-raising flour 1
  • 70g (6oz) currants
  • 60g (2oz) sultanas
  • 30g (1oz) sugar
  • 30g (1oz) dark brown sugar
  • 2½ tbsp Oval tine
  • 4tbsp golden syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 300ml (½ pt) milk

Preheat oven 325F/160C/gas 3

Grease and line a 1kg (2lb 4oz) loaf tin. Sieve flour into bowl, add dry ingredients and mix. Slightly warm milk & syrup together, add to dry ingredients. Mix batter well & pour into tin. Bake on preheated baking sheet for 1-1½ hrs. Place on cooling rack, leave to cool. Ease sides with flat bladed knife & loaf should tap out.

5 Halloween Decorated Fairy Cakes

  • 3 Pieces Bread Pudding (use own recipe)
  • Small Wholemeal Loaf – using 500g Dough
  • Soft Fruit Jam – Approx. 500g Jar
  • Stone Fruit Jam – Approx. 500g Jar
  • Jar Jelly – (small)
  • Jar Pickles
  • Jar Chutney (matured)
  • Bottle of Home-made Cordial – Approx 750mls in clear glass bottle
  • All Bottles and Jars must be clear, clean glass

Attach a plain stick-on label to container with name of contents & date of preserving. Entries must comply with the recipe – if given.

You can enter as many of these classes as you like, but only one entry in each class per person.

Floral Art

If you like arranging flowers, we have Floral Art classes you could enter:-

  • Beginners:- An Arrangement in a Wine Glass
  • Halloween” – An exhibit, up to 75cm wide
  • An Arrangement using Foliage, Grasses & Berries, up to 75cm wide

Young Peoples Entries

For our younger members of our Village, we have classes for you, prize money is given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

  • 7 years and under – A4 Collage using leaves, seeds and flowers etc
  • 8 to 15 years –A Hat for Halloween OR A4 Collage of a Spider in its web
  • Up to 15 years – Largest Sunflower Head
  • Up to 15 years – Photography “ Halloween”
  • Up to 15 years – Photography “Its a Bugs Life”

It is FREE to enter any of the above classes, simply fill in the online form at:- rivergardeners.com/entry-form by 9pm on 14th September or email me [email protected] to let me know which classes you would like to enter or if you have any questions.

Dates for your Diary, 2022:

  • Deadline to enter Autumn Show – 14 September @21:00
  • Autumn Show – 17 September (Kings Seeds catalogues available, discounts on all orders)
  • Swap Shop – 25 September @ 14:30
  • AGM, Afternoon Tea & 2023 Schedule Launch– 08 October @ 14:00
  • Christmas Afternoon Tea – 03 December @ 14:00 – 16:00


We are always keen to welcome new volunteers onto our friendly Committee. There are a number of defined roles (Secretary, Catering Officer, Committee Member) within the committee, but also the opportunity to just be a part of the team as a general committee member.

Minimal free time is required as we only meet about six times per year (currently virtual) as well as show days and any special events we run.

Find out more here: https://rivergardeners.com/volunteering-on-our-committee/ or email: [email protected]

Spring Show 2022 – Success!

Thank you to all those who Exhibited and Visited our Spring Show today, we had a great turn out of Exhibits and visitors!

A Special Thank you also to all our Judges, Committee Members and Helpers, whom without we could not have put on such a great event.

Continue reading “Spring Show 2022 – Success!”

Giant Redwood Trees

A Guide to growing giant Redwood Trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Giant Redwoods are the tallest tree in the world, the largest of which are over 100 Meters tall. Giant Redwoods are native to the USA, but can be found and grown in the UK (albeit, with some help.)


These giants can live for 100s if not 1000s of years and grow to become the largest living thing on the planet. Their Colossal size allows them to store huge quantities of carbon from the atmosphere and lock it away for many, many years. Giant Redwoods also produce a large amount of Oxygen.

We also find them very majestic and beautiful trees, their sheer size alone leaves you in awe and wonder.

A Brief overview of this guide

This guide aims to explain how to successfully take a small seed and grow it into a giant. We will show methods to germinate the seeds as well as caring for the sapling. Read on for more information.

  1. Obtaining Seeds

    For the purposes of this guide, we obtained our seeds from a reputable online supplier. You could visit a specialist, perhaps a garden centre or find seed suppliers online as we did. If you are lucky enough to live near a Giant Redwood tree, you could even harvest your own seeds.

  2. Stratification

    Like many trees, Giant Redwood seeds need a period of coldness to break their dormancy. In nature, Winter would kick off this process.
    But, if you don’t wish to wait a whole year, you can easily imitate Winter by placing seeds in the fridge for around 1 month.
    To prepare for the fridge, our seeds were first placed into a Zip-lock bag, the seeds were scattered on top of a moist paper-towel and then spray with a fine mist of water. Vermiculite can be used in place of the Paper Towel, which may yield better results.

  3. Check on progress

    Check in on the seeds every once per week, ensuring there is still moisture in the zip-lock bag and that no mould has formed. It’s also important to ensure that there is not too much moisture build-up, the seeds and paper towel should be damp but not sitting in a pool of water.

  4. Germination

    After approximately 1 month, some seeds may have already begun to sprouted. These early risers should be carefully removed and potted in a suitably sized pot (we’d recommend one that is at least 1 foot deep.) For the remainder of the seeds, these can be placed in a pot, lightly covered with compost and placed in a sunny, warm spot.
    It is important to keep the seeds and seedlings protected from Frost – A sunny indoor window or a greenhouse works well here. After a further week or two, the remainder of the seeds should begin sprouting.

  5. Re-Potting

    As the seedlings begin to sprout and grow, it may be necessary to split and re-pot to ensure each seedling has enough growing room.

  6. Keeping them alive

    Keep seedlings watered well and slowly begin to acclimate them to outdoor temperatures, being careful not to expose them to freezing / frost, particularly whilst young.
    After a few years, they should have grown large enough to plant in the ground. (planting area should be chosen carefully, due to the enormity of adult trees.

Infinite Basil

Basil is a very commonly used herb in many dishes and cuisines. Its easy to grow and is known for its pleasant aroma and fresh flavour.
The leaves are used fresh or dried to flavour meats, fish, salads, and sauces. Basil is a versatile annual herb, used in pasta dishes, pizzas, and Thai curries.

There are many types of Basil, differing in flavour and scent. Although Basil is widely available in super-markets, its so easy to grow why not try growing your own.

It can be cultivated from cuttings easily and with very little time or money needed. Read on for our easy method of propagating Basil. This method can be applied to other plants such as: Mint, Oregano, Thyme, Sage and Rosemary.

Basil propagation, showing roots starting to form
Continue reading “Infinite Basil”