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This is What We Do

Dalgety Bay Horticultural Society - This is What We Do

Chemicals and Seed Potatoes:
Members of DBHS can enjoy discounts when buying garden chemicals, organics, composts and seed potatoes. As a society we can bulk buy these products. Every February we ask members for their orders and in March we have the whole lot delivered. It's quite busy on the morning of chemicals delivery. When the lorry arrives it's all hands to the deck. The volunteers unload the lorry, check that the order is all there and start making up orders for members when they arrive to collect them. Members arrive and our volunteers help load member's cars with their order while they go to see the Treasurer to pay. We're usually finished by midday and we're usually left with something to deliver. There's always one! This exercise has been developed over the years and we reckon we've now got it down to a fine art. It used to take the whole day. Now it takes three hours maximum.

We buy seeds and garden sundries from Marshalls and Suttons at a discount. We are able to do this because we send an order for the whole society. We have used Marshalls and Suttons for many years now and they have been found to be most reliable. The Marshalls and Suttons seed catalogues are distributed with the Grapevine (our newsletter) towards the end of the year and members send in their orders. After the cut off date the orders are collated and sent away. It doesn't take long for the seeds to arrive but does take longer for bulbs, plants and other sundry items. The seed packets are unpacked and laid out across the floor. Then, once the whole order has been checked, the individual member's orders are made up. Some of them will be complete but there will be a lot of backwards and forwards before others are. It's actually quite a good PR exercise for the Chairman who does all this and sees members he might not otherwise meet.

Cheese and Wine:
Our Annual Cheese and Wine social evening is held in February each year. This is our biggest meeting of the year when around a hundred members join the party. There seems to be a format established for this evening, which everyone enjoys. If they didn't, they wouldn't come would they. The day starts when we visit Tesco to buy all the food for the evening. The cheese has already been cut into cubes but the other food is passed out to members who have volunteered to prepare it. The wine has been bought and the extra tables as contingency borrowed from the church. Mustn't forget the glasses. Back to Tesco. My afternoon is spent stabbing lots of cheese, lots of sausages and lots of pickled onions with cocktail sticks. At around 18:45 I arrive at the hall to set up. Where is everyone, I think to myself, but they all appear and the tables get set up and decorated and the food arrives on the food tables. What a spread there is. The Chairman then stands up to give any intimations, crack some jokes, which are, he is happy to say, laughed at. Then the evening is opened. Members help themselves to food and wine and the hall is alive with chatter. This is interrupted occasionally when a spot prize is announced. The lucky seat and the lucky ticket. Another joke and then the quiz. The quiz has established itself as part of the Cheese and Wine and probably something to be groaned at. I know that when I go through the answers later I will be heckled. More chatter, another spot prize and another joke. Then the evening is wound up. Everyone has enjoyed themselves and after a very busy day I am exhausted but I'll do it all again next year.

Bedding Plants:
As with chemicals, DBHS asks its members to order bedding plants, which we then buy in bulk and are able to pass on a discount. The bedding plant order arrives on a day in May and volunteers unload the plants and sort them into orders before members come to collect them. The Treasurer is there to collect payments and the members are generally looked after. The volunteers enjoy some good banter and a cup of coffee, while all this is going on. Bedding plant delivery has evolved over the years, trying different nurseries until settling on Lady Helen Nurseries at Cardenden. The plants used to get delivered to someone's drive. Now they are delivered to the access road to the allotments. This is ideal because we don't get in the way of anybody. As usual there are always some orders left over because somebody forgets but these are delivered with a smile.

Plant Sale:
The Annual Plant Sale has been established on the afternoon of the bedding plant order delivery. Lady Helen supplies more bedding plants for the Plant Sale and we make a sale or return order of shrubs. Most of the room is taken up by plants donated by members and we also sell garden sundries like canes, gloves, plant labels an so on. The doors open at 1:00pm and there is usually a queue. Dalgety Bay Community Centre is a mass of people for the first 45 minutes the it dies down completely. It livens up again for about half an hour when people realise it is on and then dies down for the last half hour until 3:00pm when we close. It is amazing the number of plants that can be sold on two hours. We take orders for shrubs as well if they are not available on the day.

DBHS Members, like members of the public, can join the Dobbies Gardening Club, either in store (fee £12 p.a.) or on-line (to receive a £2 reduction in fee) at . Membership includes 10% discount on plants and seeds, 24 tea/coffee vouchers and an invitation to the Dobbies Christmas shopping evening where a discount of 20% applies. The Society’s Gardeners’ Question Time runs in partnership with Dobbies.

DBHS members also enjoy discounts at Fordell Nurseries, Scotmed Herbs in Burntisland, John Reid Timber in Crossgates and Carmichael Design, whose showroom is in Perth.

DBHS maintains a library of videos on a whole range of gardening subjects. Members may borrow them at any time. They just sign the book.

Members of DBHS may hire gardening equipment, free of charge. The equipment we have includes a hedge trimmer, petrol strimmer, garden vac, shredder, pressure washer and tree lopper. Canes, plant labels, polythene, fleece and other sundries may be purchased at a discount.

Dalgety Bay Horticultural Society (DBHS) is affiliated to the Scottish Gardeners Forum, an organisation which exists to bring together horticultural societies and gardening clubs to share ideas and promote horticulture in Scotland. We are also affiliated to the National Vegetable Society, whose name speaks for itself.

Garden Visits:
In 2003 we set up a programme of garden visits. The programme included visits to "yellow book gardens" in Fife. "Yellow book gardens" are those gardens which are opened to the public under Scotland's Garden Scheme. They normally open at weekends and an entrance charge, which goes to a charity is usual. Members meet at a given time at Dalgety Bay Community Centre car park and share cars to visit the gardens. To date our visits have included Willie Duncan's garden in Drumeldrie, near Upper Largo, Earlshall in Leuchars, Crail Village Gardens, Kirklands in Saline and Cambo in Kingsbarns. Numbers vary from visit to visit but everyone who has joined in has enjoyed it immensely.

Open Gardens:
For the last few years we have encouraged DBHS members to open their gardens to other members. It's really quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, especially if the weather holds. Over the years we have visited many gardens, each with their own interesting features. There was one where a wall had been built, which included a 18th century grave stone. The owner of the garden was able to tell us a little of the history. It had been used as part of an old system of steps up the hill side and was dug up when the steps from the Firs to Donibristle Primary School were built. One garden we visited contained a huge pond with lots of life in it. Another was in woodland. Our gardens in Dalgety Bay are not large and the ingenuity of many people in how they use the space available is amazing.

DBHS holds monthly meetings for its members and any prospective members who happen to come along. The meetings are held In Dalgety Bay Community Centre on the first Friday of each month at 7:30pm. They last approximately two hours and after the presentation members enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a chat. We also have the raffle. It's quite a social evening and many people look forward to it The February meeting takes the form of the Annual Cheese and Wine. The May meeting is our Gardener's Question Time, which usually takes place at Dobbies Garden Centre. Our June meeting is normally our Annual coach trip. This is to take advantage of the weather and long evenings. Our Annual Show takes place in September and our Annual General Meeting is held in December. At all other meetings a guest speaker is invited to give a presentation or demonstration in his or her subject. The presentations are given by guest speakers an a variety of topics of interest to the membership. Often there are slides and sometimes we have a practical demonstration.

Coach Trip:
Our Annual Coach Trip takes place in June. Members enjoy a subsidised trip to some place of interest, usually not too far away. We usually get a guided tour of wherever we visit and some sort of refreshments. Our coach trips in the past have taken us to Craigencalt Ecology Centre at Kinghorn Loch, Kellie Castle near Anstruther, Willie Duncan's Garden at Drumeldrie, Suntrap Garden at Gogarburn to the west of Edinburgh and in 2004 year we enjoyed a personalised guided tour of the Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. The guides there are volunteers and they know the garden. It was one of the best tours we have been on and we were the only people in the whole garden. This year's trip is to Arnot Tower Garden near Leslie. We had a presentation on this garden in January and will follow it up with the visit in June.

Outings usually come from suggestions put forward by members and DBHS has arranged many outings for it's members in the past. Many years ago we ran annual visits to the Ayr Flower Show. We visited the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, the World Floral Art Exhibition and Competition, where one of our members won a prize, was visited and Scotland's first Garden Festival held at Strathclyde Park was enjoyed. We also ran a coach to the International Rose Festival in Glasgow.

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