Greenfingers - June 2015

With the risk of frost over for another season, tender varieties can now be planted out. Courgettes, squashes, celery, outdoor tomatoes and bedding plants are ready to welcome the gentle June weather with a smile.

I took a risk with the dahlia tubers by planting them out rather early, but the forecast looked safe, and the tubs they were in were needed for tomatoes in the greenhouse. I can always cover the delicate shoots if a frost is forecast.

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Tribute to Jim Portbury

An edited version of the tribute given by Revd Helen Bailey at Jim's funeral service on behalf of his family, with thanks also to Minchinhampton choir members for their contributions.

Jim Portbury

Jim was born on 24th August 1928. He lived in Bethnal Green with parents James and Hilda, and brother Norman. He went to the local school, passing the 11 plus, but then the family was evacuated to Forest Green, a year later moving to Minchinhampton to stay with an auntie at the Blue Boys Corner. His father eventually bought a house at Lightpill around 1942.

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Greenfingers - May 2015

It is immensely satisfying to take an hour at the end of a full day of gardening to relax and enjoy the scents, sounds and sights as the light fades. Watching the bees heading home, and the blackbirds staking out their territory with their rich tones; and why don't they bottle the scent of newly mown grass?

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Greenfingers - April 2015

It's early March as I write this article, and Spring has definitely sprung for some of the garden inhabitants – the pond has been invaded by a frenzy of frogs. Somehow, I can't imagine toads behaving quite so boisterously. The birds have been collecting nesting material, and a few bees have been seen taking advantage of the pulmonaria, (lungwort) flowers, an early supply of nectar.

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Greenfingers - March 2015

With more hours of daylight and an occasional warm day, it's very easy to get carried away and waste effort by sowing seeds outside into soil that is too cold and wet for successful germination. So it is important to provide shelter for the early plantings, using coldframe, cloche or fleece, or by starting them off in trays in the greenhouse or windowsill.

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Beale Memorial Window


Many of you may remember that last year Gladys Beale, age 106 and a faithful servant of the Lord, died. She will be remembered by many with fondness for her commanding presence and loyalty to this church. We celebrated her 105th birthday in church with a wonderful cake and at that age she treated us to a small speech! Gladys regularly attended church each Sunday and sat in her pew and you were soon told if you were in her place. After all you could not expect her to change after so many years of sitting in the same pew. She also attended the Wednesday 11 a.m Book of Common Prayer Service which she so loved. She did make us smile when she would say "I've just been collected by one of my young men," as they ensured she was safely bundled into the car. Upon arriving at the lychgate, with the help of a guiding arm, she would walk up the path and through the church! How many of us will be able to do that at her age. It amused many of us including her young men who were all in their 80s! After the service she would sit for coffee and managed a biscuit or two or three! She claimed her success for living so long was a good appetite and of course her tipple before supper! She always invited people to afternoon tea where she would proceed to tell us so many interesting stories and also eat most of the tea. I will remember her with fondness as I know so many of us do. She was after all a very formidable lady and a true disciple of Christ.

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William Vick 1707 - 1754


I have been asked to write a few words about William Vick, baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton in l707 and who lived and worked in Bristol as a very successful wine merchant.

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Greenfingers - February 2015

I don't travel by train very often, but a recent journey left me contemplating perspectives in both time and distance. Distant trees and buildings drifted across the window, whilst closer objects rushed past.
Gardens may be viewed similarly, with the flamboyance of May and June a distant memory, leaving only the rattling seed heads and rustling stalks to decorate the winter beds, but this time of the year does offer the chance to move things around to create fresh summer combinations, and as an incentive, it's a good time to plant bare root roses, consult the catalogues and select this year's potatoes.

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Greenfingers - January 2015

We have never owned a garden. You only have to ask Pete how many times we ask "is this a weed?" to know we are far from competent! We have enjoyed the odd gardening event in Minch and we won a 1st Prize in the show when we were living in Minch briefly last year (but not in a gardening category!).

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Benefice Retreat

In October a group of us from across the benefice went on retreat at The Monastery of Our Lady and St Bernard, Brownshill, which many of you will know. It is a beautiful setting in which to spend time on retreat, with a peaceful and pretty chapel, relaxing grounds and good nearby walks, and wonderful food provided by the sisters. In total over the weekend there were 16 of us, and it was a good opportunity for Amberley and Minchinhampton based congregation members to spend time together.

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Greenfingers - December 2014

A nip of November nectar from a Fatsia Japonica may help a Red Admiral through the winter. This is an exotic-looking evergreen shrub with large palmate leaves and white globular flowers which doesn't quite fit the cottage garden style. But it seems reasonably frost resistant, and is interesting, so occupies a shady corner of the garden.

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Greenfingers - November 2014

The early morning cobwebs are always a feature of Autumn, and this year is no exception. The recent rain has made up for a few dry months, and left the ground damp, which together with cool nights and no wind to speak of, have produced some lovely soft and misty mornings.

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