Members of the Dawlish Garden Society met recently to hold their Spring Flower Show. What a delightful exhibition of daffodils, tulips, camellias, hellebores and flower arrangements members had brought to display, considering the weather conditions this month! They voted for their personal favourite in each category with points awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Results will be announced at the April meeting.

The guest speaker this month was Roger Kohl who enlightened and entertained us us with his talk ” An introduction to Winemaking “. Some years ago, there wasn’t a lot of disposable income for the finer things in life once he and his wife had started a family. His garden produced a surplus of apples – one thing led to another and cider was produced. That’s how he got started. He began to build his knowledge and equipment needed to brew both beer and wine at home with the aid of kits at first, which promised 6 bottles of wine in 20 days. This small success fed his appetite to learn more so he joined a local wine making group where he gained friends, information and experience. He scoured recipe books for ingredients, foraged the hedgerows for ripe fruit and berries to add to the vine fruits needed to make a decent wine.

Roger talked through the various processes and timings required to start and then monitor the wine during fermentation. He has built up a battery of equipment over the years which makes the whole process easier. Whilst on holiday on the Isle of Wight, Roger took a tour of a vineyard there. He was inspired to buy a small vine which grew well back home producing 3 gallons of wine at its peak. He also grows hops for beer making in his fertile garden, but that’s another story. Members were then invited to try two varieties of his home made wine – a Red Californian Zinfandel from a kit and a lovely white made from Guava juice, whilst he took questions from the audience. I’m sure Roger has inspired a few people to take up this interesting hobby tonight, he made it seem so easy to master.

The meeting closed with the winner of the photo competition – David Hibbard – who brought a picture of Britains favourite bird, a robin, which he had taken in his garden recently.

Next meeting is April 26th, 7.15pm at the Manor House when Jess Evans, head gardener of Knightshayes, a National Trust property, will talk about Knightshayes – a Plantspersons garden.
Members £1 , visitors £2 to include raffle and refreshments .

All most welcome .