Hampshire were playing away on Saturday in Surrey, visiting Secretts Garden Centre near Guildford.  Alan Pullen had worked for the Secretts family for 58 years and has recently retired – so this was to be his final official tour of the two Collections held here; Kalmia and Cornus florida.  The late season has meant that the collections are just coming into their peak flowering time and are well worth a visit – go through the garden centre and bear right and you will find a secret garden filled with these wonderful shrubs.

A reception committee from the Surrey group were there to meet the visitors; Alan, Anne Foulkes and Jean McLeod who used to work with Alan at the centre.

Alan Pullen, Anne Folkes, Jean

Lindsey Pink is one of the first to arrive

Alan Pullen, Lyndsay Pink, Anne Folkes

and we’re off.


Everyone had notebooks to jot down the names of their favourites.  Although they are inter-planted I have split the images into two groups, first the Cornus

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then the Kalmia

Alan has written a monograph on the genus and it is still available through our online shop.


You can also still buy Iced Gems which is what the buds of these plants are so like, although I believe they no longer have the sharp peak of icing which used to puncture the roof of your mouth.
Some of the other members enjoying their visit.

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Rain finally stopped play but only after everyone had had their sugary fill.  Thank you Alan for treating us with your knowledge and enthusiasm.