Estuary Articles

MARCH 2024

Gardens and allotments will already have sprung into life and it is worth thinking about what you might want to enjoy growing for yourself and enter into our Show in August. You can see what the classes are by looking on our website,, at the Show section where last year’s entry form is available to view.

Also we will be running the Photo Competition again, the three classes being Plant Portrait, Garden View and Water in the Garden. You have until 28th July to take some show stopping photos.

On the website, have a look at the other sections and you will find all the benefits of being a TAGS member, the annual subscription for which is a mere £4 (less than a pint!) single or £6 for joint at the same address. The membership year runs from 1st April each year.

A good time to renew your membership or join for the first time is at our AGM on 5th March at 7.30pm in the first floor Matthews Hall. Then we will be revealing our programme of talks, trips,social events and “cunning plans “ for the year starting 1st April as well as reporting on what we’ve achieved at TAGS in the previous year!

David and Stella McLarin, Social Secs


Lots of things to do to get the gardens and allotments “growing” for the season.

  1. Last chance to prune bush and climbing roses.
  2. Continue sowing vegetable seeds – outdoors in mild areas and light soil., e.g. broad beans, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, onions, lettuce, radish, peas, spinach, summer cabbage, salad leaves, leeks, Swiss chard, kohl rabi, turnips and summer cauliflower.
  3. Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes.
  4. Sow flower seeds – marigolds, sweet peas, delphiniums, sunflowers, stocks, poppies and cornflowers – all are hardy annuals.
  5. Also sow wildflower seed mixtures into raked soil in a sunny position.
  6. Plant summer flowering bulbs.
  7. Top up containers with fresh compost.
  8. Hoe and mulch weeds to keep under control, much better than digging.
  9. Protect new shoots from slugs.
  10. Mow lawns on dry days if needed.

Be guided by the weather and sow only if conditions are suitable.

Pam Bush and Sue Parr, Garden Reps


What's On

Wedsnesday 7th February Talk by Becky Searle on Soil Science in St Nicks at 7.30pm


TAGS AGM is on Tuesday 5th March – note the slightly earlier date to usual. Many members find this is a convenient time to renew their membership for the year from 1st April. However we may not have a Membership Secretary to oversee this as Cally Pettit is retiring after seven years of sterling service. We urgently need someone to step into this role. It is not onerous and only needs basic computing experience and what better way to get to know people!

At the AGM we also reveal the programme of events for the coming year. The final event of the current TAGS year is a talk by Becky Searle on Soil Science at 7.30pm on 7th February at St Nicks, £4 for TAGS members, £5 others. This is a fascinating and very topical subject. The health of our soil is vital to feed us, the world and help our flowers grow!


1) Prepare vegetable seed beds, and sow some vegetable seeds under cover.

2) Chit potato tubers.

3) Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches and if you're lucky enough to have them protect your Echiums and other tender plants from frost.

4) Many summer-flowering deciduous shrubs can be pruned between February and March; usually those that flower on the current year's growth. Shrubs that need regular pruning include Hydrangea paniculata, Lavatera, hardy fuchsias and deciduous Ceanothus.

5) With "warmer" winters it's even more important to do any hedge trimming and tree pruning before the birds start nesting, so early to mid Feb should still be OK.

6) Put up a nest box. Make sure that you site your box out of the prevailing wind and strong sunlight. Be sure to position it away from bird tables and feeders, as they're busy areas. Members can check out the Trading Hut for boxes. If we have sold out we can order more.

7) Hardwood cuttings are taken in the dormant season, avoiding periods of severe frost. An ideal time is just before bud-burst in spring.

8) Start sowing cucumber and tomato seeds for the greenhouse, in warm conditions. Sow peas — try sowing them in upcycled guttering with drainage holes drilled in the bottom.

9) Try not to walk on frosted or very wet lawns as this can damage them. However if it is safe to do so repair bare patches, especially around lawn edges, using turf cut from other areas of the garden if available. Also if you are not too precious about your lawn allow a few dandelions to remain and flower in the spring as this provides the first feed for our pollinators.

10) If you want to increase your snowdrops then this is the time to lift and separate them, just after flowering.

Pam Bush and Sue Parr, Garden Reps


What's On

Thursday 18th January Topsham Wassail starts outside Matthews Hall, ends at TAGS Trading Hut, times TBA

Wednesday 7th February Talk by Becky Searle on Soil Science in St Nicks at 7.30pm


As 2023 disappears at the speed of light we have a New Year to look forward to in the garden and on the allotment. Also we need a new Membership Secretary to take over in March and if you are interested then please email and Cally can give you further details. This is an ideal way to get to know lots of people in Topsham if you are new to the area. We are a friendly committee and only have 6 committee meetings a year.

Following the excellent advice give by Caradoc and Saul at our own GQT in November, Stella suggests that our New Year's resolution should be to "hoe hoe hoe" rather than dig dig dig!!  By popular demand we've booked the dynamic duo for 2024!! We're also grateful to Pam and Sue for their topical tips each month which are invaluable. It may not feel it but spring will soon be upon us so now is the time to get prepared!

We had some memorable trips last year and plan at least 3 for this year as well as some interesting talks, which we'll be announcing at the AGM in March. Post COVID we're pleased to say that demand was high and most trips were fully subscribed so booking early is a good idea.

Events to look forward to are the Wassail 18th January when we team up with our friends from Topsham Folk Club to Wassail and wake up the apple trees in Topsham. It's great fun for kids and most appreciated by local robins once the banging stops!! Members and Folk then adjourn to the Trading Hut to "warm the cockles" with mulled cider and apple cake. Details to be advised. 

Then... not to be missed.. on 7th Feb (7.15 for 7.30 pm) we're looking forward to the talk we're hosting in St Nick's by Becky Searle on Soil Science. With the rapid phasing out of peat based compost this is a "hot topic" for any gardener so make sure that it's in your diary. This featured heavily at the GQT. Soil health is a massive subject crucial to all gardeners and one that we are focusing on. Details are in members calendar. Cost £4 members and £5 non members.

We're pleased that members are starting to make good use of the social area next to the Trading Hut. We particularly want to encourage Garden members, Sunhill and Countess Wear "Allotmenteers" to pop along, bring your drink of choice and meet up with fellow permitting. We're hoping to host other events on the area and will raise this at the AGM.

We wish you all a Very Happy, Healthy and Fruitful New Year, David and Stella, Social Secretaries


  1. Prune apple and pear trees and blackcurrant, gooseberry and redcurrant bushes.
  2. Mulch the fruit bushes.
  3. Prune late flowering shrubs including Wisteria.
  4. Dig over vacant plots, that haven't been dug already or add another layer of mulch if "no dig" and sow early veg.
  5. Most types of roses should be pruned in January or February, before the leaves start to emerge.
  6. Dead head winter flowering pansies, to prevent them going to seed.
  7. Rake the leaves, carefully, off bulbs.
  8. Harvest parsnips and brussels, if still in the ground.

December 2023


Activities at TAGS returned to near normal this year as the impact of COVID 19 faded. Our trips to Antony Woodland Garden, Marwood Hill and Rosemoor were fully subscribed and thankfully avoided the worst of the very variable weather this summer. We're already working on next years trips. Sadly a lot of members were disappointed when the recent floods prevented our first speaker of the winter getting to us, but we are hoping that Michael Jordan will tell us about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the world of fungi some time in the new year.

Our communal area for members next to the Trading Hut on Butts Park is now in operation, there are chairs and a table so some of our 200 plus members can meet up at any time for a catch up and hopefully meet “new chums”. We are also encouraging meet ups between 10.30 and 11.30 at weekends when the Trading Hut is open so that we can make more tables and chairs available for larger gatherings. Our thanks to everybody who helped to get this set up and we hope to have more events for members there in the spring.

The apple harvest was amazing this year, so the trees will need extra encouragement to bear well again next year. Our Wassail to do this, led by our friends from Topsham Folk Club, will be on the third Thursday, (18th) of January, so look out for details of that next month.

The weather certainly provided plenty of challenges for gardeners this year, but members and townfolk still put on a wonderful Show in August with the photos, flowers and produce. During the winter months do keep the camera handy, also a good time to practise your baking and think up ways to construct a vegetable creature, see photo, for next year's show!!  The hollyhock initiative that our President Freddie Bush started has brightened up the town, so please encourage them to self seed for colour in future years. They are a great food source for our pollinators but please don’t let that stop you planting other “bee friendly” plants!!

David and Stella McLarin (Social Secs)


If it is too wet and cold to work outside, there is always plenty to do inside.

  1. Sow seeds of Allium, Sweet Peas, Lathyrus Geranium and Antirrhinum as well as Wild Flower seeds - all indoors or in greenhouse.
  2. You can sow Chilli, herbs, (basil, dill, chives and mint) and vegetable seeds indoors or in greenhouse.
  3. Sow winter hardy salad seeds under cover i.e.. Winter Gem and Artic Dwarf lettuce seeds.

Outside –

  1. Prune apple and pear trees but not those espaliered against a wall.(these are best done late summer)
  2. Also prune acers, birch and vines before Christmas to avoid bleeding.
  3. Sow garlic, broad beans, hardy cyclamen and tulip bulbs if not already done so.
  4. Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage and sprouts, plus any remaining root crops.
  5. Take hardwood cuttings.
  6. Dig over empty borders, prepare and mulch ready for next year’s planting.
  7. Insulate outdoor taps and prevent ponds from freezing over, if you have fish, by melting sections of ice or installing a pond heater. A football left floating also helps to keep some open water.

A Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

Sue Parr and Pam Bush, Garden Reps.

November 2023

The second of our winter talks/events is our own Gardeners Question Time with Gardening Experts Caradoc Doy and Saul Walker in the hot seats on 29th November. We are holding it in St Nicks at 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start, refreshments to follow. There is no need to book, just come along with £4 cash if you are a TAGS member, £5 otherwise. It would be of great help to the panellists if you submit questions by email in advance, perhaps with photos attached. Please send them to by 24th November so we can forward them on to Caradoc and Saul.  However you can still turn up on the day with a question or observation for us all to share.

We are delighted that members are starting to use the communal area next to our Trading Hut. The RHS Big Food Share at the end of September meeting was a great success, with surplus produce after swaps taken to the Hub.

Stella and David McLarin, Social Secs.


A busy month ahead, so no rest for gardeners yet.

  1. Thin out plants in ponds.
  2. Clear up fallen leaves, especially from lawns and ponds, but leave some on the beds for hibernating insects and little animals to sleep under.
  3. Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent water clogging.
  4. Plant tulips and other spring bulbs for a good display next year.
  5. Harvest vegetables. Don't forget, for TAGS members, if you have a surplus, look out for the swap sessions at the communal area at weekends.
  6. Give roses a light prune to prevent wind rock.
  7. Sow Hellebores and start off Lupins, Laurentia, Delphinium, Verbascum, and Foxgloves in the greenhouse or cold frame.
  8. Also sow all pea varieties in a greenhouse or cold frame.
  9. Add well rotted manure to veg beds.
  10. Put in a support system for raspberry canes before planting.
  11. Plant bare root trees and shrubs.
  12. A perfect time to plant hedging.

October 2023


To round off the year we have two further events planned.  The first is a talk on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Michael Jordan of the Fungus Conservation Trust on 18th October, the second is our own Gardeners Question Time with Caradoc Doy and Saul Walker in the hot seats on 29th November.  Both are to be held in St Nicks at 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start refreshments to follow. There is no need to book, just come along with £4 cash if you are a TAGS member, £5 otherwise

Stella and David McLarin, Social Secs.


We were blessed with good weather, but it was mainly down to the hard work of Dave Hayes, Ralph Hare and the team of volunteers that all went well.  Those who entered produce meant the “Show” was wonderful (see the photos) and those who came in the afternoon could also enjoy the Raffle, Refreshments and Photo Competition display. Together all these people make the Show the success that it is.

We are pleased to say that Benji Goehl has stepped forward to be Show Secretary next year and the Hall and judges have already been booked for Sunday 18th August 2024.

Pam Bush, Garden Representative commented:- The day went very well with a very good display of raffle prizes.  I would like to say a very big thank you to the local traders –

ARTHURS, RICHARDS, SALT and ST.BRIDGETS GARDEN CENTRE for their most generous prizes and also to the TAGS Committee and general members who also donated good prizes.  The Raffle in total made £327 so thank you to everyone who gave and to those who bought tickets.


  1. Enjoy the autumn colours in the garden and around.
  2. Invest in garden fleece for when the temperatures drop and protect tender plants.
  3. Prune rambling roses and remove and destroy all leaves with black spots.
  4. Harvest your pumpkins late in October in time for Halloween, and any other fruit and veg when ready.
  5. Move citrus trees indoors to keep them happy over winter.
  6. Move evergreen shrubs if needed and divide perennials.
  7. Reuse spent compost, from annual containers, as mulch.
  8. Create compost bins for collecting fallen leaves.
  9. Clear leaves off lawns regularly and turn the compost heap.  It is fine to leave them on the borders for wildlife to hibernate under. Likewise hollow stalks make excellent shelters for hibernating insects.
  10. Weeds keep growing in warmer weather so dig them out regularly rather than pull them as roots often get left in when pulled.

There is plenty to do so keep busy for a while longer.

Pam Bush and Sue Parr, Garden Reps

Hollyhocks on the Butts Park Allotments

September 2023

We will reveal the results of our Show next month, but thanks to all who contributed.

On 12th September we are running our annual coach trip to RHS Rosemoor.  It is always an interesting and wonderful day. Pick up in Topsham at 9.30am, planned return time 5-5.30pm. At the time of writing the coach is half full. It only costs £10 for TAGS members, £11 otherwise, as TAGS can take in 50 people in per year for free. Therefore if you want to go get your booking in to as soon as you can.  TAGS members get priority but joining only costs £4 for single membership, £6 joint and confers lots of other benefits.

Also keep the evening of 18th October free for the first of our Winter Talks, this time on The Good the Bad and the Ugly in the world of Fungus.


Those of you who germinated seeds in 2022 should now have hollyhocks well established and flowering. Once all the seeds have set into seed pods, the pods will naturally open, and spread new seed. The plant stems can then be cut down to about 4 inches above the ground, and the roots left where they are. Next year they will regrow into more than one stem. Go and see the plants at the end of Tappers Close and by the swimming pool.


By the time you read this our Annual Show will be over and hopefully many of you will have entered products or at least visited it on the day.  However, as always, there are forever jobs to do in the garden and on the allotment.

  1. Dig up remaining potatoes before slug damage spoils them.
  2. Clear out invasive plants from ponds and cover with netting before leaves fall.
  3. Start harvesting and storing apples.
  4. Cover leafy vegetable crops with bird proof netting.
  5. Plant Spring flowering bulbs.
  6. Clean out cold frames and greenhouses so they are ready for use in the Autumn.
  7. Prune roses, once finished flowering.
  8. Harvest Autumn raspberries.
  9. Collect and sow seeds from perennials and hardy annuals.
  10. Divide herbaceous perennials as this will ensure healthy and vigorous plants and give you the opportunity to multiply your plants or pass on to friends and family.
TAGS Show - Vegetable Creatures August 2021


On Sunday the 20th August is our Show of Fruits, Flowers, Vegetables and Producein Matthews Hall where TAGS members and any Topsham resident can show off the results of their efforts during the growing season. It’s free to enter the Show.

Entry forms can be downloaded from our website,, or picked up from Topsham Bookshop or Nancy Potter House. They need to be handed in to either place by 16th August.

No great gardening skills are needed. It’s a fun event and there are plenty of tips on how best to present your produce for the Show and opportunities for non gardeners to enter with potted plants, preserves and cakes too.

It’s a very good chance for adults and children to get creative in the summer holidays and enter the Vegetable Creature class, have a look at a past effort for inspiration. It is our favourite class of the Show and there are prizes for the kids. Why not give it a go!!!

Also come and see the entries for the Photo Competition. This year’s categories are Plant Portrait, Garden View and To the Woods!! There’s a trophy for the best digital “Snap“. See if you agree with the judges and, if you haven’t, think of entering next year!!! The photos are then put on our web site.

So on Sunday 20th August come along to Matthews Hall between 2 and 4pm and enjoy the display and the day. Even if you don’t enter do come along, the refreshments, raffle, and produce stalls are well worth it.

Our social area for All TAGS members is now up and running so please do use it to meet up with friends, bring liquid refreshment enjoy the space and each others’ company. Don't forget that the majority (over 2/3rds) of TAGS members are Garden Members so why not give it a go. There are chairs there for you to use and it’s your space. We hope you enjoy it and please do give us feedback on how to improve it.

Our trip to Marwood Hill Garden in June was an education, 50 of us now know what an Astilbe is! It started with a downpour, but then brightened up and we all enjoyed the stunning vistas and colourful borders well as the excellent food and “refreshments” from the cafe.

Our next venture is the ever popular trip to RHS Rosemoor on Tuesday 12th September.

Our local RHS centre has never failed to impress and inform.. It’s always popular so book early, most conveniently by email to We can only take a maximum of 50 on the coach so TAGS members take priority.



1 Keep plants hydrated preferably with stored rainwater or grey water. Keep ponds and water features topped up.

2 Harvest all fruit and veg as they become ready. Especially French and Runner beans, the more runners you pick the more come. You can turn any surplus to delicious bean chutney or simply give some to friends, family or neighbours. It'll brighten their day!

3 Keep deadheading roses to keep them blooming and remove leaves with blackspot and burn or bin. Also keep dead heading border plants and those in pots.

4 Pinch out side shoots on tomato plants and feed weekly, once flowers set into small tomatoes. Again any surplus makes good chutney.

5 As you remove spent crops like potatoes, use green manures especially red clover to cover bare patches.

6 Prune perennial herbs and Wisteria. A good time to dry any surplus herbs for the winter.

7 You can still plant Chicory, Radish, Lettuce, Cabbage, Turnip seeds and Onion sets and lift and pot up rooted strawberry runners for future harvests.

8 Summer prune trained apples and pears, e.g. those in cordons, espaliers, fans and pyramids

9 Collect seeds from garden plants for your use and the TAGS seed and plant swap in May next year. Keep them in a dry cool place in paper rather than plastic.

10 Also bring any surplus crops to our stall at the Flower and Veg Show to sell. This raises money to help cover the cost of the Show and gives the buyer the fresh taste of home grown can't beat it!!! We all hope to see you there !!!

July 2023

What's On

Sunday 20th August 2pm-4pm TAGS Annual Flower and Vegetable Show in Matthews Hall

Topsham Allotments and Gardens Society

Our weather has swung from downpours to drought this spring and those plants which survived the winter leapt into impressive growth when summer came at last. Have a look at our Jobs to Do list to see how best to cope with water shortages and how to get the best from your flowers and food crops. Lawns do not need to be watered, just allowed to grow a little longer during dry spells.

The Show Committee have continued to make preparations for our Annual Show on Sunday 20th August. The Show programme and Entry form are available to be printed off on from and copies are also at the Topsham Bookshop and Nancy Potter House , where they must be returned by 16th August. All photos for the Photo Competition need to be emailed to by Sunday 30th July.

The ongoing watering and tending of Don, Jo, Beth and Colin means the grass in the communal space is well settled and we can move on to planting up herbs and climbers to make it welcoming for ALL TAGS members. They can now pop up to Butts Park, at any time, with or without a flask of coffee to enjoy the space and, we hope, meet up with other members. Also we hope to run events such as the Seed and Plant Swap and workshops on many aspects of gardening. We plan to supply plastic garden chairs for now until we can decide where to put more permanent seating. We look forward to seeing you there.

David and Stella McLarin, Social Secs.


  1. Water at dusk to reduce evaporation and use mulch around plants to retain moisture. It is best to water thoroughly every once in a while so the plants establish deep roots. Think about using grey water from washing vegetables or your dishes on established plants that are suffering. Terracotta pots are prone to evaporation so dampen the pots down to keep roots inside damp.
  2. Stop rust damaging Hollyhocks foliage by pruning out affected leaves.
  3. Check for signs of Clematis Wilt. Cut away wilted stems and leaves.
  4. Make sure tall plants and climbers are well supported in case of bad weather.
  5. Deadhead bedding plants and repeat flowering perennials to ensure continuous flowering. Trim back Heathers when finished flowering.
  6. Cut back growth in hanging baskets to encourage new flowers – feed well regularly. The same with Geraniums and Delphiniums after the first flush of flowers.
  7. Divide clumps of Bearded Iris so they have time to form roots and flower buds for next year.
  8. Plant pepper plants into larger pots and train cucumber stems upwards to make most of space available – tie their long stems to vertical wires or use cane supports. Nip the tops of squash and courgettes to encourage branching.
  9. Feed crops with a general purpose fertiliser, either commercial ones or make your own from nettle and comfrey leaves or worm wee from a wormery. Harvest crops of beetroot, peas, carrots, runner beans, chard, potatoes, salad leaves, lettuce and tomatoes this month. The more beans you pick, the more new ones will grow.
  10. Pick, dry and freeze herbs for use later in the year.

Pam Bush and Sue Parr, Garden Reps

Antony Woodland Gardens and Antony House in May 2023

June 2023

What's On

Wednesday 21st June Coach Trip to Marwood Hill Garden, leave at 9.30pm, return about 5pm

Please email or phone 877318 to book


We were blessed with lovely weather for our first coach trip of the season to Antony Woodland Gardens and Antony House, tucked round the far side of Plymouth with stunning views across the Lynher River to the Tamar Bridge. Our next trip is on 21st June to Marwood Hill Gardens, near Barnstaple, where its collection of astilbes should provide a good show. If you would like to join the trip then email The trip will cost £17 for TAGS members, £18 for non members, to include coach and entrance.


Our Seed and Plant Swap on 29th April was well attended and nicely social with plenty of chatter. At the end we saw lots of members triumphantly marching off to plant up their swaps!

Those that didn’t have anything to swap made a financial contribution for their goodies which will go towards planting up our New Social Area which is fast taking shape. This is thanks to the generosity of Jan and Sadhu Banji who have yielded up part of their plot next to the Trading Hut for this. Also the input of Ralph, Elliot and Colin who have laid the turf on the area and the ongoing watering and tending of Don, Jo, Beth and Colin to get it to take. The turf should be well settled by now and we will be "reaching out" to members to get involved and help make this a success. The aim is to make it a place where ALL TAGS members can pop up to Butts Park, at any time, with or without a flask of coffee to enjoy the space and, we hope, meet up with other members. Also we hope to run events such as the Seed and Plant Swap and workshops on many aspects of gardening.


We plan to run our popular Photo Competition again this year with 3 classes, Plant Portrait, Garden View and To The Woods. You will need to submit your photos (2 per class max. and each no larger than 5Mb file size) by 30th July by email to For full details get our Show Programme from the Topsham Bookshop or Nancy Potter House.

The Photo Competition runs in conjunction with our Annual Show on 20th August. The initial preparations have already been made by the Show Committee, but we would love someone to step forward and “keep the Show on the road” by making sure the team continue their preparations in good time.

David and Stella McLarin, Social Secs


The 40 hollyhocks that were planted last year are thriving and should be in flower from June/July onwards. Please note there are free small seed packets in the Trading Hut, and these contain a mixture of seeds taken from red, white, and pink flowering plants last year. They can be sown now for flowering next year.

Freddie Bush, President


There is always plenty to do, so here are a few suggestions for you.

  1. Put hanging baskets and containers outside in position and feed regularly.
  2. Be water wise, luckily we are not in a hosepipe ban area but, hopefully, you have a water butt or two so water carefully and don’t overwater plants.
  3. Pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes.
  4. Hoe borders regularly to keep the weeds down.
  5. Harvest lettuce, radish and other salads and early potatoes.
  6. Mow lawns at least once a week but consider leaving some areas uncut for wildlife and wild flowers, if you have space.
  7. Lift tulip bulbs, if not already done, and store in a dark place. Plant out summer bedding and stake tall or floppy plants.
  8. If you haven’t already, put new barley straw in ponds to keep algae under control.
  9. Prune many spring flowering shrubs.
  10. Shade greenhouses to keep cool.

Most of all enjoy the garden during the, hopefully warm weather.

MAY 2023

For What's On

Wednesday 21st June Coach Trip to Marwood Hill Garden, leave at 9.30pm, return about 5.30pm

Please email or phone 877318 to book


We have several initiatives which can help new members, or those who live on their own, make the most of their TAGS membership. On our coach trips (next one is on Wednesday 21st June to Marwood Hill) we offer a couple of meet up times at the cafe so you do not have to eat or drink alone.

We hope to have some gatherings at the new Social area next to the Trading Hut, which would be ideal for new members to come to and start to make friends.

For those who are on the waiting list to get an allotment but are happy to help existing allotment holders with their plots, we operate a Buddy Scheme. This is a great way to learn what having an allotment really involves, and also its benefits. To find out more about how this Scheme operates look at the Allotments section of our website,, under Allotments Information. If you are an allotment holder who is struggling to keep up, then maybe you would like a buddy.

And another thought, what about volunteering for the committee. We need a new Show Secretary and also another Garden Representive whose job would be to organise a few open gardens for members only to go to – a great way to meet people. If you are interested in any of the above email

What's On:

Wednesday 21st June Coach Trip to Marwood Hill Garden, leave at 9.30pm, return about 5.30pm.  Please email or phone 877318 to book


  1. Watch out for late frosts as particularly damaging to young and tender growth and blossom. Keep some protective felt or fleece to hand in case needed.
  2. Earth up potatoes and quickly plant any still left. Plant out tender vegetable plants such as beans and courgettes once the risk of frost has passed.
  3. Plant out summer bedding at the end of the month.
  4. Water early and late in the day to get the most out of your water, use recycled water where possible. Install more water butts if you can.
  5. Regularly hoe off weeds.
  6. Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days.
  7. Mow lawns weekly but consider leaving some areas uncut for wildlife.
  8. Check for nesting birds before clipping hedges.
  9. Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs.
  10. Watch out for viburnum beetle and lily beetle grubs.

Enjoy your gardens, Pam Bush and Sue Parr, Garden Reps.

APRIL 2023


Our annual subscription year starts on 1st April each year, as does our programme of events. The first of these is a coach trip to Antony House and Woodland Gardens on Thursday 20th April. There are two other coach trips during the summer and autumn, so check out the details under the Events section of our website,, where our annual programme is posted. The trips are also an ideal way to get to meet other member,old and new who share an interest in gardens and gardening. The coaches we use can take mobility scooter as well. Although access to some areas of the gardens may not be possible there is usually enough of interest to enjoy, including the cafes and shops!.

In addition to the published programme we hope to arrange our members’open gardens visits again. Some members kindly open their garden to other TAGS members for a few hours, where you can get some new ideas and maybe make new friends over tea and biscuits. We also hope to establish a social area next to the Trading Hut at Butts Park allotments for all members to come with their refreshments and enjoy meet ups.

If you are new to Topsham, then volunteering is a wonderful way to meet people and get involved in our lovely community – and remember, to join TAGS, you do not have to have to have an allotment, you don’t even have to have a garden, just a love of gardens.


Seedlings planted last year have survived the winter and should flower this summer. Exeter City Council have agreed that we can plant an additional area in the Tappers Close play area, and Devon County Council may agree that we can use the western end of the alleyway leading to the rail crossing for more planting. Further free supplies of seeds will be available in the Trading Hut in Butts Park from the end of March.


Hopefully warmer weather will be with us by the time you read this and it will be good to get outside in the garden and not freeze.  Here are a few reminders for you.

  1. Clean the greenhouse with hot soapy water.
  2. Prepare beds for the growing season and add a 5cm layer of compost or well rotted manure or a generous scattering of fish, blood and bonemeal.
  3. Prune Fig trees
  4. Check patio plants aren’t drying out – try mixing water storage granules to improve water retention in containers.
  5. Divide established border perennials.
  6. Pinch out tips of fuchsias or, if leggy, cut back stems to where a new shoot is growing.
  7. Tie in climbing roses.
  8. Check tree stakes and ties to make sure they are not cutting into the trunk.  Loosen any tight ones.
  9. Finish cutting back dead foliage on perennials, grasses (if not already done so) to make way for new growth and dead head daffodil and tulip flowers as they die off.
  10. Leave foliage to die naturally as this strengthens the bulbs for next year.
  11. Trim winter flowering heathers as the flowers disappear to prevent them going leggy.