The highlight of December's meeting was a very interesting talk by Mark Morrell, Head Gardener of nearby Ragley Hall, detailing the changes which have taken place in the gardens over the centuries. Built in 1680, this Palladian Mansion was originally set in formal Italianate gardens until it was remodelled in the mid. 18th Century by Lancelot (Capability) Brown into a beautifully landscaped park. A further change came about in 1873 when Robert Marnock laid out formally some 26 acres surrounding the property, which now includes a woodland walk, rose garden, herbaceous borders, Winter garden, fumpery (stumpery and fernery), Summer meadow, prairie garden and an alpine crevice garden. This whole area would originally have been tended by a team of Victorian gardeners, but today this task is undertaken by only three and therefore work is ongoing to replace high maintenance trees, shrubs and plants with more labour-saving varieties. The talk was well-illustrated with some historical maps, prints and photographs, as well as excellent more recent views showing the gardens through the seasons. The monthly competition for a display of holly and ivy was won by John Alexander-Head; 2nd - Anthea Dodsworth; 3rd - Annette Haines; 4th - Tessa Webb. The meeting concluded with members enjoying warm mince pies and refreshments. The Society's next meeting on 17th January introduces Wendy Moore from the Henley-based coach company, Johnsons, who will present a garden-themed holiday film show. All meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month in the Crawford Memorial Hall, Bidford at 7.45 pm. Visitors are very welcome at £3, including refreshments. For further details, please ring Annette Haines on 01789 268974 or