W.I. Newsletter April 2024

Whilst we have had a few days without the endless rain that has been a feature of recent months and the evenings are getting lighter, there is still a chill in the air.  However, at our meeting this month Katie Stone and Jessica Roberts from Featherstones English Flower Company teased us with glimpses of roses, perennial flowers, annuals and blossoms which certainly cheered us up and made us dream of a glorious summer days.

They started their business together in 2021 but came from different backgrounds.  Katie was a language therapist with the NHS with a love of floristry and Jess had always wanted to be a farmer, she just didn’t realise she wanted to harvest flowers.  They knew each other as Katie was buying her flowers from Jess from a previous venue. 

Once the decision had been made, they managed to rent three acres of farmland in Nether Wallop, which much to their surprise and delight came with a very large 15th Century Grade 1 Listed tithe barn dating back to approximately 1460 (during the reign of Henry VI).  They felt it was too large a space for them to fill.  Some three years later they do fill it up.  As well as growing a range of flowers and foliage to supply local retailers, sell online through their website and create wonderful designs for weddings, funerals and other occasions, they hold workshops and regular events. 

Their ethos is sustainability and regenerative agriculture and aim to improve biodiversity.   Due to the range of plants they grow, they can manage to adapt to problems with weather and keeping up with trends.  Apparently, orange has been in favour for weddings in recent years.   Sadly, only about 14% of flowers purchased in this country are home grown with the majority imported from abroad.   We were advised to look for a Union Jack on the packaging.  This all whetted our appetites for our visit to them on the afternoon of Tuesday 25th June.  (Members make sure your name is on the list!). 

Apart from our monthly meeting it has been a busy month with all the usual events including our book club, coffee morning and walking group.  In addition, a group of us attended The Studio Theatre in Salisbury to see a production of Love from a Stranger.    Starting out as a short story by Agatha Christie, Frank Vosper adapted it into a play.  The cast are all amateurs and put on first-class productions.  Our members were most impressed and enjoyed their evening.  Whether any of them slept well is another matter as murder was involved!

Members were also given more information on our fundraising event on Sunday 30th June.  This is open to all, and tickets can be purchased from the Village Shop or there is a contact number on the posters/flyers for any queries.  We propose to offer tea/coffee, homemade scones (with jam and cream) and cakes.  We will have other options available.   Readers we hope to see many of you there.  We will have music during the afternoon and our fingers are crossed for a sunny day (please let the rain ease up).   Keep an eye out for the posters and flyers.

Our next meeting on 30th May is our AGM and it is an opportunity to reflect back over the previous 12 months and look forward to the coming year.  Our Programme Secretary Lynda has put together a full calendar of events and meetings from June 2024 – May 2025.   The evening will start with Fish & Chips (again members make sure you have ordered and paid in advance) at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall.    


01 May – Book Club – Dobbies Garden Centre 10.30 a.m.
09 May – Coffee Morning – Sports Pavilion at 10.30 a.m. (£2 to include refreshments) Non-members welcome
11 May – Walking Group
18 May – Plant Sale (Abbotts Ann WI assisting with refreshments)
30 May – Monthly Meeting – Village Hall 7.30 p.m.
31 May – HCFWI Annual Quiz in Weyhill (First round heat)