ASTLEY HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY: On July 11 members were up bright and early to board the Johnson's coach at Astley Village travelling to the Isle of Wight. On the journey down we stopped off at a National Trust property Hinton Ampner. After lunch we boarded the ferry at Southampton to travel to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. We were booked into the Bourne Hall Country House in Shanklin for five days.

After breakfast on July 12 we had some free time to explore the quaint seaside resort of Shanklin within walking distance of the hotel. The group then visited the Elizabethan Mottistone Manor Gardens with organic kitchen garden, Mediterranean style planting scheme, pathways and olive grove.

The group was also lucky to visit St Mildred's Church at Whippingham which was Queen Victoria's family church in the holidays and saw the grave of Louis Mountbatten. We travelled on to Victoria's palatial home Osborne House where she and Prince Albert and their 9 children spent time. It is now run by English Heritage. Winning costume prizes awarded to Chris and Roger Russell and Nina and Robin Saunders. Everyone including the staff joined in the hilarious evening with music and dancing.

The group visited Ventnor Botanical Gardens to see the subtropical, exotic gardens before travelling on to Carisbrooke Castle where King Charles I was held before his execution in 1649. We saw the War Horse in the lovely Edwardian styled garden designed by Chris Beardshaw for Beatrice.

Back in England on the way home we made a final stop by visiting Sir Harold Hillier's Gardens in Romsey, Hampshire world famous for its arboretum and longest herbaceous double border.As usual on the way home Roger had arranged a holiday quiz which was full of fun and hysterical laughter. Grateful thanks to Chris for arranging such a fantastic holiday.

Saturday August 13 is the Annual Show at Astley Village Hall Doors open 2.30pm.