All images and text copyright © to Goldings Old Boys reunion members

Page Compiled May 2009


Although Goldings has been functioning as an instructional centre for Barnardo boys for over 30 years, and the gardens have existed
practically unchanged since the house was built, as a recognised class the department is the youngest in the School. Full status was
assumed when Mr. Embleton took over as Principal Gardening Teacher in October, 1945, and a nucleus, of 25 boys. Since then the
number has fluctuated between 25-35, and is now-divided into Junior, Intermediate and Senior groups. There are now 35 boys in the
The department has two major principles; to instruct students in the elementary principles and practice of the profession, yet at the
same time to supply the school kitchen with a regular flow of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as to maintain the ornamental grounds,
sports areas, etc.
At Goldings, boys have an excellent opportunity to obtain a sound understanding of general horticulture, and gain experience; in the
cultivation of hardy fruit, green vegetables, root crops, the raising and growing of pot plants for indoor decoration, and Spring and
Summer bedding plants. The care and upkeep of sports areas is a specialized section of the work carried out, along with general estate
So many young gardeners of to-day have little opportunity to gain all-round experience of the profession, as most employers are
specialist growers. The ideal training ground of our forefathers' hey-day was the "Private" place, or Gentleman's estate, but most of
these as a result of heavy taxation have either passed into the care of the National Trust, or are highly commercialised. Such
establishments where they exist, are still to be recommended, and the boy who completes his full training at Geldings, ought to rill
any post offered with confidence, yet at the same time be suitably equipped to carry on with other lines of specialized growing.
A good memory and a keen sense of observation are two of the essentials for success to the individual, and the gardener with a
retentive brain for plant names, etc., is always sure of holding the higher paid jobs. To give some idea of the task ahead of the young
horticultural student, all plants are divided into classes and families and of the higher flowering plants, 120,000 species are recorded.
In the Daisy family (Compositae) alone, 800 genera and 10,000 to 12,000 species exist, and the specie are again divided into varieties
and hybrids. Further to this pests and diseases must be recognised and prompt methods of control clearly understood. Some knowledge
of chemistry is necessary, and with the introduction of many new insecticides such as Parathion and Azobenzene, great care exercised
in their application. These insecticides are so potent, that careless operators can lose their lives if the material is allowed to come In
direct contact with the skin. Also plants so sprayed must not be handled for several days. Furthermore great strides have been made
with plant hormones, and their uses are of special value to the gardener. Lawns can be weeded by simple spraying and the grass left
unharmed, potatoes can be dusted with another hormone in the clamp and early sprouting prevented, plants difficult to propagate can
be hastened on, and yet again apple varieties known as "early droppers", made to retain their fruit. Scientifically, horticulture is well
catered for, and students whether at county institutes or Goldings must keep abreast of discoveries to keep on top of their job.

The Gardening Department Top: l and r
Head of Gardening Mr Embleton with Staff and Boys

Left: Boys in the Gardening dept

The Chelsea Flower Show this year was held on 22nd May and was a really excellent show. The "Suttons" display was best of all.
It was full of vegetables; among them were potatoes and early tomatoes (Suttons' - early Market) also cucumbers and delicious
looking radishes. "Chases" also had a good show of vegetables.
Among the flowers "Bobbies'' had a magnificent display of tulips and "Amands" had a very good display of Spring bulbs. The
Hartley scented Fresias which were put on display by "Baths" won their first gold medal. Carnations made a very good display
everywhere. Among the new flowers were the new Begonias which looked quite lovely.
The rock gardens and pools were a great attraction and drew plenty of people to see them.
The "Knap Hill" nursery had their usual display of Azaleas and Rhododendrons. "Rochfords" of Hertfordshire had a wonderful
display of Hydrangeas.
Among the latest gadgets was the Tarpentrimmer, the all-British electric hedge trimmer. Also the latest gadgets for fitting on to the
Allen cutter, a small grass trimmer, spray pump equipment, a compost and liquid mulch attachment and gang mowers.
Latest weed killers are Dicatox a selective weed killer which is quite effective and also Verdone. Merfuson gives protection against
fungus disease on lawns.


THURSDAY, 12TH MARCH, was a day for celebration on the part of Messrs. Landmaster, Ltd., and our School. On the one hand
Messrs. Landmaster were celebrating the production of their 66,666th Gardenmaster machine by presenting us with this particular
model, and we on the other hand were pleased to celebrate by receiving the same.
Several V.I.P.s were present for the handing over ceremony, and to do the actual presentation, the Managing Director of Messrs.
Landmaster, Ltd., Mr. J. Howard handed the machine to Mr. Percy Thrower, the celebrated TV gardening expert, who in turn made
the formal presentation to our Deputy Headmaster, Mr. L. Embleton, who is also head of the Gardening Department.
As can be seen from the pictures, it was not the warmest day of the winter, but within a few minutes one of the senior garden boys,
Ray Bowden, was demonstrating how quickly one can put such a useful piece of machinery to good use. Perhaps the old saying '
many hands make light work' can be brought up to date by saying that 'good machinery makes light work'—it certainly would seem
that the back ache can be taken out of digging.
After the presentation formalities, Mr. Embleton conducted the party of new friends round to all the Departments in the School.
Unfortunately they were not able to spend very long in each Department as Mr. Thrower had another engagement that evening.
Our Headmaster, Mr. R. F. Wheatley, was ill at the time and could not be present for this very pleasant ceremony.
N T Powell 1964

Mr Embleton 1948 teaching boys how to graft roots on to Stems

In the greenhouse or outdoor keeping the Cricket field like a billiard table

Gardening in the classroom

Elementary Gardening
Definition: An annual is a plant which grows, flowers, produces seed, and dies within the period of twelve months.
There are two distinct types of annuals, i.e. Hardy: subjects which can stand harsh weather and are practically immune from frost;
and Half-hardy, those which require protection against cold winds and severe frosts. Perhaps the simplest of these two to cultivate
is the hardy variety, especially if you are not fortunate enough to possess a greenhouse, or any other means of sowing under glass.
Soil Preparation: An ordinary garden soil is suitable, but a light sandy soil is preferred. The soil need not be rich because this tends
to produce more foliage than flowers, but a generous application of humus leaf-mould or some decomposing vegetable matter
which will assist the creation of humus should be incorporated with the digging. The application of this matter helps to keep the
soil moist and spongy which is favourable to the roots. It also assists porosity. Good drainage is essential not only for annuals but
for practically every plant grown (except for bog or marsh plants).
Sowing: Hardy annuals may be sown in the autumn, not earlier than the last week in August, and not later than the last week in
September. Plants sown in the autumn should, if they survive the winter frosts, produce flowers in the following spring. When
planting it is advisable for subjects to be planted where they are sheltered from cutting winds which can easily break the stems, but
also well exposed to the sun.
Later sowing can be made during March/April for summer flowering, and later still for autumn, from the middle of May to the
middle of June.
To raise annuals for floral decoration about the house, which it pays to do, the seeds should be sown in V shaped drills % inch deep,
and 10 inches apart. A spare corner of the garden is ideal for this purpose. I suggest stationary sowing as being the best method,
where the seeds are sown three at a time in small groups approximately 8 inches apart, this method saves unnecessary thinning and
also avoids waste. When the plants have reached the stage where they are half-way to maturity they should be thinned out, leaving
the best plant in, and the thinnings can be planted in vacant beds or borders at the same distance apart.
If you are interested in putting a few of these hints into operation (that is if you have not already done so), here is a very brief list
of suitable subjects:

Goldonian 1957 Winter



Sweet Pea;