On Saturday 29th April a group of garden club members joined in the bluebell walk at Brampton Wood organised by the Wildlife Trust. Our guide led us through the ancient woodland to see the carpet of British bluebells, on the way he pointed out to us a number of other ancient woodland indicator species.
Geoff Hodge was our speaker this month; he is also a freelance gardening and horticultural writer, journalist, author, editor and radio and TV presenter.
Geoff began by getting us to name all the different varieties of roses, patio, miniature, rambler, hybrid tea, floribunda and old English roses etc. If healthy rose plants are required with plenty of blooms we were told that we must improve the soil first, select a healthy looking plant with a good root system being careful not to damage any of the roots during planting. The roots being the most important part, not only does it transports food and water it’s the anchor for the plant. Geoff strongly recommended the use of mycorrhizal fungi to strengthen the root system.
Roses require plenty of water during the first few months in your garden as well as feeding with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. Then we come to the part that a lot of gardeners dread, pruning. Geoff gave us a practical as well as humorous demonstration on how and when to prune. With your bypass secateurs you start with the 4D’s that means tackling any dead, diseased, dying or damaged wood, then think about the shape.
Let’s look forward to a summer of magnificent rose blooms.
Our speaker for November was Stephen Hall, from Upper Dean. The topic was "Bronze to Gold". Stephen told us his story; on how he became a Chelsea Flower show exhibitor. Many years ago whilst enjoying a day out at Chelsea Flower show he thought that he would like to become an exhibitor. He went straight away to find the show manager and made his request. After submitting his designs and filling out reams and reams of paperwork he was excepted much to his surprise and amazement. Stephen found himself a sponsor, designed his "Fenland Garden" and won a Bronze medal. He subsequently has gone on to win many awards at Chelsea, Sandringham and Hampton Court flower shows as well as meeting many famous people who have come to admire his gardens.
This year Judith kindly offered to hold the annual summer social in her garden. During the evening thirty eight members turned up bearing plates of food and drink to be shared by everyone. Judith's garden was very welcoming with the the numerous tables and chairs dotted around, complete with parasols to shade us from the sun, lights and bunting completed the effect. The evening went well, the weather was perfect summers evening.
A small group of BGA members visited Lucy Boston's Garden in Hemingford Grey. We were lucky with the weather - it stayed dry and bright although the weather had been very unpredictable.
Diana Boston gave us an informative introduction to the history of the house and the gardens and made herself available for questions about the plants as we all walked around the garden in the evening sun. A very pleasant and relaxing place, the gardens are brimming with well known cottage perennials and beautiful old roses. The topiary was very inspiring and shown to its best effect against the low evening sun.
Definitely an outing to be recommended if you get the opportunity.
Our annual evening nursery visit was to Holwood Nursery which is a family run retail plant business on the outskirts of Somersham. We were welcomed by the owners who invited us to look around and gather together what we wished to purchase. There was a large selection of vegetable plants, perennials, bedding and hanging basket plants, all looking very healthy and at very reasonable prices. Once we had made our purchases we were offered a cup of tea accompanied by mouthwatering homemade sausage rolls and cake. We will definitely be back again sometime in the near future.