After weeks of being passed by when most of the country was getting some rain we have, at last, had a significant amount of rain. The water butts have been filled up and my pond water level is where it should be. The rain comes too late to make a lot of difference to the immediate appearance of the garden but let’s hope it’s the beginning of normal rainfall to prepare for next year’s gardening, and that is really the main gardening theme for this of time of year; looking ahead, preparing and planning for next year …
The speaker at our meeting on 16th October was Caroline Holmes who gave a talk entitled “A Zest for Herbs”. Caroline is a well-known gardening author and lecturer who has written eleven books including works on garden history, studies of water lilies, herbs and dung and books of general gardening advice. She has travelled widely giving lectures and speaking on cruises and giving tutorials.
Caroline started by giving us an opportunity to handle and smell a number of herbs with examples of myrtle, rosemary, lemon-scented geranium, golden bay, rue, fennel, lemon verbena, lavender and thyme …
Although much of the country has had useful amounts of rain,the drought continues in Bedford and we are likely to enter October with very dry conditions. Cooler weather and a little rain at the end of August and in September helped a bit and, at last, runner beans have started to produce an edible crop. The hot dry summer and the later date made finding entries to the Biddenham Show a challenge. The fruit and vegetable sections both suffered with some classes very thinly represented and some not at all. It was good to see quite a few people taking up the challenge however …
We were pleased to welcome Dr Ian Bedford to our September meeting. Ian is head of the Entomology facility at the John Innes Centre in Norwich which is one of the UK’s leading Plant Science Research Centres. From a childhood interest in insects and butterflies Ian is now a leading expert in this field and he makes regular radio and TV appearances. During his 40 odd years at the John Innes Centre it has increased substantially in size and houses areas where native bugs can be studied as well as an area where insects from other parts of the world can be investigated and where a high level of quarantine must be maintained.
Research into insects from around the world is vital as many sap sucking insects transmit viruses. Ian cited the example of Cassava, a woody shrub native to South America and which is the staple diet of 50 million people – aphids can transmit diseases and decimate crops with devastating consequences for the population. However, we have to cohabit with insects and invertebrates as we share our lives with them in our homes and gardens. Continue reading
The Biddenham Gardeners’ AGM was held in the Village Hall on 17th July.
The Chair reported on another successful year with a good variety of outside speakers and two meetings presented by our own members. There were outings to Ascott House near Leighton Buzzard in April and Deene Park, Leicestershire, in July. Attendance at meetings was slightly down on last year and the Committee are arranging a leaflet drop advertising the BGA to go to all the houses in Biddenham, including the King’s Field estate north of Bromham Road … Continue reading
Posted in AGM
Tagged Jeremy Arthern
The 2018 Biddenham Show will be held on Sunday, September 9th
St James’ Primary School & Village Hall, Main Road, Biddenham – 12 noon – 4pm
When misfortune strikes we often say that life isn’t fair. One of my dahlias must be feeling like this at the moment …
Last year I ordered five new dahlia mini-plants and they arrived in April. I potted them up in the greenhouse where they grew well and I planted them outside in mid-May. (still with a risk of frost but the long-range weather forecast looked benign). One of these plants is already flowering strongly, three others are coming on well and one is a three inch high desiccated stump with a few tiny shreds of leaves. Continue reading
The Gardeners’ Association were delighted to welcome the well-known and respected horticulturist Adam Pasco to June’s talk. Adam was the founding editor of Gardeners’ World magazine of which he edited for 22 years. Adam is the current editor of Waitrose Garden magazine. Adam’s talk commenced with his recommendations for obtaining a colourful garden by the use of plants, which are ‘good doers’ …
Until the middle of May the weather continued its record-breaking behaviour. After the wettest, coldest April we have ever experienced we had the hottest and driest May Bank Holiday. I was lucky and went on holiday in the Canary Islands for the second half of April so I escaped the worst period of cold and rain. When you get back from a holiday, the first thing to do is a tour of the garden and a look in the greenhouse to see how things have grown. This year they hadn’t; hardly anything had changed except the three varieties of beans sown in the greenhouse had germinated well …
In May we were pleased to welcome Janet Rose from Warden Abbey Vineyard, especially as she had brought samples of wine for us to taste. Vines were first planted at Warden Abbey in medieval times by the Cistercian Monks. They themselves mostly drank beer, but the wine they produced was used for the sacrament and for their guests and pilgrims, hundreds of travellers stayed with them every year. They also used the wine for preserving … Continue reading