Since 2012 the January meeting of the Gardeners’ Association has been devoted to members speaking about their own gardens. This has always proved to be very popular and 20th January 2015 was no exception with in the region of sixty people turning out on a very cold night …
We had expected to have two speakers but one was unavoidably unable to be with us. However, Glenys Culverwell was very well prepared to talk about the lovely garden in Days Lane that she and Peter have tended since 1967.
Glenys and Peter’s house is one hundred years old and the garden is approximately two thirds of an acre. They garden on light, stoney soil originally on the edge of an old gravel pit. Dominating the back garden are two Cedar trees, Cedrus atlantica glauca, native to the Atlas mountains. These two trees provide a constant source of interest and are particularly spectacular when the male flowers cover every branch providing clouds of yellow dust which in the setting sun looks like a tree of gold, but they do influence what can be grown in the garden.
Glenys’ slides gave an indication of the hard work and effort that she and Peter have put in to establish and maintain their well stocked garden. An old ash tree, an Indian bean tree and a twenty five foot high bay tree can be found bordering the gravel drive in the front garden. The back garden consists of two lawns bordered by flower beds, shrubs, and mature trees including silver birches and red oak. Walls are softened by clematis and Virginia creeper and a vegetable patch is carefully tended. Glenys said that the vegetable patch requires considerable cultivation in order for it to be productive and a three year cycle of composting garden waste is pursued to enrich the soil. Chard, beans, courgettes and raspberries do particularly well, but root vegetables are not suited to the stoney soil.
Glenys and Peter have laid crazy paving paths for ease of access and the back garden is laid out with a number of flower beds each with different varieties of flowers. A grey border with silver leaved euphorbias, sedums and other plants which can withstand drought and heat are grouped together. Another border, originally a rose garden, where the roses have been taken out as they did not flourish in the gravel soil, has been replaced by hardy geraniums which are cut back to ground level after the first flush of flowers and in six weeks regenerate ready to flower again. A bright border with white and jewel coloured flowers including fuchsias and salvias. Glenys and Peter also have themes running through the garden of penstemons, lilies, dahlias (left in the ground all the year round and covered with 12 inches of compost in the winter), heucheras, osteospermums, and chrysanthemums to provide colour interest through many months of the year. It was interesting to see slides of the garden throughout the various seasons and to enjoy the winter scenes when the cedars and other trees and shrubs provide a wonderful supporting framework for frost and snow.
Clearly Glenys and Peter’s garden is a haven for wildlife and they continue to enrich the soil and provide a suitable environment for selected plants. Apart from tree surgeons and help from Green Thumb with the lawns they do it all themselves – bringing gasps from the audience! Glenys’ enthusiasm for her garden shone through and her closing words were “Handle your plants with love, care, consideration and concern” – a good motto for life in general. Thank you Glenys for sharing your lovely garden with us and for the effort you put in, not only in your garden, but in preparing your talk for us.
a small selection of photos from Glenys’s garden:
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 17th February when Geoff Hodge will be talking about Gardening in the shade.