Climbers and Creepers – Michael Warren

The April meeting was very well attended with 58 members present to hear Michael Warren, a professional garden photographer, show a series of excellent photographs of plants in, mainly his own garden, but also from other gardens in this country and in Europe.  Michael told us that his interest in plants started as a four year old “helping” his grandfather in the garden – many members could identify with this – where the seeds of interest are sown.  A later interest in photography and steam engines led Michael into contact with Adrian Bloom of Bressingham Gardens and when Adrian wrote “Perennials for your Garden” Michael provided the photographs.  Subsequently Adrian wrote more gardening books and again Michael’s photographs were used.  In the 1970’s Michael spent time in the South of France photographing plants for Roy Lancaster’s book on “Mediterranean Plants and Gardens”.

Michael presented some first class photographs of a huge range of climbers, creepers and crawlers from tiny alpines and dianthus that creep and crawl in rock gardens to vigorous roses that climb to a great height as in the case of Rosa Brenda Colvin shown growing alongside clematis Comtese de Bouchard.  We have become very used to the companion planting of roses and clematis, but Michael showed viticella clematis growing through a choisya which was quite unusual.

Many of the climbers and creepers that Michael showed were very well known to all of us, clematis, honeysuckle, wisteria, nasturtiums, vinca minor, hydrangea petiolaris, cotoneaster will be found in many gardens in Biddenham.  However, Michael also showed plants that were less well known, for example akebia quinata (the chocolate vine) a very vigorous shrub where the male and female flowers are borne on the same plant, followed by sausage shaped purplish fruits.  Tropaeolum tricolorum – an herbaceous climber with delicate stems and small orange or yellow flowers and the Jade Vine photographed in the glass house in Cambridge Botanic Gardens.

Michael’s talk was interspersed with anecdotes of interesting plants men and women that he had met, stories of plant breeders and those who had introduced new plants to this country and, of course, photographs of the odd animal creepers and crawlers as well as the plants. 

Please do join us on 15th May when Richard Ford from Park Green Nurseries will talk about Winter Colour in the Garden – you will receive a warm welcome.

                                                                                                                                   Linda Truscott

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