At our first meeting of the year we were welcomed into the garden of Kathy and Paul Fricker. They have lived in Biddenham since 1991 and their gardens, both back and front, have evolved since that time. The changes to the front garden have been very dramatic. The line of conifers which enveloped their front garden and had grown to almost 15 feet were taken down and transported away by lorry and have given way to a lovely combination of lavenders and David Austin Roses. Charlotte is yellow, Grace is apricot and Winchester Cathedral is white …
The front garden and the side border which Paul has been cultivating in recent years are a joy for all who walk by. In their back garden Kathy and Paul inherited a Norfolk Pine which had been planted by the previous owners. During the last few years two patios with seating and colourful displays have been made plus a pond for wildlife and an archway with roses and clematis leading from the lawn to the vegetable patch. The garden is now very productive in terms of soft fruit, vegetables and herbs. We were taken through the various seasons from deep snow in winter with the pops of colour from the red stemmed cornus and Christmas Cherry through to the Spring with snowdrops, narcissus and snakehead fritillary and marsh marigolds in the pond. Summer was ablaze with penstemon, crocosmia, clematis and roses and finally the abundance of vegetables in the Autumn for the barbecue. The photos were lovely – we were particularly impressed by the beautiful agapanthus and the whole presentation was enhanced by the sound track of Paul’s guitar playing. Many thanks to Kathy and Paul for sharing their obvious enjoyment of their garden with us.
The second half of our evening was presented by Jeremy Arthern who shared with us some of his photos taken at RHS shows. Apparently there are eleven major RHS shows during the year throughout the country and also a series of smaller shows at the RHS Lawrence and Lindley Halls in London. Jeremy said that the London shows were good places to go to learn about plants. The next show in London will be the Spring show 13-14th February, then comes the Orchid show in April. However Jeremy focused on the Harvest Festival show which takes place at the beginning of October; here one can see good examples of how to show vegetables. Uniformity is key and sometimes smaller fruits and vegetables need to sit on sand to stay upright and onions and shallots needs to have their tops tied with raffia. Also, avoid the pitfall of taking too many layers of skin off onions. All top tips for showing at the Biddenham Show!
Jeremy concluded his talk by showing photos of West Dean Gardens, Chichester. This is a splendid garden to visit with Victorian glasshouses and a walled garden. Horticultural courses are offered and Jeremy provided us with useful tips on starting off vegetables in modules so that they can be planted out without root disturbance. The fine shoots of hazel make good supports for plants – put them in early so that the plants can grow through them for a more natural look. Moisture is essential for all vegetables and courgettes can be planted on a mound so that water can be puddled around them. Runner beans benefit from being planted in a trench prepared with compost and newspaper to retain moisture. Many thanks to Jeremy for his presentation.
Our next meeting will be on 20th February when Joanna Baxter will talk about the Care and Cultivation of Acer Palmatum
New members and visitors are always welcome. For more information contact Linda Truscott on 01234 270747