Zoom Meeting for BGA Members (16th June)

Tuesday 16th June 2020 provided a “first” for Biddenham Gardeners Association – our first virtual meeting that is.  Who would have thought, this time last year, that we would be doing this.  At 7.30 pm thirty three members of the BGA came together on Zoom to meet each other and listen to Paula Church’s presentation …

Paula gave a brief overview of her garden.  She told us that the land was originally an old orchard although none of the apple or pear trees remain.  The soil is dry and sandy consisting of river bed gravel.  The plot is 112ft by 70ft and has lots of trees and shrubs.  Neighbouring willow and poplar trees provide shade.  Paula has a large lawn with many shrubs and flowers and grows all her vegetables in containers.  Following lockdown on 23rd March Paula managed to buy compost online, her seeds had already been ordered in January and she cut up plastic butter tubs to make labels.  Paula then proceeded to show a slide presentation on the six best performers in her garden.

First up was the Iceberg rose which grows around her porch.  She trains the stems horizontally so that they break to form flowering spurs.  A second plant to feature was  Hesperis or sweet rocket which Paula sows directly into the ground.  This provides excellent scent at night and the pure white flowers really stand out in the darkness – very good for moths.  A small pond was featured as number three – within a few days of being filled with water it had attracted wildlife.  Of particular interest now is the water hawthorn and the water lilies.  The foxgloves Alba and Sutton’s Apricot came in at number four – Alba being particularly good for shady parts of the garden.  Oriental poppies provided colour at number five.  Allegro being bright orange, Turkenlouis has a frilled edge and Victoria Louise is pale pink.  Paula also mentioned Escholia known as California poppies which readily self seed.  Number six was the Echium or Giant Viper Bugloss which needs a sheltered location and winter protection but its many flowers are a haven for pollinators – the ones growing in Paula’s garden are most impressive.  Many thanks to Paula for an excellent presentation and for her hard work in ensuring that this online meeting ran without a hitch.  We really enjoyed seeing the photos of your lovely garden Paula.

Paul Fricker then updated us on jobs to be doing now and throughout the summer. Dead heading – roses in particular to ensure a succession of flowers.  Netting over soft fruits to protect from the birds.  Succession  sowing of salad crops. Thinning out in order to give plants space to grow.  Edging borders to give gardens a smart appearance.

Following this members of the BGA all had an opportunity to tell the other participants about what had done well in their garden this year.  Roses, tulips, acers, passion flowers, beech hedging, delphiniums, clematis, wisteria, pelagoniums, echinops, foxgloves, a vine, sisyrinchium, mock orange, magnolia, dianthus, salvia, honeysuckle, cherry trees, hardy geraniums all featured.  It was so nice to see how all the members spoke with such enthusiasm and passion for their plants and clearly have gained great pleasure, enjoyment and therapy from their gardens during these lockdown days.   As Paula quoted at the beginning of her talk “ In a garden you can lose your worries and find yourself.” 

Hurrah for plants and somewhere to grow them – however small! …. and hurrah for technology!

a small selection of Photos from Paula’s Garden/presentation:

We decided to meet again on Tuesday 21st July at 7.30pm.  Please do join us – Paul Fricker and Peter Carter will be leading the session and details will be emailed to members nearer the time.  In the meantime do take a look at the BGA Website which is updated very regularly and where you can find photos of the plants and gardens sent in by members over the last few months and which are giving us such joy in these strange times.

Linda Truscott


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