On 21 July we held our second distanced meeting using Zoom. Paula Church, our secretary, hosted the meeting and the speakers were our Chair, Paul Fricker and a former Chair, Peter Carter.
Most of us had never heard of Zoom before March this year but we are beginning to get used to it and, in many of the ways that we used to meet together, it has proved a great blessing. It will never replace face to face contact but we can see and chat to each other and still appreciate the activity that would have brought us together in other circumstances. A drawback is the amount of work involved in setting up a meeting and we have to thank Paula for all the work of setting up a meeting, preparing the speaker’s material for presentation and holding everything together while the meeting is in progress …
Peter Carter was the first speaker and his subject was the roses in his garden. It has been a splendid year for roses and Peter had good things to show us. He started with an introduction to the main categories of roses, often referred to as the nation’s favourite flower. The main categories are wild roses, old garden roses and modern roses and these are further divided into climbers, ramblers highbrid teas and floribundas and Peter spoke about the characteristics of each group. A particular feature of climbing roses is that, although their natural tendency is to grow vertically, they flower most prolifically if trained horizontally.
When Peter moved to his present garden there were five roses, one of which has died, and he has added seven more. Roses are noted for having thousands of named hybridised varieties and, although the naming habit is by no means confined to roses, their names do seem to have particular resonance, particularly for remembrance or celebration. Peter’s significant wedding anniversaries have featured strongly in the named roses in his garden. We were shown pictures of all the roses in his garden as Peter described their characteristics, talking particularly about a magnificent, unnamed, red rose which has created great interest in Day’s lane.
Paul Fricker’s subject was the Joy of Gardening and he put his particular sources of joy into five categories; spring colours, making compost, summer colour, growing (and eating) herbs, vegetables and soft fruit and illuminating the garden at night.
A feature of Paul’s garden is the sheer number and variety of plants that he and Kathy have packed into a good sized but by no means large garden. He has added to the fenced bounds of the garden by creating a narrow border that runs along the grass verge the entire length of the garden and, although Paul did not specifically mention it, it is obvious that another source of his joy in the garden is the pleasure that this border gives other people and the opportunity it gives him to chat about the garden to the people who pass by.
For Paul, the joy of the spring garden is enhanced by the long period of anticipation it provides through autumn and winter with the need for soil preparation and ordering spring bulbs. Spring itself offers a changing succession of plants through hyacinths and other spring bulbs and forsythia to tulips plus tadpoles in the pond and then frogs. Paul attributes a large part of the success of his plants to a magical source; alpacca manure, which he has to admit is not widely available.
Paul has five separate bins for making compost and he likens the particular joy it gives him to his pleasure in cooking; selecting the right ingredients and mixing them together to get the right results. Kathy, though, says it is because it is like making mud pies.
The source of summer joy for Paul lies especially in colour. This was amply demonstrated in pictures of the great number of herbaceous perennials that he grows, using a style of single examples of many different plants.
The fourth category of joy comes from edible plants. Paul makes great use of containers here and, once a again, he crams a great variety of things into a fairly small space where thyme, hyssop, feverfew and mint and other herbs jostle with tomatoes, courgettes, corn on the cob, onions, beetroot and rhubarb, not to mention strawberries, raspberries, blue berries and black currants.
Finally, night falls and Paul loves to light up the garden with solar lights that bring delight without tapping in to the electricity supply..
There are no further plans for future meetings of the BGA at present but they will continue with Zoom if necessary and it is hoped that some outside speakers may be persuaded to use Zoom as well as having the valued contributions of our own members.
Pls Note: Photos shown during this meeting are available to view from the Members Photo Library (on Flickr)