As this year draws near to its end we are seeing a repeat of last year’s weather; a long period of drought followed by a wet October. There is a difference though, as the period of drought was neither as prolonged or as hot as last year and particularly noticeable is the fact that lawns have recovered really quickly. After last year’s damage when the traditional advice of not watering the lawn in a dry period as it will quickly recover after rain proved wrong, not watering has been the right thing to do this time … Continue reading
The speaker at our meeting on 15th October was Rob Potterton of Pottertons Nursery near Caistor in Lincolnshire. Rob’s subject was “A Labour of Love. Alpine, plants and bulbs.” His highly informative and entertaining talk was illustrated with excellent photographs and a great many pictures of alpine plants showing the huge range of plants and their vibrant colours. The easiest way to be reminded of the plants that Rob talked about is to visit the nursery website (@ www.pottertons.co.uk)
At our September meeting there was a very good turn out to welcome Darren Lerigo from Essex who set about answering this question. But before he did so he passed round a box of what looked like sweets, but not to eat, as they were little balls of clay containing wild flower seeds which he asked us to throw onto a patch of earth – in our garden or elsewhere. So, back to the question – and it seems that what most people want to do with the space around their property, according to a survey conducted by The Horticultural Trades Association, is to reduce maintenance.
August was the month of the big wind. Most people probably avoided major damage but there was enough to stir things up in the garden. Some of my dahlias were spoiled and I just got to the vegetables in time to stop the line of runner beans being blown down. It was a salutary reminder of the importance of providing support for plants and checking that the support hasn’t been outgrown. Many of us start sticking in stakes and tying things in when plants start flopping about but that is really too late.
This took place on Tuesday 16th July. After a short business meeting when Paul Fricker was voted to be the next Chair of the BGA and all Members of the Committee were re-elected to serve in office for the forthcoming year. We welcomed Charmaine Norrish, Senior Community Fund Raiser for the British Red Cross in Bedfordshire, to talk about the work of the Red Cross including their involvement with the Open Gardens Scheme.
The subject of our meeting on 18th July was “Weeds and the Weed free garden”. Our speaker was Geoff Hodge, a garden author and broadcaster, who gave us a lot of useful information while engaging the audience with a stream of banter. Geoff started by offering us a miracle cure for weeds which he calls “VIAP”; Vigilance, Instant Action and Persistence”. Always be on the look-out for weeds and do something about them as soon as possible. The weeds will be growing while you procrastinate … Continue reading
We were joined on 16th April by Paula Dyason and her husband Chris. They are the owners of the Strictly Daylilies Nursery in the village of Histon, just north of Cambridge. Paula grew up in America where hemerocallis, to give them their proper name, are very popular. Paula’s mother was an enthusiastic collector of daylilies and when Paula moved to England she wanted to cultivate a typical English garden but populate it with these plants. Continue reading
A couple of days ago we had our first ripe raspberries from the garden. Just four of them, but there is the promise of lots more to come and the rain came at the right time to make them swell. A year ago I was wondering how the raspberries would get on without netting; would the birds do better than we would? I am pleased to say that we won so I am hoping for the same again this year …
At last my front and back lawns are looking like continuous areas of mown grass rather than a random mixture of grass and patches of bare earth. In April I loosened the soil in all the bare patches, sowed lawn seed (much to the delight of the wood pigeons) and lightly covered it with sieved topsoil. Since then it has been well watered, either by sprinkler or by the blessed appearance of proper rain and the new seed together with some natural regeneration of the old turf has done the trick. A closer look shows there are still small bare patches, some of which may need a bit more seed, but the overall effect is pretty good. A downpour in May means that the soil is nicely wet at the moment but a return of dry weather may pose the problem of whether or not to water the lawn. Official advice is to leave it unwatered and it will regrow but last year showed that this may not apply to prolonged very hot drought and newly sown or turfed areas will certainly need continued watering … Continue reading
Our speaker at a well-attended meeting on 21st May was Anne Luder. Anne is a retired horticulturalist, garden designer and part- time lecturer at Capel Manor College in Enfield. The college is primarily a horticultural college and offers a wide range of courses to students from the age of 16 to 60 and beyond.
The site of Capel Manor was formerly known as Honeylands owing to its association with the nearby Waltham Abbey where the monks were famous for their production of honey and a honey-based drink similar to mead … Continue reading
As I write in mid-April, the vegetables seeds I sowed in March have just begun to germinate. I have needed to water them, though, because we have not had any appreciable rainfall since then. If this continues it will mean that watering will, once again, be at the top of our list of priorities (provided there isn’t a hosepipe ban). Wherever possible, water in the evening so that loss from evaporation is reduced. It is best to water plants thoroughly once a week rather than do frequent light watering although plants in containers may well need daily watering. Although time consuming, it is more economical to use a hose to put water exactly where it is needed rather than using a sprinkler . If you have acid-loving plants keep rain water in buts for them as tap water is alkaline and will not suit them. The lack of rain is a problem but a happy side-effect is the absence of damage by slugs and snails.