My favourite plants & shrubs by Colin Ward

We were pleased to welcome Colin Ward to our May meeting.  Colin is the owner of Swines Meadow Farm Nursery at Market Deeping.  The nursery is open to the public and specialises in rare plants and shrubs.  There is an excellent website detailing all the plants available and a mail order service is provided for those people who are   unable to visit.  However, having listened to Colins’s fascinating talk and realising that here is someone with an in-depth knowledge and passion for unusual plants I am sure there will be many BGA members beating a path to his nursery door.

Colin showed a series of excellent photographs of his favourite plants and shrubs.  He told us that he is a particular fan of plants with green flowers and showed many examples of these.  He described in detail the characteristics of his favourite plants, highlighting the unusual and those with odd features,  He was able to tell us, not only, the Latin names but the more colloquial names which stem from the plant’s use, its shape and form, where it is found etc.  To give an example, Euonymous Cornutus is also known as the jester plant as its pinkish-purple fruits are characterised by five slender horn-like extensions with the appearance of a jester’s cap.  Colin gave us a wealth of useful information on plants for all the different seasons, those plants which were good for pollinators and information on their care and propagation.  Colin described flowers, fruits, scents, foliage, form and bark but it is clear that his main love is foliage.

It was pleasing that Colin spent some time describing plants that do well in dry shade, plants that give good ground cover, plants for woodland areas and plants to attract the pollinators – all the things that we gardeners want to know.  The number and variety of plants Colin described is far too numerous to mention here but I would certainly       recommend his website as an excellent source of information.  It is clear that gardening is for all the year round and there is something for every season.  Many thanks to Colin for an excellent talk which provoked a lot of questions and interest from members.

Please join us next month on 15th June when Adam Pascoe will be giving us advice on how to “Grow the Best Glorious Plants”.  Details can be found on our website.  As usual this meeting will be open to all members and visitors.

                                                                                                                  Linda Truscott 

New members and visitors are always welcome.  For more information contact:    
Linda Truscott on 01234 270747

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This Month in the Garden – May 2021

This has been a slow spring with much of April continuing cold and dry.  This has meant we have been able to enjoy the daffodils over an unusually long period but many things have been slow to get going and hard frosts have done some damage.  Seeds that I sowed in my vegetable patch in the middle of March are just beginning to show a tiny bit of green here and there and the onion sets look much as they did when I planted them, and I am writing now in the third week of April.  The ground is exceptionally dry after a long period with no appreciable rain and, unless things change soon, watering will be high on the job list for May.  You will need to pay particular attention to newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials, soft fruit and freshly sown areas.  Established roses benefit from regular watering.  Concentrate on getting the water where it is most needed and, if you have time, use a hose at the base of plants rather than a sprinkler which waters indiscriminately. Continue reading

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Distinctive Containers by Kathy Brown

We were so pleased to welcome Kathy Brown to our Zoom meeting on 20th April. 
We were looking forward to her talk as Kathy is well known to us as she lives at The Manor House in Stevington and many of us have visited her four acre garden as it is open to the public on certain days during the year … Continue reading

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This Month in the Garden – April 2021

Making a garden attractive is not just about plants.  Major structures like paths and walls, pergolas, fencing and trellis all have a significant part to play.  On a smaller scale, ornaments of all sorts can add focal points, visual attractions and a sense of atmosphere.  There are plenty of objects available in garden centres and specialist suppliers of stoneware and statuary but there is a rich source of attractions to be found in architectural salvage centres; the places where money is made from bits and pieces recovered from demolished buildings and abandoned gardens.  I imagine these have been closed during lockdown but will be open again if non-essential shops are opened during April.  Places like this provide free entertainment where you can pass a fascinating hour or two poking around to see what is available and you can often strike lucky with a quirky container or something purely ornamental.  Our two best acquisitions have been a nicely detailed statuette of a young girl holding a basin and, more recently, a patterned concrete trough, and it is the trough that gets me back to plants. Continue reading

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Peonies and Alstoemerias by Alec White / Primrose Hall Peonies

On 16th March Alec White joined us to talk about Peonies and Alstroemerias.  Alec is the owner of Primrose Hall Peonies an eight acre nursery in Westoning, Bedfordshire.  In 2012 Alec started exhibiting Peonies at the major garden shows and in 2019 the nursery won its first gold medal at Chelsea.  Exhibiting peonies is tricky as they have a short flowering window and do not respond well to forcing.  The stand at Chelsea takes about a week to build, the flowers are put into the display on Saturday and the judges start their rounds at 7am the following Monday.  All the hard work paid off as his gold medal was the first to be awarded for peonies in eight years … Continue reading

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This Month in the Garden – March 2021

As the weather warms up and Spring moves through its various phases, gardening will once again keep many of us busy and provide the stimulus and relaxation  that will keep us happy and fulfilled during lockdown.  The therapeutic benefits of gardening have had a good press during the pandemic and it may even be that I have acquired some new readers.  If so; welcome and I hope you are finding that gardening is bringing you a lot of pleasure and satisfaction.

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rare Amazonian Cactus – Cambridge Botanical Gardens …

If you look on the Cambridge Botanic Garden Website you can see the live webcam on the cactus plant which grows up a tree.  I have been monitoring it for the last few days and today it has flowered. Apparently  it has never flowered before in this country and its flower only lasts for 12 hours. 


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Gertrude Jekyll by Andrew Sankey

On 16th January forty three members took part in our BGA Zoom session. We were joined by Andrew Sankey who gave us an insight into the life of Gertrude Jekyll, one of the most well known horticulturalists of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century and recipient of the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour …

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This Month in the Garden – February 2021

A cold and wet January has not encouraged activity in the garden so gardeners will be raring to go this month. This is particularly true as we face the prospect of another two or three months in Covid-induced lock-down. Last year many of us in isolation were made even more aware than usual of the therapeutic power of gardening and  this will be  a source of relief and hope this year.

The onset of spring always brings a lift to the spirit and we shall be especially glad of this at a time when, sadly, we shall once again need all the sources of hope that we can find.  I walked around my garden before writing this in mid-January and I was delighted to see the first snowdrop buds showing white under an apple tree. Continue reading

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Our Gardens

The Gardeners’ programme for 2021 began on 19 January with two members talking about their own gardens. Once again Zoom came to the rescue and the monthly programme will continue to be presented in this way for the foreseeable future. The speakers at this first meeting were Linda whose garden is in Ison Close and Josie with a garden in Darlow Drive. One of the pleasures of having two speakers with a common topic is the contrast it  provides in the size and nature of the gardens and differences in the style of presentation …

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