‘Designing a Border from Scratch’ with Lucy Hartley

Lucy Hartley

On Tuesday 17th November Lucy Hartley, an award winning Garden Designer based in Stratford-upon-Avon, joined us via Zoom to talk about the principles and pitfalls of designing a border.  Lucy started her talk by advising that a border should be viewed from different angles  She went on to say that borders should combine restfulness with interest.  The principles of designing a border are the same as those involved in painting a picture.  Lucy illustrated this by showing us an example Van Gogh’s painting of  “Starry Night.”  Continue reading

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This Month in the Garden – November 2020

The quieter winter months are a good time for planning and carrying out a garden project.  Two projects that I am hoping to get done, with the help of one of my sons, are replacing broken glass in an old greenhouse and generally improving its appearance and, the big one, clearing out the silt of many years accumulation in our pond.  This will also mean taking out all the plants in baskets, weeding and replanting them.  It will be necessary to drain out the water in the pond and, as it is always best to use rainwater if possible, I am hoping to pump some of the existing water into dustbins so that all the refill will not be tap water.  I shall put the silt on plastic sheeting round the pond edge so that the wildlife in the pond has a chance of getting back where it belongs.  Once dried, the silt can be spread on borders or the vegetable garden.  One of my hopes is to clear out most of the roots of a rampant waterlily that has escaped from its basket and is dominating much of the pond surface.  The moral is to check the ultimate size of any plants that you plan to put in the pond and to be careful to avoid invasive species.

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Bedford Market – Plants & Flowers

Dear BGA member,
We, at the BGA, hope that you and your loved ones are keeping well during these very trying times. We are so pleased to be able to continue with our monthly meetings/ talks via Zoom.  It is wonderful to see so many of you come together to be part of the talks.  We hope that you are enjoying them!

Today (Saturday 31st October), I ventured into Bedford market to purchase plants for my pots to get me through Winter.  I discussed the ‘possibility’ of a further lockdown with the proprietors, Bootsies Nurseries, and subsequently, the Prime Minister this evening has announced a second lockdown, albeit not as severe as the initial lockdown in March. This means that only essential shops will be permitted to remain open. Given this, you may wish to know that Bootsies Nurseries which is a Bedfordshire business trading at Bedford market will be happy to deliver orders to Biddenham and Bedford (delivery charge:£5)  Furthermore, they will soon be delivering Christmas items such as Christmas trees and Christmas wreaths etc. If you are interested, their contact details are as follows:
Lloyd Cleverly 07824368443 and Karen Cleverly 07788920501
website: www.bootsiesplantnursery@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you on the 17th November when Lucy Hartley will give a talk titled ‘Designing a Border From Scratch’.

Until then, take good care …
Best regards Paula Church.

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Yours and my need for Plants by Rob Brett, Curator RHS Garden Hyde Hall

On Tuesday evening 20th October 35 Members and Visitors were joined, on Zoom, by Rob Brett the Curator of RHS Garden Hyde Hall.  Several years ago BGA members visited Hyde Hall and it was interesting to note that, when we arrived, most people made a beeline for the dry garden.  Rob, who started off in farming, has had a career in horticulture which has taken him from Kew Gardens to the Cambridge Botanic Garden, Sainsbury Laboratory Plant Science Research Facility at Cambridge University and the Eden Project in Cornwall. 
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This Month in the Garden – October 2020

I am writing this much earlier than usual, on the August bank Holiday Monday, as I shall be away when the Loop deadline falls due.  This allows me to round off my comments last month about the extremes of weather during August by noting that, for some parts of the country, this is likely to be the coldest August Bank Holiday on record.  I hope things will have warmed up for my holiday.

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COVID-19 – pls read & share

This Covid-19 virus is not a living organism. It is a protein molecule (RNA or DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular (eyes), nasal (nose) or buccal mucosa (mouth), changes their genetic code (mutates) and converts into aggressor and multiplier cells.

  * Since the virus is not a living organism, but is a protein molecule, it cannot be killed.  It has to decay on its own. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.

  * The covid-19 virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat and that is the reason why soap or detergent is the best weapon.  The foam CUTS THE FAT (that is why you have to scrub for 20 seconds or more, to create lots of foam).  By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down.

 * HEAT melts fat; this is why it is necessary to use water above 77F or 25C degrees for hand washing, laundry and cleaning surfaces. In addition, hot water makes more foam, making it more effective.

 * Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ALL FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.

 * Any solution with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water directly dissolves the protein, breaking it down from the inside.

 * Oxygenated water increases the effectiveness of soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the virus protein.  However, because you have to use it in its pure form, it can damage your skin.

 * NO BACTERICIDE OR ANTIBIOTIC WILL WORK because the virus is not a living organism like bacteria; antibodies cannot kill what is not alive.

  * The virus molecules remain very stable at colder temperatures, including air conditioning in houses and cars. They also need moisture and darkness to stay stable. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade the virus faster.

 * UV LIGHT on any object that may contain the virus breaks down the protein.  Be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is protein) in the skin.

 * The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.

 * Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.

 * NO SPIRITS, NOR VODKA, serve. The strongest vodka is only 40% alcohol, and you need a minimum of 65%.

 * LISTERINE  is 65% alcohol.

 * The more confined the space, the higher the concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less.

 * You have to wash your hands before and after touching any commonly used surfaces such as: mucosa (mouth area), food, locks, knobs, switches, remotes, cell phones, watches, computers, desks etc. and don’t forget when you use the bathroom.

 * You have to MOISTURIZE YOUR HANDS due to frequent washing.  Dry hands have cracks and the molecules can hide in the micro cracks The thicker the moisturizer, the better.

 * Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide there.


[source: John’s Hopkins Hospital]


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A visit to Angelsey Abbey – September 2020

Anglesey Abbey, a Jacobean-style house with beautiful gardens and a working water mill is only 50 minutes away from Biddenham.  Originally the home of Lord Fairhaven it is now owned by the National Trust and is well worth a visit at this time of the year.
The woods are carpeted with cyclamen and the rainbow border of dahlias is stunning. The restaurant is open for a small range of snacks and drinks.  Alternatively there is lots of space (114 acres) to picnic.  There is plenty to look at in the plant centre and National Trust shop.
Additional hygiene and social distancing measures are in place and it is necessary to book a slot on line as visitor numbers are limited.
click here to view Photos from my visit
Linda Truscott
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Exploring Traditional Wildflower Names – Twigs Way

On Tuesday 8th September we were joined by Dr Twigs Way, well known garden historian.  Again, this was a Zoom meeting and we were pleased to welcome 33 members and visitors to this session. Twigs imparted a wealth of information on the origins of wildflower names and those taking part were able to add comments or ask questions through the chat facility …

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Lockdown Lettuces

Dear BGA member,

We have been approached by scientists from Cranfield University, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University, asking for participants to take part in a scientific study regarding growing lettuces …

Participants will receive a lettuce growing kit including, seeds, labels, markers, log books and a trowel.  The experiment will last for 8 weeks and all participants will receive a £20 gift voucher (£30 if you take part in two telephone interviews with one of the scientists) as a thank you.  The scientists ask that participants are aged over 18, have somewhere to grow the lettuces and live in Bedfordshire.  The kit will be left on your doorstep and interviews will be conducted via the telephone in order to comply with the Government’s current guidelines. If you are interested, please send your email address to:  lockdownlettuce@liverpool.ac.uk.

I have signed up for the experiment and I look forward to hearing from the scientists regarding the results in 8 weeks time!  It promises to be an interesting project and perhaps children and grandchildren would like to become involved with your experiment.

Best wishes,

Paula Church

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This Month in the Garden – August 2020

Because the normal pattern of publication for the Loop is to put July and August together August does not generally get a gardening article to itself so this is its moment of glory; or perhaps not, as August isn’t one of the great gardening months.

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