Practical Gardening

We started our May meeting discussing what we are currently enjoying in our gardens. This included Azaleas, Camellias – ‘Donation’ variety reported to be gorgeous but were just finishing, Tulips, Iris, Magnolias Soulangeana and Stellata, Welsh Poppies, Geums, Centaura, Scabious, Skimmia plus many more. A Chilean Firebush Embothrium coccineum ( -photo right) was much desired by one member. Apple trees and any number of veg varieties are also being grown by some members

Based on a past recommendation within the group, another member has purchased a waspinator-

essentially a false wasps’ nest, to hang up in the garden. It apparently discourages other wasps from coming into the garden as they believe another wasp swarm has already settled there. Results will be fed back in future.

All agreed again to propagate and share plants within the group and a range of donated seeds were offered and taken by some to try.

Cuttings of aloe vera were shared with advice that the aloe liquid which can be extracted by  breaking a leaf, is excellent in relieving the effects of minor kitchen etc burns.  Advice was provided that the plants need only a good desert spoon full of water a week to survive well.

Roberta read a poem she had written:

Appearances are deceptive
I know you don’t think much of me
Just as I am at present, a small and wrinkly thing
As brown as a county pheasant
But oh my dear just wait and see
If you plant me in the ground
With scant attention you will see
A beauty to astound.
So on some cold and wintry day
When sun peeps through the clouds
There I will be for all to see
A crocus straight and proud.

Last year one member had brought an Acer Shirasawanum to show members,  which clearly had some bugs on and reported back progress at this meeting. The group had identified the bugs were mealy bugs. Based on the advice given and having  bought an appropriate spray, repeat  spraying until the mealy bugs left/died and repotting the acer in ericaceous compost, the acer is now in great health and more beautiful than it has ever been. (Photo right is not the actual tree but is equally gorgeous)  

On 21 May the group visited Hartleys Garden Centre and enjoyed a guided tour. We were told the history of the Hartleys family at the centre and how they have expanded from a small farm based centre where they sold plants plus fruit and vedg into the far larger Garden Centre business they are now. The plant growing side, with investment in new greenhouses and equipment and to take in the benefits of new technology such as an automated transplanting machine, the Centre  has expanded greatly over the years. In  addition the family have invested in their floristry business with a new purpose built temperature controlled cool room for flowers and several large flower fridges. Hartleys buy on line at the Dutch Flower auctions weekly (and sometimes more frequently). All the group greatly enjoyed the morning which finished with our enjoying the delights of the on site tea room. .
On 4th June the group were delighted to be treated to a guided tour of a private garden at 14 Saxon Road in Birkdale by the owners Geoff and Margaret Fletcher. This garden opens under the  National Garden Scheme for charity but on this day we were lucky to have the garden to ourselves. The walled garden was informally laid out  with island beds and interesting and colourful borders. It was very obvious that  Geoff and Margaret loved their garden. They clearly spent the vast majority of their time maintaining it to the standard we saw at our visit and trying out new layouts/developing the garden further. Having greatly enjoyed our visit so far, we then enjoyed tea/coffee and gorgeous homemade cakes !! A really lovely morning was had by all. Highlights of the garden are too numerous to mention – you need to visit it yourselves – it is next open under the NGS scheme for charity .
on Sunday 8th July

2 thoughts on “Practical Gardening

  1. I was sorry to have missed the garden visit as people said how lovely it was.However the visit to Hartleys was really interesting and I can recommend a visit to there any time. The monthly meetings are also great as people so willing to discuss problems and exchange seeds and plants.Thank you both leaders for your hard work

    • Many thanks Tony , try if you can to go to Sussex Road on the 8th July- it is well worth a visit if you haven’t been before Dot

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