Saturday, 17 December 2016

Friday Forum Festivities

What a festive forum it was with raffle, festive food and other activities

Christmas Quiz

Once again, James set a quiz which was enjoyed by all the members.  Firstly we had to find a number of wildlife on an illustration and then identify landmarks in Leeds from photographs taken by James.  The latter demonstrated what we didn’t know about our home town and James obliged with the details.
Festive Flower Arrangement
We had a go using a wealth of greenery and benefited from advice from some of  our more experienced arrangers.

Display Table
 Ann’s clematis, which is still flowering, and pretty as a picture

 This newsletter about Red Kites speaks for itself

Next Meeting
Jan 6th:  Forum – Garden Resolutions for the New Year, so be prepared to share yours.
 and all good wishes for 2017

Saturday, 3 December 2016

"The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31." - Marie Huston

Talk:  Festival of Chanukah by Linda Casper

Friday Forum member Linda Casper spoke about the origins and traditions of Chanukah, the Jewish festival of light. 

She spoke about the history, foods eaten and activities engaged in during the eight day festival, how it is celebrated today and answering questions from the members.
Ideas for Christmas flower arrangements
In preparation for the next meeting, when part of the proceedings will be given over to making festive displays, some members offered examples of what we may be able to achieve!
 Gill’s shared her tips on how to construct these wreaths

 Norma finished off this attractive arrangement with lights.  If you look carefully, the green of the “present” is actually ivy leaves pinned on and not paper as we first thought

 Judith cleverly used baubles glued on to kebab sticks to enhance her arrangement
Display Table
There is still a lot of interest in Ann’s garden.  She brought Callicarpa Bonieri, Fatsia Japonica, Arum Italicum, Cotoneaster, Hedera Buttercup, Crocosmia, Crocus Conqueror, Hebe Red Edge, Jasminum nudiflorum, two varieties of Persicaria and Erysmum
 Jenny’s garden is shaded by huge Beech trees and she brought in this spectacular tray of fungi which had formed.  However if this fungi is seen on the branches of a tree it could be a sign of decay and likely to fall off
A plantsman’s garden features some of the more uncommon and harder to find species of plants to inspire the keen plants person.  Carl recounted that in the 1940’s Hellebores were such a plant for his father and Trilliums for himself until now. 

  Carl’s garden now boasts the Cardiocrinum giganteum.   This unusual lily which will take 5-7 years to produce an enormous 6-10ft high flowering spike of scented white flowers and will make a fascinating talking point for visitors to your garden.  Germination of this hardy perennial may be very slow but if you are game to try and have the patience to wait, Carl has offered seeds
Notice Board
Margaret D thanked everyone who helped at the Late Autumn Show which was a financial success.  We thank Margaret for all her hard work.
The programme for 2017 can be accessed by clicking on the tab at the top of the blog entitled Programme 2017.
Next Meeting
16th December:  Christmas Party.  As mentioned, we will have the opportunity of making a festive arrangement.  Some greenery will be brought in and accessories will be available to purchase, should they be required.
James has once again devised his famous Quiz, which is always good fun.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Poppy

When members were requested to bring in “something poppy-related” for this meeting in acknowledgement of Poppy Day, no-one expected such a variety of items.
 Artwork from Phyllis on left and Peter on right

To read the fascinating story of how a seed was found for a white poppy for the Sissinghurst white garden, click on the link.

 Poems, pictures and Welsh Poppy

 This envelope shows a postmark of and the poppy is from New Zealand for Anzac Day

 Top: Norma's Ceramic poppy which was part of the exhibition at the Tower of London, Left:  Norma's poetry book,  Right:  a knitted poppy with the knitting pattern.

 With silk poppies and poppy heads sprayed gold, Judith has made this attractive flower arrangement

 Ann is dressed for the occasion with her poppy cardigan and, if you look closely, poppy earrings too!

 Jenny's beautiful poppy dish which she made herself

Display Table
Just look what Ann has in her garden in late November! 
Nerines, Hesperantha Mrs Hegarty, Persicaria Fat Domino and Golden Arrow, Ceratostigma Desert Skies, Tricyrtis Empress, Cerinthe major, Salix babylonica crispa, Phormium, Rosa x odorata mutabilis and Dahlia merckii.
 Peter brought some pots of his assorted cyclamens which are all named varieties
 Peter’s Orchid
 Norma wanted the name for the plant she brought which was Eupatorium rugosum Chocolate
And her saxifrage fortunei
 From Gill’s garden, there is Holly Golden King, Mahonia, crab apple Red Sentinel, Chrysanthemum, hardy Fuchsia, Viburnum Dawn, and Mexican Daisy
 Sue G’s vase contains Eupatorium rugosum Chocolate,  Eupatorium shrub White Mistflower, Ageratum, Viburnum Dawn, Primula capitata, a chrysanthemum on the conservation list, Salvia trebah, Penstemon Osprey, Aster September Ruby, the tender Salvia Joan, Verbena bonariensis and a twig of Cornus
Notice Board
We were pleased to hear that Caroline is recovering well.
Paxton Show:  The Late Autumn Show will take place at Paxton Hall on Saturday, 26th November.
Next Meeting
2nd December:  Talk on the Jewish festival of Chanukah by Linda Casper plus a demonstration of Christmas flower arrangements which members can try their hand at on the 16th December meeting.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

"November’s sky is chill and drear, November’s leaf is red and sear." — Sir Walter Scott

Talk:  Hedgehogs in the Garden

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to the multitalented Tracy Foster at Friday Forum this week.  Tracy is a Chelsea Gold Medal Winning garden designer, teacher lecturer and writer and spoke to us about hedgehogs, their declining numbers and how we can encourage them into our gardens.
It was a fascinating and informative presentation which included the history, myths, facts and characteristics of these prickly but cute mammals.
We learnt that hedgehogs travel about a mile a night and need a small hole in garden fences to ease their foraging journey.  Also hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so, rather than bread and milk, feeding them cat or dog food is preferable.  They are a gardener’s friend as they eat caterpillars and slugs.

Further information on hedgehogs can be found at:

Display Table
The contributions to the display table were remarkable in that most of the plants would have finished flowering or past their best at this time of year.  We can’t promise that they will give you a display next November, but there are lots of ideas to extend the season.
Ann’s pot contains Ricinus communis with its poisonous seeds, Amicia zygomeris,  Stokesia laevis, Tricyrtis, Campanula, The Mexican sunflower Tithonia,  Dahlia merckii  Flaxton, caltha palustris, Persicaria affinis, erysimum, crocus conqueror, saxifrage fortunei, Hesperantha coccinea Mrs Hegarty

Gill’s vase contains Hesperantha, Cosmos, Pelargonium Lord Bute, Yellow Poppy, Osteospermum and Michaelmas Daisies

Kate brought Grasses:  Miscanthus Fontaine, Pennisetum charmingly named fairy tails and an attractive tender one, Hesperantha, Hemerocallis, Rosa the fairy and the beautifully scented Blush Noisette, Penstemon 'Burgundy', Mallow, Astrantia Buckland
James brought the heritage plant, the Chrysanthemum Suffolk Pink
 These stunning spiky Cactus dahlias were brought in by Margaret

 Gill E’s Vine leaves are beautiful autumn hues

Gill E’s container with Salvias including Amistad, Abelia, Phlox, the yellow Buddleia weyeriana, an ever flowering Wallflower, a mature Ivy, Goldstrum, Geranium nodosum, Mahonia winter sun, Michaelmas daisies and Corydalis lutea
 Judith’s Oxalis vulcanicola and Alstroemeria indian summer

Notice Board
Next Meeting:  18th November – Forum.  Please bring something Poppy related to this meeting to acknowledge Remembrance Day.