Saturday, 21 January 2017

Here are a few of my favourite things

Talk:  Good Garden Plants Part 2 by Pat Inman

We were delighted to welcome back Pat Inman who gave us an illustrated talk.  Her presentation was a virtual catalogue of plants which do well and look good in our gardens giving us flowering time, height and spread, hardiness and aspect. Our wish lists for plants has now trebled.   
Display Table 
Alma’s stunning pot of Iris Lady Beatrix Stanley

Gill brought a pot of Iris Painted Lady, and examples of what is presently in her garden including Cyclamen coum, Geranium Spring Fling showing its spectacular foliage, Pulmonaria, Sarcococca and various Snowdrops
Judith brought a tray of Watercress from Morrisons which she will try to grow on.  This sparked of a discussion about Watercress.  We learnt that it can clear ponds, especially if there is running water, but take care of Watercress growing in the wild, particularly if sheep are nearby, as it can harbour parasites such as tapeworms.
 Marjorie brought one of her many Orchids and offered the offsets to members
 Ann’s pretty arrangement includes Hamamelis, Aconites and Cyclamen coum

Not exactly Display Table material but picture this, if you will!  Jenny told us of research done in a Californian university which shows that sitting for too long can age women. 
 Woman, Exercise, Fitness, Fitness Woman, Athletic
 Wendy then told us about the publication Strong Women Stay Young by Miriam Nelson which describes half hour long exercises to be carried our twice weekly to replace fat with muscle and reverse bone loss.  Wendy went on to demonstrate a couple of the exercises and all Friday Forum members, men and women, joined in.  Definitely a missed photo opportunity.
Next Meeting
3rd February – Friday Forum AGM, Free raffle and Gardeners’ Question Time, so please have your questions ready.  Any diseased leaves, bugs etc in plastic bag or jar please!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

New Year gardening resolutions for 2017

New Year gardening resolutions for 2017
These included:
1.   Edit:    Maybe it’s time to go through your garden with a cool, unsentimental eye.  
 2.  Feed :  The editing will help to increase the flowering by letting in more light, but even mature gardens need plenty of feed and a good mulch. Dorothy is going to continue with her feeding regime.  An old soap dispenser or plastic lemonade bottle with spray left near the water supply as a reminder were suggested.   Graham went one further and said he fills up 4pt milk cartons with feeds for different species.  Ann uses Rose fertiliser on clematis, peonies and other plants of the Ranunculaceae  family as they are greedy feeders.
3.  Plant more colour and more scent:  Inject more colour and scent.  Which plants would be on your list?
  4. Plant immediately :  Not tomorrow. Not “soon”. Next year don’t leave new plants on back step for weeks.  As soon as you get home from the nursery or garden centre, unload the boot, perhaps drink the very quickest of cups of tea, and then pull on your wellies and head straight out into the garden. More haste, less desiccation.  Or in Jenny’s words, letting them acclimatise to your conditions!
          5.  Sit out more :  This is the big one. Even if none of the above materialises, sit out in it more, drinking tea, taking friends out there in the evening with lanterns lit and a glass of wine.  Because, what is the point in all of all your efforts if you don’t sit and gaze appreciatively at your creation, however spectacular or imperfect it ends up being next year? 
(headings borrowed from the Telegraph)

Other good intentions were:
To grow more herbs and leaves
Jenny  vows to not be left with areas of her garden looking like “graveyard”  with white labels.   She is now switching to larger black labels which she will write on using silver writing.  It was suggested that black canes and cane caps would also blend into the background.
Get on top of the pests early.  Gill goes slugging on Valentine’s Day.  Vine weevils have already been spotted and remedies suggested were Provado,  scalding the soil a couple of times with water from the kettle to save the compost in pots or leaving the contaminated compost on the path for birds to dispose of the little pests.
Carl suggested flint chick grit from Blue Barn near Poole for drainage and dressing pots.

We will be checking up with your progress later in the year, so no pressure then!
Little known fact
James explained the reason for the Libby’s corned beef tin being trapezoidal in shape.  In WW2, in order to feed troops on front line, soldiers would be supplied with these tins complete with key.  The key opened the tin in the middle, so a soldier could eat half the contents and then close the two halves together and store it for a later meal.  A Friday Forum member who shall remain anonymous told us that she had no £1 coin for the supermarket trolley whereupon a chivalrous gentlemen produced a key from corned beef can and released a trolley.  I wouldn’t suggest you try it though!
Display Table

 Judith’s Hellebore Silver Dollar

Judith’s Coleus, or Solenostemon as it is now called, has lovely green leaves with dark red on the underside.

 Kate has collected these from her garden today:  Skimmia, Skimmia Kew Green, ivy, Bowles mauve, Viburnum Dawn, evergreen Polystichum Fern, Sarcococca, Arum and Pittosporum 'Tom Thumb' Tom Thumb
Ann brought a snowdrop which has been flowering since mid-November

 ... and an appropriate Christmas gift for a keen gardener

Other plants brought in included Mahonia Winter Sunshine, Sarcococca, the winter honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima,
Witch hazel, skimmia and viburnum

Jenny displays her Snowdrop book and a pot with the early, tall snowdrop which originated from the mother-in-law of Dylan Thomas, Mrs Macnamara which began to flower just after Christmas.

 Mary asked about caring for her Billbergia, a genus of flowering plants in the family Bromeliaceae which originates in South America and members were happy to make suggestions.
Notice Board

Membership fees for 2017 are now due
If any members have suggestions for garden visits this year, please contact the committee
Next Meeting
20th January:  Presentation – Good Garden Plants Part 2 by Pat Inman