Hello to all our members. I cannot believe how unlucky we have been to have yet another show cancelled. Having waited to see if restrictions would be finally lifted I found that I had run out of time to compose a new newsletter before the show. So here is a rather late version to keep you all in touch until the autumn one.
On a more positive note we did manage to stage the plant sale on 22nd May. We were able to use the open area at the back of the Memorial Hall and by observing Covid guidelines people were able to shop safely. Although there were slightly fewer members selling plants there were still a good selection of flowers, fruit and vegetables and also a stall selling interesting old tools and garden memorabilia. Sadly the event lacked the buzz of our previous sales but trading was steady and despite the grey and gloomy weather people seemed content. Thank you to the parish council for allowing us to stage this.
Another positive event for the society is the brightening of our village High Street with colourful hanging baskets. These are planted by Steve Foskett at his nursery in Chipperfield and hung up by several members of the committee. Participating businesses care for the baskets and are entered into a competition to find the best looking basket later in the summer. Judging usually takes place in August and an independent horticultural judge is invited to adjudicate. In 2019 the winners for the first time were Bovingdon Community Library, pushing Pendley Estates and Fyfe’s butchers into 2nd and 3rd respectively. It takes a lot of dedication to keep the baskets looking good as the weather can give them quite a battering. The worst situation is a heat wave that makes watering a challenge. So far there is no sign of one although the Met. Office keeps predicting one!
Slowly life seems to be returning to something more like normal, but with the return of our freedom we are experiencing the return of noise. More traffic, more voices, more aircraft. The great benefit of the pandemic for me has been the opportunity to hear birdsong. It seems , however, that some people have not got used to this phenomena as the BBC has been inundated with complaints about Monty Don using recorded birdsong on Gardener’s World. Apparently they could not believe that it was real!
Aircraft noise is fortunately not yet back to pre-pandemic level and this was very apparent on a recent visit to Kew gardens. Normally the low flying planes on their approach to Heathrow shatter the peace of these beautiful grounds but my visit was much more enjoyable this time with fewer flights. The gardens are returning to their former glory after a year of reduced maintenance. The beds of green manure have been replaced by a colourful tapestry of annuals and the Broadwalk borders are building to their peak display. Around the grounds there are six new installations (plant scapes) demonstrating different plant habitats and showing the species that grow there. These are moorlands, sand dune, meadow and marsh, woodland, hedgerow and urban. This is just one of the many new projects and events being staged this year. Go to the Kew website www.kew.org to find out more. If you are planning a visit to Kew be aware that there is now a one-way system around Kew Green to access Ferry Lane and the car park.
Kew is famous for its annual orchid festival but did you know that we have many species of native orchids here in Britain. They are not as bright and blousy as their tropical relatives but are beautiful and fascinating in their own way. Here in the Chilterns we have many common and uncommon species and now is a good time to see them. Where do you find them? Bovingdon Brickfields is home to the most common, The Spotted Orchid. This is easy to identify as the leaves have random spots and the lilac flowers have purple markings. Another common species is the Pyramidal Orchid which is bright pink with the flowers in a pyramid shape. There are many others and one of the most fascinating is the Bee Orchid its flowers mimicking bees along its single stem. Places to see this and other types are College Lake and Aston Clinton Ragpits nature reserves. You can find details of how to visit on the website www.bbowt.org.uk.
Who does not love a butterfly? At this time of year I look forward to seeing one of my favourites, the Marbled White. They usually emerge in late June and can be seen fluttering over grassy areas. Although you may not see one in your garden there are many other butterflies that you can spot within metres of your door. Each year Butterfly Conservation conducts a nationwide citizen science survey aimed at helping assess the health of our environment. This year the survey runs from Friday 16th July to Sunday 8th August. If you, your children or grandchildren would like to take part go to www.bigbutterflycount.butterflyconservation.org for more information, and to download a handy identification chart. You can do the survey whilst out on a walk or in a park or garden. It takes only 15 minutes and you then submit your results online. If you are really keen you can do as many counts as you want on different dates and in different places. How does your garden compare with a holiday location for numbers and types of butterfly? Have fun! Stay safe and happy gardening!