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Winter 2021 Newsletter

The Robins are singing loudly in the garden and I am sure that they think it is spring. It is so warm that a couple of Camellias that normally bloom in March are already breaking bud. Records are being broken yet again and it is evident that climate change is the cause. Last year was one of turbulent weather and we can only hope for something quieter this year.

Despite an extremely wet spring and a cool summer our ever industrious members produced some prize-winning produce. It was a difficult decision to make but the committee decided to take a chance and stage the Autumn Show as scheduled. Thanks to you enterprising members we were able to stage our first show in two years, a triumph! Although numbers were down 23 people provided 167 exhibits. There were flowers, fruit and vegetables, floral art, cooking and home-made drinks. The most exhibits were from Mike Leon who contributed 45 entries in all and won two cups for his fruit and vegetables and a cup for his cooking skills. In addition to the usual Autumn Show classes this year’s show included the painting section. Two years’ worth of pictures, 29 in all, held over from the two cancelled spring shows were put on display. The Pendley Estates trophy was awarded to Liz Hobson for her beautiful portrait of a person. Albert Braithwaite won 7 first prizes for his Dahlias, Ron Smith won a cup for his Fuchsias and John Walker a cup for his Hydrangea. John also triumphed in the drink section for his rose-hip syrup. The bakery cup was won by Jan Empson and Glenys Welstead was awarded the Bovingdon Horticultural Society Bowl for her floral art. Considering the problems due to weather and Covid this show was a great success.

Our first talk was held on 20th October and saw the return of dramatic speaker Russell Bowes. After two previous cancellations we finally got to hear the story behind “The Devil’s Garden”. Russell took us on a fascinating journey linking myths and legends with plants and aspects of gardening. This was a fascinating and thought-provoking hour and was well received by the members. Our next talk will be on 30th March when George Lockwood will be talking about “Acers for Small Gardens”. Who does not love an Acer and as we are all being encouraged to plant a tree in our garden, perhaps an Acer could be the perfect choice. I am sure that George will be able to give us inspiration and advice. Starting at 7:30 pm in Bovingdon Baptist Hall, £5 for members, £7 for non-members.

Our Winter Social in November was well attended despite the ever present threat of Covid and its restrictions. We had 76 members and guests attending for a lively quiz night. Brains were sustained by a plentiful supply of food and drink brought along by members themselves. Prizes were given for the winning team and the most improved one in the second round. There was a raffle, of course! This raised £190 and the total raised for the entire evening was approximately £450 (once expenses have been deducted.) We would like to thank all those who provided prizes and helped to organise the event. Particular thanks go to John Wareham for his excellent work as quiz master.

Normally with your handbook, you would receive an order form for garden supplies. Unfortunately our usual supplier is unable to offer a service due to supply issues so we are trying to find an alternative. If we are successful an email with a list of products and information on ordering will be sent to members. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Looking out onto my soggy garden I am pleased that recently I have bought several ornamental grasses. There are few plants that you grow for how they look when they are dead; Miscanthus Sinensis “Ferner Osten” is one of those plants for me. If you would like to see how it looks visit the glasshouse garden at Wisley where Tom Stuart Smith has included swathes of this grass in his planting design. From the pinkish fringes of early autumn they morph into soft cream feathers that sway elegantly in the wind, providing life and interest in the grey winter gloom. When the winter sun catches them they light up into fluttering candles and look even more stunning when coated with frost. This grass will grow to about 2 metres high and can be used as a delicate screen between different areas of the garden. Another attractive grass with a more rigid, upright habit is Calagramostis “Karl Foerster”. There are many beautiful grasses to suit different situations but most of them prefer a sunny site. If you are interested in seeing a wide range of grasses to buy, the best local nursery is “The Plant Specialist” in Whitefield Lane, Great Missenden. At the moment it is closed for the winter (it is a nursery not a garden centre) but usually opens in March.

Members will have a chance to visit Wisley gardens and see all the wonderful displays and the new “Hilltop” building with its stunning gardens on June 19th. Details of the trip will be sent out nearer the time. Put the date in your diary.

Sadly one of our committee members, John Hislam, is in hospital following a serious accident. I am sure that all our members will wish him a speedy recovery and we hope to see him back at our shows as soon as possible.

A Happy New Year and happy gardening to all our members.

Doreen Woods.

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