Winter Newsletter 2015
Listening to a Robin sing is one of life’s simple pleasures and thanks to the mild autumn I have been able to get out into the garden and indulge in this pleasure quite frequently. However my gardening activities have resulted in two trips to the recycling centre as Dacorum Council in their wisdom have decided not to empty our green bins until February. When I asked a council employee why this was so he said that nobody does any gardening in the winter! I did point out that the last collection was before all the leaves had fallen from the trees and, general gardening apart, people would be filling their bins with those.
Now for a recap on last autumn. Our final show for 2014 was well attended with lots of vegetables, fruit and flowers brought on by spring rain and summer sunshine. One of the star exhibits was an enormous Gladiolus spike which meant that its’ grower Julie Parker won the Outspan cup. Other cup winners were Mike Leon, Doug Leslie and Ron Smith. A consistent contributor to our shows Mavis Lawrence won the Bovingdon Horticultural Society bowl for her beautiful floral arrangements and the Copse Hill cup for preserves and cooking. A relative newcomer, Vivien Gabriel, won the Horwood Bakery cup for the best cake. In addition to the usual classes in the children’s section there was a competition to make the best wizard hat. This was organised by Bovingdon Academy and we are always glad to have youngsters in our shows.
For our annual social evening on 14th November tickets were in great demand and sadly not everyone who would have liked one was able to buy. As the entertainment was games of skittles it meant that seating space had to be sacrificed for the skittles alley down the centre of the hall. After a tasty chicken hotpot and apple tart arms were flexed and the skittle balls rolled. It is fiendishly difficult to get all 9 skittles to fall and very few people achieved this. The outcome of the competition between the ten teams was very close. We raised over £700 for the Hospice of St. Francis.
As we look forward to a new growing season our members will be preparing for seed sowing (sweet peas and broad beans may already be tucked into the ground or pots) and planting. This year we as a society sent an order worth £300 to Thompson and Morgan. Because of the value of this order we were given a 50% discount on seeds and 20% on sundries in the catalogue. The catalogues are available from October. If you would like one this year please contact me on 01442 833520. I send off the order by 30th November to ensure that members receive their orders before Christmas as a surprising number of seeds need early sowing. It also gives you something to do if you are suffering from Christmas overkill!
For compost, fertiliser, canes etc. please see the Garden Supplies List that is with your 2015 handbook. Please note that there is a new collection point for these items as Mike Leon no longer lives in Bushfield Road.
So far this year we have one talk booked for Wednesday 25th March. Sandra Barker will be giving an illustrated talk and demonstration entitled “The Wonderful World of Willow.” Come along to the Baptist church at 7:30pm to learn about the amazing willow plant and its uses. Sandra will be demonstrating how you can make plant supports from willow or other material that you may have in your garden.
We now have our own website thanks to our webmaster Stephen who is also a new member of our committee. Although not quite complete there is information about next year’s shows, events and general items of interest. Have a look at www.bovingdonhortsoc.org.uk
Grow your own Christmas decorations? Why not and add interest to your garden too. At Christmas-time we think of Holly as a traditional evergreen to use. There is only one species of Holly (Ilex Aquifolium) native to Britain and it grows in abundance in this area. Although you may think of Holly as a prickly brute and not consider giving it growing space – think again. There are many different varieties on offer in garden centres and nurseries or from online suppliers. Hollies can be green, bluish green (as in the variety Blue Angel) variegated with white or gold edges or have golden centres to their leaves. Berry colour can also vary from the familiar red, to scarlet, yellow and even black as in the Japanese holly (Ilex Crenata) Sizes range from tree to small shrub and the Japanese Holly is also good for topiary. The best option though is prickly or non-prickly! You could have a smooth leaved variety such as Golden King which is a golden variegated female and bears lovely red berries too – a real splash of winter colour. Of course the berries may be gobbled up by the birds in a cold snap but at least you will have the bonus of seeing them in your garden. To see a variety of these lovely shrubs visit the National Collection at RHS Rosemoor in Devon, the Hillier Arboretum or Kew Gardens where there is a Holly walk.
Happy New Year to you all.