Phew! It feels as though we have travelled back in time to an era when summers seemed to be hotter and longer. The standout summer for me was 1976 when this green and pleasant land turned brown, and crispy! resulting in the worst drought in recorded history and water rationing. Back then I was not a member of this Horticultural Society so am unaware of the impact that the heatwave had on the summer show. As our 2017 summer show approaches it is also interesting to reflect that only last June we experienced one of the wettest starts to summer on record. Hopefully this year there will be no hosepipe ban and with generous watering and brilliant sunshine members should have a bumper crop of vegetables and ripe fruit to display. As always make sure that your entries are in by the Thursday before the show – that is 6th July. This can be done by dropping an entry form into Jarman’s store or on the website www.bovingdonhortsoc.org.uk
This year is the 90th anniversary of our society and we are giving our floral art enthusiasts the opportunity to create a celebratory exhibit (class 51). This is a time to indulge in a bit of nostalgia and perhaps include items and flowers popular in the early 20th century.
The soaring temperatures may have suppressed the urge to cook, but if the week before the show is too hot you can always resort to the “here’s one I made earlier” plan. You may well have some preserves such as marmalade, lemon curd or pickles at the back of the cupboard. Enter one of those and save yourself the sweat and bother of baking. There is still time to take a few photographs too and the choice of subjects is very varied. Take a look in your handbook and find something to enter and support our show.
As with the photographs the subjects for the painting entries were usually given out at the Autumn Show; but oil paint takes a long time to dry so we have been asked to decide on the subjects for the Spring Show painting classes now. So here they are, and appropriately the first subject is “SUNFLOWER(S)” in any medium. “STRAIGHT LINES” is also a subject for any medium, and then to be painted in oils only is “VEGETABLES”. So now all you artists out there can begin to plan your pictures, perhaps using the summer show for inspiration.
Recently the society had the opportunity to visit “Springfield” the nature reserve and garden belonging to Bovingdon Primary Academy.
This is an amazing area of almost an acre just behind the school. Over the last few years we have had entries in our shows from pupils at the school in art, cookery and gardening classes. Our link person is Glynis Tustin who helps with the school gardening club. It is good to get young people involved in gardening and we hope that more of them will enter produce in our shows. This summer there are children’s classes for peas, garlic and Sweet Williams in the show.
On the evening of 28th June we are having a tour of a lovely nursery called “The Plant Specialist” with refreshments and an opportunity to buy from their extensive stock. The nursery specialises in unusual perennials, ferns, grasses and woodland plants. Many of these are grown on site not imported from abroad in huge lorries. As Monty Don recently commented there seems to be a trend of people growing the same plants because these are the ones that are available from large commercial outlets. Consequently we could be in danger of losing some of our more interesting or historic varieties if they are not grown. It is not only wild flowers that need saving from extinction! So next time you need a plant rather than just picking up a pot from the supermarket why not visit try to visit a real nursery and help our dedicated growers.
A good place to find more on offer from some of the small specialist nurseries is at the Chenies Manor plant fair on Sunday 16th July 10am to 5pm. The entrance fee of £8 also includes admission to the manor gardens. It is inspiring to look around established gardens and Chenies has the feel of a historic garden, but with some modern planting.
Our second summer social will take place at the beautiful “Huntsmoor” garden in Stoney Lane Bovingdon on Saturday 15th July. Brian and Jane Bradnock will be our hosts and all members and guests are invited. This is a chance to chat to other members with tea and cake in a relaxing setting.
Lastly Gillian Johannson has back copies of “Gardens Illustrated” to give away. If you are interested call her on 01442 833766.
Happy Gardening! Doreen Woods