Bovingdon and District Horticultural Society
Spring Newsletter 2018
For me the emptying of the green bin is like firing the starting gun for the gardening season. During the last three months gardening activities have been limited by bad weather and an overflowing bin. Now that there is capacity the business of cutting back and tidying up can begin in earnest. It is heartening to see the signs of new growth as you clear away the dead leaves and stems from last season. Despite the constantly returning icy blasts there are already buds on the daffodils and early tulips.
It has been a slow start to spring this year so it is fortunate that we moved the Spring Show to 14th April a week later than last year. The stars of our spring show are undoubtedly the daffodils and there are many beautiful varieties that can be grown. This can be confusing if you are entering blooms for the show as there are ten different types of daffodils. If you are entering some in the show please read the page on classification of daffodils in your members’ handbook. It is important that your entries are placed in the correct class to avoid disqualification. Children you do not need to worry about these rules, as all that is required is for you to arrange four daffodils in a vase making sure that you pick the best that you can find. The alternative entry for the children’s section is a drawing of a plate of healthy food. This means that you can use lots of colour as most healthy food involves fruit and vegetables and not beige lumps. Other classes are floral art, handicrafts and of course the ever popular paintings section. Subject titles for this spring are “Sunflowers”, “Straight Lines” and “Vegetables”. Paintings may be in any medium except “Vegetables” which must be in oils. Please try and submit your entries by Thursday 12th April.
Before the show opens we are holding our AGM at 2pm. This is your opportunity to come along and give us some feedback. It is increasingly difficult to find people to undertake all the tasks necessary for running the society. Sadly Shirley Masterson and Jane Bradnock have resigned from the committee. If you or anyone that you know is a good organiser then please come and join us.
Daffodils featured in our first spring talk given by Roger Sygrave on 7th March. In addition to showing colourful slides of different types of spring flowers he gave us many useful tips on growing the bulbs both in the open garden and in pots. There is quite a wait for our next talk which will take place on May 16th. This intriguing talk by Jacqueline Aviolet will look at quirky names of plants. Entitled “I am a Tulip – What are you?” this promises to be humorous and informative. Do come along and enjoy something a little bit different.
Before this on 5th May is our annual Plant Sale. We need lots of plants to make this a spectacular buying opportunity for visitors. Why not come along with your surplus plants and earn a few pounds. Ring Mike Leon on 01442 833665 to book yourself a table in the hall. You could always get together with a friend to share a table if you do not have many plants. There is no charge but we ask that you donate 10% of your takings to the society.
Being a keen cook as well as a gardener I do view my garden as a potential food source. As my growing space is limited, I grow only a few vegetables, but there are many other plants out there that get used in my dishes. These are mainly salad leaves and herbs but also flowers. Yes I did say flowers! Spring is a good time to start experimenting. Many flowers in our gardens are edible; in times past it was customary to use them in salads, syrups, jams and also crystallised. Having learnt how to crystallise rose petals many years ago this became a favourite activity for my young daughters. Nothing could be simpler, it really is child’s play. Just dip the freshly picked petals into lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle over some caster sugar. Allow to dry for 24-48 hours on a piece of baking parchment. They can then be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. There are many other flowers that can be treated in this way so start by trying primroses and violets this spring. Alternatively, just use freshly picked flowers such as Nasturtiums or herb flowers, in a salad, but add them after the dressing. A really beautiful book on using herbs and flowers in cooking is “Herbs” by Judith Hann, published by Nourish. People of my generation may remember Judith as a presenter on “Tomorrow’s World” the BBC science series. She now writes and gardens at her Cotswold house.