Bovingdon and District Horticultural Society
Winter Newsletter 2019
Raking up the leaves, is a task that can be tedious and satisfying in equal measure. I think of those glowing shapes as fallen fragments of summer recalling the warm, sunny days we have enjoyed this year. Whilst I was doing my annual raking in mid November, I was amazed to see grey-green spears of snowdrops already several centimetres above the soil. Now, in mid December, there are snowdrops about to open by my front door. This is the earliest I have ever seen them emerge. Although this Summer was one of the hottest on record it is not inevitable that we will have a mild winter; that is the conundrum of our climate and those snowdrops may have to contend with arctic conditions before long.
Although we do not know what the weather may bring for 2019 we do know what events our society can expect. Our first talk on 7th March will be on the classic English border plant, the Delphinium. We are lucky to have an expert on growing them at Home Farm Plants, Bovingdon. Graham Austin is a member of the Delphinium Society and has won medals and best in show for his blooms at their annual show at RHS Wisley. Graham will be giving advice on growing these beautiful plants and will have some for sale. This is a great opportunity to acquire some good stock.
The second talk on 25th April has the title “Say It With Poison” and will be given by Russell Bowes a freelance garden historian. Do come along and listen to the stories behind this intriguing title.
As an affiliated society of the RHS we are entitled to a free group visit to one of their gardens each year. Thinking of spring, cherry blossom comes to mind and Wisley gardens are promising an avenue of 100 cherry trees. Of course the blossom on them is dependent on the weather! Some of you may have visited Japan to see their spring cherry blossom but the trip is costly so I have decided to try to see cherry blossom in England instead. A visit to Wisley seems like a good idea so we have a society booking (we do have to go as a group) for Sunday 28th April. We will be using our own transport and nearer to the day we can organise car sharing. Let’s hope the weather does not delay the opening of the blossom. Please put all of these dates, including the three shows and plant sale, in your diary and let your friends and family know about them too.
With your new handbook is a list of garden supplies that can be pre-ordered for delivery in March. Now that we have lost Garden Scene in Chipperfield our choice of suppliers has been reduced and a bulk delivery is a useful service. Please make sure that you get your order in by the stated date so that you are not disappointed. A percentage of the takings from this go to society funds as well as offering members a good deal.
Our annual social in November involved some muscle flexing, a good warm-up for that autumn leaf raking. For the second time we had a skittles alley in the hall to provide us all with entertainment. Unlike the modern bowling alley the skittles do not right themselves after each competitor’s turn so a team of willing gentlemen took on the task to set up whilst John Walker conducted proceedings. Many thanks to them all. Getting all nine skittles to fall is incredibly difficult and few people achieved this. There were many different strategies proving that brute force does not necessarily win! We all enjoyed the games fuelled by food and drink brought in by the members. Profit from the evening will be shared between the society and charity.
As we approach another gardening year it is time to take stock and plan for the future. We have already taken delivery of a seed order from Thompson and Morgan, but if you missed it I will be able to take orders for a second delivery in February. Please call me on 01442 833520 for a catalogue.
If you can drag yourself away from your cosy home now is a good time to take a look at other people’s gardens. There may not be much in bloom but the structure of trees and shrubs, particularly evergreens, is an important part of the garden plan. As well as National Trust gardens that often have topiary it is worth just walking around your local area and seeing how other gardeners have used Box, Holly, conifers (no not Leylandii!) to good effect. Among evergreen shrubs are several herbs, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme. Trees with interesting bark such as Silver Birch (much used but very beautiful) Acer Capillipes (snakebark Maple) and Acer Griseum (paperbark Maple), Prunus Serrula and Cornus all make striking additions to the winter garden. A camera could be useful when out and about and you may find subjects for the photography section of the summer show. Subjects for this are in the handbook.
The committee would like to wish all members a Happy New Year and we hope to see you at one of our events.