Suzanne Jones took us through 161 years of the garden society, the people who have made it a success and the influences of the world around that has shaped it through that time. It started as the Cottage Gardner's Prize Society, to encourage the improvement in the quality of their produce. However, it quickly developed into a society that covered the professional, amateur and cottage gardeners, and included in its summer show a range of prize sections for women and children. In 1874 the show was held at Luscombe Castle and was one of the social events of the year, these shows continued until 1886. For the next 20 years the annual show shifted to an autumn chrysanthemum show. The first world war moved the society to lead the Food Production Committee, and sent tons of food to the North Sea Fleet at Harwich over five years of war. The society picked its self up in the 1920's with shows again, and in the mid 1930's became the Garden and Allotment Society with the same chairman, Douglas R Bishop, from 1936 through to 1961. The society boomed in the 1950's and 60's, however ran into trouble in the 1990's over the running of the society until June Collis stepped in and the society has run successfully since.
Elizabeth is a garden designer and horticulturist based in Exeter with a special interest in Roses. She has an edited assortment in her own small garden.
In her introduction, she stated that Roses are:
‘Needy and Greedy, Needing Sunshine and Water to Thrive.’
When planting a Rose, dig a hole larger than the pot it`s in, add compost and fertiliser to the hole and water in. Lifting the plant from the pot – try not to disturb the root ball and ensure the rootstock is below soil level. Then back fill with a soil and compost mix, sprinkle more fertiliser and water well.
As Roses are greedy feeders, apply fertiliser in spring before the leaves open, one handful per plant, hoe in and water well. Mulching with manure if possible, certainly aids glossy leaves and a healthy plant.
There are many varieties of Rose suitable for any location in the garden – Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Shrub, Climbing or Rambling, Ground Cover and Miniature. Elizabeth showed plentiful photos of named species which many members had in their own gardens.
Pruning was the next subject Elizabeth tackled as she commented that most people don`t prune early enough in the life of a Rose. That means all the flowers are at the top rather than at eye level, showing examples of this.
One way to combat this is to grow a Rose on a pillar twisting the stems and tying in as it grows. Climbing roses only need the ends pruning to shape, or of course with any plant any dead, diseased, or crossing branches need to be removed. This applies also to shrub roses, but if you want to reduce the size do the pruning in spring. Dead heading promotes more flowers during the season on repeat flowering varieties but leave single flowering types for their nice hips.
Elizabeth then covered the myriad of pests and diseases that Roses attract recommending Rose Clear as a helpful product and of course tender loving care.
She then took questions from the members who shared their experience and knowledge with the group. One top tip was liquidised Banana Skins poured around the roots – what a good use instead of composting.
On May 19th, 17 of us visited Stonelands Gardens and had a lovely guided tour by Head Gardener Saul Walker. The Rhododendrons were beautiful and the blossom was at its best on the cherry and malus trees as we walked up the drive.
Our next outing will be to High Gardens in Kenton in July.
Peter introduced his talk by describing how Fermoys turned their business into a delivery garden centre during lock down. Going from 2 vans delivering 3 days a week to 6 vans delivering 7 days a week, and how the staff took on new roles, such as their chef becoming a van driver. This way they had been able to support British nurseries and small growers to maintain the supply chain, and how they were adapting now to living with the new rules in welcoming customers back
His talk was on Winter interest in the garden:
Tubs and hanging baskets give the most colour with winter
bedding and bulbs. The winter pansy and viola can flower for 12
months, and should always be bought in flower. These can be
under planted in the tubs with layers of bulbs. Bulbs such as tall tulips making the bottom layer, then dwarf tulips and dwarf daffodils with small bulbs such as crocus and iris at the top. In the next few months up to Christmas cyclamen are colourful and then in January they can be exchanged in the tubs with primulas.
Shrubs for winter:
Daphne — variety Eternal Fragrance, highly scented is ideal by the front door in a pot and best in ericaceous compost
Sarcococca – evergreen, scented and in flower for Christmas, happy in shade, and can self seed
Mahonia — Sweet Winter and Soft Caress are both varieties without prickles, evergreen and flowering in winter, grows well in shade
Camellias — all very hardy and will grow in any position apart from very hot and dry or waterlogged
Shrub Honeysuckle — it is a large shrub and has highly scented white clusters of flowers
Helleborus — every garden should have at least 20! The Orientalis variety has now been bred to have a wide range of colours from almost black through purples, pinks to white. Plant them amongst the herbaceous plants and they get hidden away in summer.
Heucheras — will hold their colour throughout the winter, when they get leggy clip in late summer
Skimmia — the male will hold colour flower buds all winter and then flower in spring; it is the female that has the
Hypericum — ’Miracle’ series, flowers in summer then set a range of coloured berries which stay all winter
Clematis — winter flowering, mix with summer flowering climbers, but remember to feed regularly
Dogwoods — grow for stem colour in winter, need pruning to the ground at least every other year to maintain colour, will grow anywhere even in wet places
Winter Jasmine — flowers on new wood so prune every spring by one third, good on a north facing wall
Shrubs in pots, after 2 years take out and replace some of the compost and then top dress every spring to refresh.
You prune shrubs straight after flowering or in March.
Best fertilizer for shrubs is Vitex Q4 apply March and June.
For enquires contact: Chair, June Cassidy on 439076 or Secretary: Suzanne Jones on 889184
Peter Burks of Fermoy's Garden Centre