November meeting: Rose Growing made easy – Simon White

Simon White is the President of Norwich Horticultural Society and Sales Manager for the RHS award winning Peter Beales Garden Centre in Attleborough, Norfolk, where he has worked for 41 years.

He gave an entertaining and informative talk on growing roses. He said, if provided with the right conditions, it was not true that roses were difficult to grow. Simon said Beales had the largest collection of roses in the world. They primarily sell bare root roses and many old traditional classic roses. They grow from seed some 250,000  a year in fields rented from a local farmer and he described how they grew them.

He then went on to show how we at home could grow bare root roses:

1.THEY NEED GOOD SOIL PREPARATION: Ideally bare root  roses should be planted from November to March. Good  quality fertiliser,  including horse manure which is at least six month old, should be used. Do not use mushroom manure.

Continue reading November meeting: Rose Growing made easy – Simon White

Gardening for Moths Too

Kathy’s post about Gardening for the Bees was interesting – particularly because I love honey! But it made me want to encourage a similar interest in Moths. There are at least 2,500 species of moths in Britain and very few will eat your clothes!

Joe and I have been monitoring moths for the Garden Moth Scheme since 2013 when we were invited to enter a raffle for a moth trap. We think we were tricked! One of our fellow Volunteer Rangers at Jesmond Dene in Newcastle is a GMS Regional Coordinator and he was looking for new recruits! We didn’t win the raffle but he lent us a trap and a book and, as they say, the rest is history. We transferred to the South East Branch when we moved south and now we even continue through the Winter Moth Scheme…

The moth trap is a simple box with a light above it. The light attracts the moths and they end up in the box below with lots of egg trays to rest in. They are not harmed. In the morning, we open the box and identify and count the different species, taking photos of unusual ones. How different are our moth records here and in the North? For the last full year we were in Newcastle (2018), we recorded 290 moths of 61 species. Last year here, we recorded 844 moths of 143 species. Moths that hadn’t reached the North at that time were the Jersey Tiger and Box Tree Moths and we get more migrants here – some moths fly over the Channel!

Continue reading Gardening for Moths Too

Gardening for the Bees

My husband ( a beekeeper) recently treated me to a visit to the National Honey Show, which is sort of like going to RHS Chelsea if you are a beekeeper. Apart from an enormous number of jars of honey, there were talks available, and we attended one  from Dr Nick Tew on “The role of gardens in supporting Insect Pollinators”.  It was a really good talk, with scientific research explained in easy terms.

Title slide

A few slides stood out for me – for instance, the time period for flowering plants in a garden, compared with a hedgerow or pasture. Most gardeners love to have something in flower all through the year, so although the volume of nectar/pollen in a garden might not be as high as in a meadow or hedgerow in full swing, it is available for a much longer time span. So in fact such a garden is more useful to insects.

There are some downsides to a garden – Nick calls it “horticultural bling”, a lovely phrase which unfortunately can be applied to a few parts of my garden (but luckily not many!)

 A version of the talk is on Youtube, the link is below, it’s a good watch.

The Show was held at Sandown Park racecourse, and it was huge. It reminded me of a Horticultural Show in that it not only had classes for honey, but also eg craft and baking classes. The sunflowers shown here are made of wax!

I bought some sparkling mead from one of the stalls, took down a recipe for “Gin & Tonic Honey cake” and bought a couple of seed packets to convert my lawn into a meadow at some point in my dreams. The final stall we visited worried me a little, as it is giving my husband ideas!

Bee suits for the family

YouTube talk if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdLvAxNuEms

Kathy

Poppies to Remember

Poppies for Remembrance on the gates

Thank you to all our volunteers, members and local residents who donated plastic bottle bases over the past year – look what we did with them! It might not be quite Tower of London level, but our poppy cascade makes a great “Stop and Remember” point on your walk around the park this week.

We also added some to the Peace Garden gates.

Kathy

Garden Museum – not only but also

The Garden Museum was created in 1977 in order to rescue from demolition the then abandoned church of St Mary’s at Lambeth, a church which now is restored and renewed: restored in the outer and inner structure of the church, and renewed as exhibition spaces on all matters related to the history of gardening, and to the history of the Tradescant family, father and son both named John, in turn each appointed Royal Gardener to the Stuarts and whose family tomb is within the grounds, fittingly in a garden that reflects their world-wide plant collecting.

The Tradescant family tomb though is overshadowed by that of William Bligh, the hero/villain of the Mutiny on the Bounty.

The visitor must tread over centuries-old gravestones set in the floor, and past memorials to some very late indeed Archbishops of Canterbury: St Mary-at-Lambeth was a popular resting place, right next door to Lambeth Palace.

The Museum has a permanent exhibition of the history of gardening in all aspects from grand estates to allotmenteering, from Gertrude Jekyll to Alan Titchmarsh. Art is of interest generally here, with currently a showing of Lucian Freud’s paintings of plants. The Museum has an archive/study room on garden design: visits for research are by appointment.

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Florence Nightingale Garden

I’m sure we can all remember the particular joy that gardens gave us during the dark days of lockdown.   Gardeners of course have always known the benefits that green spaces can bring.

This fact was brought home to me recently when I spent time in the Florence Nightingale Garden at St Thomas’s Hospital, Southwark – happily as a guest, not a patient or loved-one of a patient.  The theme of the garden is ‘nurture through nature’.

Florence Nightingale Garden


The archivist in me loved the fact that enlarged extracts from Florence Nightingale’s letters in which she campaigned for healthcare reform featured in the original design, printed onto the boundary walls and overlaid with images of her pressed flower collection.

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OPG Diary – September /October

September started off with the tail end of The Drought and as it became wetter the Volunteers were very grateful to get back to some proper gardening. The great news is that we hardly lost any plants at all.

The Peace Garden has benefited from our attention, with the last of the annoying stones on the path edges being removed, and work on the shrubs and climbers along the walls making them look much more defined and trim.

Removing stones in the Peace Garden
Removing the last loose stones, saving the lawn mower!

In the Old Pond Garden, many perennials went to seed earlier than usual, due to the drought, but the seedheads are quite spectacular.

The Volunteers were thrilled to receive a donation of jars of honey from the Charlton House Beekeepers. The bees had a bumper year, partly due to our lovely gardens. To stop any squabbling, we held a raffle to decide who got a jar and the happy winners are shown here:

Volunteers with Honey
Thank you for the lovely Honey!
Continue reading OPG Diary – September /October

October 2022 – Peter Skeggs-Gooch on Clematis for Every Season

Our October members meeting was held on 17th October in the magnificent Old Library at Charlton House. A well attended meeting, we were treated to a great talk from Peter of Thorncroft Clematis, a wonderful Show Table, bulbs for sale and an amazing Autumn mandala from members gardens, which covered the entire grand piano!


It was clear that we were in for a treat of a talk. As well as a box of Thorncroft Clematis Catalogues, Peter Skeggs-Gooch laid out the nursery’s impressive collection of Flower Show medals: several Chelsea golds as well as a smattering of Silver-Gilts. Peter’s slide show took us from evergreen winter varieties such as the familiar ‘Freckles’ and the lovely, if large, armandii ‘Apple Blossom’; through Spring, with much-loved montanas now smaller and more manageable; into Summer with several scented varieties including the coconut-perfumed  ‘Lambton Park’;  and finally finishing with the viticellas of Autumn such as ‘Prince William’ and super easy ‘Alba Luxurians’. His nursery produces over three hundred varieties, so we were being given only a glimpse of what is on offer. For more information or to order head to their website.

Continue reading October 2022 – Peter Skeggs-Gooch on Clematis for Every Season

Horn Fair

Charlton House held another very successful Horn Fair on Sunday 16th October and CABAHS contributed to that with a range of opportunities for adults and children. We focused on the Old Pond Garden, with a Spooky Spider, Bat and Pumpkin trail for the children, and well-attended tours by Head Gardener Jason Sylvan who explained the work he is leading with the volunteers there. Just outside the Peace Garden, we held one of our famous plant stalls – it was as popular as ever! Here are some photographs of all the activities.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to its success.

Lynda