As always, we didn’t get around to answering all your questions at our August GQT meeting (I’m very sure they don’t manage to on the radio programme either!). But you may remember that Annie H brought in her strange distorted tomatoes to show everyone. If it had not been for the biblical deluge, I expect we would have had a good discussion about them.
Annie was undaunted by getting no answers at the meeting, and contacted the RHS directly. She says, “I was informed that the most likely cause was a too high concentration of a contaminated farmyard manure compost in the pots. The farmers spread weedkiller/ pesticide on the field, the grass grows and the cattle dump cowpats which are composted and then bagged up for sale but still contains residues of weedkiller/ pesticide.”
Thank you for this Annie, something for us all to watch out for. It would be interesting to hear from other members if they have had a similar experience.
Our previous post was all about how well the garden was growing – and it really was – except it then just stopped raining, for ever! At the beginning of July, everything was looking nice and green:
But as the Summer heatwave went on, and ever hotter, the volunteers spent more time working in the shade..
And pretty soon all we were doing was watering. It has been heart-warming to see the volunteers arriving every Tuesday or Thursday, picking up their watering cans and setting off to save many of the plants we planted in to the Old Pond Garden just last year. We have lost remarkably few in the end, and as long as we don’t have a repeat heatwave/drought next year, most should get their roots down and become more resilient for the future. There have been a few casualties, and a few that clearly don’t like where they are. So as soon as Autumn comes, Jason will be directing some tweaks. As August came around, the garden’s colours and textures changed to become Autumnal.
Our annual amateur Gardeners Question Time meeting was once again held in the Peace Garden at Charlton House. Some members will remember last year, when everyone was in thermals and anoraks and it was the coldest August evening for years – ah, not this year we thought, it has been so warm and dry for weeks! Well, best laid plans as they say. Everyone was settled and happily getting in to the swing of questions about the drought. And so of course, the heavens opened!
True to type, we gardeners just picked up our things and decamped to Frilly’s Tea Room for a little break. Thank you to our stalwart committee and helpers who covered things up in the garden (do you know what Doritos and Pringles look like when they are soaked? ugh!). As the thunderstorm carried on, so too did we and the questions continued in the Tea rooms.
Thank you to our panel, especially guest panellist Joe Woodcock, for cheerfully answering our questions, and to Charlton House for letting us drip all over their cafe. It was still a very enjoyable evening, but sad that not many members saw the old Pond Garden in the dusk, lit up with solar lights and looking magical.
The committee will be having a think about whether to have next years GQT meeting in the safety of the Old Library!
I love hostas, but they have a reputation for being difficult, not least because of their attractiveness to slugs and snails. They are commonly thought to do best in moist partial shade, but this shockingly dry year has been a surprise. As Chris Beardshaw points out, there are several that do well in dry shade, the sieboldiana types in particular. Although many of mine in direct sunshine for most of the day have scorched this year, there are also several that have done surprisingly well in quite dry and sunny conditions.
Hostas were originally named in honour of the Austrian botanist Nichloas Host, but in 1817 the name Funkia was used by a German botanist in honour of botanist Heinrich Funk. The name Funkia remained in use for some time and there are a number of horticultural texts written over this period which refer to Funkias. In 1905 Hosta was reinstated as the genus name by the International Botanical Congress.
I quite like the name Funkia. It makes me think of the plants secretly having a good time after I have gone to bed.
I found this photo posted on the blog of Garden History Girl. It’s one of the blogs I have at some stage signed up to and now get regular posts. It is worth checking out (overlook the name) and this one contains some fascinating information on pelargoniums / geraniums and snippets of plant history. If you have never been clear on what are pelargoniums or geraniums, this is the one to look at! And there are some lovely pictures too!
The Bank Holiday weekend was enlivened with a play “Family Tree” performed in the gardens, as part of the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival. Based on the life of Henrietta Lacks, it certainly lit up the garden!
A very tall flowering plant which is just coming out in the garden has been catching the attention of visitors and volunteers alike. It is Vernonia arkansana ‘Mammuth’ and was featured this week on Gardeners World when Nick Bailey visited Knoll Gardens. Very appropriate as we bought our own Vernonia from Knoll Gardens back in May!
Together 21: Volunteers were in the garden for the borough’s Together 21 Festival. Very sad for visitors that it was such a drizzly day, but at least the garden liked all the water. Spirits not dampened but umbrellas were up!
This is our bargain plant of the month – a Lysimachia clethroides specimen bought for £10 at Members’ recent trip to RHS Hyde Hall, and now split into 23 new plantlets. Filled up the whole corner of one bed, we are just so thrifty!