Meeting Reminder: Saturday 19th October – 11.00am

Peter Cantrill – ‘Unusual Herbaceous Plants’
Peter runs the wholesale nursery Dayspring Plants near Exeter, which supplies plants to National Trust gardens, amongst others.  With a lifetime’s experience in the business, his horticultural knowledge is second to none, and the plants he brings to sell have been known to cause a rush to buy at the end of his lectures.

Plants for Sale

PoTM: Pines, Cones, and Needles

I wonder how many of us planted a ‘conifer’ hedge back in the ‘80s? x Cupressocyparis leylandii seemed the perfect solution to screen an ugly view, divide us from our overly close neighbours; and they grew fast. And then they grew more. Slowly it dawned that this by-generic cross had hybrid vigour and just kept on growing like a triffid. Eventually many ‘Leyland’ hedges had to be grubbed out. At vast expense. Leaving a view of the eyesore beyond, and bare, exhausted soil. The net result was a distrust and dislike of all things coniferous.

But like all babies thrown out with the bathwater, there is much more to the world of conifers than instant hedging and Christmas trees. It is large and eclectic. And slowly, slowly they are coming back into fashion.

Of late I have bought two, seriously beautiful new conifers, neither with the vigour to achieve more than 2 metres in 10 years. They live in pots by the front door in winter. And in summer they holiday in a sunny corner of the nursery. One is Pinus strobus ‘Tiny Kurls’ with silvery, twisted stems and needles that look as though it’s having a bad hair day. The other, Abies pinsapo ‘Aurea’ with fat primrose and grey shoots, look like prickly sausages waiting for the barbeque. They both make me smile. And they always draw comments from our visitors.

In order to screen our ugly greenhouses from the rest of the garden, about 7 or 8 years ago I planted a magnificent specimen of Pinus wallichiana. Now it is a very big tree. I have already cut off the lower branches at the main trunk so that we can all squeeze past. It has long, silvery needles that are as tactile as a cat. Everyone pauses to give it a stroke. Otherwise known as the ‘Bhutan Pine’, for me it commemorates a plant-hunting expedition to the Himalayas. Mr Wallich was curator of the Botanic Garden at Darjeeling which we visited on our travels, and the garden boasts a giant specimen. If you have room for just one, truly big conifer, I would heartily recommend this beauty.

Sally Gregson

www.millcottageplants.co.uk

 

 

Seed Collection Day

Come and join Alison and Zoe at Fivehead SSSI in Somerset to collect seeds from some arable plant species.

We’ll collect from a variety of species, depending on what seeds are still on the plants. Shepard’s-needle, Spreading Hedge-parsley, Corn Buttercup and more.

Please bring lunch and suitable clothes and footwear.

Everyone is welcome, from beginners to more experienced botanists.

DATE Tuesday 8 October TIME 9:30 onwards

LOCATION Fiveheads Arable Fields, Cathanger Lane, Fivehead, Somerset, TA36PS

BOOK HERE zoe.morrall@plantlife.org.uk to let us know you are joining us

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Mistaken Plant Pick Up on Saturday

Rowena Varley bought some plants at Saturday’s plant sale which were left near the door with a number of others and someone else has picked up her bag by mistake. Please would the person concerned could contact me so that I can let Rowena know and then bring the plants to the October meeting.
If you are reading this as an email, just click reply to respond if you think you picked up the plants.
Many thanks
Jane Hunt

Correction: Marcel Floyd This Saturday

Apologies, I posted the details of the 2020 plant sale, below are the correct details.


Saturday 21st September – Plant Sale 10.00am
Lecture starts at 11.00am

50/50 Plant Sale:  (Hall opens at 9.30am)  followed by:

Marcel Floyd – ‘Clematis’

Marcel is the owner of Floyd’s Climbers and Clematis in Wiltshire, and has been growing award-winning clematis for over 30 years.  He will be demonstrating how to prune and take cuttings from various types of clematis, as well as advising on how and where to grow the different varieties.  All your clematis questions answered!

Plant orders can be made online, and Marcel will bring them to the meeting.

www.floydsclimbers.co.uk

The 50/50 Plant Sale prior to the lecture at our September meeting each autumn is a popular event. The Group keeps half the money taken and returns the other half to the seller.  The hall will be open from 9.30am – 10.00am to receive your plants to sell.

Please ensure that each plant has two identical labels, both of them bearing the name of the plant, your name and the price.  One will be removed so that the amount you are owed can be totted up and given to you at the end of the meeting, when you can also reclaim any unsold plants and your labels (tip: write in pencil on the labels so that they may be reused).

Selling will take place between 10.00am and 11.00am, at which point the lecture begins.  Offers of help with selling on the day will be most welcome.

Our speaker, Marcel Floyd, will also be bringing plants for sale.

Reminder: Saturday 21st Plant Sale and Talk

Saturday 21st September – Plant Sale 10.00am
Lecture starts at 11.00am

50/50 Plant Sale:  (Hall opens at 9.30am)  followed by:

Charlie Pridham – ‘Climbing Plants’

Charlie and his wife, Liz, run Roseland House Nursery in Chacewater, near Truro, Cornwall where they hold two National Plant Collections: Clematis viticella and Lapageria rosea.  They also grow a great range of other exciting climbing plants and conservatory plants, so this talk should inspire us to cover that bare wall or fence in something unusual and interesting.

The 50/50 Plant Sale prior to the lecture at our September meeting each autumn is a popular event. The Group keeps half the money taken and returns the other half to the seller.  The hall will be open from 9.30am – 10.00am to receive your plants to sell.

Please ensure that each plant has two identical labels, both of them bearing the name of the plant, your name and the price.  One will be removed so that the amount you are owed can be totted up and given to you at the end of the meeting, when you can also reclaim any unsold plants and your labels (tip: write in pencil on the labels so that they may be reused).

Selling will take place between 10.00am and 11.00am, at which point the lecture begins.  Offers of help with selling on the day will be most welcome.

Plants for Sale:  Members may also pre-order plants direct from Charlie Pridham and he will bring them to the meeting.  Email charlie@roselandhouse.co.uk or call 01872 560451 to pre-order.

www.roselandhouse.co.uk

Seavington Gardening Club: Rosy Hardy

A talk by the most decorated female exhibitor at Chelsea Flower Show, with 23 gold medals to date. Rosy and her husband Rob have turned their Hampshire-based nursery into one of the UK’s leading nurseries, with an unrivalled selection of over 1,200 herbaceous perennials. Rosy will draw on her vast experience to look at attributes of different plants, how to grow them, how to combine them for wonderful combinations, and how to avoid common pitfalls.

When and Where

  • 10th October 2019 at 7.30 pm in the Millennium Hall, Seavington St Mary, TA19 0QH
  • Visitors welcome, £2 payable at the door. For more information contact Karen Day 01460 249728

Plants for Sale

Rosy will be bringing plants for sale but you can also place an order online then she will bring your plants to the meeting. To do this please follow the steps below:

  • Visit their website
  • Select the plants you want and once you are ready to complete your order tick the box marked COLLECTION (CLICK & COLLECT FREE)
  • Then proceed with the order by completing all your details
  • When you come to the ORDER REVIEW page you will find a comments box.
  • In this box please write ‘to collect from Rosy’s talk at Seavington Gardening Club on Thursday 10th October’.

https://www.hardysplants.co.uk/

PoTM: Toad Lilies and Cuckoo Flowers

The temple gardens of Japan are renowned throughout the world for their raked gravel, well placed rocks, and no plants. At least, very few. Such occasional plants are placed strategically, singly, designed to engage the visitor with their enigmatic immediacy.

Each plant is native: cherry, chrysanthemum, wisteria; it is symbolic; and it celebrates a season.

Tricyrtis is just such a plant. The Toad Lily, to use its English common name, is called ‘hototogisu’ in Japanese, an onomatopoeic word for the cuckoo whose spotted chest the flower is thought to resemble. But it is the delicacy and complexity of the flower structure that appealed to the Zen monks who made the temple gardens. They found in it a metaphor for life itself. And in Zen poetry, ‘haiku’, the tricyrtis indicates the late summer whose days are shortening into autumn.

And here, in northern Europe, these Japanese tricyrtis flower during that long lean gap in any shady garden between the last of the foxgloves and astrantias, and the first of the snowdrops and hellebores. It accompanies Hydrangea serrata, Japanese anemones and soft lush ferns from August to October, and merits a position close to the path, the better to examine the flowers more closely.

And what intricate flowers they are! From fat, flat-bottomed buds a ruff of six petals opens, in some species spotted, in others plain. The reproductive parts of the flower, the stamens and the stigma, are supported on an elongated style above the level of the petals. When the flower is pollinated, the whole corolla drops away leaving a shining green seed capsule the same shape as the bud.

The most commonly grown tricyrtis in this country, T.formosana stolonifera, the ‘Toad Lily’, is, however, native to Taiwan. There it spreads by the roots in moist, loose, leafy soil in light shade. It has typical spotted flowers, and is easy to grow in the right conditions. Tricyrtis hirta grows wild on shady rocks in the wooded mountains of Japan, arching down to present its paler, spotted flowers over light green, slightly hairy leaves. And Japan is home to many other species of tricyrtis, among them T.macropoda with recurved white flowers and pink spots. This plant is called ‘yama-hototogisu’ in Japanese, the ‘mountain tricyrtis’.

There are some golden yellow species that are also worth seeking out from the specialist nurseries. Tricyrtis latifolia has, as its name suggests, leaves as wide as saucers, setting off yellow flowers that are speckled chestnut brown. It would trail prettily down a shady bank or over rocks or down a wall.

So try a few tricyrtis under a light tree canopy where the soil keeps its moisture without getting boggy. Dot a few, discreet, slug-pubs about. Slugs and snails are lager-louts: they prefer beer to beauty.

And you too will surely get hooked on toads, or should that be cuckoos?

Sally Gregson

www.millcottageplants.co.uk

September 2019