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Once Seen never Forgotten with Don Witton - October 2019

By ticknallgc, Nov 7 2019 05:27PM

When Don Witton went on his honeymoon to the Lake District many years ago, he was smitten forever by the overwhelming grandeur of the scenery which, being Sheffield born and bred, he had never experienced before. A lifelong love of iconic views together with his passion for walking and gardening combined to produce his impressive talk, titled "Once Seen Never Forgotten" given to Ticknall Garden Club at our October meeting. His lifetime interests have meant many years of foreign travel, nurturing a national collection of Euphorbia and walking all 214 Wainwrights.

His photographs of outstanding views abroad included Table Mountain in South Africa, The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, U.S.A, Ayers Rock and The Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Las Vegas. His visionary views featured gardens closer to home in their natural settings. Bodnant with towering Snowdonia in the background, Holehird with it's range of Pikes, Powis Castle with its majestic terraces, Parcevall Hall in Wharfedale and the humble view of his euphorbias on his allotment with his neighbours ramshackle aviary in the background. Wild flowers too were shown in their natural habitats. Wild lupins in New Zealand, gentians in the Alps and orchidson the Monsal Trail.

A Glorious Gardens section was full of fabulous pictures of some well-loved places. RHS Hyde Hall, Rosemoor, Wisley and Harlow Carr always impress. As does the Victorian parterre bedding at unspoilt Stourhead, unchanged in 200 years. Bodnant with its unforgettable laburnum avenue, crimson acers in Westonbirt Arboretum, gleaming white silver birches at Anglesey Abbey and acres of stunning bedding at Breezy Knees in Yorkshire were just some of his favourites. Oxford Botanical Gardens has another collection of euphorbias but not shown to advantage, in his view, in rigid rectangular beds. His own take pride of place in island beds amongst other plants. Nor were individual plants forgotten as he extolled the virtues of colourful crocosmia - Harlequin and Sunrise, the striking Iris Siberica - Silver Edge and Melton Red Flare, and day lilies Black Eyed Susan and Sammy Russell. A red and white dahlia was aptly named York and Lancaster.

'Name Nonsense' concentrated on the unusual pronunciation and naming of some plants. The well loved Michaelmas daisy has undergone a bewildering name change for the aster novae-angliae to symphyotrichum. Another mouthful to pronounce is Paeonia mlokosewitschii, understanably nicknamed Molly the witch. However primula 'Strong Beer, Corydalis 'Tory MP' and hemerocallis 'Little Bugger' raised a laugh with the audience.

Don Witton's lifelong passions have justifiably resulted in his truly remarkable talk called 'Once seen Never Forgotten'.

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