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Here you can find out what events have taken place at Ticknall Garden Club.  We welcome your comments on these events.

By ticknallgc, Sep 12 2019 08:58AM

The secret of success in making a garden to suit alpine plants is all in the construction and the maintenance thereafter. At least this was the message that Jeff Bates was keen to get across at his talk to Ticknall Garden Club at their meeting on July 9th.

Think Dovedale with its craggy outcrops at the summit then moving down stony scree slopes to a flowing river at the base. Few gardens can aspire to duplicate this effect but aspects of it can be copied. Stone walls and even the smallest stone trough can be home to exquisite miniature alpines. The really delicate gems need a well-ventilated greenhouse to give them protection. Alpines are high altitude plants; hardy, compact, low growing and rooted in poor free draining soil. They cannot survive in damp cold conditions. They should be planted in a mixture of one third loam, one third grit and one third leaf mould with the addition of bonemeal. They need a very thick mulch of grit or any other material to protect the roots. Remember to trim after flowering and feed with bonemeal. He emphasised meticulous weeding. Because such a free root run has been created, any weed can take advantage and put down roots that are difficult or impossible to remove if left to establish.

Jeff showed examples of established rockeries; some good, some not so attractive. Success is all in the positioning of the rocks and plants. Rock should mimic natural backward tilting strata with plants placed under their shelter and in crevices. The bigger plants and conifers need to be at the lower level. A useful tip for planting in crevices is to wrap dead turf around the roots to squeeze the plant into the gap.

He particularly recommended visits to the long established rockery at Sheffield Botanical Gardens and the newly reconstructed one at Hidcote manor. Originally, in the Victorian era, when the interest in geology flourished, the emphasis was on the rocks themselves and this can be seen at Chatsworth where huge structures can be seen to this day. As time went on, with plant exploration so popular, the emphasis was on constructing a suitable site in the garden for all the new species being discovered. In the early 20th century rockeries were the dominant theme at The Chelsea Flower Show. Prior to 1940 every garden incorporated a rockery but then they gradually dropped out of fashion.

Perhaps they are now due for a comeback. Certainly, under the wise guidance of Ticknall Garden Club's favourite speaker. we know how to get it right.

By ticknallgc, Sep 11 2019 12:56PM

The last two talks at Ticknall Garden club in May and June have featured two dedicated gardeners who have been very successful in their careers. They can transmit their enthusiasm for their love of plants so well that listeners are persuaded to but plants that they never thought they needed.

They both established their garden businesses twenty five years ago. Bob Brown set up Cotswold Garden Flowers near Evesham and Justin Harrison started growing plants to sell on Burton Market. They concentrated mainly on perennials; those that were popular and reliable but also interesting new varieties that showed promise. Both preferred to concentrate on growing their own plants rather than relying on mass production from outside sources. Neither was keen to cash in on current fashions. Over the years they have inevitably gained considerable expertise in their field and obviously have pleasure in sharing thier knowledge with others. Justin is understandably full of praise for all of his plants (he sells them on his market after all) but he has favourites. Sun loving Salvias are fragrant and a magnet for bees. He displayed new varieties called Bordeaux and Peaches and Cream. They should be cut down in Spring above an emerging shoot. For Bob, it was the Polemonium, better known as Jacobs Ladder. Not the common self-seeding variety but a hybrid called Lathkill Dale which has no fertile seeds and is deliciously scented.

Both speakers have forthright views. Bob Brown debunks the myth that Agapanthus like to be crowded to flower well. They need feeding and planting in the ground instead of in pots. Manure should not be dug in the soil where it can't be broken down easily, but left on the top of the soil for the worms to do the job. Justin insists that any border should be planted with one third conifers. A dose of bonemeal will work wonders on ailing plants. He also believes that gardeners should be more adventurous in their pruning. A Camellia, Rhododendron or Rose can be cut to the ground and will repay with healthy new growth. In addition, Bob Brown has achieved quite a name in the gardening world. He can be credited with the present popularity of Heucheras by introducing them from America. He has spent many years breeding Pulmonaria; better known as Lungworts. Diana Clare, named after his wife, has silver foliage edged with green and intense blue flowers. It still remains one of his most attractive varieties availalble.

They were two gardeners with so much in common who conveyed their enthusiasm and expertise with energy and humour. No surpirse that the sale of the plants that they brought to the meetings did a brisk trade!

By ticknallgc, May 8 2018 06:30PM

Philip Aubury was director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens for many years so it was no surprise to find that he was exactly the right person to talk to Ticknall Garden Club about the care of houseplants at their February meeting.

Apart from beautifying the home, plants also help to filter out pollutants from the air. Ivy, peace lily and spider plant are particularly good. The virtually indestructible aspidistra, beloved of Victorians, served the same purpose.

Despite the wide range of houseplants available, their care is broadly similar.

Watering weekly with tap water is a rough guide but more plants are killed by overwatering than underwatering. Check by touching the soil or feeling the lightness of the pot and leave them on the dry side. Feed on a weekly basis. Green leaved plants thrive on baby bio and flowering plants need phostrogen. It is important to provide humidity in our centrally heated rooms. This can be done by resting pots on a bed of damp gravel and clustering plants together for mutual humidity. Misting weekly is also very beneficial. Where plants are positioned is important. Cyclamen, primula and daffodils need cool conditions. Streptocarpus and African violets need a warmer spot and poinsettia will thrive in centrally heated rooms. Dark green foliage plants will cope with poor light. The majority of plants need good light but not direct sunshine. However there are some like hoya, lantana and plumbago that do need direct sunlight.

Most plants will be happy in a mix of three parts moss peat to one of sharp sand enriched with Vitax 4 or slow release granules.

Philip moved on to demonstrating different methods of propagation. Nodal tip cuttings taken from a geranium were dipped in hormone rooting powder and placed round the edge of a pot and covered with a plastic bag. Internodal cuttings taken from a fuschia treated in the same way. Leaf cuttings from an African violet, butterfly cuttings from a streptocarcus and “bunny ear” cuttings from a Christmas cactus made it all look so easy to increase ones supply of plants or make a lot from a little.

Pests are normally tackled quite easily. A rose fungicide can treat mildew. A soap solution made from fairy liquid in water can be sprayed on aphids. Hang up insect traps in Winter for whitefly. However he did recommend biological control for the efficient management of pests such as mealy bug, scale insects and vine weevil because nematodes work most efficiently in the confined conditions of a conservatory, greenhouse or home.

The popularity of houseplants is very much in vogue at the moment so this visit from an undoubted expert was very timely. It was good to be reminded that they not only enhance the home but also with a bit of tender loving care can go on doing so for a very long time.

By ticknallgc, Apr 10 2018 06:30PM

Jeff Bates made a welcome return to Ticknall Garden Club for their April meeting. He gave a guided tour of seven of his favourite English gardens. He illustrated his choice with his own stunning photographs taken on location.

He started the journey at Consall Hall, Podmore, a little known underrated gem near Stole on Trent. It has been created over the last fifty years from redundant pit banks by William Podmore. Its seventy acres includes six lakes, various follies, summerhouses and even a packhorse bridge. Its various vantage points are designed to admire eye-catching vistas. A fantasy in the romantic style, it is an eighteenth century garden created in the twentieth century.

He then moved on to Hampton Court Castle in Herefordshire which, despite an ancient setting with a traditional ha-ha, has a modern garden. Geometric lines abound. Hedges of box, a rectangular pool and rows of agapanthus in pots are examples. The perennial border has strictly themed colour planting.

Cholmondeley Castle Garden in Malpas, Cheshire is a romantic fantasy of the nineteenth century with its Gothic Castle as a backdrop. An ever-changing plantsman’s garden creates a picturesque scene with follies and terraced glades surrounding a large lake.

Next stop was the truly unique Sezincote Garden near Moreton in March. The house was an inspiration for the Brighton Pavilion being in the Persian style and evoking the Moghul Paradise Gardens. The theme is reinforced with a temple to Surya the sun god, the Indian bridge adorned with Brahmin bulls and a temple pool of still water for quiet contemplation.

Knightshayes Court at Tiverton has fine woodland and formal gardens but is memorable for its recently restored large Victorian walled kitchen garden.

Sudeley Castle at Winchcombe has a romantic feel with its Castle ruins. The centrepiece is the Queens Garden so named because four English queens; Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I walked in the the Tudor gardens there. Katherine Parr is buried in the chapel.

Jeff Bates’ final stop was at the finest eighteenth century English garden of them all.  Stourhead in Wiltshire was the earliest example of a garden not attached to the house itself. It was designed to be an immersive experience where planned vistas would incorporate features such as lakes, follies, statues and grottos. This vision of a classical landscape influenced garden design for many years to come.

In his armchair tour Jeff Bates had reinforced the view that we are lucky to have so many truly magnificent gardens in England.

By ticknallgc, Mar 13 2018 07:30PM

John Stirland has been giving gardening advice on Radio Nottingham for 45 years so he knows a thing or two about gardening. When he came to talk to Ticknall Garden Club in March, he was a man on a mission. That was to convince his audience that Winter is a fantastic season of the year in the garden.

Evergreens come into their own but they are enhanced when they contrast with other plants around them. The flowers on mahonia, daphne, viburnum, witch hazel and winter sweet may be small but they are all deliciously fragrant. Trees and shrubs may still be displaying their bright red and yellow berries, glowing like Christmas baubles. Sorbus, pyracantha, euonymus and rowan can be really eye-catching. The brightly coloured stems of cornus and salix light up the garden. The white bark of the silver birch glows and the delicate peeling bark of acer griseum attracts the eye. Even frost can add an extra dimension as it makes clumps of grass; seed heads and leaf edges sparkle. And do not restrict nursery visits to Spring and Summer. Visits to Cambridge Botanical Garden and local Bluebell Nursery at Smisby came highly recommended as worth a Winter visit. While most plants in Winter are subdued and low key, crocus, cyclamen, hellebores and pansies provide a welcome splash of colour. Iris unguiculares is positively blowsy if it survives the early onslaught of slugs. John Stirland showed lovely photographs to demonstrate his talk. These, added to his infectious enthusiasm and lively sense of humour, meant that he could go away satisfied that his mission had been accomplished.

The garden in Winter can be a wonderful place!

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