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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, 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!

By ticknallgc, Feb 13 2018 07:30PM

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, Jan 9 2018 07:30PM

Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones travelled from Crug Farm Plants in North Wales to talk to Ticknall Garden Club at their January meeting. They diversified from farming in 1991 to the cultivation and sale of garden plants. Along with Kew Gardens they are the only people in England with a licence to bring back seeds and live plants into this country. Plants have to stay in quarantine for 12 months before they can be used for propagation purposes. Since then they have become world renowned for travelling the world in search of rare and unusual plants to propagate in their own nursery.

They have explored most of Asia and much of Central America and neighbouring Colombia. Before setting off they have to gain the necessary permits needed in that country and source knowledgeable guides and employ sufficient porters to carry their equipment. They gave a vivid account of one such expedition to Vietnam. They struggled through dense forests and climbed steep mountainsides in their successful search for new plants. Porters carried camping equipment along with fresh fruit, vegetables and live chickens. Their first area of search was that of Fransipan where they found new types of magnolia, viburnum, daphne and schefflera. Sarcococca bleddynii and viburnum fansipanense demonstrate the source of such discoveries. At the second summit of their climb they found a welcome newly protected area but were disturbed to find expanding clusters of buildings and a cable car for tourist access. Their second area of exploration was Y Ty on the Chinese border. Great care had to be taken not to encroach into China. Here among jungle clearings they found many new species of aspidistra as well as lillium, acer and polyspora. They were concerned about the amount of deforestation in the area as wood was used for fuel and dwellings for an expanding population. They feared that many rare plants may already have disappeared.

With lovely photographs of a wide array of their plant discoveries, Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones proved why they have justly earned their reputation as renowned plant hunters.

By ticknallgc, Dec 12 2017 07:30PM

This year Ticknall Garden Club’s Christmas Social followed a most entertaining presentation from David Tideswell on caring for the birds in your garden in Winter.

He has studied birds for many years and broadcasts on Radio Stoke and Derby. He provides sound practical advice from his own experience on providing the right habitat and care to attract birds into the garden as well as being a mine of information on bird-related facts. His aim was to encourage us all to make the most of the private nature reserve we all have in our own garden.

He maintains that continuity in feeding is the key to getting birds into the garden. He was keen to extol the virtues of his own recipe for fat balls. His “goo” is made from equal quantities of lard, flour, crushed peanuts and digestive biscuits. This proves irresistible to birds in harsh weather and as well as hanging it up in suitable containers, he smears it on tree trunks and small lengths of wood pierced with holes. Other attractions are cake, pastry, windfall apples, sultanas and seeds left on plants but nothing salty or anything that will swell inside the bird. He urged us to provide a supply of fresh water in some form or another; a garden pond is the ideal. Good hygiene is vital both with feeders and bird baths. Greenfinch numbers have been decimated in recent years because of trichomonosis passed on by infected food and water. Wood pigeons can also spread a variety of diseases including canker and avian pox.

Bird species require different levels of habitat. Dense floor coverage of ivy and periwinkle will provide a home for the ubiquitous but shy wren. It is our shortest bird but most numerous, being estimated at over eight million in number. A suitable perch for birds in the form of bushes and trees near to bird feeders will promise safety and hasty retreat from prey for blackbirds, robins, sparrows, tits and finches. A dry stonewall is ideal for providing a source of insects and cosy roosts. Bird boxes also give shelter in bad weather. A high canopy of trees will attract woodland birds such as the woodpecker, nuthatch and starling and give the mistle thrush his lofty perch. If you live out in the country a hedgerow corridor can produce the sight of yellow hammers, linnet and coot.

David Tideswell was full of surprising information about birds; hedge sparrows are interbreeding with house sparrows; the robin was originally called a ruddock and has the weight of two £1 coins; jays bury as many nuts as squirrels; sparrow hawks now frequent towns because of Macdonalds and hair clippings make ideal nesting material.

The talk was not only informative but given with great humour. This put everyone in a happy frame of mind to enjoy the expansive buffet which followed. After bravely struggling through ice and snow garden club members had been rewarded with a fine start to the Festive Season.

By ticknallgc, Nov 14 2017 07:30PM

There was no doubting the subject of Ticknall Garden Club’s talk on November 14th when Stan Griffin and Vicky Newman arrived both resplendent in matching waistcoats and jackets covered in cacti. After a life long interest in cacti they gave up their day jobs and took over Craig House Cacti in West Bromwich in 2007. Since then they have gone from strength to strength and become renowned gold medal winners on the show circuit.

Their talk did not dwell on the care of cacti but documented their first two years in business when they travelled the length and breadth of the country developing their expertise and establishing themselves as formidable competitors in the show world.

Their first show in Cardiff proved to be a long lasting favourite venue and they found time to appreciate and take photographs of the many attractions of the lovely city. They had arrived in a caravan pulling a large van jam packed with pots of cacti in all shapes and sizes. Their first two years would prove to be a never ending round of packing and unpacking their precious cacti and perfecting the skill of displaying them in the oddly assorted display areas offered to them along with the minimum of storage space. Despite unwelcome criticism from judges on mismatched pots, wrong coloured backcloths and plants perched at odd angles they soon began winning awards.

However winning gold at Chelsea is always regarded as the jewel in the crown. So far the have won eight of them. (But winners only get the first one made of gold as the rest are replicas!) Now Stan and Vicky are such fixtures at Chelsea they are greeted by all the celebrities who visit, the Queen included, and are regulars on the TV screen.

Their photographs vividly demonstrated the pains and perils of preparing for shows – lugging round heavy pots (with spikes attached) scrambling over unsteady display stands and vans stuck in mud. Bakewell and Dundee were memorable places for never ending rain.

Not surprisingly all this hard work has taken its toll and they now intend winding down from their hectic schedule and be more selective as to where they exhibit in future.

As to caring for your own cacti: plant in a half and half mixture of your favourite compost and grit, water freely in summer and feed every three weeks with a proprietary feed and then keep dry in Winter.

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