Don Witton holds the National Collection of Euphorbias and is by his own admission is crazy about them! He gave us a very entertaining talk about the early flowering Euphorbias in his collection and other plants that complement them using slides of his garden and allotment in Sheffield. He talked of his successes and failures and how important it was to give plants the conditions they need - blue mecanopsis do not like his sunny open garden! There was also a memorable cautionary tale - beware Euphorbia sap which even though it may not affect your hands can have a devastating effect on more tender skin! You can see Don's garden and the collection on his web site Link to his web site. Don brought some wonderful plants to sell too and did a roaring trade at the end of the meeting.
Don and Jenny at the Plant Table
Pauline Pears has been an organic gardener since 1970 when it was still very new and out of the ordinary. She gave us a very interesting talk covering soil condition, composting and general plant health as well as teaching us about good and bad bugs with a quiz. She has always looked for evidence before accepting the benefits of organic gardening so it was a compelling presentation and she dispelled some myths about companion planting for us too. She has written several books on Organic Gardening and answered our many questions very knowledgeably.
2015 Kenilworth Horticultural Society 125 Years Old
The first mention of a Kenilworth Horticultural Society is in the Kenilworth Weekly News in 1890 so we had a party for society members and friends on 7th August at Fieldgate to celebrate. The committee provided a wonderful buffet with Pimms and soft drinks and Janet Cherry made us a beautiful birthday cake. Records of the society beginnings and Kenilworth in the 1890's were displayed (thanks to Betty Sunley) and there was a garden quiz to keep people entertained. Pictures taken by Jenny Matthews below.
Paul is Head Gardener and Estate Manager at Charlecote and he gave an interesting talk on the recent developments of the gardens since he has been in charge to extend the season of interest. He explained how he enlists the help of the National Trust Volunteers and local schools in his garden renovation projects to get the work done. He also told us about the Deer Park, the types of deer and how they are managed to keep the numbers under control. If you have not visited Charlecote for a few years it is definitely worth a visit as there will be plenty of new things to see.
December 7th Christmas Party
The hall looked very Christmasy for our party and theStoneleigh Ladies Choir entertained us with Christmas songs and readings. We had a wonderful buffet provided by the members and a glass of wine to celebrate the season and everyone took home a Secret Santa present.
April 5th Meeting and Spring Show
Extending the Season - Victoria Logue
Victoria runs her own Nursery Whitehall Farmhouse Plants high up in the Cotswolds. She talked to us about plants the give good year round interest from trees and shrubs to perennials. She also reminded us that we must feed our plants particularly those in pots at this time of year and if something is not performing in our garden, do not be sentimental, get rid of it and replace it with something that will. She brought a lovely range of early flowering bulbs and perennials from her nursery to help us.
March 1st Meeting
Guys Cliffe Walled Garden - Sarah Ridgeway
Sarah from Hinton's Garden Centre gave us an lively and at times amusing talk about the Guys Cliffe garden that she and her many volunteers are restoring, an ongoing project which would certainly be worth a visit. Details of open days etc. are on the web site www.guyscliffewalledgarden.org.uk/visiting . We had a good attendance and were happy to welcome three new members,the display table looked very attractive with several vases of spring flowers.A presentation was made to Linda and Bob Parker in thanks for the help they have given as committee members for many years,we are glad that they are to remain members.
November 2nd Meeting
Kiftsgate Gardens - Ann Chambers
Kiftsgate Court has a spectacular setting on top of an escarpment in the Cotswolds. It is the creation of three generations of women gardeners. The first was Heather Muir who laid out the garden in 1920 helped by her friend Lawrence Johnston from nearby Hidcote. Diany Binny continued its development and added the semi-circular pool on the lower level, opening the garden to the public in 1950. Ann now looks after the garden and told us about adding the contemporary water garden and the evolution of the planting and the wonderful Kiftsgate Rose that now reaches to the top of a mature beech tree - not one for a small garden! It was a very enjoyable talk and encouraged us all to visit the gardens when they reopen in 2017. Kiftsgate link
June 7th Meeting
Charlecote Park Gardens - Paul Smith
July 5th Meeting and Summer Show
Tenerife - A Botanical Honey Pot - Timothy Walker
Timothy Walker is a botanist and was Curator of the Oxford Botanic Gardens for many years. He spoke to us last year about their 393 year development and was back again this year to talk about his trips to Tenerife with Botany students from the university on field trips. Tenerife, although small, has areas with very different climates so has a very varied flora with alpine, cloud forest and desert species in close proximity which makes it an interesting place to study. He explained simply how the original indigenous species of plants on the island develop independently and sometimes differently from their parents on the mainland and how these are supplemented by arrivals by sea and air which do the same. This gives us some very unusual plants not seen elsewhere which he illustrated in excellent photographs.
August 2nd Meeting and Geranium Competition
A Healthy Garden and Allotment without Pesticides - Pauline Pears
May 3rd Meeting and Plant Sale
Euphorbias and other Spring Flowering Perennials - Don Witton
October 5th Meeting
Ups and Downs of Nursery Life - Leila Jackson
Leila runs T3 Wall End Nursery in Herefordshire with her husband and father. They specialise in Salvias and Abutilons for which they hold the National Collections. She gave us a very entertaining talk about what it is really like to make your living running a nursery and attending garden shows - all year round whatever the weather. The ups are the plants, working with her family (her children can plant over a hundred cuttings in an hour) and warm sunny days. The downs are winter weather and getting up in the middle of the night to check the grrenhouse has not blown away and the heathers are still working. She also talked about the prestige of holding the national collection of Abutilons and the good publicity it gives the nursery but the painful paperwork that goes with it that she has to do. link to nursery
February 1st - AGM and Quiz
The club is doing well and we have a lot of new members. Our meetings and outings have been well supported and we have had some lovely visits to members gardens. Thanks to everyone for your support. We are very pleased that Andrew Caine has agreed to be our President. He is very generous club supporter, judging our shows and sharing his horticultural expertise. The officers of the club were all re-elected and we welcomed Louise Griew and Monique Morris as new members. Noelle Mace, Linda and Bob Parker have all retired and we would like to thank them for their hard work over the years. Details of the committee are on the Committee Page.
After the AGM we had a very enjoyable Garden Quiz. Teams of 6 answered questions on Local Gardens, Trees, True or False and identified plant specimens. Members of the winning team each won a bottle of wine as a prize. A big thank you to Jenny for organising it.
Our Plant sale went well too. There were vegetables, annuals and perennials for sale. Thank you to everyone who brought and bought plants. Between our sale and Don's most members went out with a bag of plants.
Kenilworth Horticultural Society