Peter Skeggs-Gooch and son
A talk by Peter Skeggs-Gooch. HPS 12 January 2019
Clematis are such a diverse genus – a collection of climbers, scramblers, herbaceous and evergreen plants flowering all through the seasons that they lend themselves to be used in ways other than the climbers we know.
Companion Planting with another shrub or climber gives them the natural support they need and extends the season of interest. Roses, Conifers, Wisteria, Honeysuckle and Trachelospermum are good examples. Choose colour combinations carefully.
Manmade Supports can screens areas, add height to the border, disguise buildings and fences. Obelisks, walls, porches, tennis courts you can train Clematis up anything.
Cut Flowers, Table Arrangements and Bridal Bouquets. To use the flowers seal the stems with an open flame and put in cold water, they will last for 14 days or so, the large flowered varieties don't last so not advisable to use.
Clematis in Pots. Not all varieties are suitable, some are bred specifically for this culture. Soil in a 2ft diameter pot should be 50/50 John Innes and Multi Purpose, the smaller the pot use more JI to MultiP. Remember to feed. Peter's favourites: Crystal Fountain, Pixie, Liberty and Taiga.
Ground Cover and Herbaceous. These Clematis are non clinging. They make good ground cover or let them scramble naturally over plants and shrubs. Peter's favourites: Arabella, Durandii, Cassandra, Integrifolia vars, Aromatica.
Late Season Flowerers. These Clematis extend the season up to October. Peter's favourites : Gravetye Beauty, Duchess of Albany, Princess Kate, Margot Koster, Venosa Violacea , Redheriana.
Visit www.thorncroftclematis.co.uk for their full catalogue
Virgins, Weeders and Queens - a History of Women Gardeners
A talk by Dr. Twigs Way. HPS 8 December 2018
This talk was based on the fascinating book by Dr. Way encompassing the role of women in gardening from Medieval Times to the present day. The Virgins, Weeders and Queens was added to the original title to make the book more saleable!
In the 1600's lower class women were allowed to grow food and medicinal herbs for money - 3p a day while men were paid 6p plus free herring and ale! If a husband who ran a Market Garden died, his wife could run it until a son could manage it. Mistress Tuggie who wrote The Book of Hours for women was just such a lady.
Queen Eleanor introduced hollyhocks and quinces and Queen Mary installed glasshouses at Hampton Court. She had a collection of exotic plants brought back by Captains from around the world. Princess Augusta continued her dead husband's work at Kew, building the Pagoda and Orangery and a collection of plants from around the world.
In the 1800s Aristocratic Ladies could nurture and water their gardens and conservatories. In the 1900s, Surplus Women whose husbands had died became Lady Gardeners. They were often daughters of professional parents and became Head Gardeners of Ladies' Estates.
After the war, ladies became more active. Gertrude Jekyll was the first female garden designer. Many were multi talented as was Vita Sackville West at Sissinghurst. The Land Army changed the role of women gardeners and the clothes they could wear improved their life dramatically.
Dr. Way finished her talk with the inspiring story of Beth Chatto whose wonderful garden many of us will have visited.
Amelanchier canadensis April flowers in Anne's garden
Trees and Shrubs
A talk by Barry Gayton. HPS 10 November 2018
Mr Gayton’s talk concentrated on trees suitable for small gardens. Numerous slides were shown of examples including Acers, Malus, Sorbus, Cornus, Euonymus and others with recommendations made for specific varieties. I noted audience members busy writing down the names of their favourites but there were several that I was not familiar with but nevertheless looked interesting.
Sorbus scalaris is a spreading tree to 10m tall with leaves downy beneath which turn to orange, red and purple in the autumn. The small white flowers appear in spring and are followed by rounded red fruits.
Aesculus x mutabilis Induta is a small tree or large shrub and is a variety of Horse Chestnut known as Buckeye. It has palmate leaves and many yellow-flushed pink flowers born in panicles with good autumn colour.
Robinia hispida Casque Rouge forms a small tree with delicate Wisteria-like foliage. Fragrant, drooping clusters of, pea-shaped flowers appear in late spring and early summer and are followed by dark red-brown seed pods in the late summer. This variety has large purple pink blooms rather than the rose-pink flowers of the species.
A favourite small tree of mine is Amelanchier canadensis which grows in my small back garden. It has white flowers in spring set off against coppery foliage, black berries which are quickly devoured by the blackbirds and glorious autumn colour. It can also be pruned successfully to keep it within bounds.
The Hardy Plant is the journal of the Hardy Plant Society. Published twice yearly and sent free to members, it is a prestigious journal with authoritative articles on hardy perennials and colour photographs throughout.
The Editor plans each edition, sourcing articles and being able to assist contributors on aspects of theme, text length and images (ensuring the text accords with HPS house style and the University of Oxford Style Guide, and that images meet current industry standards).
A schedule is agreed with the printers for each stage of preparation, printing and mailing.
Layouts are then prepared for each page, working with the typographer and liaising with the proofreader and contributors to ensure clarity, accuracy and consistency.
The Editor will liaise with HPS colleagues and the HPS Office and manage the advertising.
The Hardy Plant carries a number of advertisements considered to be of interest to members.
An annual rate card is prepared in consultation with the Publications Coordinator and Treasurer.
Appropriate advertisements are solicited, and liaison provided to confirm orders, edit and agree copy, send invoices and payments, as well as keeping accurate records and providing information to the Treasurer and HPS Office.
The post is not subject to a fixed term and attracts a small remuneration.
For more information please contact please contact Jan Vaughan at
The Hardy Plant Society maintains a collection of digital images of horticultural subjects. The Photo Librarian is responsible for developing, organising and maintaining this library, and providing copies of the images to members of the Society on request. Images may also be provided to non-members for publication on condition that acknowledgement is given to the Society.
The Librarian will keep an Accession Catalogue of all images, and organise suitable storage so as to facilitate easy retrieval. He/She will work with the Web Manager to ensure the library is displayed to best effect on the national website and with the Coordinators of the Seed Distribution and Conservation Scheme to ensure that both are able to access relevant images.
The Photo Librarian is responsible for organising the annual Photographic Competition for members, appointing suitable judges and publishing the results in the Newsletter, Journal and on the website.
For more information please contact please contact Jan Vaughan at
Pollinators in your garden
A talk by John Cullen. HPS 13 October 2018
John is part of a family based nursery in Lincolnshire specialising in plants for the pollinators, scented plants and edible plants since 2009.
Part of his training background was at Hampton Court and he was tutored by Juliet Sargeant. He learnt from her that every plant should have a purpose and so looks for a plant to look good, taste good and be pollinated. He has shown at Hampton Court, Chelsea and Tatton Park.
In his early gardening life he found that good plants were hard to source in London and so started growing his own. John Cullen plants are neonicotinoid-free.
Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine and are used by some growers as a wash/drenching insecticide. They are used on crops to control pests such as vine weevils and aphids but also kill bees. The insecticide is taken into a plant’s system and there is debate as to whether it remains in the plant system or is diluted over time. It may also be present in it’s seeds. If it is present in pollen and taken back to a hive, the hive will become sterile and collapse.
John's talk covered this reaction on pollinators; bees, butterflies and moths. There are around 250 species of bees in the UK; bumblebees, solitary bees and a single species of honeybee.
They select plants according to the length of their tongues. If their tongue is not long enough, they will pierce the flower.
They prefer single flowers (not doubles) as it is easier to collect pollen.
They are attracted to plants with scent.
They like herbs that flower.
Solitary bees are likely to pollinate tomatoes, cucumbers etc.
Solitary bees don't sting.
Bumblebees have a lot of predators like tits and badgers.
It's only lady honey bees that collect pollen.
After coming out of (sleepy) hibernation in spring, they tend to go for low plants like pulmonaria.
They taste with their feet - to see if the plant is good for laying eggs.
Ivy and nettles are preferred egg laying sites. Have some in your garden to discourage caterpillars on your favourites.
Butterflies in your garden show that you have a good eco-system.
Very important pollinators as they are attracted to night scented plants.
When considering plants for your garden think of a year round plant food source for pollinators like flowering shrubs - which often flower twice in a year. Planting in blocks gives a good display but helps pollinators feed easily.
To avoid insecticides encourage birds into your garden especially overwinter.
Did you know you can buy ladybirds? John averages 1000 over 3 acres released in spring.
Keep a corner for ivy and nettles away from your borders for hungry caterpillars.
You can always ask when you buy if the nursery uses neonicotinoids.
You may be aware of the yellow RHS sign on plants indicating that a plant is "bee" friendly. You may find this press release from RHS last year interesting. http://press.rhs.org.uk/RHS-Outreach/Press-releases/How-to-bee-friendly-this-summer!.aspx
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