Unfortunately Sue Robinson has decided that she no longer wants to speak to Garden Groups. She will now be replaced by Geoff Hodge who is a garden writer, broadcaster & horticultural consultant.
When we host the national HPS Annual Lecture Day and AGM on March 25th 2017, Norfolk and Suffolk Group will be manning our own Heritage Plant stall to highlight the local connection with the Society's inception, and to raise funds for the Group.
We will be selling plants which originated in Norfolk and Suffolk, many of which will be plants named by Alan Bloom, who was a Founder member of the HPS, - one reason why we were asked to host the event. Many of the plants have been generously donated by Jaime Blake, Alan's son-in-law.
The plants have been mainly researched and gathered by Andrew Lawes and Colin Pusey, and grown on by them, Linda Hall, Sarah Rix, Brenda Reed, and me.
They are now being cared for through the Winter by John Metcalf, who will call upon us to pot them on or divide them, as , (or do it himself!)
The varieties we have are: Erigeron 'Felicity', Aconitum lycoctonum 'Ivorine', Campanula 'Pouffe', Tradescantia 'Isis' Geranium cantabrigensis 'Cambridge', Geranium sylvaticum 'Mayflower', Tanacetum 'Bressingham Red', Aster 'Royal Velvet', Anemone 'Bressingham Glow', Geranium oxonianum 'Irene Hatwell', Iris 'Benton Varieties', all subject to the usual provisos!
If you have spares of any of these, or other varieties that you know to be correct and from our two Counties, which you would be willing to donate, we would be delighted to receive them, (contact Andrew, Colin, Chris or Linda).
We will have special souvenir labels relating the plants to Norfolk and Suffolk and the Diamond Jubilee of the HPS, with a picture, (which could be helpful in March). We hope to produce enough plants to offer a choice to the 150 national members we are aiming to encourage to attend, and to raise funds for the Group. We hope many of our own Group members will come and enjoy the day with us.
8th October 2016
When I first agreed to undertake the write up for this meeting, the original speaker from Thompson and Morgan was scheduled; then the Chairman’s email arrived with details of the change of speaker and my heart sank into my muddy gardening shoes. Our new speaker was Ken Abel, an expert on Pelargoniums who has been described as “the UK’s best grower of show Pelargoniums”. Why my reaction? My problem is that I dislike Pelargoniums; I regard the modern hybrids as garish and ugly and some of them even have a horrible smell. They are grown by the million in in vast greenhouses; take over garden centres early in the spring to be planted with high expectations and thrown out at the end of the season. They are typical of the horrors of modern factory horticulture with its by-products of pollution and waste.
However, a promise is a promise, so I turned up to the meeting with my notebook and pen at the ready and prepared to be converted. Mr Abel gave us a comprehensive account of his methods of growing pelargoniums for showing. He starts his cuttings in coir compost, which he buys in blocks, mixed with more conventional composts and raises the small plants in 2 inch pots. Cuttings are taken all year around as bottom heat is available. He deliberately restricts the root growth of the plant to increase the top growth to maximise the impact of the show plants.
Mr Abel advised on composts used as the plants approach show size as well as the treatment of any problems. Feeding was highly specialised to correct any deficiencies and liquid seaweed was used as a stimulant to bring the plants to their best before a show. Most plants are discarded after 4 – 5 years as they become too woody. We were shown a large selection of his prize winning plants which were grown and manicured as show performers. They can be grown as fans, as standards or balls and also be trained as bonsai plants which were both intriguing and attractive. He said that his favourite show was the Yorkshire Pelargonium Show where his plants have carried off every available prize.
I did not change my mind about Pelargoniums but I can admire Mr Abel’s dedication and passion for his plants. He spares no effort in the raising and showing and the results are plants that reach the highest standards of perfection. For those of you who enjoy growing Pelargoniums (and long may you continue to do so), I would recommend Mr Abel’s Website – www.prize-pelargoniums.com which is a mine of information on all aspects growing and showing Pelargoniums.
Due to unknown circumstances Michael Perry has been wihdrawn from the meeting.and will be replaced by Ken Abel who will talk on Pelargoniums.