9th December 2017
Jim noted that this was a small specialist nursery of 20 years standing and their catalogue was only available on their internet web “shop”, or as plants in the RHS Plantfinder.
They grew 1200 to 1500 plant varieties, including roses, and were specialists in flowering crab-apples and dogwoods.
Unusually but very usefully, Tim showed a diagram of the Earth’s movement around the Sun, showing it’s inclination, and clearly demonstrating the way sunlight falls on Earth through the seasons, because Earth’s axis is tilted towards the North Star, so tilts away and towards the Sun according to the section of it’s orbit. The angle alters the concentration of light falling on any part of the planet, giving long shadows in Winter.
Photosynthesis slows when there is less light, so leaf contents are partially reabsorbed by the plant, allowing other pigments to show through, creating the autumn tints.
Gardeners may take advantage of the leaf fall to assess the shape of trees and shrubs, with regard to pruning and training.
Jim considered four aspects of plants for the garden:- Fruit and wildlife, Bark, Flowers, and Evergreens.
He listed the qualities of a number of Crab apples, noting their attraction for Fieldfare and other birds, moving on to describe the relationship of a number of seeds to the bird species gardeners might expect to see.
Several varieties of trees, including Betula, Prunus and Acer species were recommended for their Winter bark, then Winter- flowering shrubs, finishing with the evergreen ones, a number of which were highly scented, such as Sarcococca and Chimonanthus praecox.
Jim then continued to describe the flowers of late Winter, moving into Spring, depending on the weather, including Helleborus, the small Irises, such as reticulata and its varieties, and Hepaticas.
He recommended a visit to Cambridge Botanic Gardens in Winter.
Finally, a list of Winter gardening jobs was described, with some information and reminders about our changing climate.
( See the full write-up in the next Newsletter.)