Events Past

Reports of previous HPS Norfolk and Suffolk Group events, as told by our members.

Garden Visit: The Laburnhams, South Elmham, Halesworth

Written by Aileen Butler. Posted in Events Past

April 13th 2019

Laburnhams 1  Laburnhams 2

Laburnhams 3  Laburnhams 4

  

  

Photos by Chris Davies

Despite the weather looking at bit unreliable we arrived at the venue just in time to be greeted by a shower of hailstones, but we gardeners are made of sterner stuff than the threat of a few April showers. Apart from a sprinkling of rain when we sat down to tea the sun shone and the garden fought to outshine it.

I knew we were in the right place when our host made us quite welcome and advised us the she did not have lawns just grass so we were free to explore. It seemed that many had taken the opportunity to raid the plant stall, as we could see members scurrying back to their cars with various pots and plants.

Being a lover of spring gardens, as I always think they are much prettier and more delicate than Summer’s offerings or the bold jewel colours of Autumn, I was as they say “ a pig in a midden” along with some friends I discovered in the back garden. The garden did not disappoint although there was some competition as to who could find the many hidden animals scattered around the flower beds and lawns. The garden was a maze of plants in flower and plants about to start their growth, now were those Hostas further on than mine? It was nice to find another Hosta collecter and to know the passion was not just confined to me.

I would be hard pressed to list the plants as I tend to just enjoy the looking rather than trying to remember what I had seen, but certainly the daffodils made a distinct impression as my own are dead and gone, that is apart from the pot I bought from the visit. The other plant which became obvious to my beady eye were the Cowslips which I have tried to grow unsuccessfully on several occasions, mind you it took years to get Snowdrops to flower. Hellebores, another passion, were many and varied and the double varieties seemed to do well, I wondered how they got to be such big plants as mine tend to be just one or two stems to a plant, seems I must try harder.

Mine Host Jane, furnished us with a grand list of 24 trees growing in the garden which I will not bother to write up again, but they provided shelter and home to the many birds we could hear singing their little hearts out. I duly inspected the Camellias which are another passion, but I only have room for two in my tiny plot. Jane informed us she has had to make a special bed for them to get the acidic soil they need, I meanwhile only feed mine in the spring and apart from planting in the correct soil years ago I get masses of flowers and have to prune them back to keep control.

The garden was a sheer pleasure for any plant gatherer and there seemed to be something to look at wherever you went, up and down paths, and with no distinct lay-out every corner or bend presented something to see and plenty of seats to just sit on and enjoy the warm sunshine. Tea and cakes rounded of a pleasant day out and the excellent signposting got us there and back.

Indoor Meeting: Talk by Matthew Tanton Brown "COMPANION PLANTING"

Written by Peter George. Posted in Events Past

COMPANION PLANTING - Matthew Tanton Brown, 9th February 2019

 

Matthew Tanton Brown

Matthew is a consultant and the part time manager at ‘A Place for Plants’ in East Bergholt. Having learned his horticultural skills at RHS Wisley and at Merrist Wood and Hadlow Colleges his knowledge of this subject was extensive.

The talk embraced companion planting in its widest sense, from rotational planting of vegetables, through to beneficial plant associations and on to the clever grouping of plants for texture, colour and stature in the garden.

Matthew described the use of three and four year rotations to minimize the spread of pests and diseases. The use of low hedges could also be of benefit, not only in deterring pests, such as carrot root fly, but in making vegetable plots more interesting.

Using one plant species to either attract, or deter pests and diseases is a well known technique of the ancient herbalists and Matthew gave several examples of good companions. Dill with Cabbages deters aphids, basil under tomatoes for whitefly and aphids and African marigolds turned in before potatoes against eel worm. Borage deterred moles and Artemisia, mice. The silicon in Artemisia and horse tails deterred slugs and snails. However, steeped Rhubarb leaves sprayed against rose black spot needed to be treated with extreme caution, although steeped comfrey and nettle made excellent fertilisers.

Finally he discussed the placement of plants to provide contrasts in texture and colour, but warned against planting several different variegated leaved plants in the same area. Climbers planted in trees, or over buildings and ground cover plants to reduce water loss and weeds were all examples of companion planting.