Aleck Harrison - speaker in 2019 - 2020
My Prickly and Succulent Friends!
Echinopsis ‘For over his lifetime Aleck has cultivated Cacti and Succulents, he described the ups and downs he has experienced with them. You can come to either love them or hate them.’
During his talk he mentioned there were multiple compost compositions for cacti and succulents the easiest two are:- 2 parts John Innes No 2 + 1 part horticultural sand + 3 parts grit 3 parts good garden soil + 2 parts horticultural sand + 1 part Perlite or Pumice The important thing is to ensure the compost has good drainage. This Echinopsis (pictured) usually flowers in the evening of the longest day of the year and lasts but one day!
During the frost free months Aeoniums (Tree Houseleeks) enjoy and are attractive in the garden. Here they thrived in a north facing dry situation and were only watered twice in the 2018 hot summer.
What’s Bugging You?
WGC members were asked to name the pest/disease problems that had been pestering them over the past year. Top of the list was vine weevils followed by slugs and snails then rose issues such as aphids and blights.
To understand how best to control them Aleck described the life cycle and breeding conditions favoured by these pests. Then suggested control methods including biological, chemical and physical.
Biological control where possible favours the environment and gardener’s finances especially with nematodes which can initially appear expensive but reduce time and effort plus are more efficient for vine weevils and slug control.
Aleck finished with a warning of pests and disease that are on the horizon and need a watchful eye; namely Xyella which is decimating the European olive groves and can infect many of our garden shrubs. Ash die back, Agapanthus gall mite, rose rosette virus and Asian hornets were covered with the message “DON’T RISK IT”. On foreign visits do not bring - plants, seeds, fruit, vegetables, flowers back to the UK as they all carry the risk of importing diseases that can destroy our plants, trees and crops.
Timothy Walker - speaker in 2019 - 2020
April 2019 - Timothy Walker
We saw the return of Timothy Walker to give the Bill Baker Memorial Lecture, entitled Gardening in the 21st century. As a highly qualified botanist and horticulturalist there was much practical advice on the maintenance of good soil and the conservation of water. Even if you do not have an army of able bodied students to do the digging and a storage tank the size of a small bungalow with an electric pump to distribute it, when and if needed, it is always good to be reminded of our priorities in the garden.
Towards the end he spent a few minutes talking about the evidence for global climatic change, which also served to remind us to think carefully about the way forward. With his signature lively style he kept his audience fully engaged and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.
March 2020 - Timothy Walker
It was great to see Timothy Walker - this time speaking of the "Healing Power of Plants".
As always he gave an amusing and inspired talk - so many plants in today's medicines are derived from plants and that we might be interested to know that an aspirin for a headache was originally developed from the bark of willow, we all know Lavender oil (often used in aromatherapy) has been proven to have a calming effect but not the case with Rosemary which has the opposite effect!
Darren Lerigo - speaker in 2019
Annabelle Padwick - speaker in 2019
Annabelle’s talk was a breath of fresh air, a young and enthusiastic ambassador for the healthy pursuit of gardening. She shared her initial struggle with mental ill heath and by acquiring an allotment despite limited horticultural knowledge, made it a success describing the progress from a weed covered area to full yielding plot in her blog www.lifeatno27.com . This caught the attention of many followers and has grown just like her allotment!
Her work has since evolved into a full time social enterprise called ‘Life at no 27’ providing a range of gardening based social and therapeutics programmes for those struggling with mental ill health, loneliness, low confidence and low self-esteem.
From her school intervention scheme, we heard her heart for reaching the 12-15 year old girls who lack confidence and self-worth and by simply see the product of their hands with plants are encouraged to see they have a place in society and are valued.
So from a shy young lady Annabelle has become a confident and successful freelance writer, speaker and radio personality promoting the magic of gardening and GYO (grow your own) to inspire all but particularly the young. Her mantra being “it’s not what you grow, it’s how YOU grow!”
George Lockwood - speaker in 2019
George spoke about Ferns and their Companions. George, it seems is a very hands-on gardener and had a lot of very practical advice as well as an extensive list of plants with photographs there was much discussion throughout so the group was frequently engaged with the speaker.
He showed us many different and varying species of ferns, with diverse colours and frond formation mixed and matched with many companion plants including, Hostas. Linguaria, Blue Ray Irises, Small Acers, Gunnera and Rogersia.
Janet Prescott - speaker in 2019
The theme for the end of year social was "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of gardens", Janet gave an interesting talk on those three topics and gave a slide presentation showing her pictures from throughout the year - here are just some.