Friday, 1 June 2018

Whittingham Gardening Club Flower Show 14, July 2018

Whittingham Roots & Shoots Gardening Club 

Flower Show 

Saturday 14, July 2018

1.00pm and 4.30pm 
Admission 50p

Unity Hall 144 Bramley Close E17 6EG, off Higham Hill Road W15 Bus

Come and enjoy Floral Art and Plant Displays, Craft Stalls, Bric-a-Brac, Plant Sales, Gardening Advice, Come and see the Waltham Forest Bonsai Club Display, Home Made Cakes, Refreshments, and Raffles.
Once again I am delighted to say that our flower show was extremely successful. Visitor numbers were at 112, not counting children, and as with previous years there was a wonderful atmosphere of people enjoying the displays,  the games and sharing gardening stories. 
Many thanks to Matthew’s Nursery in Essex for all the plants they donated to sell, to Lancaster’s Garden Centre (opposite Wood Street Station Tel:020 8520 1088) for their plant donation. In addition a very big thank you to Nick Tolley of Felices Flowers (in Walthamstow Market High Street near Lidl Tel: 07875407725) for his donation of a stunning bouquet (and I mean stunning). 
The Walthamstow Floral Art Club’s arrived at 9.00am sharp to start work on their amazing flower arrangements, so a very big thank you to Joan, Chris and all the arrangers for all your hard work. Thanks also to Bob and Pat who ran the bric-a-brac stall, Gillian for running the find the magic Key box game, Julie and Jill for running the craft stalls and of course to Barbara, Vera and Sue the plant sales team who had a very busy day. This year we had a new attraction, from club member Pauline,  who organised the “catch a duck” game which was intended for children but the adults were first in the queue!  Our main raffle, which was run most efficiently, by Nina. A very big thank you to Patricia and Jo for all their hard work serving the teas and cakes from a very hot kitchen.  Your hard work is much appreciated. 

Additional thank you to Margaret Ritchie and Peter and Margaret Woollcott, for their generous donations, the club is most grateful.    

The Waltham Forest Bonsai Club joined us again this year, with a variety  of wonderful trees on display and offered advice and guidance to visitors on the care of Bonsai trees. They also had a large selection of succulents for sale. Thank you for joining us. 

Our thanks also go to Nick Dobson for displaying his spectacular fuchsia at the show.

As I always emphasise the success of the show is down to you the members, it is your hard work before, during and after the show that makes it work so well. A BIG THANK YOU, to everyone who contributed something for the show, whether you baked a cake, donated a raffle prize, bric-a-brac, plants to sell, ran a stall or help to clear up, thank you.

Nick Dobson . A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Potting Shed!July's meeting

Unfortunately Judith was unable to give her talk on Bach Flower Remedies last month. Nick Dobson was able to come along and present two topics for the price of one.

Nick soon had us laughing with his first talk; 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Potting Shed!'. This took a humorous look at gardening, so to start, What vegetable do you need a plumber for ? A LEEK of course! This was just the first of many funny stories told with Nick’s sharp wit. The highlight of this talk was Nick singing, Dreaming of a white fuchsia, and what a voice he has!  
Nick’s second topic was called; “Fuchsias: The Three Virtues. Nick, a former National Fuchsia Champion, is well placed to tell us all about fuchsias and this  is clear from his extensive knowledge of the plants.  The three virtues are:
  • Fuchsias are not expensive, and looked after will last many years
  • Fuchsias flower from June until the first frost, some varieties grow & flower all year indoors
  • Fuchsias are very versatile and there are hundreds of varieties to chose from  
It was interesting to learn that the smallest fuchsia flower is the size of a match head and the largest, from Bolivia, grows up to 12 feet high (now that would impress your neighbours).
A Big Thank You to Nick for a most entertaining evening and for coming along at short notice.  

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - June's meeting

If you were not sure on what to expect from a visit to Kew or knew little about the work carried out at Kew, then you certainly did by the end of last month’s meeting. Our speaker Richard Allen, a Species Conservation Assessor, working at Kew, gave us a comprehensive account of the famous Kew Gardens. 
Richard explained how the present day Kew, which covers 300 acres, is the result of the merging of two royal estates in the 1770s. It was interesting to hear that Kew has its own police force with powers of arrest within the gardens, so beware if you are tempted to take a cutting on your visit!
Kew has many attractions on offer; the newly restored Temperate House, which houses some of the rarest and most threatened plants from around the world, the Great Pagoda which has also been restored recently, treetop walkway which gives you the opportunity to walk along the tree tops, and the Hive which gives you a chance to experience life within a Bee Hive. This is just a few of the amazing attractions at Kew.
Richard also gave us an insight into his work, which involves assessing the level of threat for certain crops around the world and how different plants  might be adapted to cope with climate change. Richard also travels abroad  gathering seeds and working with agricultural groups in different countries. Richard is fortunate to work in such a remarkable garden setting.
Several members told me Richard’s talk was amongst the most interesting they had heard. I was inspired to visit Kew again (having not been for many years) I had a really great time, the Hive, the restored Temperate House and the Great Broad Walk Borders were amazing, I recommend a visit!
A big thank you to Richard for such an informative and interesting evening.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Bonsai trees, Jackie, Peter and Brian. May's meeting

If you had little or no knowledge about Bonsai trees at the start of last month’s meeting then you certainly did by the end of the evening. The Waltham Forest Bonsai Club gave us a comprehensive presentation on how to grow these amazing trees. We were treated to three speakers, Jackie, Peter and Brian who covered different aspects of Bonsai cultivation, care and growing techniques.  
Brian explained that obtaining trees does not have to be expensive, supermarkets offer inexpensive young trees which when trained, over several years, can grow into stunning trees. Saplings can even be found in the street, parks and gardens, you should ask permission before digging these up (unless you're quick). 
Jackie told us about Bonsai tree styles, where a tree is trained to grow in a particular shape, this includes training a tree to grow in a slanting position and or pruning just one side to give the effect that the tree has been windswept.  Jackie also showed us the different shapes, sizes and colours of pots and trays which trees are grown in, along with handouts to illustrate these.
Peter, gave us a peek into his large collection of Bonsai trees, and showed us an impressive Juniper which he had bought for £20 some years ago and developed the tree into a beautiful specimen. Peter told us about the type of compost that the trees grow best in, free drainage is most important, this includes a mix of grit, loam and peat, although experienced growers have their own mixture which works best for them.
Our thanks go to Peter, Jackie and Brian for a fascinating evening, many  members have told me how much they enjoyed the talk.  
If you would like to know more about keeping Bonsai, the Waltham Forest Bonsai club holds several meetings during the year, for further information you can contact Richard (Chairman) on 020 8524 2518 or Jackie (Membership) on 020 7474 7365, or visit the website:

Monday, 23 April 2018

More Than Honey, April's meeting

This month’s meeting was a real Buzz thanks to Eric Beaumont from Honey Hydrant. It was very interesting to hear how Eric, who previously worked as a Graphic Designer, became involved with bees. Eric now manages 40 hives and is the chairman of Epping Forest Beekeepers Association. Eric’s passion for bees showed as he told us about these extraordinary insects, which have  been around for over 30 million years!
Eric explained how well organised the hive is with different bees having specific tasks, with female worker bees collecting nectar and pollen. A drone is a male bee who does not collect nectar, his primary role is to mate with the queen. This might sound like a great job but after mating the drone quickly dies.
If you have ever wondered which honey is the best to buy, then this question was answered by Eric. The answer is raw honey, which has not been pasteurised and heated. Raw honey contains all the natural vitamins, enzymes and other nutritional elements (some of which have healing properties). These qualities are lost in processed honey. 
Eric was keen that we would all remember what to do if we came across a swam of bees. The answer was very clear, leave the swam alone, as in the majority of cases the swam will move off of its own accord. There can be exceptions and if the swam does not move away (usually within a day) then a Beekeeper’s help may be needed.
Our meeting had a sweet ending when Eric invited us to try the different locally produced honey. The honey from Eric’s hives (and other Beekeepers) can be obtained from; Local Honey Man Ltd, 67-69 Sutherland Road E17 6BH or call 020 3302 5690.
Our thanks go to Eric for a most enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The Beast from the East. March

Regrettably last month’s meeting was cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions. The committee decided to cancel because several members had contacted us to say they would not be able to attend because of the snow and ice, and in addition our speaker also cancelled. 
The scheduled speaker was, Tom Cole from Writtle College, Tom had to cancel his talk for personal reasons. Nick Dobson had agreed to present a talk in place of Tom but cancelled due to the weather. Consequently it was not possible to hold our club meeting.
Tom has been invited to give his talk next year and we will see Nick in October for his talk; ‘ A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Potting shed ‘.
The big question is. Was the Giant Easter Chocolate Bunny raffle prize Eaten by John?  

Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Orchid, Michael Radley February's 2018 meeting.

What a colourful start we had to the year with Michael Radley’s presentation on the wonderful Orchid. Michael is an Orchid specialist, judge and Chairman of the Lea Vally Orchid Society, so he is well placed to tell us how to care for these beautiful plants.
We were shown a great selection of Orchids from around the world, along with several fine Orchids brought to the meeting. Orchid flowers must be amongst the most colourful, long lasting and delicate flowers, with hundreds of varieties to choose from.
It was interesting to hear that the oldest Orchid to be displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show was one hundred years old! Unfortunately, my Orchids have only lasted a few years. However, that is about to change following Michael’s expert advice (I hope). Michael explained the importance of selecting an Orchid that is best suited to you and your home. Some Orchids do well in cool temperatures with moderate light levels, you should avoid direct sunlight and over watering, rain water is best. Keep the leaves free from dust and misting helps to provide good humidity and off set the effects of central heating.
Michael spoke passionately about his Orchids and how his first greenhouse quickly out grew his collection, he convinced his wife that a slightly bigger greenhouse was all he needed, until the next one! It was clear that this was not an issue as his wife, Gillian shares his passion for these amazing plants.  I received many compliments about Michael’s talk so we will be inviting him back next year.