Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tulips From Chigwell, Nick Dobson, October's meeting

If at the start of last month’s meeting you were not sure about the history of the tulip, how today’s tulip evolved or how to care for tulips, then you certainly knew by the end of the evening. This was all down to one of our favourite speakers, Nick Dobson, who shared his knowledge along with stunning slides of tulips.
The tulip has a long history with the first official date of a flowering tulip being 1594! It was interesting to learn that the tulip played a big role in the Ottoman Empire being owned and sought after by wealthy Sultans who organised tulip festivals. The Dutch have also been interested in the tulip, and in the 1600s their value increased immensely creating a ‘Tulip Mania’ where tulips were sold for enormous sums of money, however this collapsed in 1637.
In some respects this history contributed to the huge selection of tulips that are available today. Tulips come in various sizes and in many different colours. Tulips can be planted from October up to early December, so November is ideal (this helps to reduce the problem of a disease called tulip fire). Bulbs should be planted between six and eight inches deep in a fairly free draining compost or soil and in a sunny position. Don’t forget to dead head after flowering but do Not remove the foliage until its turned yellow.  
In our second half, Nick presented a wonderful slide show, A Year in The Garden, what a busy year Nick and his family had. 
The club would like to congratulate Sophia, Nick’s daughter, on writing her first book, well done Sophia.
Our thanks go out to Nick for a most enjoyable and enlightening evening! 

Monday, 1 October 2018

September’s Club Meeting, Darren Lerigo from Modern Mint Ltd

Speakers all have their own individual style for presenting their talks, and Darren Lerigo from Modern Mint Ltd was no exception. Darren’s style, which was well received, was to embrace his audience with great enthusiasm!  
Darren shared his passion for gardening throughout his talk, encouraging members to share their stories and gardening experiences, this resulted in a great atmosphere during the evening.
The title of this talk, Green Elements, covered a range of topics including the importance of using the correct tools for specific jobs,  the importance of continually improving your soil, planting by moon cycles, topiary and less conventional ways to deal with slugs. 
Darren brought a wonderful selection of tools which he invited members to handle, these were top quality tools from Japan. Darren explained the benefits of using well made tools and demonstrated how to sharpen tools using a whetstone. 
It was interesting to hear about the vital role that microbes, bacteria and fungi play within the soil’s ecosystem. These microbes can be purchased to further boost the quality of your soil.
If you would like to know more about Modern Mint, and the items for sale, along with Darren’s gardening advice, the link to the website is below. 
Darren is offering members free delivery on any purchases from Modern Mint until the end of December just apply whittingham18 at check out. Modern Mint is at - www.modernmint.co.uk

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Flower arranging, Joan Norris, August's meeting

A huge thank you goes out to Joan Norris for a wonderful evening last month. Joan is modest about her floral design abilities but its clear that Joan has a real talent for flower arranging. Joan’s style, good humour and relaxed approach created a fantastic atmosphere that evening, with club members chipping into Joan’s commentary, as she created one amazing arrangement after another.

It was interesting to hear how Joan became involved in flower arranging, when she discovered how expensive the flowers would be for her daughter’s Wedding. Joan wasted no time in joining a six week flower arranging course, after which she was able to do the finest arrangements for her daughter’s Wedding. 

Joan shared some of her flower arranging secrets with us, such as the three, five, seven and nine rule, which I hope you have all remembered? Joan also gave us her top tip for obtaining foliage for her displays, she visits her friends gardens, so don’t leave Joan alone in your garden!
Joan offered her arrangements up for the club raffle so several members had a real treat. Thank you again Joan for sharing your passion for flower arranging with us.

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:  http://wfbc-at.wixsite.com/wfbonsaiclub