Saturday, 23 November 2019

The Annual General Meeting 2019, November's meeting

Many thanks to all our members who attended the AGM last month, this important meeting provides an opportunity for us to talk about the club’s year, discuss any issues and of course plan for the coming year.  

At the AGM there was a positive atmosphere about the club and agreement that it had been a good year. We enjoyed a variety of speakers  six of which were brand new to the club.  Our outings to Pashley Manor, Sissinghurst Castle and Theobalds Farmhouse Garden were very successful. Our Flower Show was equally successful, with 120 visitors, so a huge thank you to everyone who helped with the show in whatever way.
The club’s finances are doing well and this will be used to benefit members in the coming year, one of which is that there will be no increase in next year’s annual membership subscription, the monthly entrance fee will also remain the same. Membership ended at 58, which is a good result. The success of the club is solely a result of our member’s support, your support makes the club what it is. I would also like to thank the committee for all their hard work during the year.
In line with the club’s constitution the committee stood down and re-elections took place. 

Julie announced that she would not be seeking re-election for Treasurer, but  would like to stand as a committee member. A huge thank you goes to Julie for being the club’s Treasurer for so many years, all your hard work has been very much appreciated, Thank You Julie!  

Bob will not be standing for re-election next year, thank you Bob for being a committee member over the last few years.

Nina was nominated for Treasurer and I am pleased to say (and with great relief) accepted to role. A big thank you to Nina and welcome to the Committee.

The new committee is as follows:

Chairman John
Vice Chair Patricia
Editor/Joint Secretary Jill
Treasurer     Nina
Membership/Joint Secretary June
Committee Members Julie and Gillian

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Me and My Camera, Pauline Martindale, October's meeting

The title of last month’s talk was Beauty of Nature, and what an appropriate title it was. Our speaker Pauline took us on a beautiful photographic tour of some of our finest gardens and landscapes. If you had not been to some of the gardens featured during the talk then you would have felt like you had by the end of the evening. We can all take a photograph but how many turn out with a professional touch, not many of mine do. This is not the case with Pauline’s photographs, which capture the scene or subject perfectly and professionally.
Our tour started in 2012 with a visit to the Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heilgan in Cornwall, with a wonderful picture of the giant green head. We were taken back, and pleasantly reminded, of our visit to Pashley Manor Gardens during the tulip festival, the photos showed the stunning colours of the tulips. We also visited parks and gardens closer to home, I was particularly taken with the photos of Capel Manor, shown with accompanying music which was most relaxing. 
Pauline, who pointed out that she not a gardener, managed to find some unusual plants in our very own Lloyd Park. Pauline knows a good looking plant when she sees one and named many of the plants she photographed.  
Pauline presented her talk in a most professional manner, good background commentary to the scenes she had photographed, often with music, and a good mix of humour thrown  in, Pauline provided a most entertaining evening. Thank You Pauline.
One last point to remember from Pauline, don’t forget the importance of a good tearoom!
Top photo, Eden Project, next one down, Heligan Gardens, both in Cornwall. Lower photo, Pashley Manor gardens.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Orchids of Costa Rica, Michael Radley, September's meeting.

At the end of last month’s talk, from Michael Radley Orchid Specialist, I felt like I had been to Costa Rica. A country full of wonderful rainforests, bustling biodiversity and of course amazing orchids. Michael shared his great selection of holiday photos with us which included the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Rainforest. 
The climate in Costa Rica, of tropical sunshine, gentle wind breezes and cool misty mountains are ideal conditions for tropical orchids, these are known as epiphytes which means they grow on other plants, trees and as Michael explained any surface which they can anchor to. These orchids usually obtain their nourishment from the air, rain or moisture around the host plant or tree where they grow.
Michael’s photos also included, stunning orchids, of different shapes, sizes and colours, as well as photos of the native wildlife and giant ferns.  Costa Rica is the place to visit if you want to see orchids growing all around you and experience a county rich in natural wealth, despite being a small country it contains almost 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
During the talk Michael gave further advice on the care of orchids and  brought several young plants along for member’s to purchase, I hope mine go on to flower!  Our thanks go to Michael for a great evening. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Nepenthes Ventricosa, Don Fitzgerald August's meeting

I would take a guess that not many of our members would have know a great deal about the Nepenthes Ventricosa plant before last month’s club meeting, I  certainly did not know of the plant. Consequently, we are grateful to Don Fitzgerald for his fascinating and most enlightening talk on Carnivorous Plants.
Don’s talk was first class, explaining the origins of the plants, the different varieties, their habitat and cultivation. The Nepenthes Ventricosa, also known as a Pitcher Plant or Monkey Cups, it is most distinctive with its brightly coloured red pitcher rim. These plants secrete a nectar that attracts insects which are then trapped inside the pitcher before being digested. It was interesting to hear that there are varieties which grow outside in the UK, Don recommended; Cape Sundew (Drosera Capensis) and Yellow Trumpet Pitcher (Sarracenia Flava) as starter plants for either in or out of doors. 
Don enhanced his talk further by passing different plants around for members to handle and see at close up. We were shown how these plants are propagated with a demonstration by Don. We were told the golden rules for keeping these plants; No Tap Water, always use rain water, their compost must be free draining and nutrient poor and Never let them dry out. To compete his talk Don gave members a factsheet which contains all the information, including where to purchase plants, you need to care for these plants. If you did not receive a copy of this please let John know and he will provide you with a copy. 
I am fascinated by carnivorous plants for their usual shapes and colours, let alone the way the obtain their food. Carnivorous plants are an example of  how diverse the world of plants are.    

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Summer Show 13, July 2019

Our Flower Show - A Blooming Success!

I am really pleased to say, as I did last year, that our flower show last month went extremely well. One hundred and eighteen visitors were recorded at the door and this does not include children or teenagers, so visitors were well up on last year. Of course as with previous years it’s all the work that You as club members put into the show that makes it such as success. 
A big thank you to all the members who took time to bring in their plants for  display, this all involves hard work so is much appreciated. Equally, a big thank you to Patrica and Jo for preparing our lunch and managing the refreshments all afternoon. A big well done to Joan and Chris and the team from  the Walthamstow Floral Art Club’s who created some wonderful displays. 
A big thank you goes to Pauline for enticing so many people to have a go at catching a duck, quack quack! Equally a big thank you to Nina for managing the raffle very efficiently and selling so many tickets. Thank you Bob and Pat for managing the book and bric-a-brac stalls and Gillian for running the key box game. And many thanks to Vera and Sue for selling so many plants.
It’s a big thank you to everyone who helped, the plant growers, the volunteers who help to set up and close the show, along with all those who came to the show and brought friends and family.  Many thanks to you all, it was your hard work that made the day such a success.
Thanks also goes to our sponsors ;  Matthew’s Nursery ( for all the plants they donated, Lancaster’s Garden Centre (opposite Wood Street Station, 0208 520 1088) for their two amazing plant donations, to Nick from Felices Flowers (in Walthamstow Market High Street near Lidl, - 07875 407725, thank you donating a stunning bouquet. Our thanks go to Margaret Ritchie for her generous donation towards the show.
It was a great pleasure to have the Waltham Forest Bonsai Club at the show again this year, displaying their trees and offering advice and guidance to visitors. It was also great to have Nick Dobson, one of our most popular speakers, at the show, many thanks for the spectacular fuchsia display that you brought along Nick and all the help you gave on the Friday night and during the show. Additional thanks go to Jannet Thompson, from our local Police Community Support Team, for joining us.

It was a great day with a wonderful atmosphere and it was your hard work that made the day such a success. The day was a Blooming Success!

The Flower Arranger’s Plants, July's meeting

Our speaker last month, Maike Windhorst from Mount Holly Horticultural Talks, gave us an inspiring talk about the most suitable flowers to grow for flower arranging. Maike took us through the year month by month explaining which plants thrive the best to give the best flowers for displays. Each month was supported with detailed and wonderful slides of the various plants.

Maike, told us about the large number of plants that she grows and how she takes seeds from these to replenish her stock. We were told the best plants for colour for each month so that the best can be obtained all year through.

As a part of the talk Maike brought along some arrangements to illustrate how different colours work well together, other flowers were shared and passed around so that members could really appreciate the colours and texture of the flowers.

So we have no excuse, thanks to Maike, for not having the brightest flowers in our homes all year round.

Friday, 28 June 2019

London Wildlife Protection, Cinzia, June's meeting

Our speaker last month, Cinzia from London Wildlife Protection (LWP), an organisation dedicated to the care of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in London. The LWP is run entirely by volunteers who give up a great deal of their spare time to help wildlife.

Cinzia explained why the group is so important, private vets do not provide free help for injured wildlife and the RSPCA are often too busy to help. The  majority of injured and orphaned birds that the LWP group deal with are pigeons. As we know pigeons are found all over London and the rubbish which is found on our streets is often a health hazard for these birds. Pigeon’s feet can be damaged by string, nylon thread and human hair which tangles around their feet causing their toes to become infected. 

The LWP aims to increase awareness of these problems and educate people on how they can help wildlife. Cinzia encouraged us to provide bird feeders and water ( such as bird baths ) in our gardens to help birds and grow plants which insects like, which in turn help birds. 

If you would like to help LWP, who urgently need volunteers, you can contact the group by calling; 07909 795 064 or visit;