Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society

Incorporating The Garden Club


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July – What’s Up, Doc?

2017-06-22 10.06.35 HDRAn interesting evening ahead on July 12th as Dr Steve Reynolds discusses ‘plant problems’. Steve is best known as one of Shropshire’s experts on plant pests and diseases and is a popular speaker on the circuit. He has run garden clinics with the likes of David Bellamy and Daphne Ledward at Southport Flower Show and advises award-winning nurseries such as Ashwoods. Recently he has been teaching Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ trainees to ‘Know Their Enemies!‘. In 2007, Steve was honoured with an invitation to appear on the Celebrity Grow It Stage at the NEC’s Gardeners’ World Live Event. He’s also been present on Gardeners’ Question Time duty at the Holker Hall Festival in the Lake District, the Midlands Summer Gardeners’ Weekend, the Welsh Gardening Show in Llangollen and the Royal Welsh Show on many occasions. In any spare time, he loves volunteer bus driving for Shropshire, plant problem troubleshooting for the National Trust and serious social walking / hill climbing.

July also sees Barlaston Open Gardens Weekend, this year it is July 14th – 15th. You will find further details on their website or Facebook page.


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June – William Lobb

Crinodendron hookerianum (Chinese Lantern Bush)The Journeys and Plant Collections of William Lobb are explored this month by Mark Paviour from Wigmore in Herefordshire. Employed by James Veitch & Sons of Exeter, William Lobb was one of the Victorian Plant Collectors responsible for many of the plants we have in our gardens today, including this Crinodendron or Chinese Lantern Bush.

Mark has been involved in horticulture for forty years including managing a nursery, Head Gardener of seven prestigious gardens, and arboricultural work. He now works free-lance and is co-owner of Paviour & Davies Plants which specialises in South American plants.

Also in June Great Bridgford have their “Scarecrows and Gardens Sunday” on June 10th from 10am to 5pm and Eccleshall Open Gardens Weekend is June 16th – 17th.

Barlaston Community Group also have some garden-related events between May and June. This coming weekend –  Sat 12th & Sun 13th May 2pm-5pm – Barlaston Hall opens for the National Gardens Scheme and on May 29th at 7:45pm Hooks Green Herbs – Barlaston Gardens Question time at Barlaston Village Hall. Further details on the website.


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May – Flowering Plants of the Gambia

gambiaThis month we travel further afield to the Gambia to explore its flowering plants with Dr Michael Jones – an enthusiastic botanist with a particular interest in parasitic plants. Some of you may recall he came and gave us a fascinating talk on mistletoe back in December 2016. Until recently he was Head of Science at Newman University, Birmingham and has taught in both the UK and Africa. He is also the author of a book on the flowering plants of the Gambia, published in 1994.

We look foward to seeing you on May 10th.

Don’t forget our Annual Plant Sale on May 5th at St. Michael’s Hall, Further details on the Events page.


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April – Pictures from the Library Garden

Brian Ellis from Avondale Nurseries in Coventry is bringing a slide show of pictures from the ‘Library Garden’ at the Nursery. He describes hinself as an enthusiastic plantaholic – he just can’t stop collecting.

icon-anemone-03“We are now National Collection Holders for three plant families, Symphyotrichum (Aster) novae-angliae, Anemone nemorosa and Sanguisorba. Our Wood Anemones are stunning when the nursery opens in March. Our Sanguisorbas are in flower throughout the summer, and over 50 varieties of Michaelmas Daisies are on show in our display garden in September.”

An article in The English Garden , March 2018 has a lovely article about the Nursery and the wood anemones in particular. They have about forty varieties for sale, many not available elsewhere.

Advance Notice – Don’t forget our Annual Plant Sale on May 5th at St Michael’s Hall. Further details on the Events page.


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March – Cheshire gardens

Kevin Pratt from Village Plants, Stockport will be talking about the Private Plants and gardens of Cheshire Village Plants– “For 30 years I was a gardener for the footballers and the millionaires in Hale and Alderley Edge, Cheshire. This is a rare look at the gardens you can’t visit. A look behind the electric gates of some footballers’ and racing drivers’ gardens and one TV celebrity chef, but certainly the very rich households. . . . A light hearted look at the gardens that are strictly PRIVATE.”

And while it is still February, it is not too late to go and look for snowdrops. The National Trust has a list of gardens in the Midlands renowned for their snowdrops here and the Great British Gardens website also has a list here with links to NGS gardens with snowdrops. Not metnioned by either is Hopton Hall  near Wirksworth in Derbyshire – their snowdrop walk is open until March 4th.


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February 2018 Canadian Rockies

This photo of Mesa Verde National Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Dr Peter Thomas Reader in Plant Ecology at Keele University will be giving a talk on the Canadian Rockies. He has been at Keele since 1986. Following degrees in Biology and Ecology and after working for a year, he moved to the University of New Brunswick, Canada supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship to work for a PhD on the regeneration of trees after forest fires.  While at Keele he has spent sabbatical periods as Visiting Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada and as Bullard Fellow at Harvard University, USA.

Dr Thomas is also involved with the National Collection of Cherry trees at Keele, which we will be visiting later this year – see the Events page for details.