On May 12th Dr Michael Jones took us to the Gambia to view their flowering plants. A fascinating botanical trip – even the ‘weeds’ were wonderful! Our plant sale table was full at the beginning of the evening with lots of lovely bargains.
Our Plant Sale on May 5th this year was a great success – the photos show the Hall before the public arrived to help clear the tables.
This time of year sees many gardens hosting ‘Tulip Festivals’. One such at Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex was visited by one of our members. Bloms had provided the bulbs and catalogue and it was possible to visit them in the marquee for advice and to place orders (and, yes, squirrels do bite the heads off tulips and eat them!). It’s not too late to find a festival nearer to home or even an NGS garden with wonderful displays this Bank Holiday weekend.
Our first trip of the year (on 21st April) was fairly local – to Middleport Pottery (home of the Pottery Throwdown) for a quick visit and a bite of lunch by the canal, or in the cafe, and then on the the main event of the day – a trip around the grounds of Keele University to view their collection of flowering cherries. This was followed by a cream tea at Whitmore tearooms. We were very lucky with the weather – it was a beautiful, warm and sunny day so quite a few members donned their walking boots and sunhats to join the tour around Keele, where we were given lists of the cherries (which had obliged by flowering in time) and a map to follow, although our tour was guided as well.
Our April meeting featured an entertaining and informative talk and slide show by Brian Ellis as he discussed some of his favourite plants from his nursery. A handout listing all the plant names helped enormously with any scribbled notes we felt inspired to make! He also brought a selection of plants for sale on the night; our Members’ sale table was also emptied out by the end of the evening.
In March (thankfully the snow had mostly gone) Kevin Pratt travelled down from Stockport to talk about the private gardens he had worked in around Cheshire. He now runs a small nursery – Village Plants – and brought along a few for us to buy – which, of course, we did. There were also a few plants for sale on our Members’ Sales Table and some good raffle prizes to be won.
After the AGM in January Gwen Johnson from Staffordshire WIldlife Trust gave us an illustrated talk on wildflowers – who knew the Rugeley Bypass could be so fascinating?! The following photos were not taken there but from various locations around the UK including Trentham and Hem Heath
Despite the weather plenty of people braved the rain and sleet and ice so, following a talk from Robert Barton about Well Dressings, especially those of Endon, we held our usual Christmas get-together. Plenty of food was on offer, festive tables to share, with the opportunity to chat with friends old and new, and of course the Raffle – which (unsurprisingly) proved very popular this month.
Our November ‘Gardenalia’ sales table proved a great hit this month with many members having a clear-out of their sheds and bookshelves while others took the opportunity to acquire much needed items at a bargain price. As you can see from the photos a wide range of ‘gardenalia’ – from plant pots to spades via books, lamps and fertilisers – made it to the sales table. A number of dahlia tubers were also on offer.
Rob Potterton and his wife, from Pottertons Nursery and Garden, came to talk to us on October 12th about alpine plants and bulbs – from field to market, bringing with them a table full of bulbs for sale and one or two extra plants (not to mention the pre-talk orders they had received). It was fascinating to hear of Rob’s experiences seed collecting with the Alpine Society in China many years ago and how the seeds and plants collected were propagated and grown on by the various botanical gardens and specialist nurseries once they were back in the UK. He also explained how they propagate their own plants to raise enough for sale each year.
The 31st Annual Open Show of the Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society was held on Saturday September 16th at Walton Community Centre. The Show was well-attended by both visitors and exhibitors. For those of you who were unable to attend (and even those of you who did) we hope you enjoy the slide show below, with thanks to Martin Robinson for taking (and sharing) the photos –
Our first talk of the Auntumn was a highly entertaining look at Plants of the Season by Paul Green of Greens Leaves Nursery. A whole van load of plants arrived as illustrations in place of the usual slides and there was quite a scramble to buy them after the talk – a much smaller van load made its way back to Gloucestershire. In addition news of the proposed weekend trip to London in June was displayed on the noticeboard.
Summer holiday photos – a ‘Dahlia Maze’ at the Villa Taranta Botanical Garden, Verbania, Italy.
Summer holiday photos from various parts of the UK – plenty of inspiration for places to visit –
Church Cottage in Aston opened its garden in the middle of August under the NGS and several of us went for a look around. They had some wonderful displays of dahlias around the garden – among many other interesting plants and areas.
On July 27th a coach full of members enjoyed a trip to Middleton Hall and to Burrows Garden at Brailsford where they had tea and cake before setting off for home.
July is also the month for the RHS show at Tatton Park. Here are a few photos from chrysanthemum and dahlia displays found there.
Unfortunately Jessica Pannett was unable to come to our meeting in July so at very short notice Judy Hubble stepped in to talk about the history of Shugborough Hall with many ‘behind the scenes’ photos of the Hall and a brief talk about how (and why) the landscape around the Hall changed from Medieval times to the present day.
At our meeting in June Jack Swann give us a slide show of trees and shrubs – he took us through the alphabet and around the world.
June saw the first RHS show at Chatsworth. One of our group managed to go on Members Day and took a few photos.
May is also Chelsea month and one of our members was lucky enough to be able to go this year. She has sent us the following photos of some of the dahlia and chrysanthemum displays.
Some photos from our trip to WildegooseNursery on May 25th. We were given a tour of the garden by Jack Willgoss. The walled garden is in process of being reclaimed from a wilderness by Jack and his wife Laura. It was very much a family affair as Mum was serving in the tearoom and Dad was selling the plants, whilst Jack’s wife Laura was still in hospital having produced twin girls on Monday! The 1830s curved glasshouse has been restored with the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Country Houses Foundation and the Millichope Estate. All followed by tea and cake!
Our May Plant Sale was a great hit as usual with lots of plants from members available to buy. The following photos show the Hall being set up ready for the rush . .
Gordon Malt gave a talk on Salvias in April, bringing with him a collection of plants (not just Salvias) for us to buy – there was quite a rush at the end of the talk! There were more plants on the members’ sale table too – reflecting the busy time many had had taking and nurturing their cuttings.
In March Jane Allison from Mayfield Plants in Middlewich gave a talk on garden design using three gardens in the south of England as an illustration. She brought some plants along from her nursery to sell, and we had our usual Members’ Sale Table.
Our 2017 February meeting was a talk given by Samantha Hopes entitled ‘Winter in Bloom’. Samantha demonstrated through her slides how it was possible to have flowers and colour in the garden from October to April – from Rudbeckias to tulips via snowdrops and honeysuckle.
2016 was the 30th Anniversary of the Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society. It was celebrated with a visit to Renishaw Hall and Gardens which included a special lunch.