31 July 2012

                          JULY MEETING 2012      
A very interesting evening - unfortunately, I do not have any plants to prune so - you might see me on the front page of the Barking & Dagenham Post having been arrested for loitering in other people's gardens waiting for the opportunity to prune!! :)) on
thank you judith we will look forward to reading about your pruning adventures in future editions!!!
                                     July 2012 meeting
This month, the speaker was Geoff Hodge, writer and broadcaster. He gave us a most entertaining and informative talk on "Pruning for All". After telling us about his career path, which involved him being made redundant from his post as a Web Editor by the RHS, then asking him to write a book for them, he followed the path of a free lance writer, broadcaster, and lecturer, contributing to radio programmes for Radio Essex, gardening magazines and many television programmes. He brought four books with him and offered to sign them for anybody purchasing them (at a discounted rate).

Geoff Hodge.

He had bought a lot of suitable equipment with him, also some twigs and branches to demonstrate with. The problems involved with incorrect cutting, or pruning at the wrong time of the year were explained.

An impressive array of pruning tools.
A generous donation was made to the raffle, and there were a lot of seeds, both flowers and vegetable, for us to help ourselves to.

He stressed the importance of using sharp and clean tools, to minimize the chance of causing an infection to the shrub or tree being pruned, which could potentially prove fatal. Feeding after pruning was also advised, to help the shrub or tree to gain strength.

Some of the books co-written by Geoff.
After the tea interval and the raffle being called, he answered some questions and continued with his demonstrations of correct pruning. We all came away much more knowledgeable than when we arrived.

Peter had some important things to tell us about activities within the club. Firstly, his garden has been accepted by the National Garden Scheme, or "The Yellow Book", as it is commonly known, to be open to visitors from next year. Congratulations to him. What a great achievement!

Being the glutton for punishment that he is, he and Kathy are opening their garden this year, on Friday August 17th, from 2pm to 5pm, to raise funds for both the Greenfingers Club and the Salvation Army.
In case you have forgotten, their address is 6, Elms Gardens, Dagenham, Essex. RM9 5TX.
Kathy will start baking her famous, delicious cakes again, and tea and coffee will be available. Everybody is welcome to attend, the more the merrier. It is only a few weeks away, so put it in your diary.

He also informed everybody about the newsletter that Jeanette and I, (Hilda), will be producing from next month. We felt that many of the members without computers and internet access were missing out, so this is in an effort to address that problem. It will consist of the things that are on the blog, news and snippets of items of interest, also a puzzle or quiz of some sort. We have yet to decide how frequently it will be published. That will rather depend on how well, or not, it is received, and feedback from members. A small charge of 20p is envisaged, to cover the cost of paper and ink.

30 July 2012

jeangenie has left a new comment on your post "Visit to Chenies Manor.":

oh! what a beautiful house and garden. so sad had to miss this outing, thank for the report Hilda and wonderful photos Jeannette

28 July 2012

Visit to Chenies Manor.

Chenies manor is near Amersham, Buckinghamshire. It is a 14th & 15th century manor house, rich in history. Henry V111 and Elizabeth 1st have visited and affairs of State were carried out from there.
The weather was lovely, hot and sunny, the temperature reaching 32degrees c. , in contrast to the other visits so far this year. The only problem was the coach, the air conditioning had broken down, and it was just like a mobile sauna. The windows couldn't be opened, which made things even hotter.

A very imposing Chenies Manor.

The manor is surrounded by five acres of gardens, sub divided into different types of garden. There is a lot of topiary, lawns and a display of many varieties of Dahlias. Large mixed borders abound. There is a pump house sited over a well, the water is used on the garden. It was visited by a very young John Noakes for "Blue Peter", also the Time Team, and all the interesting things they found there are displayed inside.
The BBC have used the house and gardens for several of their series, Morse being one of them. They left this gorgeous gazebo after filming there:

Outside on the lawn is a huge old oak tree, thought to be over 1000 years old. It is known as "Elizabeth's oak", because Queen Elizabeth 1st  is said to have sat under its' shade to read. It is completely hollow inside, how it still stands is a mystery!

Elizabeth's Oak.                   

We had a guided tour of the house, which was very interesting. There is supposed to be a headless ghost  which stomps around, but we never saw him. The house is still lived in by the owners, the Macleod Matthews, and we were able to have a peek into Elizabeth's (the house's owner), bedroom. Further along  there was a room devoted to her collection of dolls.

Here are some of the garden photos:

A bird topiary.
Beautiful flowers.  

Nearly time to go home!  Brenda & Jill have a rest.
Most of us had refreshments in the tea room at some point, it was lovely to be able to sit in the sunshine for a change. The time passed so quickly, it was soon time to go back to the coach. Before we did so,  the raffle was called and then we boarded, ready to do battle with the traffic on the M25.

7 July 2012

Judith Schultz has left a new comment on your post "June meeting, "Knowing your Orchids".":

It was indeed a wonderful evening - I came straight home and checked one only orchid and Lawrence would not have been impressed with the roots!! however, with his advice and tips they seem to be improving :))

Posted by Judith Schultz to GARDEN FRIENDS at 5 July 2012 16:14

4 July 2012

June meeting, "Knowing your Orchids".

Lawrence Hobbs and his assistant, Sandra, from Hobbs Orchids Ltd.  Crawley Downs, West Sussex, came laden down with plants, potting compost and various sundries to show the club how to care for orchids. Some club members had bought their sickly plants to find out the causes of the problems. 
Lawrence gave a very informative talk on the various types of orchids available and how to care for them. He demonstrated how to re-pot them several times. The nursery make up their own potting medium, using new bark, preferably pine, mixed with charcoal and large size Pearlite. Originally, Osmunder fibre used to be used, but that is nearly extinct now. In America they re-cycle old tyre shreddings!  There is no food in the potting mix, it is only used to support the plant, therefore plant food needs to be added on a regular basis.  Care has to be taken with watering, Lawrence advises soaking in rainwater until the bubbles stop coming, then draining well. This only needs doing about two weekly.
During the interval, plants, potting medium, pots and special feeds could be purchased.

A lovely selection of orchids.

A common pest that affects orchids is the woolly Aphid. Lawrence advised on treatment for this. The affected plant must be isolated, as it will spread if left near other plants.

Peter, Sandra and Lawrence.

At the end of the evening there was a question session which was interesting, and cleared up many misconceptions about orchids.