Staunton and District Gardening Club
The club meets at 7.15pm on the second Monday of each month, from September to April in Staunton Village Hall
Visitors Very Welcome
Our first Speaker of 2017 was Mark Vaughan and his subject 'Pests and Diseases'.
His talk was interesting, very informative and proved relevant as we are planning our planting for the season. We learnt how to spot and deal with Aphids (Greenfly, Blackfly, and Woolly Aphids), Scale insects, Red Spider Mites, Vine Weevils, White Fly, Thrips (Thunderbugs), Chafer Grubs and Leather Jackets, Lily Beetles, Mildew, Peach Leaf Curl, Black Spot and Honey Fungus and Mark answered our questions from his experience.
He also provided copies of his comprehensive reference document which will be most useful. A talk to be recommended as mentioned by Bill Gibb in his vote of thanks.
Our speaker in February was Jon Mason, Director of Highfields Garden World, Gloucester, and his subject 'Getting the best from your roses'. He had very recently returned from a trip to Spain, Italy and Holland to buy plants.Times have changed – where once people walked along the rows of blooming roses in October took names and placed their orders for delivery the first quarter of the following year, to-day they want instant gardening and often like to purchase their roses in pots when they are in bloom.
There are different types of roses for varied preferences and locations – Floribunda, Hybrid T's, Bush, Climbers, Ramblers and Miniature. It is important to choose colours you like and also the scent of the rose and to read the labels or seek advice when making your purchases. Plant as advised to get the best results. Placing new roses where there have been roses previously is no longer frowned upon provided the old soil has been refreshed well and good farmyard manure dug into it. Once planted the roses will need to be watered well and fed.The big problem for a lot of people growing roses is the pruning. However once the flowering has finished the rose should be pruned back so that the new growth can produce lovely blooms the following year.
Alun and Jill Whitehead were our Speakers in March and their subject was 'Irises'. We were introduced to an amazing riot of colour, shapes and sizes through their wonderful slides and knowledge.
These slides showed Iris in many and varied locations – some like full sun and others shady conditions or bog gardens.
Iris are now being crossed and therefore there are many to choose from, so whatever your garden there are probably plants to suit your space, position and colour.
We were all so interested a visit to our Speakers’ Aulden Farm in Leominster seemed an excellent idea. In fact the farm is open to the public for the NGS charities several times soon – Google it to find one that suits you!
In April we held our AGM and this was followed by a Speaker on Dowsing.
The month of June found us at Howle Hill Nursery and what a magical evening we had! We were made so welcome by Peter Dowle and his team despite the fact they were working on the Gardener’s World 50th anniversary celebration gardens at the NEC. I am sure we will all be glued to the TV for that programme.
The nursery and the great deal of experience it offers specialises in designing gardens to their customers ideas/needs whatever size the garden covers, large or small. They grow a lot of their own trees and use these to give the type of garden requested. There was so much colour and much to learn – so many ideas.
Another service the nursery offers it to hire trees whether for a film shoot, visiting celebrities or the like. Trees can be chosen from a huge assortment and range from Classical, Traditional, Oriental, Tropical and Mediterranean.
Both Peter himself and Andy (who looks after the nursery and supplies the plants and trees needed for the designs), were so knowledgeable and answered our questions as we went round. An excellent evening for us all.
The month of July found us at Appletree Cottage, The Pludds, at a well-loved cottage garden which had been created from a bramble and weeded wasteland. It was lovely. A real hideaway which offered a garden in three areas and included a pond with water lilies, sedges, and many colourful plants surrounding it (not forgetting the frogs and visiting heron).
The herbaceous borders were alight with colour from informal planting of summer favourites. Arches with honeysuckles scented the way to an arbour where relaxation and planning were invited. The paths throughout the garden led you from one part to another giving a very informal welcome.
Our thanks to our hosts Steve and Sian Waygood who also provided wonderful tea and cakes for us all. Monies donated were for Great Oaks Hospice.
In August we visited two totally different gardens in Brockweir. The first, Greenfields a 1˝ acre gem with many unusual plants and shrubs. Set out as smaller 'rooms' complemented by beautiful mature trees. Our host, Jackie, has a great interest in the propagation of plants and works tirelessly to ensure continuity throughout the garden thereby giving great pleasure to all her visitors. Current projects include a wild flower meadow to follow the spring bulbs. A really welcoming 'feast for the senses' garden in a peaceful setting which has something for everyone.
We then moved on to Barn House. An acre in size and which has been totally remodelled since our host Kate arrived eleven years ago. Bold plantings of ornamental grasses and flowering perennials take centre stage. These are the result of great excavations of red sandstone from the original rocky slope. As the garden faces south and catches the breezes of the Wye valley it is ideal for growing ornamental grasses.
The patio's original landscaping, with the addition of many potted plants, a new vegetable growing area with a bamboo hedge to provide shelter provides a useful area to raise plants for redevelopment elsewhere. When the grasses are cut back each year the terraces come into view from the house; this was one of the most rocky parts of the original garden.
As our visits ended we were all ready for the excellent refreshments which were greatly appreciated.
As the Autumn leaves start to form their carpet on the ground our meetings are back at Staunton Village Hall and this month we welcomed Robb Merchant from White Castle Vineyard as our Speaker.
A man who had a dream, the purchase of a parcel of south facing ground and the dream started to take shape. After initially adding some nutrients to the ground 4000 vines were planted and in the Spring 2000 posts arrived and were put in place and in late April/early May the first vines burst their buds. During the next two months a rather pretty flower appeared followed by the formation of the bunches of fruit.
Early in the year in January soil samples are taken, in April a granular feed given, and expert analysis follows. The results from the history of the vines some of which can live for 50 years.
The family are very involved, the neighbours are always there to help with the harvesting, Robb has now taken on Chairmanship of the Welsh Vineyards Association and so he is keen to promote his wines and welcomes visitors to the vineyard providing tours at the weekends. The latest enquiry has been from a finalist of a popular TV cookery programme who wants to use Robb’s wine with his recipes.
It is necessary to fly Kites (birds) to keep the pigeons off the fruit. A lot of thought had to go into the design of labels, bottles, cards etc. and the restoration of the barn built in 1581 which is now used to welcome students.
White Castle produces White, Red, Rose and Sparkling wines and at Christmastime joins other artisans to promote their wares including local cheeses etc.
Our speaker in October will be 'reflecting on climate change' – further details are available from Lisa on 01594 543398.
© 2013: Gloucestershire Federation of Gardening Societies