- Baslow garden society.
Gardening through the year
Peter Farrow – 18 January 2018
Our first meeting of year got off to a very enjoyable start with our new chairman, Tony Hubbuck, welcoming members for turning out in such inhospitable weather and inviting everyone to stay on after the meeting for wine, mince pies and general garden chat.
Peter Farrow lives locally and spoke of his experience of gardening throughout the year. Having, completed a degree in botany before going into teaching, in retirement Peter decided to take up botanical illustration and undertake a garden makeover at home, all alongside maintaining his allotment, which is devoted to the
growing and exhibiting of gladioli.
In 2012, renovation of his garden, which is set high up and really did not have much to recommend it, was started. It was down with the silver birch and up with the lawn to make way for a user friendly paved / sitting area and large borders to accommodate as many plants as possible. By 2014 it looked like a mature garden with David Austin roses, clematis and shrubs. For winter, Peter chose plants with winter flowers / berries plus winter bulbs, such as hellebores, snowdrops, iris and crocus. Peter recommends visiting Felley Priory garden in the winter as it has a good display of winter bulbs. However, developing a passion for snowdrops could become expensive, some rare bulbs are known to cost up to £150.
Peter, recommended regular visits to the Botanical garden in Sheffield to see what does well locally at different times of year and also noting which plants are good value throughout the year. Spring is a busy time with visits to garden centres and much plant buying, sometimes without knowing where the plants will go in the garden. Summer bedding, particularly in tubs, cheers everyone up and can be easily moved around. It is noticeable that plants come in and out of fashion, for example hydrangeas are now making a come back having been out of favour for many years.
Visiting RHS shows provides new ideas; Peter’s recommended shows are Tatton Park and Hampton Court with Kew Gardens a must in all seasons for its wonderful trees.
14th Oct 2017 - Baslow Apple day
Many thanks to all those who supplied plants and helped out on the day. we sold an incredible amount of plants and those remaining will be in the hall on Thursday 19th oct. The day was quite windy but otherwise fine, overall the entertainment from the band, to make a rocket was all good fun. Apples (due to a late frost) were hard hit, so i don't think the juicers were as busy as they have been, but i had some lovely juice.
A Kiwi Adventure by Mike Davey, September 2017
Making a return visit to the Society, Mike Davey presented a slideshow and talk of his recent visit to New Zealand. After flying for 32 hours, via Dubai, for a family wedding, he and his wife then hired a camper van and set off to explore.
The weather on the islands can be variable with particularly cold nights but life was comfortable in a well-appointed camper van. Eating out was expensive so self -catering was the order of the day. Their journey began on North Island on the banks of Lake Wanaka, a particularly beautiful lake and town with some very expensive lakeside houses. It was noticeable that most houses were roofed with corrugated tin sheets, often made in Yorkshire, which are safer in an earthquake zone than roof tiles. Wanaka Lake is beautiful and large, well over 20 miles long, and surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Many lakes are linked and channelled to conserve water and to provide hydroelectric power. Wind power also widely used, as the Government is keen to promote renewable energy.
Geothermal springs are another natural feature, as are deserted beaches (Farewell Spit is the longest sandbank in the world) and large boulder fields, left by retreating glaciers. There are marine mammals to be seen along the shoreline and a large colony of albatross down on South Island,
Many plants on both islands are alien invaders that have proved very adaptable to the climate. Gorse and broom, aeoniums and lupins have all proved very effective colonisers. The New Zealand Customs are now very strict and try to ensure that visitors do not bring unwanted species into the country. Walkers in particular are advised to ensure that their walking boots and other kit are spotlessly clean.
Driving is a pleasure as the roads are wide, but it is important not to run out of fuel as towns are few and far between. Also, be aware that the weather can change very quickly! Sheep on the road are a hazard too, as they are not inclined to move out of the way for motorists. Various old villages showing New Zealand’s past history of gold mining can be found, along with much more recent developments such as extensive vineyards and ‘state of the art’ winemaking facilities.
New Zealanders are helpful, the towns are very clean and travelling is easy. Wonderful scenery abounds as does the rain. There are exciting opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities, from ice climbing to sailing to bungee jumping. New Zealand certainly has a lot to offer!
The Froggatt Show, August 2017
The afternoon of 26th August was hot and sunny – so unusual for a Bank Holiday weekend! But so fortunate for the organisers of the Froggatt Show who probably saw record breaking numbers attend an event that has run for 72 years!
The attractions were familiar and classic – the Brass Band, pony classes, Punch and Judy, stalls with home produce and crafts, a bouncy castle, and many others. But of course the focus was on the flower, fruit and vegetable classes, where competition is the name of the game. There were literally hundreds of categories for all sorts of produce, and the standard was as high as ever. The Garden Society sponsored 3 classes - 3 vegetables with flowers, 3 dahlias in a vase and a display of cut flowers.
It was wonderful to see so many people, especially young families, enjoying the traditional spectacle of a country fair, and having fun in the open air. Long may it continue!
Winners of classes sponsored by Baslow Garden Society
Class 44 A dish of 3 vegetables with one vase of flowers
1st - Clare Hicken, 2nd - David Thorp, 3rd - Tim Reynolds
Class 58 3 decorative dahlias
1st - Tim Reynolds, 2nd - David Thorp, 3rd -Gene Thorp
Class 85 A display of cut flowers with their own foliage
1st - Shirley Stubbs, 2nd - David Allerton, 3rd - David Thorp
Baslow Garden Society visit to Park Hall, Walton, Chesterfield June 2017
Our second outing of the summer took us to a well-known address – Park Hall, Walton. Here, Kim and Margaret Staniforth have been gardening for 20 years, in the grounds of a manor house dating from 17th century. For many of those years, they have opened their garden for the National Garden Scheme, raising a significant amount of money for charity.
About 35 members of the Garden Society met in the early evening for an introduction by Kim and a welcome from Margaret. Then we dispersed in groups to see the many varied ‘rooms’. Most impressive was the terraced garden, a square lawn surrounded by low stone walls and rockeries which led the eye to the raised feature facing the house. Then we moved onto the croquet lawn, and from there to the sunken garden with arbours all round, and a pergola on one side balanced by a pleached hornbeam hedge on the other. There were several water features, statues, willow forms and delightful surprises at every turn.
But most exciting of all was the planting! Every plant seemed to have been specially placed for maximum effect, and carefully brought into bloom at just the right time. The roses were glorious, the clematis most unusual (some were more bush-like), the buddleia tree with long pale fronds, the lilies and aliums, all at their best. There was a really stunning display everywhere one looked, and we came away inspired and uplifted!
Just before we left, we were treated to wine or soft drinks and delicious home- made cakes. It was an evening to remember.
Baslow Garden Society meeting, The creation of Kerracher by Peter & Trish Kohn, April 20th 2017
Peter and Trish Kohn, our guest speakers, gave us a fascinating talk on their ambitious creation of a garden called 'Kerracher' on the North West coast of Scotland, 100 miles south of Cape Wrath.
A packed hall heard how, in 1994, they bought a crofters house and land in an isolated, wet and windy part of Sutherland, on the edge of a loch, but sheltered from northerly weather. They set about excavating, draining and building shelter belts to develop the most amazing gardens around their white painted home. There were audible gasps from the audience when we saw, for the first time the results of all their efforts. We saw plants from Cornwall, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Mediterranean all flourishing because of the microclimates they had created. It was all illustrated with excellent slides. Their blue meconopsis, that grow there like cabbages, made us all green with envy!
We were all captivated too by their life style; having no road, going everywhere by boat (Tesco was 100 miles away). Nevertheless over the 10 years that the gardens were open to the public, who came 3 times a week on a steamer, Peter and Trish had 10,000 visitors!
It was a most enjoyable, informative evening
Baslow Garden Society Meeting : Glorious Gladioli by Peter Forrow, 17th March 2017
The guest speaker was Peter Forrow, with his talk on Glorious Gladioli. He illustrated his talk with slides showing the preparation and cultivation of the corms, which is the secret of his success.
Firstly, remove the loose outer skin entirely, so that a small shoot and a ring of tiny roots are visible. Then, set the corms in trays, indoors, until the shoots begin to grow. When the weather is suitable, plant the corms out in 4 inches depth of soil, on a plinth of gravel for drainage. They hate to be waterlogged.
Peter grows 2,000 plants every year, and exhibits at shows far and wide, from the middle of July through to the end of September. One wonders when he manages to sleep! He is also a qualified gladiolus judge, which required him to pass a pretty stiff exam.
It was very interesting to learn that there are seven different categories of gladioli, ranging from the very small ‘primms’ to giant sized blooms. Peter’s photos showed the amazing variety of colours that can be found, from soft pastel shades to ‘in your face’ vivid.
There were 40 or so members present for the talk, after which we enjoyed tea, coffee and biscuits whilst bombarding Peter with questions. Just as the talk ended, Peter got a text message saying “Well done, Possum! Love, Dame Edna!!!”
February 2017 "Once Seen Never Forgotten" Don Witton
Paying a very welcome return visit to the Society, Don described his talk and slide show as an eclectic mixture of his memories.
Borrowing views from all over the world Don started with his regular visits to the Lake District before moving onto Table Mountain, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley followed by the amazing cities of Las Vegas and Sydney.
Garden memories started with Don’s own allotment where he hosts a national collection of euphorbias; his recommendation was Euphorbia Donii, as “it knows its place”. Next came the range of National Trust gardens, including the best laburnum archway in the country at Bodnant, and the striking white birch tree trunks at Anglesey Abbey in winter. Bressingham gardens in both winter and summer with their immaculate island beds are a must and the four RHS gardens provide memorable planting schemes, especially in the height of summer. Particularly highly recommended came Breezy Knees in North Yorkshire (a new one on me) as being very well worth a visit at any time of year.
There were slides of fabulous flowers, far too many to mention, with particular recommendations of varieties to try locally. Don has managed to grow many of these plants on his allotment in South Yorkshire despite not having the ideal conditions recommended and advises giving them a try.
Wild walking in the mountains of Europe has been a big part of Don and his wife’s life and has provided the opportunity to see a variety of plants in their natural settings. However, this was not always without incident as after slipping an breaking her leg in Switzerland, Don’s wife had to be rescued and was flown dangling underneath a helicopter for medical treatment whilst Don was left to walk!
Don had bought a variety of plants to sell and these were soon snapped up at the end of the meeting.
A vote of thanks was given by David Dalrymple Smith.
Baslow Garden Society meeting, Sex among flowers by Dr. Steve Furness, January 2017
The January meeting of the Garden Society was very well attended, with 52 members and guests. They had come to hear a talk by Dr. Steve Furness, on the subject of ‘Sex among the Flowers’ (not, as he pointed out ‘Sex Amongst the Flowers with Steve Furness’ !!)
It was very interesting to learn about the various ways of pollination, (wind, water, and animals) bringing all the forces of nature into play to make pollination successful. The insects, birds and the few animals that pollinate specific plants, are often adapted to serve only one or two species, while the plants themselves, evolving over time, seem to use all their craft and guile to attract the pollinators.
The message put across in the talk sees to say that although we humans think everything started with Adam and Eve, plants have been having sex for millennia!
After the talk, everyone enjoyed mince pies, cakes and a glass of wine, which went to making a pleasant end to an enjoyable evening for all.
A highlight of our 2015 programme was a recording of BBC Gardner's Question Time.
Interesting questions, home made cakes and a very convivial atmosphere made for a very pleasant evening.