Plant and Vegetable Stall
At every meeting except November we hold a plant and vegetable stall where members bring their spare produce for others to buy.
Grab a bargain
Poynton Garden Club has been established in Poynton for over 50 years
We continue to be a friendly group of like minded individuals who enjoy our gardens and the wider environmental world
Our speakers encompass a varied range of horticultural topics and our aim is to be informative while keeping the fun in gardening
We are delighted to welcome visitors to our meetings
An important announcement
After more than 15 years as chair and secretary to the club Angela and Elaine have said that they will be retiring from the roles at the next AGM in January 2024. Volunteers are needed to fill these two positions.
Please consider if you would be able to help out.
At our November Meeting
Love Them or Leave Them
A Talk by Angela Oswald
Angela began her talk by explaining why she was giving the talk as Chair of the society rather than bringing in a speaker from outside. - The simple reason being we had not been able to find a speaker on the subject. Angela explained that she was not an expert on the subject and would not be giving advice as to how to grow or treat house plants, but would simply be looking at the subject from a historical perspective.
“Today we think of houseplants as commonplace, but this was not always the case, once they were the preserve of the wealthy elite few.” In Elizabethan times they were used to give pleasant scents to the house. This meant using citrus plants, and as these were rarities it was all about display and wealth. From Stewart times onwards there was a growth in greenhouses and orangeries for those who were rich enough to indulge in such extravagances. Then in the eighteenth century this developed into the portable flower garden with industrialists such as Josiah Wedgwood making ceramic pots specifically to display blooms such as tulips and other bulbs. Cabinet makes began to create tiered staging and artists, particularly in Holland, been to create still life pictures of the displays that could be created meaning you could have a 2D representation on the wall as well as the short lived real life displays.
With the rise of the middle classes, genteel ladies of leisure, and with their husbands money could spend time and money to indulge in home decoration which might feature plants. As more and more plants were brought in from far off places these became established as house plants. The Aspidistra being a classic example when first introduced from China in 1823. The advantage being that it survived in Victorian houses.
By the middle of the nineteenth century true glass houses came into being and orchid mania began to take hold. Paxton’s glasshouse at Chatsworth was an early example from 1840. The style quickly evolved from small panes of glass to much larger pieces as sheet glass began to be manufactured in 1847. Kew Gardens became the centre for the annual orchid festival in February of each year and still runs to this day.
Fern frenzy took off in the 1850s and a black market in plants became established. This was followed by a fashion for flowering plants such as pelargoniums which were relatively easy to grow, came in many colours and scents and enhanced the rooms they were placed in.
As plants became more easily available, they became more affordable, and soon it became possible to find a plant suitable for all spaces, adding colour and texture to the home environment.It was not just flowering houseplants that became established, such as: - African violets, primula, cyclamen, kalanchoe, gloxinia, gardenia, cineraria, streptocarpus and peace lily, but also scented geraniums and jasmine along with coloured leafed plants such as maranta, poinsettia and coleus, then trailing plants such as tradescantia.
The current trends in houseplants includes the use of more unusual ones such as the insectivores, air plants, cacti and succulents. Then there is the use of windowsill herbs as promoted on cookery programmes.
So, why do we grow houseplants? Apart from the fact that they enhance our home environment with greenery and colour, they also appear to increase productivity, and reduce stress by having them around, adding life to what is otherwise a sterile space. Some also might help to clean our air by absorbing toxins.
The fashion for houseplants has waxed and waned over time, but currently they are enjoying a revival of interest. Is this down to more people living flats and houses without access to a garden? Or, is it down to promotion with the likes of IKEA and supermarkets using them as a commodity to be picked up as part of our shopping? Even the RHS now promotes them at Chelsea, with their houseplant studios, first established in 2019 and then of course there is the ability to shop for them on line.
Angela was warmly applauded and thanked for her talk. Then she reminded everyone that we are still looking for somebody to step forward and take on the chair and secretaries roles in the new year.