2014 Meeting Reports

At our  January Meeting (9/1/14) we had about 50 members in attendance for the AGM. 

Following that we had a lovely colourful presentation by Ian Greenhalgh about the Dutch bulb fields, and especially the famous Keukenhof. Ian, who is an acknowledged expert in dahlias and experienced show judge, entertained us last year with a talk on showing dahlias.  This talk  too, was liberally scattered with the information, humour and interest that marked his previous talk.Thanks to Ian for permission to use the pictures from his presentation.

The March Meeting on the 13/3/14 featured Judy Popley as guest speaker. She gave us a short talk entitled "Gardens, Well Worth a Visit." The talk took us on a lightning trip around many gardens through the North of England. Judy runs the "Flower Power Plant Fairs".

The February Meeting on 13/2/14 featured Jane Allison as our guest speaker. Jane runs the small nursery called Mayfields Plants at Stanthorne, Cheshire, which is not generally open to the public, many will know her and her perennials plants from the Plant Hunter Fairs. A well-known garden designer, Jane gave a fascinating talk on "Making the Most of your Garden Space". It was filled with useful tips for us to implement in our own plots.  The use of containers, wildlife considerations, water features, where to site fruit and vegetables were among the topics included.

The April Meeting on the 10th, featured John Bebbington as guest speaker. Ably assisted by his wife Coral, he entertained us a with an interesting and informative talk about veg growing for the table and the showbench  "From Back Bedroom to Allotment and Back Again." John Bebbington FNVS, a qualified show judge for the NVS (National Vegetable Society), gave a talk illustrated with many fascinating slides. We were given an insight into the effort and commitment required to grow prize veg, as well as a glimpse of the fun and pleasure to be derived. He also gave us many tips for techniques to grow the kind of produce that leave the majority of us agape in wonder.  

The May Meeting on the 8th featured Jacqueline Iddon as guest speaker. At a well filled meeting with over 60 attendees, popular speaker Jacqueline told us about the creative use of containers, with a talk and demonstration of designs to fill your containers. She described the best plants to use and gave tips on growing healthy containers all year round. Her demonstration started with this arrangement which included Tulips, Perennial Walflower, Pussy Willow, Hosta and Euonymus.  

The June Meeting on the 12th featured Janet Heath as guest speaker. Janet describes herelf as a "garden mentor".  The link to her website is below, and explains her love of gardens and planting. She gave a talk entitled - "The Highs and Lows of Show Gardens". Janet recounted some experiences, both good and bad, in the planning, execution and aftermath of creating show gardens. She used examples from RHS Tatton show and at the Gardeners World Show at the NEC. We got a facinating insight into the process of satisfying the RHS requirements for show gardens. The examples she showed were of her work with Reaseheath College and sponsorship from Astra Zeneca and Muller Dairies.

The July meeting on the 10th featured Robert Barlow of North Staffordshire Hostas as guest speaker. Robert's talk about Hostas took us on his personal journey from redundancy through to developing a thriving business from his hobby and his love of Hostas.Robert's talk was very interesting, packed as it was with the history, facts and information about Hosta cultivation. Many of the members, in a well attended meeting, know Hostas well, yet I think we were all surprised at the diversity and number of varieties now available.

August is the month in which we do not have a meeting. 

The September meeting on the 11th, Gary Rainford head gardener at Lyme Park was scheduled to give us a talk entitled    "The Gardens of Lyme Park". Gary was unfortunately indisposed, and Margaret, who is one of the volunteer gardeners stood in.
The volunteers are vital in supporting the small gardening staff in keeping the grounds in good order. She gave us an insight into the tasks involved in caring for this beautiful National Trust site.

The October meeting on the 9th, Vicky Fox of Plantagogo gave an interesting talk about care and cultivation of Heucheras. She also covered Tiarellas and their crossing with Heucheras to create Heucherellas. These diverse plants with varigated and coloured foliage are useful for all parts of the garden as there are varieties suited to full sun, shade and intermediate areas. They are great for pots and hanging baskets too, and there are interesting varieties with a trailing habit to suit these uses. The breadth of colours is spectacular, ranging as it does from lime green to deep burgundy with silver varieties and too many others to list.

At the November meeting we had a fascinating evening with Helen Yates of the "Incredible Edible" project in Wilmslow. Following her visit to Todmorden in 2010, where the original project was created, Helen was inspired to start a similar one in Wilmslow. She told us how she did that. Her infectious enthusiasm was very evident in her talk. That was, no doubt, important in attracting the help from the public, the businesses and the council in Wilmslow to make a success of the project. She gave us an insight into the process which lead to the participation of so many in Wilmslow. 

At our "Special Event" meeting on the 17th of November we were royally entertained by celebrity TV florist Carl Wilde, on a well received return visit. He demonstrated tremendous artistic skill in the creation of several magnificent arrangements, aimed primarily at the Christmas period. 

Our December meeting on the 11th it was a festive occasion with a lovely hotpot supper. The speaker was Laura from Green Earth Flowers of Poynton. She demonstrated how to do a Christmas garland.After the meal, every 'table' had material provided, so people could have a go themselves. The results produced were quite impressive.