2015 Meeting Reports

At the January meeting on the 8th, we had the formality of our AGM, followed by our guest speaker Ian Greenhalgh. Ian  stepped in at short notice to  speak to us on the subject of "The Organic Kitchen Garden", when the planned speaker was forced to withdraw.
A popular speaker, who has visited us twice before, Ian is an acknowledged expert and experienced show judge in the field of Dahlias. His talk covered the conversion of a conventional estate plot into a very attractive and productive organic garden.
As usual Ian was witty and amusing as well as very informative. A very enjoyable evening for all, at a well attended meeting, with plenty of tips and insights into the world of the "organic gardener".

At the February meeting on Thursday 12th, our guest speaker was Janet Heath a regular contributor to "SK magazine". You will know her "Garden Talk" column from the copy that drops through your letterboxes.

Her talk entitled "Your Soil" was filled with interesting and helpful information, in the same style as her magazine column which abounds with seasonal tips and hints.
 Illustrated liberally with pictures from many of her clients gardens, she showed us how they had made the best of their plots. Adjusting the soil condition, mostly by the addition of compost or manure being the key to success.

At the March Meeting on the 12th of March, we welcomed our guest speaker, local expert, Kevin Platt from Hazel Grove. In a talk entitled “Unusual Bulbs” he told us about bulbs for colour and diversity throughout the year.

At the April Meeting on the 9th, our guest speaker, was Dr Irene Ridge, who is the chairperson of the North West Fungi Group. She gave us a most interesting and informative talk entitled "Fungi, Friend or Foe".
During her illustrated presentation, Dr Ridge covered topics ranging from the edible fungi and their poisonous (even deadly) counterparts, through to the beneficial mycorrhizal species and the gardeners enemies, the oomycetes.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable session from a recognised expert in the field.

At the May Meeting on the 14th, we welcomed as our guest speaker, Jeff Hutchins of "Laneside Hardy Orchids", Garstang. He gave us a fascinating talk about Hardy Orchids. Many of us picture the exotic, indoor, epiphytic plants when we hear the word "orchid".  Jeff was very informative about the species that thrive outdoors, many of which are native to the UK.
Interspersed with anecdotes and humourous asides, his talk gave us much information about the care, handling and science behind these attractive plants.

At the June Meeting on the 11th, speaker for the evening was a familiar face - Don Witton. He gave us a talk entitled "Is Big Ever Beautiful?"
We heard that great things don’t always come in small packages. Whether it’s giant blooms, large plants or enormous gardens there’s something to be admired and enjoyed about being oversize.
 This was a return visit for Don, who has been a guest speaker a number of times before. He also hosted us on a visit to his allotment and Plant Heritage National Collection of Hardy Euphorbias last year.

At the July Meeting on the 9th, our guest speaker was Barbara Depledge Chairman of "The Herb Society".
The Herb Society is an internationally-renowned educational charity dedicated to

encouraging the appreciation and use of herbs in cooking, gardening, cosmetics,

historical and medicinal uses. In a fascinating talk, she gave us much information

about herbs, and some of their less well known applications.

There was no meeting during the month of August. That does not mean, however, that we were idle. The pictures above show the lovely display created for Poynton Show  on the 29th, which secured a "Highly Commended".

At the September Meeting on the 10th, our guest speaker was Andy Bonehill of the Woodland Trust. He gave us an interesting talk entitled "Woodland Trust - What We Do -  Trees & Wildlife & Local Woods". 
Andy gave us a fascinating insight into the Woodland Trust, with a talk beautifully illustrated with photos of trees and woodland. There were several local sites which he recommended worthy of a visit.

At the October Meeting on the 8th, our guest speaker was Jane Allinson, who runs Mayfields Plants and Garden Design from her third of an acre garden in Stanthorne, Cheshire. She gave us an entertaining talk entitled: -   "HERBACEOUS HALL OF FAME', which was her personal 'Top Ten' of herbaceous perennials, packed with much information on varieties, planting and their care.
The list included Hellebores, Poppies, Aquilegias and Geraniums. Her favorites were Digitalis (Foxgloves).

At the December Meeting on the 10th, we had our Christmas Party with Hotpot Supper. We enjoyed some games, activities, a raffle and a quiz based on festive topics and gardening related stuff.  
There was a competition, just for fun, for the creation of a seasonal decoration
in a basket. The kind of thing you might use as a table centrepiece for Christmas. The size was not prescribed, and the winner was decided by members vote. It was clear that some members had devoted considerable effort to the task. The 3 prizewinners are shown grouped under one of the Legion's festive decorations.

At our November Meeting on the 12th, our guest speaker was George Pilkington, Director Nurturing Nature,  (MSc. In Countryside Management, Cert Ed).  He spoke to us on the subject of "Solitary Bees". His interesting and informative talk introduced us to the world of those bees that do not live in colonies, but singly and have just a few offspring, during their rather short existence. eorge's humorous style was blended with a mix of white board and video presentation, for an enjoyable night. The lively interaction with members showed their appreciation.