2017 Meeting Reports

At the January Meeting on the 12th, we started with our AGM, as usual. Our our guest speaker for the evening was Anne Gunning of the RHS, who spoke on the topic of "Gardening with Children."

Anne is a community outreach advisor for the RHS in the northwest. She gave us an interesting presentation of her work with schools and community projects. This is to raise awareness of the importance and opportunities in horticulture for the youngsters.​
The picture is a school entry at RHS Tatton Show, with a "Wind in the Willows" theme .

The February meeting featured author and speaker Steve Halliwell, who treated us to a very enjoyable, talk entitled "Gresgarth Hall Gardens: A Journey thro' the Year".

The talk was lavishly illustrated by Steve's photos that belied his description of his own ability as a "point and click" photographer.

In his talk, Steve recounted his regular visits to Gresgarth Garden during 2015, and the way the garden changed throughout the year. The photo on the left is a view of Gresgarth Hall.

At our March meeting on the 9th we welcomed Tom Atherton who is the National Sweet Pea Society District Representative.  His talk was entitled "Sweet Peas for Everyone".
Despite being such popular plants in our gardens, we think this may be the first time that they have featured as the subject of our guest speakers talk. Tom's 50+ years experience with them was reflected in the fascinating talk, which ranged over history, varieties, cultivation and showing of the delightful blooms.

The lively question session at the end was testament to how well the talk was received. It also served to reinforce the simple main tip "keep picking". The more they are cropped, the more they reward us with fresh flowers.

At our April meeting on the 13th we welcomed Dr Chris Mortimer whose talk was  entitled - “Garden Dreams”. He delivered an exceptionally entertaining and enjoyable illustrated talk about the development of his magnificent garden.  Chris lives at Mill Barn, Samlesbury, Preston and is a  long term active member of the Hardy Plant Society. His garden is open to visit for the National Garden Society and details can be found on the NGS website.

http://www.millbarn.net/ is the link to the "Dream Garden" website, and is well worth a look.

At our May meeting on the 11th Emily Chandler, Head Gardener at Dunham Massey talked to us about the gardens under her control. Most of us are familiar with this local National Trust property. Emily gave us a facinating insight into about what goes on in the background to ensure the beautiful displays that we see. She also went into a little of the history of the gardens, and how they came to be the way they are.

At our July meeting on the 13th, William Woods of Blackbrook Herb Gardens, Wilmslow was our guest speaker.  Using a range of plants and cuttings he gave us an interesting demonstration and talk about herbs, a very diverse group of plants, with uses ranging from culinary and medicinal to decorative and aromatic.
William's talk  showed much  knowledge collected over thirty years of running his herb nursery. He shared advice about the best choice for grouped plantings and propogation tips too, concluding with an active question and answer session.

You can find his website here : -    http://www.blackbrookherbgardens.co.uk

At our June meeting on the 8th we welcomed  Brian Houghton of Woodmoss Lane Nursery as guest speaker. He spoke to us about the Fuchsias that are his passion. Brian is the North West area representative for the British Fuchsia Society.
Brian gave us an interesting history of the introduction of Fuchsias to the cultivated garden. He followed that up with a practical demonstration of their propogation and discussion of their care. At the end of the meeting there were lots of very nice examples to purchase. ​​​


At the September meeting on the 14th, we welcomed guest speaker Pollyanna Pickering, a renowned wildlife artist, author  and popular speaker. The image below is of her latest book, and she entertained us with a talk entitled "The Company of Wolves". This amusing account of her travels was a particularly entertaining and witty  description of her travels in Transylvania.


At our October meeting on the 12th, Colin Edmondson was our guest speaker, with an illustrated trip down the river Weaver from close to the source, to the confluence with the Mersey near Weston Point.  Colin has been involved with boats for many years, living on and single handed cruising his 60ft narrow boat since 1995. He has written numerous articles for the waterways press and a number of books.

His lively presentation covered a great deal of the history associated with the Weaver, once one of the principal industrial transport routes for coal and the salt for which Cheshire is famous.

The Anderton Boat


At our November meeting on the 9th, we welcomed back Kevin Pratt to talk to us on the subject of "Alpines". Kevin will be familiar to many, as he has a small private nursery at Hazel Grove called "Village Plants". Kevin has been our guest speaker before, and we enjoyed an interesting and informative talk, in his familiar style. 

At our Christmas Party meeting on December 14th, we enjoyed food, fun and  frivolity.  Our guest speaker was Janet Bradshaw who was an historical interpreter at Tatton Park. She gave an illustrated talk portraying some of the history of Tatton since Saxon times using nine characters from different periods through the years. 

Her light hearted session was very well received. She changed her costume to portray the nine characters she used to tell the story of Tatton through the years.