Lecture Reports 2022

11th January 2022

Flowering Shrubs in July and August – George Lockwood

George, a new speaker for the Society and an experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardener, gave a very colourful presentation of many beautiful shrubs that flower in the summer. This certainly brightened a gloomy January evening. Some of George’s tips: plant fennel and marjoram to attract insects, spray garlic water for slugs and snails, plant chives around roses and cut down rather than dig up Spanish bluebells. He emphasised the importance of watering in the morning rather than the evening as the birds would be around during the day to help control pests. It is important to water the soil and not spray the plants as this could dislodge the eggs of useful insects.

8th March 2022

Miss Jekyll’s Gardening Boots – Russell Bowes

What an entertaining, informative and amusing evening you may have missed! Russell gave an insight into the lives and gardens of several famous gardeners, most of whom have passed on. Particularly of interest was Ellen Willmott who inherited large sums of money, bought and developed Warley Place but eventually became obsessed and penniless. His talk also included Monty Don and told us many things about Monty, that may not be widely known, and how he has progressed from bankruptcy and depression to an active and knowledgeable gardener who entertains us on our screens. Russell finished his talk with tales and photos of his own garden renovations – familiar sights and stories to many of us who have developed gardens from scratch.

12th April 2022

This evening’s lecture by Neil Miller from Hever Castle had to be cancelled as the speaker was unwell. So Plan B came into operation!

We ran a gardening quiz (not competitive) for our members which was very much enjoyed by those present. This was followed by our usual tea break and then we showed three videos of Hever Castle gardens. All together an enjoyable evening after the initial disappointment.

10th May 2022

The Dry Garden at RHS Hyde Hall - Ian Bull

In addition to our plant sale this evening, which was very popular, we had a talk from Ian Bull, one of the Garden Managers at RHS Hyde Hall. Ian’s talk started with a look at Beth Chatto’s garden and how she prepared for the different soil and weather conditions. Ian then took us through the Dry Garden at Hyde Hall from its inception in 2000/1 when the ground started with builders rubble, topped up by large rocks and soil. Paths were laid out and planted and the garden extended and maintained. A list of plants suitable for dry gardens was supplied by Ian.

14th June 2022

Pelargoniums - Brian Carline

Brian came loaded up with many different pelargoniums, and a few fuchsias, to explain the differences. These varied from a 3” miniature to a large variety he had grown as a semi-standard. These plants are generally not frost-hardy, although a few of us have managed to keep them protected close to the house over winter. He also explained how to take cuttings (removing most leaves and any flowers) and using personally mixed compost of 3 parts (Erin or Clover compost), half part grit, half part sharp sand and some perlite. Watered from underneath, don’t cover and keep in the greenhouse. He also recommended Chempak and Maxicrop fertilisers and Provado for whitefly. A very entertaining and informative evening.

11th October 2022

Upminster Windmill and its Gardens – Paul Sainsbury

Initially involved as an archaeologist on the excavation of the site, Paul began by describing the development and use of the area around the mill. A series of photographs of the windmill showed dramatically how close it came to collapse, but thankfully it has been restored and is now on track for re-opening in 2023. Paul took on the role of head gardener and now oversees a team of 8 volunteers, who have year-on-year improved and added to the garden. Beginning in 2016 with 200 native hedging plants donated by Paul, the garden now includes a recycled brick path and pergola, a memorial garden, compost bins, a small orchard, wildlife area, and water feature.

8th November 2022

Havering’s Horticultural Heritage – Lois Amos

From the Ice Age to current day, Lois outlined the development of horticulture in Havering. Initially from farming to support the growth of London, through the orchards and gardens surrounding important houses and the growth of small local nurseries and seed companies. Lois recalled Humphrey Repton and William Coys, the latter establishing the walled garden at Stubbers. Many of us will remember Webbs Garden Supplies which opened in Elm Park in 1960 and closed recently and were reminded of the “garden” connection with local sites such as the Cherry Tree, Mercury Gardens, etc. Many of our public parks (33 of which 16 are green flag) are now supported by friends groups and need to be maintained, despite the fact that councils don’t have a statutory obligation to do so. Havering, behind Richmond, is the second greenest London borough.

13th December 2022

Growing Vegetables – Mike Jervis

Unfortunately this lecture was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. We have booked Mike again for January 2024.