Lecture Reports 2024

January 2024

Our lecture on vegetables had to be cancelled at short notice as the speaker was unable to attend. The evening started with our AGM and then we had a quiz for the second part of the programme. Attendance was unusually poor which could have been attributed to the bitterly cold weather. Those who did attend seemed to enjoy the quiz – it was non-competitive and we all learned something!

12th March: Great Gardens of Great Britain  -  Andrew Babicz

Andrew Babicz, a new speaker for the Society, kept us well entertained with beautiful photographs of some of his recommended gardens and also with anecdotes and stories of his extensive gardening career, much of which was in Scotland. He highlighted many well-known gardens and mentioned that the grove of silver birch trees in the winter garden at Anglesey Abbey are cleaned with a pressure washer! Visiting gardens included, of course, a tea room and Andrew noted that he found it useful to come away with ideas to adopt in our own gardens. He cited Barnsdale which had many small gardens rather than a grand landscape.

9th April:  Some Like it Hot - Annie Godfrey

Annie Godfrey, Chelsea Gold Medal Winner, set up her own nursery (Daisy Roots) in 1999 in Hertford. They specialise in hardy perennials especially those that cope with hot dry weather. Annie brought a beautiful selection of plants along for sale and in her talk mentioned various ways in which plants cope with drought. Silver/grey leaves, oily leaves, waxy leaves, low growing plants, bulbs, etc. All prefer well drained soil, so add grit or plant on a mound. Useful tip for deadheading alstromeria – don’t cut but pull the old stem low down to remove.

14th May:  Exploring Traditional Wild Flower Names - Twigs Way

Twigs Way entertained our audience with many tales of historic wild flower names, some with sexual connotations. She explained that there were four themes for naming plants in years gone by: what they look like, what they are used for, the timing of flowering and where they grow. Some examples: cow parsley (fed to cattle), coltsfoot (large leaf, used for cough medicine), pinks (named for pinked edges to flower not for colour) and ‘wort’ (often medicinal such as lungwort). Some were given human names and there were also several references to Shakespeare plays. An evening with a difference!