Saturday, 22 February 2020

Design Tips for Small Gardens – Mary Swan

Presentation:  Design Tips for Small Gardens by Mary Swan

Mary, who is a garden designer and lecturer in horticulture, gave us a workshop on garden design using illustrations from courtyards in Marrakech to our local York Gate garden in Adel.  We learnt key design tips including landscaping, texture and colour.  We then had to undertake an exercise in teams which involved putting the theory into practice, which proved quite difficult.

We spent an enjoyable and informative afternoon and will look at our gardens through new eyes.

We have the opportunity to visit Mary’s own garden later in the year.

Mary also gives workshops locally. 

Display Table
 Kate’s Crinodendron Alf Robbins which bears white flowers

 Janella’s Cyclamen

 Dorothy’s Crocus chrysanthus Advance
From her garden, Ann’s bouquet includes Galanthus nivalis, Leucojum vernum,  Iris unguicularis, syn. Stylosa, Iris reticulate, Crocus tomassinianus, Narcissus tête-à-tête, Corydalis malkensis, Puschkinia and Hepatica x Ballardia
 Gill’s posy has Hellebore, Brunnera, Cardamine and Sarcococca

 Carol's Spring posy includes Pulmonaria Angustifolia and Sissinghurst White, Bergenia, Viburnum Tinus and Dawn, the attractive Heather Golden Starlet and the still flowering Fuchsia microphylla

Gardening Matters
Janella told us about the Ring-necked parakeet which was feeding in her garden but are mainly found in south-east England.  
Many members agreed that the frogs are now very active in their ponds.

Notice Board

Garden centre trip:  The Fuchsia Society has opened its annual trip on 19th April to non-members.  For the cost of £10, the coach will leave Paxton at 8.30 am stopping at Reighton Nursery, Hunmanby at 10.30, the Piebald Inn
(decide your choice of lunch) and Deans Nurseries returning to Paxton by 5 pm.

If interested, please contact Julie of WY Fuchsia Society on 07736456414

Friday Forum day trip to Southport Flower Show on 21st August: If you or your friends want to book, full details are on the Garden Visits page.

Next Meeting

6th March – Forum on Houseplants. 

Houseplants are quite the trend.  Member Eric will give a talk but please bring in any ailing, thriving, interesting, unnamed houseplants of your own.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

I like gardening — it's a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself. — Alice Sebold

Friday Forum AGM 2020

Judith informed us that this was her 16th Friday Forum Annual General Meeting and last Chairman’s Report for as she is standing down from her post.

Judith was thanked by the members for all her hard work, dedication and for the knowledge and humour she brought to the role.
 Judith being presented with card, voucher and David Austin Rose Rhapsody in Blue

We were reminded how Friday Forum was formed back in the early 1990s and, I think we can agree, still flourishing.

Kate and Janella will step up to the post and members were asked if they could undertake various other roles.  

The AGM was followed by a cryptic quiz, courtesy of James, and a free raffle with garden-related prizes.

Display Table

 Margaret H’s 6 x petal snowdrop Godfrey Owen

Margaret’s kokedama.  This lovely word that trips off the tongue The art of Kokedama literally translates from “koke” meaning moss and “dama” meaning ball.   What is Kokedama? It is a form of Japanese garden art that is centuries old and tied into the practice of bonsai.   from the sphere. Kokedama is the practice of taking the root ball of a plant and suspending it in a mud ball, which is then coated with soft green moss. It is a living planter as well as a distinctive display piece. They may be fixed to a piece of driftwood or bark, suspended from a string or nestled in a clear, attractive container to itself.  

If you fancy a try:


Judith’s Begonia Angel Blush with its serrated leaves
 Judith’s Hippeastrum

 Judith’s Euphorbia Frosted Flame
 Kate’s well dispayed Hellebores
Kate’s dark-leaved Ajuga Black Scallop 

Kate’s evergreen Korean Rock Fern Polystichum tsus-simense

 Gill’s vase of foliage which includes the attractive, evergreen fern polystichum Bevis and variegated Fig

Gill’s variegated Dianella which bears blue berries
 Dorothy’s Iris reticulata Joyce and Irish Garden

Jenny’s found this flowering Petasite (Butterbur) with its large, circular leaves in the boggy part of the local park The Hollies  
Jenny’s rather large Eucalyptus gunnii has now flowered

Gardening Matters

Caroline brought the Quiz and Puzzle Book by RHS to our notice, which would make a nice gift (for oneself)

Janella bought these good value bird boxes at Home Bargains and reminded us that they should be installed before Valentine’s Day

Another good idea from Janella to help wildlife is this credit card sized bee saviour card  with three cells of sugar solution which will fit neatly in your wallet, purse or pocket so that you can revive an exhausted bee when out and about.

Notice Board

Reminder – reserve your place on our Friday Forum day trip to Southport Flower Show.  See our Visits 2020 page for more details.

Next Meeting

21st February:  A presentation by Mary Swan “Design Tips for Small Gardens”

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Colombia - Biodiversity Hotspot

Presentation:  Colombia – Biodiversity Hotspot by Barbara and Peter Murphy

Once again, Peter gave us a fascinating talk, this time on their trip to Colombia, with beautiful photos taken by Barbara.

We were able to experience some of the plants, trees, insects, birds, reptiles and mammals which exist on the huge conservation areas in the cloud forests.  There are 3,800 species of butterflies, stunning orchids (the national flower of Colombia is the orchid Cattleya trianae) and exotic birds.  
 Humming bird

Display Table
Ann’s Hamamelis brightens up the room 

 Carol’s container:  Garrya Elliptica, Hamamelis Arnold Promise, the fragrant Sarcococca and Daphne Jacqueline Postill, Grevillea rosmarinifolia Jenkinsii and a Hellebore bud

Judith’s display demonstrates how to add a touch of seasonal colour by placing a few pots in an attractive basket or container.  The pots can easily be changed as the season progresses

From her garden, Gill brought Winter Aconite, Jamaican Primrose, Geranium Spring Fling, Sarcococca, Ipheion Wisley Blue, Veronica, Primrose and Snowdrops 

Norma brought 100% recyclable pots from Moorland Nurseries near Knaresborough (which also has a good café)

Gardening Matters

This year is the International Year of Plant Health.

Notice Board

Janella can now confirm our annual day trip to Southport Flower Show on Friday, 21st August.  The cost is £30, which includes entrance to the show.  Cash or cheque to Friday Forum to secure your place.  See more details on Garden Visits 2020 page on this blog.

Next Meeting

7th February:  Friday Forum AGM plus free raffle and quiz

Saturday, 4 January 2020

New Year Forum: "The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31." - Marie Huston


On the first Friday Forum of 2020, which sounds more like something from science fiction, members recounted their early memories of gardening and gardens.

Carl entertained with his experiences of using basic gardening tools and learning basic skills of dry stone walling at an early age.

Janella told us about her childhood in Norfolk and Suffolk and how her love of wildlife began at an early age.

Judith talked about achieving high marks with an essay she submitted at college about gardening, a subject in which she was well versed, but a feat not to be repeated.

We heard from Kate about her gardening experiences when she lived in America and how, when she returned to England and moved into a brand new house, the garden was solid clay.  This same garden in a Gold medal winner and has starred on national television.

Another Gold medal winner, Carol, also found her garden was full of rocks and Linda recalled how her father would plant out the borders in regimented colours.  Trevor was brought up in a house with four lawns, which was nearly called Forelorns and Sue G told us of the garden in the various Manses in which she has lived.  Jenny remembers climbing up to harvest plums, making mud pies and how the 6th form privilege of gardening fostered her interest.   Members often mentioned how they came to join Friday Forum and Hardy Plants and Gill’s fascination came from seeing a pot of previously unknown flowers on the Hardy Plants stand at the Harrogate Show.

Display Table
Judith’s cheery pot of supermarket early daffs 
 Gill’s posy of snowdrops, aconites, hellebore and geranium leaf of Spring Fling

 Some of us are looking for new ideas from seed catalogues

Gardening Matters

Here are a couple of links to gardening trends for 2020.

Next Meeting

17th January:  A presentation by Peter and Barbara Murphy entitled Columbia – Biodiversity Hotspot

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Six on Saturday

Ann, one of the members of our gardening group, brought a pot containing seven types of Christmas berries, so pick your six.

Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus Aculeatus) which got its name from the method of cleaning down the wooden blocks they used.  Sarcacocca Confusa with its strong scent and black berries, Hedera Helix (Ivy), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Iris foetidissima, Gaultheria procumbens and Cotoneaster.

The Propagator generously hosts Six on Saturday.  Click on the link to his blog to see what he and his followers are growing and doing in their gardens this week.

Happy holidays all!

Friday Forum Christmas Party 2019

The afternoon kicked off with a gardening joke from Norma: 

Why does Father Christmas have three gardens?  Did you get it?

Margaret M brought some miniature Christmas stockings which she would fill with chocolates and some hearts to hang on a tree:

See the intricate cross stitching

Ann brought a pot containing seven types of Christmas berries:
Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus Aculeatus) which got its name from the method of cleaning down the wooden blocks they used.  Sarcacocca Confusa with its strong scent and black berries, Hedera Helix (Ivy), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Iris foetidissima, Gaultheria procumbens and Cotoneaster

This was followed by James F’s Annual Christmas Quiz.  In groups of three, our task was to identify 27 different types of berries and seeds.

No group scored 27, but James gets full marks for the efforts he went to devising the quiz and arranging the 27 items per table.  It took James a year to devour all the eggs for sufficient boxes and eat lots of fruit and collect the items.  We had great fun identifying the items and learning that the macadamia nuts were named after the Australian chemist John Macadam and that turpentine came from pine nuts.

It wouldn’t be a party without pass the parcel (with forfeits) organised by Janella, a free raffle and mince pies.

Gardening Matters

If you can’t get out in the garden, here’s a podcast to listen to:

Notice Board

Sue G sends her greetings to all from Italy

The full Friday Forum programme for 2020 can be found on the appropriate page.

Next Meeting

3rd January – New Year Forum.  Judith has put out a request for your early garden memories.  This is something she has wanted to do for a long time and it would be good to hear your thoughts and reminiscences.