Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Sex Lives of Plants

We heard that the first butterfly and ladybird had been spotted, so Spring must be on its way!

The sex lives of plants
This week, a fascinating and amusing illustrated talk was given by Ben Emmott, entomologist, agricultural problem solver and beekeeper.

Ben explained how plants evolved over millions of years by cell division when under water resulting in the production of an identical plant.   Later, when plants grew on land, seeds and pollen moved about via wind, birds or insects giving us plants with different characteristics.  This presented a new set of problems; how the male finds the female.  It turns out that plants are not so different from us and plants may make themselves attractive by their colour, taste, scent, even providing nectar guides and easy access! 
We learnt about the unique symbiotic reproductive method of the Yucca with a certain moth and how some flowers open in the evening for the nocturnal insects.

At one of Ben’s talks, a member of the audience remarked that most plants had a better sex life than she did!

Display Table and Forum
There were certainly signs of spring of the display table.

 This painting by the talented Margaret L.L. is of a hellebore she grows in the garden

 Mary brought in her Aeonium in flower, and not for the first time.  The plant is kept outside in Summer and brought into a porch for the Winter

 Dorothy's Iris Pauline has lovely markings.  Gill displayed a jar of snowdrops of different varieties.  Certain snowdrops are going for really high prices; apparently S. Arnott are selling for £5.00 per bulb, so it may be worth investing in them!  Ann's stunning Jacobinia was rescued from "death row" at a local nursery. 
Notice Board
The Paxton Open Spring Show will take place on 5th April and Friday Forum’s mini show will be the day before.  Pick up a leaflet or look on Paxton’s main site.
For our yellow flower display to celebrate the Tour de France in July, there are seeds available for members to sow and grow   For more ideas of yellow flowers see 
We are seeking creative ideas on how to display our yellow blooms in front of Paxton Hall. 
Paxton Plant Market is on Saturday 31st May.   Please consider planting and growing on for the sales table and, if you can help on the day from 10 am, this would be appreciated.
Dates for your diary
Next meeting:  On 7th March there is a talk by Ian Richardson on Spring and Autumn in Japan.
Friends of Paxton are meeting Monday 3rd March from Midday.  An hour or two or your time to help maintain the premises are always welcome.  If another date is more suitable for you, please let us know.  In June, there will be a Dig In at Paxton Garden; date TBA.
Friday Forum meetings are 1.30pm on 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month at Paxton Hall, Paxton Horticultural Society, 186 Kirkstall Lane, Leeds LS5 2AB.   Meetings may be hands-on sessions, guest speakers or garden visits. Regular features are the Display Table where members can bring their plants for discussion and advice and the Sales Table where members sell their plants, cuttings and produce to help the club funds.  For further information log on to

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