Saturday, 7 May 2022

đŸŒ· “Its May, open your eyes to the beauty of the world.” ~ Anonymous


Sam Shipman gave us a most interesting talk on three National Trust properties in the York area. Sam, who is Head Gardener at these properties, started his career with work experience in gardening, went on to college, was a landscape gardener in Istanbul and worked for Manchester council. 

The first property, the Treasurer’s House, is in the city, next to the Minster, the second, Goddards, belonged to the Terry familyof chocolate fame and overlooks the racecourse and the third, Beningbrough Hall, is a large stately home.  We learnt about the history of the houses and gardens and were shown old and modern plans and photos. There will be a plant sale at Beningbrough on14th May from 10 am.

Display Tablet

Carl recommended that a good place to plant Trillium is beneath a Magnolia tree.  After seeing it done in US, he found that they multiplied quickly in that spot.

Trillium grandiflorum Quicksilver

Janet’s blossom from the Choisya

Judith’s Hebe Hulkeana

Carol’s  pale pink Rhodohypoxis, yellow Ulvulacacia?, and Melianthus major with an 8ft plume

Next Meeting

PLEASE NOTE that the visit to Bramham Hall is on hold at the moment so the next meeting on 20th May is at Paxton with more details to follow

Monday, 4 April 2022

“If April showers should come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May.” – Buddy de Sylva

Mini Spring Show

Judged by John Freer and Andrew Spence, Secretary of Paxton Horticultural Society who agreed first prizes should go to:

Class 1: One daffodil to Kate with Jetfire

Class 2:  Three daffodils to Norma with Thalia

Class 3:  Three tulips to Margaret H for her yellow tulips

Class 4:  Container of bulbs to Caroline

Class 5:  Pot plant to Kate for her Auricula on the left

Class 6:  Vase of flowering branches to Norma

Class 7:  Dish of flowering heads on the right to Kate


John Freer modelling his hand knitted sweater
The judging was followed by a talk and, as usual, he was both informative and humorous and explained how to increase our chances of winning first prize at a flower show. John brought with him and made texting (fingerless) gloves, knitting being another of his hobbies, with proceeds going to Martin House.  A collection after the talk raised £100 for this charity.

Amongst other tips, he showed us cyclamen he raised from seed, why to peel gladioli bulbs before purchasing and how to get your pelargoniums to flower profusely.

Display Table

Judith’s Bergenia Silberlicht from York Gate

Kate:  Euphorbia Black Pearl, Muscari (armeniacum, latifolium and Valerie Finnis), Ipheion uniflorum Charlotte Bishop and Camellia Simple Rouge

Next Meeting

Friday, April 15th:  Workshop to decorate a hat, basket etc with a Spring/Easter theme.  

Saturday, 19 March 2022

"March, when days are getting long, Let thy growing hours be strong to set right some wintry wrong." - Caroline May


Doug Stewart gave us a hugely entertaining and interesting talk entitled ‘The Way we Were’.  Doug, who has been involved with gardening all his life, trained as a gardener, has been a lecturer, an expert in the development of tomatoes and cucumbers and is now a horticultural consultant.  Doug is presently writing a book on sustainability.

His talk examined how gardeners were trained in the past, gardening trends and the products and tools they used.  We may ridicule some of the methods and harmful products used by earlier generations but realise that, in years to come, some of our own practices may be considered questionable.

Display Table

Ann’s pot of Gypsy Girl crocuses and daffodils Tiny Bubbles

Katherine’s hardy Pinellia pedatisecta, Chinese Green Dragon

Trevor’s Iris Reticulata

Gill J’s spring posy:  TĂȘte-Ă -tĂȘte and Jet fire daffodils, Camellia, Anemone blanda, Hellebores, Pulmoneria, Heather, Arabis and Wallflowers
Amanda’s beautiful Hellebores, Iris and Daphne

Kate’s Pachyphragma macrophllum, Anemone blanda, Narcissus ‘TĂȘte-Ă -tĂȘte’, Pulmoneria ‘Blue Ensign’Ipheion ‘Alberto Castillo’

 Chaenomeles x superba ‘Crimson and Gold’, Camelia ‘Silver Wedding’. Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ which translates as Flight of the Butterflies

Next Meeting:
  1st April – Friday Forum Spring Show

Saturday, 5 March 2022

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” ― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina


Tracy Foster’s presentation, From Eden to Titchmarsh and Beyond. (A brief history of gardening), was up to her usual excellent standard.  She talked us through the fashions in gardens from those first recorded in Egypt right up to the present day.  Who knew that the incinerator in Leeds is a wonderful example of vertical planting which you can visit! What goes on inside Leeds’ vertical garden and the tallest 'living wall' - Leeds Live (

A really interesting, informative and entertaining talk.


Display Table

Gill’s container:  Primroses including PrimleyPink, Daffy Rip van Winkle, Pulmonaria, Omphalodes verna, Leucojum vernum

Ann brought  Hamamelis 'Aphrodite, Iris unguicularis, Iris reticulata, Galanthus nivalis, Frp and S.Arnott, Crocus tommasinianus, Olsynium douglasii, Hepatica nobilis, Allium triquetrum, Cyclamen coum, Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry Splash’, Helleborus: atrorubens, Ashwood, Yellow, Leucojum vernum and Geranium ‘Spring Fling’ with its decorative leaves

Judith’s hellebores – silver dollar and stenii

Kate brought Viburnum bodnatense Dawn, Skimmia x confusa Kew Green, Ribes sanguineum White Icicle, Helleborus x hybridus SP Sophie and Edgeworthia chrysantha Grandiflora, which was February’s flower of the month Plant of the Month: February 2022 | Hardy Plant Society (

Next Meeting

Next meeting will be on March 18th when there will be a presentation by Doug Stewart ‘The Way we Were’



Saturday, 8 January 2022

New Year, new plans for the garden


It’s a new year but sometimes it seems like more of the same as our Friday Forum meetings have been suspended for January.

While we are waiting for our gardens to wake up and the weather to warm up, we can plan the changes and improvements to be made in 2022.

Norma has already made a start with this cheerful, welcoming display:

Display of plants at Norma's front door including the chubby robin, a Christmas gift

Our preferences and needs are very different and our gardens reflect this but, if you are considering some modifications or transformations, check out other gardening blogs:

Garden trends of 2022: bold colour and red-fleshed fruit - MandyCanUDigIt

What should you do with your garden in 2022? This year's gardening trends (

Garden Ninja: Lee Burkhill Garden Design - Manchester, Liverpool, Southport & Cheshire Garden Design Specialists

What plans do you have for 2022?


Saturday, 4 December 2021

Fabulous Festive Flower Arrangements

What a scene met our eyes on Friday!  We saw beautiful displays on a long table decorated with lights and candles courtesy of Judith, Norma, Margaret M and Gill E who gave us useful tips and tricks.  Members were then encouraged to try their hand at flower arranging with remarkable results.

Fresh greenery and red roses with artificial amaryllis and lisianthus
This pot was topped off with dried kidney beans sprayed gold

Pot a fleur
A long tray, cocktail sticks stuck to candles and secured into oasis were used for this arrangement 

Fresh greenery with artificial Poinsettias with gold wire twisted around

Asymmetrical triangle with fruit arranged in a plant pot

A candle in a base of greenery topped with cranberries with an elegant arrangement using gypsophila a glass candle and foliage sprayed with artificial snow 

This is arranged on a cake tray

Margaret’s basket

Gill makes four wreaths for her family using different bases such as willow frames and sprayed ivy berries

..... and then it was our turn

Next Meeting on 17th December will be our Christmas “do” so you are requested to dress appropriately.