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Reports of the 2015 Talks

9th December 2015

AGM and member's slides                        

The AGM and an excellent buffet organised by Christine Foster and Rosalie Lee were followed by member’s slides.
Robert Rolfe talked about a few special plants he had noticed in his tour of some private gardens he had visited during the past summer. Ian Sutton talked about Cesar Manrique’s Cactus garden on Lanzarote, in particular members of the very diverse genus Euphorbia. Alan Filmer talked about Cyclamen hederifolium and confusum in cultivation and on the Aegean islands.

11th November 2015

Martin Rodgerson


Martin, a member of the Derby and Nottingham Groups and an AGS Show secretary is well known for his Lewisias and his garden in Derbyshire. This lies in a narrow steep sided shady valley, very different from the natural habitat for Lewisias which is under the big skies and sunshine of the North American Rockies and Sierras, buried by snow for at least 6 months of the year.
Because of this overhead  protection is essential. Martin grows his plants in pots in a glasshouse and within “Access” frames. The genus was first collected and named after Meriwether Lewis the co leader of the Lewis and Clarke expedition to find an overland route from the Mississippi to the Pacific ocean. Clarkia was similarly named for Clark.
Martin illustrated the 20 species and indicated their relative rarity both in the wild and in cultivation.
Happily some of the showiest are the easiest to grow. L. tweedyi is the only species that will not hybridise and the showiest. Almost as striking is L. rediviva. This commonest in cultivation is L. cotyledon which readily hybridizes and occurs in many striking colour forms. This leads to difficulties for judges at shows. Apart from a wariness of some judges of the more lurid colours there is the question of hybrids.
Martin gave many tips about cultivation: easy from seed outside in the winter in sandy soil; cuttings take well; don’t water after June; repot in September removing all dead or dying material. References
AGS magazine September 1988 page 233.


9th September 2015

Peter Foley

The making of Plantsman's Garden 

After many years running Holden Clough Nurseries in 2009 Peter passed the task on to his son to devote himself to making a Plantsman’s Garden at his new home. We were shown a year by year account of this project taking place on a substantial site. Peter has however not let up on his propagating skills and there were many tips about this pertaining to rare plants. The garden was sculpted out of a grass surface and consisted of many island beds. Each dedicated to a family member and reflecting their character or interests. The short time required for many of the plantings to reach a very showy maturity was striking.
Like all gardens it will never be “finished” but Peter now has a new project occupying part of his time. This is the recreation, with others, of Reginald Farrer’s Garden at Clapham and this was briefly described.
An interesting and very informative talk to start the new season.

13th May 2015

Kevin Pratt

Poppies, Fritillaries and Gesneriads

Kevin regards his small garden crammed with 10,000 plants as his study to learn more about plants that fascinate him. He talked about and illustrated the many genera in the Papaveraceae. Family. Including Papaver, Argemone, Hylomecon., Platystemon, Eomecon, Hunnemannia Meconopsis, Sanguinaria and described  his attempts of hybridization.
He grows his fritillaries mainly outside and his favourite is meleargris. He recommended not to buy bulbs in autumn, not to plant in too wet a situation and to be aware of lily beetles.
The Gesneriads include Saintpaulia, Gloxinias, Ramonda, Streptocarpus and Petrocosmia. Again growing tips were given from his own experience and studies. A most interesting talk about a fascinating group of plants.

8th April 2015

Show and Tell Evening

In excess of 70 splendid specimens of plants where brought by seven members. These made a marvellous show display. Because this is a non competitive show, members are able to bring not only magnificent show specimens but also unusual rare plants not normally seen on the show bench.
David Charlton brought an impressive display of ten draba derived from  crosses between plants from Northern Spain and those from Turkey and the Caucuses. A growing tip was to give fertilizer low in N after flowering. Robert Rolfe brought some magnificent Primula allionii hybrids and some gaudy primula hybrids named after Ray Woodliffe. By coincidence Alwyn Foster talked about Ray Woodliffe and a dwarf  conifer that he had been given by Ray. Peter Taggart brought large number of unusual bulbs. Ray Cobb talked about some scilla seedlings that had inspired the botanical artist. Barbara Shaw. He also showed some very colourful but dark leaved hybrid primroses. Ray explained that the dark leaves came from a single wild plant found in Ireland that was introduced into a breeding programme. This most interesting evening was then capped by a buffet of food bought by members. Ian Sutton gave a vote of thanks.

11th March 2015

Cliff Booker

Some outstanding gardens at home an away.

Cliff selected 16 diverse gardens, said a little about each and highlighted their strengths and a few outstanding plants. They included amongst others
Dunedin Botanic Garden New Zealand
Paradisio National park garden and surroundings Italy.
A Chinese and a Japanese garden in Vancouver Canada
Buchant Gardens, The Netherlands
Minorca cactus gardens
John Dowers miniature gardens, seen at many shows
Hudson Valley Gardens USA
Golden Gate Park Japanese tea gardens USA
AGS Garden Pershore
The Alhambra Granada Spain
Mendocino Coast Botanic Garden California

11th February 2015

Don Witton

My favurite plants and favourite time of the year

The return of Don Witton saw him talk about his favourite plants and favourite time of the year.
This turned out to be March to June 20th. Don is a holder of a national Collection of Euphorbias and he followed the calendar twice, firstly with his favourite plants and then with Euphorbias.
Many early plants are woodland dwellers and don’t mind shade as they complete much of their cycle before the canopy closes. Euphorbias however require full sun and good drainage. The sap is an irritant and great care must be exercised when handling them, particularly ensuring that one’s hands don’t touch more sensitive areas of skin or eyes. Euphorbias are a very diverse family of plants existing not only as garden plants and weeds but mimicking cactus and trees in hot dry parts of the Old world. Don’s plant list follows. Plants were for sale and the talk both humorous and informative.

Helleborus x hybridus                                                                       Euphorbia candelabrum 
Valeriana phu Aurea                                                                         E. myrsinites
Pulmonaria Cotton Cool                                                                   E. redwing
P. rubra, P. Dora Bielefeld Blue Ensign P.Sissinghurst White
P. Guinevere
Ranunculus ficaria Brazen Hussy

Dicentra spectabilis Gold Heart                                                        E. x martini
D.Langtrees                                                                                      E. cyparissias Clarice Howard
D.Bacchanal                                                                                     E. EmmerGreen
CorydalisTory  MP
Epimedium x perralchicum Frohnleiten
E.X rubrum
Trillium kurabayashii

Dororicum  paradalianches                                                              E. polychroma 
Brunnera macrophylla B. Langford Hewitt                                       E. palustris
B. Dawson’s White                                                                           E. griffithii Fireglow
Geum rivale G.Flames of Passion                                                   E. mellifera
G. Farmer John Cross
Persicana bistorta Superba
Polemonium Lambrook Mauve
Veronica gentianoides V. Tissington White
Thermopsis lupinoides

Lupinus Little Eugenie                                                                     E. donii
Aqilegia Crimson Star
Geranium Patricia
Campanula gromalata Caroline
Iris siberica Silver Edge
Paeonia lactiflora Festiva Maxima
Papaver orientale Forncett Summer
Mecanopsis grandis
Astrantia majorBuck1and
Tradescantia Purple Dome
Gillenia trifoliata



15th January 2015

Chairman's Evening Sue Miles and Ian Sutton

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Ian explained that there are 40 or so “hot spots” around the world which are due to mantle plumes of very hot magma rising from very deep within the earth. These break though the upper mantle and crust to create volcanic activity. Most are situated under oceans, Hawaii and Reunion are well known examples. Because the continental plates are continually moving, it is possible for a plate to move over a plume originally under the ocean. This is the case for Yellowstone and the track of the SW movement of the North American Plate can be seen north eastward across Idaho to Yellowstone. The first major eruption occurred around 2 million years ago followed by a second smaller eruption 0.6 million years ago. Even this was many times larger than any eruption seen in historical times. The result was a huge caldera 40 miles by 20miles. The caldera was later filled with lava and forms the centre of Yellowstone National Park which now appears as a plateau at about 7000 feet elevation. Volcanic activity continues in the form of geysers which are due to rainwater running through cracks in the rocks down to very hot rocks below. A variety of plumbing configurations result in the great variety of geyser actions illustrated. Study of gravity data  shows that although hot magma exists beneath the Park another large eruption is unlikely in the foreseeable future. All this volcanic activity coupled with ice age glaciers has produced a wide range of soil types for plants. The most striking however are those growing in extreme conditions on the sinter which is largely silica ejected by the geysers. Because of the extreme conditions many genera are represented by a single species in the Park.

                                           Gentiana calycosa    Sue Miles  
Plant growth is restricted to a very short growing season.
There is snow cover for at least 8 months of the year and a blizzard can occur at anytime even in midsummer. Browsing moose, elk and bison were shown which limit the flora. Not withstanding this Sue showed a wide range of interesting and showy plants that were flowering at the time of their visit. Many of which are found  in few other places.
Erigeron, Phlox, Delphinium, Gilla, Oenothera, Lupinus, Geranium, Phacelia, Amelanchiea Balsmorhiza, Mentzelia, Potentilla, , Mimulus, Dodecatheon, Castilleja, Spiranthes, Gentiana calycosa, Fritilaria pudica,, the last two illustrated and many more.



               Fritillaria pudica

               Sue Miles

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