Biggleswade and District Gardening Club

PUBLISHED: 17:48 07 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:25 06 May 2010

Was fortunate to have as its speaker in June Mrs Judy Harry a very active member of the Hardy Plant Society who has fairly recently served three years as Chairman of the National Society. Her subject Good Plants for Hard Times was put together following q

Was fortunate to have as its speaker in June Mrs Judy Harry a very active member of the Hardy Plant Society who has fairly recently served three years as Chairman of the National Society. Her subject Good Plants for Hard Times was put together following questions which she had been asked at various talks, also bearing in mind the threat of climate change. By hard times, we would think of such problems as too little rain, wind, higher temperatures and the challenges which are always with us, such as dry shade. It is interesting to see how public gardens cope with dry, dark shade owing to trees and hedges, ivy can look very beautiful and autumn cyclamen does well in these conditions. Before trees grow their leaves in the spring bulbs come into their own and scillas and narcissi brighten up any dull corner. One of the most successful plantings Judy had seen for a grove of birch trees with ferns growing beneath. The best book for these situations is The Shade Garden by Beth Chatto, the plants recommended are not spectacular but add a splash of brightness where you would not expect it, such as white honesty, Solomon's Seal and some of the hardy geraniums. Then there are tough ones who can stand up to competition and car exhausts perhaps, such as lady's mantle, teasels or cow parsley which can look elegant in the right place. Prairie plantings has been popular for a few years now - again, not everyone's choice, but useful where low maintenance is needed and includes asters, golden rod or the bigger grasses. If you have a large garden and cannot cope with all of it, then let it go. We are currently worried about drought but some plants seem quite unworried, you can grow a bronze carex in a container and forget about watering it and ice-pants and sedums are good for insects yet relish the sun. Judy's final word of advice was not to despise our common plants, they can put up a lovely display and be much less trouble than their more exotic friends. The monthly competition was for a rose and was won by Kate Dilley, Mrs Wilson was second and Pam Nutall third. The next meeting is at Stratton School on Wednesday, July 19 at 7.30pm when Norman Lincoln speaks on Preparing for Showing, how to make the most of your exhibits.


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