December 2015 + January 2016

KIRTON AND FALKENHAM GARDENERS CLUB

Next meeting
Thurs. 11th. February 7.30pm Village Hall
‘ Malmaison and Perpetual Carnations – Jim Marshall.

January meeting- Dr Ian Bedford – Garden Bugs
Ian started by telling us that as a small boy he had a hoby of going out in the fields around his home, studying and collecting bugs. He was then fortunate enough to train as an entomologist and has worked at The John Innes Centre in Norwich for the past 37 years. It sounded like, what he doesn’t know about bugs, isn’t worth knowing, and he had our members hanging on every word in the hope of controlling the nasties in our gardens. Many new bugs are coming over to the uk, sometimes hidden in food being imported from other countries, which gives Ian plenty of new challenges in understanding their life cycles and finding their Achilles heals. Not all bugs are bad of course and he showed us examples of some of the good guys which help us in the garden. One of the problematic creatures at the moment is the Spanish Slug, which loves our climate and is making itself very much at home here. He showed us a photograph these slugs in his garden – there was an horrendous amount of them! - which tend to be very large and extremely slimy, and said that the best way to get rid of them is to go out and collect them at night and put them in a bucket of water with soap in it, then, when they are dead to bury them several inches down in the soil. It was a very informative evening, which was enjoyed by many of our members who had been brave enough to venture out on a very wintery evening.

Christmas Party – Tom Hart Dyke – ‘Plant Hunter with Passion’
That THD has a passion for plants was self evident from the moment he breezed into the church hall, - a larger than life character with smile to match, every plant slide, every anecdote, the passion was there. Tom and friend Paul, as young backpackers, were kidnapped by Darien Gap guerrillas on the Colombian border and held hostage for nine horrendous months before being freed and still Tom travels to South America in his relentless search for rare and unusual plants.
The family home is Lullingstone Castle, Kent (in the family since 15th. century) set in 120 acres and site of Tom’s World Garden of Plants and we hope to visit in the future and again meet up with this charismatic plantsman.
Tom entered into the party spirit by first fielding questions from the audience and then happily chatting to members whilst book signing and enjoying refreshments.
85 members and guests enjoyed a special evening and I have since received a very positive feedback following Tom’s visit. Thanks to Jenny for finding this gem.
Some thanks are due to Jenny and Hester for the seasonal punch, Jo and Alma for organising the eats and to everybody who contributed food items and draw prizes, Debbie and friends masterminded the draw which raised a record £211 for club funds. Thanks to Ray and Ralph and all who helped with setting up and clearing the hall.

February meeting
For our February meeting we welcome a new speaker to the club, Jim Marshall, talking on ‘ Malmaison and Perpetual Carnations ‘.
If you have not already renewed your membership for 2016 , bring along £8 and get your new membership card with details of all meetings and visits for 2016 plus our annual garden party and summer outing.

Annual General Meeting – Thurs. 10th. March
Our AGM follows an illustrated talk by Jeremy Pratt entitled ‘ Poets and Lizards ‘ (Narcissus & Orchids ), 7.30pm in the Village Hall.
There will be a report on the club’s activities for 2015 and the club’s audited accounts will be presented.
We have to elect chairman, secretary, treasurer and auditor for the new financial year and committee members Ray, Debbie and Jenny stand down after three years . Ralph would like a rest from setting up the hall for meetings so , one way or another, a bit of nominating to be done!

U3A
I was at the November meeting in the church hall when Jim Buttress was talking on his years in charge of the London parks and royal gardens. Jim , of course, is a highly respected chief judge for the RHS and also featured in the BBC’s television programme, The Big Allotment Challenge. Jim is a man of vast experience and a great character, he arrived early and we were able to have good chat about all things gardening and the TV series – very enlightening. Jim’s talk on the night was first class and we are hoping to book him for the club at some future date.

Tales from the Allotments
The Christmas period ( it seems to get longer each year) is a strange time of the year particularly when writing notes for the Review. Because of the long holiday period, and my own holidays, and the fact that no separate Review was published for January I find myself typing notes for the February edition in mid December! For weeks now the weather has been mild, and I have just seen the early evening news with the weather man forecasting record high temps – 16degrees . By the time these notes are read it may well be freezing which may cause problems as plants and fruit bushes are showing green shoots and I have daffodils in bud! Of course, a few inches of snow will slow things down. Anyhow best wishes to you all for 2016.

Roy Mallett 616