May 2013


May meeting – Graham Procter, Crown Nurseries.
I associate Graham Procter with cold weather. He first came to Kirton on a bitter winter evening for BBC GQT, last May we visited him at Ufford on a very cold night and for our May meeting the cold winds swept around the village hall. No matter, Graham brought along a colourful array of crab apple, Japanese cherry, plum, ribes, rosemary and more, many of which were passed around 48 members for scent testing!
There were many tips for planting, pruning and bug free treatments. Afterwards the obligatory scrum for purchases which left our speaker with few items to transport home to Ufford. Graham’s nursery just down the road, always worth a visit, especially the October apple day.

June visit – Thurs. 13th. June - Woottens of Wenhaston , nursery.
Our busy summer programme kicks off with a visit to the Woottens of Blackheath Road, Wenhaston nursery. We take the A12 north over Darsham railway crossing, a further five miles and a brown tourist sign signals a left turn past the Star pub for Blackheath road. Post code IP19 9HD. Cars from Green 6.00pm or assemble 7.00pm.

The Fete - Sat. 8th. June - Kirton Recreation Ground 12.30pm to 4.00pm.
This is a big day for the two villages and I have been asked to man the gates. This is great fun as you get to meet a lot of jolly people. I can’t do it all myself however so help please , just 1 hour or so would be great. Phone Roy on 448616.

Lode gardens open Sunday 16th. June 2013.

‘Discover the Hidden Gardens of Kirton’
Open Gardens Kirton - Sunday 23rd. June 2013 - 1.00pm to 4.30pm.

The club’s very first open gardens is coming up fast and promises to be a great day for the village. Some 20 gardens, from very small to very large will be opened to the public in aid of local causes. The entry fee, £4 for adults, kids free, includes parking ,and is in aid of Kirton Scouts New Hut fund, teas at the Church Hall will be provided by our Guides and Brownies for their funds. Entry to Fred Last’s Railway garden will be included in the gardens ticket price , but train rides will be supporting St. Elizabeth Hospice funds There will be plants for sale, tombola, icecreams and much more.
Free parking will be on Kirton village green where garden entry tickets/maps can be purchased. Toilets at Church Hall and also the Methodist Church where the gardens will also be open.
Children must be accompanied by an adult and regretfully dogs cannot be admitted.
So come along and support this great village event. Offers of help please, on the day, to Roy on 448616.

Late Summer Outing – Sat. 7th. Sept. 2013 Pensthorpe.
The coach is fully booked but names are being taken on the waiting list (contact Dick 448656).

Tales from the Allotments
Browsing through book shelves ( gardening of course) I picked up ‘ Instructions in Gardening for Ladies’ a reprint of the original 1840 classic gardening book of which I now have a copy courtesy of Amazon. Initially attracted by the title I was curious to find the name of the brave author putting his head above the trenches nearly 200 years ago. However this was not a man risking the wrath of the ladies but the renowned Jane Loudon (1807-1858) who was to Victorian gardening what Mrs. Beeton was to cookery. Gardening at the time was almost a totally male dominated pursuit and Mrs. Loudon , way ahead of her time, wrote a number of books for ladies. Her husband was a botanist and she was determined that ladies could match the men.
The following quote sums up the perception of the times “Jane Loudon took up gardening in the 1830s when it wasn’t an activity that was deemed suitable for women. Digging over flower beds was work for a rough-handed, rope muscled garden worker. Sitting in the shade and making tea was considered taxing enough for a delicate young lady”.
Well, how things have changed, although I would not describe any of our lady plotholders as delicate any more than the men are rope muscled.
But well done Jane Loudon who was also a successful botanical illustrator. The book, published 1830, amazingly sold nearly 200,000 copies.
One lady who is definitely not delicate is the formidable Sarah Raven ( wouldn’t like to meet her in a dark alley). Her latest foray into the D. Telegraph gardening supplement is all about new things to brighten our salads. Not for Ms. Raven boring old leaves , no, the in thing is flower heads, e.g pansies, violas primrose, marigold, roses, nasturtium and dahlias, bugs and all! No wonder the poor chef at Sissinghurst couldn’t work with her.
Talking of Sissinghurst I see Troy Scott Smith has been appointed as the first male head gardener to care for Harold Nicholson and Vita Sackville-West’s famous creation. Sissinghurst is famed for a succession of women gardeners so as first man Troy has some hard acts to follow. I gather Adam Nicholson approves – no mention of wife Sarah. Maybe time for another visit Dick?
As I write the dry spell continues and we passed through dust storms at Brightwell this week. Not good for seed germination, never mind Roselea Express now has a wide selection of plug plants on offer.
So, once again we ‘set aside’ the plots to allow the delicate ladies to rest for the summer when we report on our travels in Euroland.

Roy Mallett 616

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