Events Past

Reports of previous HPS Norfolk and Suffolk Group events, as told by our members.

Indoor Meeting: Talk by Tom Hoblyn "Planting in a Drier Climate"

Written by Ian Fearn. Posted in Events Past

Planting in a Drier Climate – Tom Hoblyn – 9th November 2019

Tom is a garden designer who trained at the RBG Kew whose keen interest in the natural environment has been a major influence on the gardens he creates. Tom explained that parts of the UK, notably south-east England and East Anglia, are heading towards a more Mediterranean climate. By 2050, southeast UK average temperatures are expected to be 1.5oC to 3oC warmer. Frequency of warm days and warm nights will increase whilst frequency of cold days and nights will decrease. The duration and intensity of warm spells and heat waves will increase. Precipitation will increase in frequency and intensity, leaching nitrates from the soil. Even now Cambridge with an average 563mm of rainfall per annum is the driest city north of the Pyrenees. Gardeners will need to adapt to the changing conditions. In East Anglia for example, you may need to have an alternative to grass lawn. Achilleas are great lawn alternatives, with the added advantage that they are allelopathic which means they release biochemicals which inhibit the germination of weed seeds.

Tom said that one of the benefits of a Mediterranean climate is that 10% of the world’s flora grow in Mediterranean zones, so there is a huge range of plants for the gardener to explore, eg large shrubs such as Myrtus, Pistacia and Phillyerea.

Tom’s talk was very thought-provoking and shows how gardeners will increasingly need to think like ecologists, thinking about the conditions and what plants have adapted to exist in those conditions.

Ian Fearn

Indoor Meeting: Talk by Guy Barker "Snowdrops and Winter Garden Treasures"

Written by Peter Lyle. Posted in Events Past

Snowdrops and Winter Garden Treasures. Talk with living material by Guy Barker aka The Naked Gardener

The first talk of 2020 by Guy Barker was amazingly perfumed and illustrated with some slides, but mostly living material from scented shrubs. 

However, his talk started with his love (or maybe obsession!) with snowdrops which started when he was a boy when his mother took him to Shropham Vicarage where six acres of the West Harling snowdrops were in flower. He was hooked!!

He had 20 or 30 different snowdrops to show us, some of which had been bought at great expense, and occasionally with money which should have paid his rent! We do funny things for love! Among the many snowdrops he had brought were several of his own. One of these was Galanthus ‘Greenfinch’ which has dark green inner part and green petal tips. He also showed us G. ‘Godfrey Owen’ with a dainty full shape and six petals which I found very pretty. One of his own snowdrops he seemed particularly pleased with was G. ‘Atropos’ which clearly has the shape of scissors on the spathe. Atropos is the name of the Fate who cuts the Thread of Life hence the name. It became obvious that he spends most of his pocket money on snowdrops!!

Following on from the snowdrops came the scented plants most of which he had samples. I could write a list of what we were shown but it became obvious that Group members were familiar with most of them and even with my limited knowledge of plants (compared with the rest of the Group!) they seemed familiar, Mahonia, Chimonanthus, Rubus, Hamamelis, Daphne, Sarcococca, Rosmarinus and Viburnum to mention only a few. 

Two shrubs were unknown to me, but I would certainly like to have Abeliophyllum distichum (white forsythia) and Edgeworthia chrysantha (paper bush). Guy mentioned having the ‘Roseum’ form of the Abeliophyllum which has a pinker tinge to it, and members mentioned the ‘Grandiflora’ form of the Edgeworthia, as well as ‘Rubra’ and ‘Red Dragon’. The perfume in the Hall was to die for! It was an enthusiastic presentation from an enthusiastic gardener!