Shalbourne & District Gardening Club

Join the Gardening Club and make friends while learning new skills

We meet in the village Hall at 7:30pm on the first Tuesday of most months - so why not put it in your diary? You can come on a one-off basis £3 a session for non-members), or join for only £10 a year.

We normally have 10 visiting speakers a year, giving talks, tips and presentations (usually very entertaining and well-illustrated) on a wide variety of topics.

The club holds an annual fund-raising plant sale - usually in late April/early May - to help keep the membership fees as low as possible.

For topical, practical advice, visit the RHS

Chairman Jenni Blake jennikewlogic@aol.com

For reports on previous Garden Club sessions, click here



Saturday, May 5 from 10am to 12.30pm

In the Village Hall


When faced with the massive choice of 80,000 plants, gardeners should always try to purchase “hard-grown” ones.

That was a key piece of advice from The Plant Doctor, Roger Hirons, at our April meeting.

“Buy way north of your latitude – especially in winter months,” he urged. The reason is that such plants are likely to appreciate warmer southern conditions, whereas those grown further south and brought northwards are likely to suffer, he explained.

Roger illustrated his talk with a range of potted plants, handing round colourful photographs to show how they should look when in their prime, and offering suggestions of those suitable for three specific conditions, often regarded as “difficult”.

Plants good for exposed sites on poor ground include Berberis gagnepaini, the wild rose Rosa Moyesii ‘Geranium’, which has large red hips, and Cotoneaster lacteus.

Verbascum tochis, with its spike of yellow flowers, particularly appreciates stony ground on a slope – as in Greece where it originally came from, he noted.

Other plants which do well in such conditions are nerines, Papaver poppies, Pink Evening Primrose and Agapanthus of which there are many to choose from. Roger’s advice for the latter was “Don’t feed them, and don’t plant them until they burst the pot.”

Among plants for dry shade he said one of his favourites is Mahonia aquifolium, and the Japanese angelica (Aralia elata) can look especially good against a Leylandii hedge. In passing he noted that another, the Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), can produce edible fruits. “But you need to pick them before they open and the flies get to them.” 

Along with ferns, for wet shade he highlighted foxgloves, dwarf mock orange and Japanese privet. And gardeners seeking a rose suitable for a north-facing wall should try Madame Alfred Carrière. “It’s vigorous and flowers for four months – but you must keep dead-heading it.”

The speaker at out next meeting will be Geoff Hobson whose subject is ‘Easy Orchids’. Members are encouraged to bring their own orchids for advice.

Visitors welcome @ £3/head.