Monthly Report



Our first visit of 2024 was on Tuesday 30th April. On a beautiful sunny afternoon twenty six members met at the beautiful garden of Broughton Grange, near Banbury. After a short talk by head gardener Andrew, we were free to wander around the garden. It presented a lovely mix of formal planting, such as in the walled garden and area around the pond, through to shaded woodland walks and an interesting stumpery.


                pastedGraphic.png               pastedGraphic_1.png

               The walled garden                                 Part of the woodland garden


The weather was really glorious and this certainly enhanced the beauty of the garden.  At this time of year the tulips were splendid in all their vibrant colours and in the wooded areas the trees were showing the fresh green of spring with highlights of colour provided by the many acers and woodland flowers.


Then on 7 May we held our final indoor meeting of this season. Our speaker was Jeff Soulsby who spoke about “The Garden In May and key plants through to summer”.  Jeff is a local nurseryman from Harvington. His interest in plants started from a little plot in the back garden which his parents had given him as a small lad.  His sister was also given her own patch, but Jeff soon took that over too!  His passion for gardening led him eventually to Pershore College and then to working for Hilliers in the Garden Department for 12 years, after which he started his own wholesale nursery business, Jeff Soulsby Garden Flowers. Jeff brought with him a huge array of plants and as he spoke about them his enthusiasm and love of plants really shone through. He said that gardening is great fun, and growing plants from scratch is really satisfying. Being out in all seasons has its own joys, especially when there is no one else around and you can spot wildlife.


To illustrate easy propagation he showed how he grows seeds in pots with his own finely sieved compost mix, then tips out the seedlings to pot up and grow on. Easier than using seed trays in his opinion.



Not only did Jeff explain the best uses for individual plants and plant groups, he gave us tips on their positioning and cultivation. In some cases he also gave us a bit about the history of the plants and where their names have come from.


One especially amusing anecdote was that the name Geum comes from Latinised Greek meaning “taste”.  In the middle ages the roots of Geum plants (also known as Avens) were put in lockets to ward off evil or in houses to “keep the devil away”. Roots were also soaked in soups or wine to flavour these. To make his point Jeff brought some wine and soaked the roots for a while then tasted the wine. Luckily there were no ill effects, in fact he said it tasted rather good!


Our next meeting will be the AGM and annual Show. The classes are available on the page Show Schedule.  You can place your entries from 6:30 (when doors open) until judging starts at 7:30.  We will hold our AGM at 7.30 while judging takes place.


Old friends and guests plus new members are always welcome. The full list of speakers and garden visits for 2024 -2025 is posted on our Programme page.



Jean Harris