I hope you had a good summer.  It was certainly hot much of the time and we have had a very long dry spell.  Now that is all about to change!  Hopefully the speakers we have for the rest of the year will give you inspiration in your planning for next year.

Upcoming meetings

Tuesday 25th September

Christine Skelmersdale  –

Bulbs all the year round

This is the re-schedP1010260uled meeting from March.  Christine Skelmersdale is Managing Director of Broadleigh Gardens, a nursery that specialises in smaller bulbs, woodland and foliage plants.  Some of us visited the garden in April – see last newsletter for Heather’s report.  Christine was a member of the Council of the RHS for 11 years, and a member of the Gardens Committee with special responsibility of Rosemoor for 12 years.  She is Vice Chairman of the Bulb Committee and a member of the Daffodil and Tulip Year Book Committee.  In 2009 the RHS  awarded her their highest honour, the Victoria Medal of Horticulture.  With all this experience we couldn’t have a better person to speak to us about bulbs.  Christine will be bringing bulbs to buy.


Tuesday 30th October

Peter Cantrill  – Plants that excite


Peter is an old friend of the club and a great supporter when we have needed plants on a sale or return basis for plant sales.  He will be bringing plants for us to buy and you can be sure that they will be at good prices. Peter runs Dayspring Plants near Exeter airport which is a wholesale nursery.  If you ever wanted a selection of plants for the garden, or were wanting something special, I’m sure Peter could help.  Just give him a ring.


Tuesday 27th November

This is our AGM evening.  The format is not clear yet other than we will have something between the AGM and the food.  Isabel will have her list at coming meetings looking for members to sign up to bring a plate of food.  The committee want to hear your ideas for speakers and things to do at the meetings in 2020 so we will have a small questionnaire for attendees to fill in.  Nothing too difficult but we want it to be your club providing the things you want.

Other Upcoming Events

Saturday 13th October – Exmouth Historical and Archaeological Society are celebrating their Golden Anniversary and have an all-day meeting at Glenorchy Church; cost £12.  The first talk is entitled ‘A Victorian head gardener’ which is said to be informative and entertaining.  Other talks will be of Exmouth. Contact Mike Tracey, 16 Claredale Road, Exmouth, Devon, EX8 2EE for a form or other details.

Friday 9th November – Adam Frost, presenter from BBC Gardener’s World will be Adam Frostspeaking at Rosemoor, 14.30 – 15.30h.  He will be speaking about some of his projects including his new garden.  Tickets from the RHS at a cost of £10 for RHS members who can take a guest at members price, and £15 for non-members. If you do take a guest you will have to enter them as a member otherwise you get charged £15.

There are 204 seats and over half of them have gone already at the time of writing!

Advance Notice: Saturday 9th March – Bob Flowerdew will be speaking on ‘No Work Gardening’ at Lympstone Garden Club, 2.30pm in the Village Hall.  Cost is £8 in advance, £9 on the door.

Alternatives to plastic pots for seedlings

I promised to give a report on my experience of using ‘cow pots’ and paper pots in place of plastic pots.  My trial wasn’t as extensive as I had intended as I grew only seedlings of Matthiola Arborescens.  I had previously had problems with the seedlings as they all died when I transplanted them after nipping out the tips.  For the trial I put three seedlings into normal 6 cm plastic pots, three in cow pots,and three in paper pots  and grew them on in the greenhouse The cow pots I bought from Amazon and the wooden mold was a present from my daughter.  The results are shown below.



The picture shows the plants that were pinched out and on the right I planted the seedlings on but didn’t pinch out. The plastic pots are bigger and healthier in both cases whereas the results of the alternatives are variable.  The reason for this is because both the cow pots and the paper pots dry out very quickly, with water evaporating from the sides of the pots as well as the top.  Because it has been so hot this summer keeping up with the watering of pots was difficult and they dried out before I realised that this was going to be a problem.  The seedling in the paper pot on the left is almost as big the one in the plastic pot showing that it is possible to grow plants as successfully as plastic pots in these alternatives as long as there is adequate watering.  Standing these pots on wet sand or capillary matting would help. Also, I would normally have planted these out into the ground a lot sooner than is shown here.  I shall try again next year with different plants.

Browsing the Web

Apples are definitely good for you

As a scientist I am always attracted to scientific articles, especially if they involve plants and horticulture.  Here’s some research which is optimistic for old people.  When you get past the age of 60 (most of EGC membership) you develop what are called senescent cells; cells that have stopped developing and dividing but do not die, just hang around.  They appear to be associated with age-related diseases and some scientists have suggested that these cells, when they appear, kick start the ageing process.  That’s the bad news!

But there is hope for the future.  Scientists have found that 2 drugs, a leukemia drug called dasatinib and a drug called quercetin which is extracted from apple skin, can make elderly mice live 36% longer.  Not only that, these elderly mice increased their speed and endurance by between 30-100%.  Of course, whether mice experiments can predict what might happen in humans is a big question but, in the meantime, keep eating your apples and don’t peel them!

The best garden magazines

I found a site which listed the ten best gardening magazines.  No 1 was BBC Gardeners’ World magazine.  I mention this because you can get it free if you join the library and have a computer or tablet.  Through the library you can download books of course but you can also get magazines through a site called RBDigital.  I regularly download this magazine and also New Scientist where I found the article above.

Previous events

Tuesday 26th June – Roger Clark Japan in Spring

Roger and his partner, Chie Nakatani, gave us a fascinating insight into the splendours of spring in Japan.    Roger, as a former head gardener of Greenway, presented the horticultural aspects while Chie gave us a flavour of the culture and traditions of the spring season in Japan.  The range, colour and splendour of ornamental cherry blossom was quite breath taking as were the different varieties of camelia.  It was a pity that the acoustics of the hall meant that sometimes some members found it difficult to understand Chie.  Never worry because we could bask in the colour of the plants presented.  A pity that most are not available in this country.

Visit to High Garden, Kenton

P1010114There were 11 members who made a return visit to High Garden in July.  We were vey pleased to hear that Chris Britton hasn’t sold his nursery yet although there have been enquiries.  The nursery was the first port of call on arrival to make sure bargains and interesting plants didn’t disappear while we were looking at the garden.  No need to worry as Chris had everything well stocked at very good prices as usual.  With plants paid for and carefully stowed away in the cars, members took a leisurely walk around the garden on a very warm, pleasant day.  One can’t but admire the way Chris (mostly) and his family manage to run the nursery and keep the garden looking so good.  Of course, we all ended up at the Bothy for refreshments to either bask in the sun or cool off in the shade enjoying a drink and slice of one of several cakes available.  Suitably refreshed we headed home but not without a second look around the nursery in case we had missed something special or appealing.

Tea at The Old Dairy

We had another warm and dry day to enjoy our tea. It was a very relaxing time with the opportunity to chat together.  Many thanks to Heather, Gerry and Ann for making cakes.  After tea it was time for a stroll round the garden. It is more an early summer garden when both the borders and veg plot are very productive.  Nevertheless, there were some things like the Heleniums and Rudbekias in flower and the Dianella were looking particular eye-catching to the extent that three pots that Mike had prepared earlier were sold to members.


Diary Dates

September 16th              Devon Plant Heritage Plant Fair, Tavistock, 10am-3pm

September 23rd             Devon Plant Heritage Plant Fair, Rosemoor, 10am-3pm

September 29th – 30th   RHS Malvern Autumn Flower Show

October 26th – 28th         RHS London Urban Garden Show

2019:  March 9th           Bob Flowerdew speaking at Lympstone Village Hall at 2.30pm

March 23rd                    South West AGS Show, Rosemoor

June 22nd – 23rd             Axe Vale Show



Articles for the newsletter.  It would be very helpful if members would contribute to the newsletter.  Tell us about your favourite book, or a place you visited which was particularly interesting.


Comments, complaints and contributions to the ed. Mike Wheeler;; The Old Dairy, Old Bystock Drive, Exmouth, EX8 5EQ