Visitors are always welcome on the first Monday of the month at Colwall Village Hall WR13 6EQ. We arrive from 7pm and a talk is given by a person well versed in their speciality at about 7.40. Arrive early, meet the members and enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee. While sipping your drink of choice join a group at the “Interest Points”; Garden Visits, What is it (plants)? Pests & Diseases and Vegetables. Bring your questions, thoughts and examples to discuss with other interested members.

At Monday’s meeting among the early notices, such as December’s meeting commencing with the AGM at 7pm, we were advised of garden visits for 2017. Following on from this years’s success, there will be an evening visit on Monday 19th June and a Grand Day Out, taking in two gardens and an opportunity to purchase “the plant you have always wanted” on Tuesday July 18th. More details later.

This month we welcomed nearly local Julie Ritchie who, with her husband, runs Hoo House Nursery near Tewkesbury. Julie introduced us to many low growing and a few alpine looking plants, nearly all perennials, to provide colour from January through November. As gardens are tending to get smaller (relief), if not only for the benefit of the gardener, smaller plants can give the variety of form, texture and colour that are more easily found in larger gardens. Whilst not specifically alpines they all benefitted from lightish, free draining soil with only a few demanding full sun.

Whilst most members know these things, several such as this writer, learn from our speaker. For example, Saxifraga (proper name) needs a degree of shade, otherwise the centre of their neat and tidy mounds burn up; I thought my distress was the result of a mole invasion. Thymus also has the habit of burning out if not given sufficient shade. Rock roses, Helianthemums maintain interest when they are cut back after flowering, creating neat balls of foliage, unlike the tangled mess here.

Julie, like the speakers before her was interesting and informative; inspiring for several.

Our December meeting starts at 7pm for the AGM. This will be followed by the aptly titled talk Mistletoe Matters. Jonathan Briggs has studied mistletoe for over 30 years; so he is up to speed with the biology, history, traditions and the conservation and commercial value of this hemiparasitic(!) plant.

Come early; make/meet friends and discuss your gardening interests and challenges. There are many experienced and knowledgeable gardeners who are happy to answer questions. New members joining now have their subscription, £12.00, paid to January 2018. Visitors are charged £4.00

TIM BEAUMONT 01531 670801