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Stoke Poges, Wexham and Fulmer Horticultural Society has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, for “passing horticultural knowledge and tradition from generation to generation since 1884”.

Two representatives from the Society attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in MAY, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

The Horticultural Society, affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society, is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.   The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.   Winners are announced each year on 2 JUNE – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse.   They include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport ;  volunteers using caravans as mobile cafe/information centres in geographically remote locations ;   another group mentoring children who have a parent in prison ;   and this Society serving the local community for 135 years.

Representatives of the Society will receive the award from Sir Henry AUBREY-FLETCHER, Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire later this Summer.

The Chairman, Mrs Ruth ROOLEY says :

“I am absolutely delighted; this award recognises volunteers past and present over many generations and will, I hope, inspire others to be involved and ensure the future”

President Emeritus, Jon HOMAN adds :

“Gardening is known to improve health and well-being, wherever you live, whatever your age.   It can be a most rewarding career or a very satisfying hobby “

Village Fete Rose Competition 

A Rose Competition was held at the Stoke Poges Fete on Saturday 8th June sponsored by the Horticultural Society and judged by Brian Christie, a National Rose Society Judge.

We were delighted by the response with some 50 wonderful entries and Brian stayed on after judging to provide helpful advice on growing and showing to the many visitors.

The winners of the four individual classes who received small monetary prizes were as follows:-

  1. Large-flowered  bloom-fully open. Jon Homan.
  2. Large-flowered bloom-perfect stage ½ to 3/4 open. Anna Gray.
  3. One stem cluster-flowered rose carrying 3 or more flowers. Pat Rofe.
  4. One stem miniature rose (any small-flowered rose e.g. Flower carpet or Seagull type). John Cox.

The best overall exhibit was submitted by Anna Gray, who received a National Rose Society Bronze Medal for her rose ‘Snow Queen’.

 

September Seasonal Tips

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Continue to deadhead roses and herbaceous plants and prune rambler roses, wisteria (reducing side shoots to 3-5 leaves).

Tidy up the strawberry bed and propagate new plants from the runners which will have started to root.. Cut out ‘spent’ raspberry canes and tie in new growth about 10cm apart.  Summer prune apples, pears and soft fruit such as red and black currants and gooseberries.

This is a good month for sowing grass seed and repairing lawns after a spell of rain but don’t be too hasty the forecast is more dry weather for the first 10 days; cutting hedges and clearing away all crops that have finished producing would be a better use of time.

Spring bulbs ( apart from tulips) can be planted now, plant them twice their depth erring on the deeper side. Try planting 3 different types at different layers in a tub for succession flowering; tulips at the bottom.

Dry off onions in preparation for plaiting them in strings for hanging in a dry place. Begin lifting and storing potatoes as well as maincrop carrots and beetroot. Plant spring cabbage and any late winter cabbage, kale and savoys. By the end of the month pick any remaining tomatoes and place them in a warm place out of the sun to ripen. Sow parsley for a spring crop and lettuce and rocket in the greenhouse. Towards the end of the month, harvest all crops that may be susceptible to frost eg. marrow, squash, pumpkin and maincrop potatoes. Cut down asparagus foliage at the end of the month.

Cuttings from vigorous shrub and climbing roses can be taken, though those from HT roses may be less successful. Take side shoot cuttings from penstemons, wallflowers and pansies which can be planted out next spring. Divide primulas. Harvest fruit as it ripens.

Metaldehyde slug pellets banned

An announcement from DEFRA has banned metaldehyde slug pellets from Spring 2020.  Metaldehyde poses an unacceptable risk to birds and mammals, its role in reducing hedgehog, amphibian and bird populations, poisoned by consuming contaminated slugs or pellets, has been well documented. It is also toxic to pets.

Although not a factor in the decision making, the ban will also stop farmers from creating widespread pollution of rivers and freshwaters with these toxic pellets. Only those using permanent greenhouses will be permitted to continue using metaldehyde pellets (where birds cannot easily venture).

If you have to resort to slug pellets use those that contain ferric phosphate which will degrade harmlessly in the soil.  Use them sparingly, only 4 or 5 pellets per plant, and only occasionally. Note however using this method means slugs will tend to go underground to die so there will be little evidence on the surface.

A number of alternative slug and snail barriers, from egg shells to hair, gypsum powder and copper tape are often suggested but only very wide and thick copper tape works. The thin products sold in garden centres doesn’t contain enough copper. A barrier of gypsum powder or chopped up young brambles also seems to do the job, but definitely not egg shells (unless you want to help snails make their own shells stronger by eating the egg shells, which might distract them from your plants).

Alternatively go hunting after dark using a torch to find them. Best of all, create a pond and encourage frogs and toads to do the eradication for you.

 

 

 

From the Pumpkin Patch

The Summer Holidays are over but the veg garden is still going strong. This is my first attempt at growing pumpkins for Halloween and the weather must have been ideal this year. Planted the seeds back in June and when I cut the leaves back last week this is what I found! All that rain has resulted in some rapid growth. There are only two pumpkins but they are whoppers. They are a bit pale but hopefully now the leaves aren’t covering them they will start to turn a lovely orange. I’m not sure if they will grow any more but I will take my bathroom scales out and weigh them soon. I’ve put them on roof tiles so they won’t rot and put Panda there for scale!