Monthly Archives: March 2015

Meeting Reminder | Saturday April 4th

Don’t miss our final talk of this season this coming Saturday from Brian Ellis who runs Avondale nursery, near Coventry, which holds National Collections for Aster novae-angliae (the ones that don’t get mildew), Sanguisorba & Anemone nemerosa as well as growing many other perennials and grasses. This talk demonstrates the importance of foliage and texture when planning a border, illustrated by photographs taken in the Library Garden at Avondale.

Harpenden Gardening Society 

HGS are running three coach trips this year which are open to non-members, they would be delighted if anyone wanted to come along.

1. SUFFOLK – 27th May – £34

  • Beth Chatto
  • Beeches Nursery Ashdon
  • Parsonage House

2. BERKSHIRE – 24th June – £32

  • Sandleford Place
  • Wolverton Common Nursery
  • Farley Hill Gardens

3. OXFORDSHIRE – 29th July – £27

  • Waterperry Gardens
  • Farnborough Garden Centre
  • The Old Vicarage

Refreshments such as home made cakes are generally available plus lunch. For more information and booking please visit their website here

Aquilegia Downy Mildew

A new plant scourge is spreading across the country from Wales to Eastern England and has been reportedly found on the Hertfordshire/Essex border.  Aquilegia Downy Mildew is a disfiguring, ultimately fatal fungal disease for which home gardeners have no known effective chemical control.  The most prudent course of action is to familiarise yourself with the visible symptoms and destroy any plants as soon as those symptoms appear.  The disease spreads via sporangia which shed spores onto nearby plants, so if diseased plants are ignored then others are rapidly infected.  Aquilegia Downy Mildew is not caught from downy mildew on other species of plants; the DNA is unique.

Symptoms include lighter, yellowy patches on the leaves; straight-edged shapes which are delineated by leaf veins, distinctly unlike those of intentionally variegated leaves.  Growth is weak, leaves brown off and stems may become distorted.  Flower buds are likely to be ‘blasted’.  There can also be secondary damage due to grazing slugs & snails, drawn in by the nutritious fungal material.  The toxins in Aquilegias normally repel gastropods so this is something to look out for.

As Aquilegias are present in so many British gardens, there is a real danger that this disease may become endemic.  For further information, visit the website at Touchwood Plants Nursery where National Collection holder Carrie Thomas has been liaising with the RHS to monitor the disease and raise awareness:

Marion Jay

Images taken from an article on the national HPS site on the same topic, click to view.

HHPS Group Members Garden Opening | Important Date Change

Peter and Sue Tomson have had to move the date of their Members’ Open Garden forward, from May 17th to Sunday May 10th, one week earlier than published on the website and in the newsletter. Please adjust your diaries accordingly as this is a free event specific to our group, to which all members are invited.

Full details of the Tomsons’ garden and all other member garden openings are on this page, which also has a new listing for Liz Machin’s NGS garden opening in Harpenden.

March 2015 Group Meeting| Round Up

March Meeting Reminder : Saturday 7th

Dear Members,

Just a quick reminder that the next group meeting is on the 7th March 2015:

Dr Julian Sutton – ‘Herbaceous Berberidaceae’

Julian Sutton runs the very aptly named nursery ‘Desirable Plants’, which ‘specialises in herbaceous perennials, the choice, the interesting and the offbeat’. The herbaceous Berberidaceae group includes delicious plants like Epimedium, Jeffersonia and Podophyllum, varieties of which Julian will be bringing for sale.