Saturday 11th October saw our first monthly meeting of the new year (yes, we’re weird, we start our year in October), and we were lucky to have Chris and Susie Taylor from Taylors Clematis with us. Chris and Susie gave a fascinating talk on all the different types of clematis called ‘Clematis the year round’. It was a very well named talk as (and this was news to me) there is a clematis which will be in flower in every month of the year. And there are big clematis, patio clematis, and even miniature clematis.
Sue won this year’s “best horticulture student” at Kirkley Hall College. As well as her award, Sue has won a year’s membership of Plant Heritage.
Ena was nominated for the Brickell Award which is awarded to the Best Scientific Collection Holder. Ena missed out on bagging the actual award, but getting a nomination is tough and is a testament to all her hard work. She holds a Scientific Collection of Leucojum.
On Saturday, 17th May, Dr Kirsten Wolff came to speak to Plant Heritage North East about her work at Newcastle University, where she is leading research into profiling plant DNA.
Plant DNA is much the same as human DNA in that each individual (and its clones) has a unique DNA fingerprint. Technology has now advanced to the point where the cultivars of a certain genus or species can be profiled, and comparisons made with other cultivars.
Wednesday 7th May saw our small party of 20 or so gather at Newcastle Central Station for the start of our four day trip to Tewkesbury and surrounding area. It was a bit dull and overcast, but otherwise dry – unlike the days to come! Irene had organised a really exciting programme for us, which included two private gardens (Hillbark near Leeds and Dorset House in the West Midlands), three nurseries (Avondale, Hoo House and Harrells Hardy Plants), two stately homes (Hidcote and Wentworth Castle) and, of course, a day at the Malvern Spring Festival.
Our first stop was at the Lanercost Tea Rooms, next door to Lanercost Priory. I would have liked a wander around the Priory, but the freshly-baked scones were just far too tempting!
Val Corbett came to talk to The North East Group on a rather pleasant afternoon in March. She was billed (by me) as simply a garden photographer, yet I had no idea that she’s a lot more than that: she travels the UK on behalf of Country Life magazine taking photographs of some of the most stunning gardens in the country, and many of her shots end up on the cover of the magazine. I have since found out that she’s also responsible for many of the most beautiful postcards from the Lake District.