A chance do those small jobs during Lockdown

Our Club Chair, Maralyn, and her husband Paul, have been very busy over the lockdown period putting new floor in their greenhouse and growing Tomatoes,Peppers and Cucumber.

Another lockdown job completed is the construction of some raised beds - adding some cat prevention measures too!  The yellow flower is Phlomis - the bees love it.

Transition to Summer

We are delighted to have been sent these wonderful photos, from our club member Gilly, showing her garden's transition to roses. As you can see she has been very busy during the Lockdown period.

Send us your garden photos

If you have been working hard in your garden, then please do send us your photos for us to display on our website. We love seeing the hardwork that has been put in by our members and friends, to keep the village looking wonderful.

Don't forget too that Stansted in Bloom is returning 26-28th June!

All information & an entry form is on the Parish Council Website.

https://www.stansted.net/events/stansted-in-bloom/

June Club News Update (Covid-19)

It has been a very strange few months for the world, one which many of us did not expect to see. And I'm sure many of you have been especially affected as you have been told to stay home and stay safe! When I wrote in March no-one had any idea how things would evolve over the months and sadly the number of bereaved families has grown every day.

I suspect for those of you that have stayed home, your gardens are looking very well tended and that some of those jobs on your “When I've Got Time Job List” have finally been ticked off at last. Please send us photos of your gardens/flowers so that we can add them to our website. It is so lovely to get some inspiration from others.

As promised I am keeping you updated on Club Meetings and news.

Club Meetings

It will no doubt come as no surprise that the June, July, August and September Club Meetings have been cancelled. Our AGM will take place before the next meeting whenever that is held. Like every other village organization we must look out for the health and well-being of our members and friends and we will follow the advice given regarding group meetings and social distancing etc.

The Link

The editors of The Link Magazine have asked me to let you know that until further notice the magazine will be available online only.

Stansted in Bloom 2020

I have also been contacted by Penny Reeves, (she spoke to us at our last meeting), who passed on the good news that Stansted in Bloom 2020 is going ahead. The date of this being 26-28th June!

All information & an entry form is on the Parish Council Website.
Why not Have A Go!!

Other News
As well as Gardening, Sheila (our Treasurer) has been busy sewing for the NHS and is now currently making face coverings. She says she cannot call them masks as not PPE but okay to wear to give some protection. So if you or you know of anyone that would wear one and would like one or more, please get in touch with Sheila (01279-814973).

She is asking for a £3 minimum donation which will go to The Friends of Stansted Surgery Group who funded the scrubs she's been making.  Please do pass this information to other members/friends who may be interested.

Finally, please take care everyone, keep safe, and enjoy pottering around in your gardens and ticking off more of those jobs you have put off!

Kind regards
Maralyn Harris
Chairman - Mountfitchet Garden Club

Summer Sizzlers – A Visual Feast of Hot Colours

Our March meeting involved a kaleidoscopic slide show accompanying Nick Dobson's talk on “Summer Sizzlers”.

Using photos from in his own garden Members were shown the wide variety of flowers from all over the world that can be grown in flower borders, in pots, in window boxes and in hanging baskets to give a visual feast of hot colours that will brighten up the summer months. As well as flowers, shrubs and fruit can add colour too.

“Wow Factor” bulbs and plants should be planted in pots and placed in flowerbeds - once past their best, these pots can be replaced with other plants thus extending the season of colour. After flowering potted bulbs can then be dried out and stored ready for the next season.

Tips were given on propagation, feeding plants and colour combinations.

 

Sea front gardens, Clacton-on-Sea

The talk ended with slides of places to visit around the country where colourful flower beds can be seen – two were local; the Cliff Gardens in Southend and the seafront gardens in Clacton on Sea.

Club Christmas

Club Christmas Party

Our December meeting was a fun evening, followed by our annual bring and share Christmas supper.

Back by popular demand was the beetle game. A sedate start, whilst newcomers learnt the rules, quickly changed to frantic throwing of dice followed by cheers as a six was finally thrown.

The groans grew louder as beetle was called, sometimes before another player had even started!

A good evening was had by all.

St Marys Christmas Festival

Images of the abstract angel made out of gardening bits and pieces for the st Marys Christmas festival.

Houseplants

This was the subject of our November meeting.

Did you know? It was the Thomas Rochfords Nursery who coined the phrase 'houseplants'.


Our speaker Chris Day did his apprenticeship with them in 1974. They were a major grower of houseplants supplying millions of plants to major retailers.

Nowadays most houseplants come from abroad, especially Holland. Comparing the 1970s to now, he recalled the most popular houseplants were African violets, shrimp plants, money plants and spider plants.

When Chris started his career, an orchid would have cost £100! With the advent of tissue culture, orchids are much cheaper and easily available. There is a resurgence for houseplants, driven by millennials, who do not tend to move so much, live in flats with no garden who want greenery in their homes.

He told us that the key to growing successful houseplants is neglect as most failures are due to over-watering

Fruit Tree Pruning

The speaker for our October meeting was Michael Abel, a former commercial fruit grower and lecturer at Writtle College.

The size of a fruit tree depends on the rootstock on which it is grafted; fruit trees on their own roots will grow too large for most gardens. Dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstock will produce trees varying from a height of 2m up to 6m. Family trees, where different varieties are grafted onto the rootstock, are becoming popular as patio container plants.

Pruning reduces tree size and promotes vigour for fruit production. Vigorous vertical growth and downward growth should be pruned out as horizontal growth is the most productive. Use winter pruning to promote vigour, and prune in summer to reduce it.

Pruning also controls diseases by cutting out dead wood and fungal infections. It lets in air and light which reduces scab and promotes bud formation and good fruit colour. It is essential to understand the difference between fruit buds which are fat, and vegetative buds which are more pointed.

Fruit size can be improved by generous thinning of fruit in the early stages of growth. Pest control using grease bands, barrier glue, and pheromone traps was discussed and the promotion of beneficial insects such as ladybirds, earwigs, hoverflies and lacewings was recommended. Birds devour vast numbers of caterpillars and should be encouraged.

A lively discussion followed.

Autumn Club Outing

Coach Outing to RHS Wisley

Despite torrential rain during the week, our trip to the RHS flagship gardens was enhanced by glorious sunshine, which greatly enhanced our exploration of the 240 acres of diverse gardens, greenhouses and trial fields.

Coinciding with the autumn festival, there were produce stalls, specialist goods suppliers and samples of heritage apples, freshly pressed apple juice and a naming service for visitors' apples.

Perennials – Traditional through to New Wave, Prairie and Contemporary Usage.

For our September meeting we welcomed Tom Cole of Writtle College who spoke about Perennials - Traditional through to New Wave, Prairie and Contemporary Usage.

Using slides, members were shown many different styles of gardening: herbaceous borders, pots, hanging baskets, small ‘room’ gardens and wide prairie landscapes. Perennials can be planted in these places to make a statement, for movement, seasonal or all yearround colour, designer gardens or semi-wild areas. Also discussed was overwinter care, the splitting of large plants, the ‘Chelsea Chop’ and how to take cuttings (softwood and root).

A question and answer session followed.

Green Bowl Photographic Competition

"My favourite Herbaceous Border"

Congratulations to Paul Embleton won the bowl for his photograph taken at Southport where the local council takes great pride in growing colourful borders for visitors and local people.

The Plant Enthusiast

Doug Stewart was the Club's speaker this month. He is Editor of The Plant Enthusiast, presenter of BBC Humberside's The Great Outdoors and a leading consultant to the horticultural industry.

His subject was Ten Ways to a Better Garden.

By using photographs of various gardens throughout the United Kingdom, Eire, Holland and the United States, members were shown how our gardens, whether large or small, could be improved in a variety of ways. You can adjust focal points, add hedges or screens to give hidden areas, adapt colour schemes, introduce an intimate or chilling out seating area (now known as a sitootarie) or add seats around the garden. Gardeners can thereby enjoy varying views of the fruits of their labours.

Throughout the evening members were entertained with anecdotes from his interviews with the famous and some infamous gardeners and designers whom he has met in his horticultural working life.