Mountfitchet Garden Club

News: October 2022

Growing Tropical Plants in the UK and their influence on us

This month’s club talk was given by Zsuzsa Serer on  ‘Growing Tropical Plants in the UK and their influence on us’.


Zsuzsa and her husband trained in horticulture in Hungary before moving to the UK over 20 years ago and have set up “ Spicesotic Plants” –  an on-line company specialising in tropical plants from all over the world.


Their passion for plants has been a lifelong experience. As trained horticulturists, they have extensive knowledge and expertise in growing herbs, fruits and vegetables, as well as tropical plants and orchids.  They have always been very interested in new plants and species, learning about them and sharing what they discover with others.


Explaining that most of the plants, fruit and vegetables we grow originated from warmer climes when explorers and later on plant hunters brought them to Europe and have now been integrated into our everyday lives, eg potatoes, tomatoes, dahlias, tulips.


Many of the exotic spices were traded along “spice routes” for other goods, often several times, before they reached the kitchens of Europe.


In more modern times, plants like orchids, camellias etc were introduced for their beauty rather than culinary uses. The new craze amongst the younger generation is for unusual tropical houseplants and are sold for hundreds of pounds. These plants are kept in Plant Tents inside the house to ensure the right conditions are met.


Members were shown a selection of plants that had been grown from seeds and cuttings and were asked to guess what they were – coffee, cocoa and vanilla were some of the plants.


To the Victorians pineapples, (which nowadays are available to everyone and are on sale all year round) were a luxury item and they would be displayed not eaten. They were so expensive that pineapples were often hired for the party!

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