Gardens of New York and New England

We were very luck to be given a talk by Mr Chris Chadwell on the Gardens of New York and New England.

He began by introducing himself as a modern day plant hunter/conservationist and because of his expertise in Himalayan flora, he has been asked by The North America Rock Garden Society (NARGS) to speak to the various NARGS Chapters all over the US about his expeditions and plant finds.

His illustrated talk showed members some gardens, both public and private, that he visited whilst a guest of the New England & New York Chapter.

In the UK a rock garden tends to be for small, alpine plants, planted among rocks or scree to resemble the conditions found on mountain slopes, whereas in the US a rock garden is a rocky garden – so much larger plants were seen, some of these gardens resembled herbaceous borders!

The climate on the eastern seaboard is one of extremes and so many of the smaller, more recognisable alpine plants are kept in glasshouses to protect them – both from the cold and heat!

As a guest he experienced “behind the scenes” visits to the breeding and germination areas in the New York Botanical Gardens. A tip he passed on was to write the seeds’ details in permanent ink on the actual plant pot – labels tend to get lost, moved or fade.

Pin Me To The Wall & Do What You Want With Me

Now did we get your attention?

This was the intriguing title of a talk given to the Mountfitchet Garden Club by Andrew Mikolajski who entertained members with his knowledge of climbers and wall shrubs.

He gave a wealth of ideas and hints on where to position the plants, how to prune them, easy methods of attaching the plants to the walls and how to train the plants to ensure they show off their flowers were explained with great enthusiasm.

Using a series of slides, members were shown some large houses, which are open to the public, where plants have, over the years been trained to cover the buildings and garden walls.

York Gate House, near Leeds in Yorkshire, is a good example of how a pyracantha can be trained to cover a house. To reach this standard, he joked, requires patience and a lot of staff !

However by using “tricks” like pig wire gardeners are able to attach the plants and train them easily in a domestic-sized garden.

Although considered Out of Season, a visit to gardens in the winter will often show the framework and pruning methods used to achieve the summer displays. A lively Q&A session followed the talk.