Gardening Club - The arrival of winter
28 Nov 2017

Chieveley Gardening Club on winter in the garden. Plus December garden activities for you. 

As we enter the first month of winter, the worst of its discomforts and worries are yet to come. But winter has many saving graces: not least, is not having to think about the garden, nor venture outside is if it is grim. This is planning and day-dreaming time. The seed and plant catalogues cover the floor beneath the letterbox and it is too tempting to lose happy hours browsing, speculating and eventually ordering.

Outside, the trees and shrubs are free of leaves after some sharp frosts and gales. The outline of trees against a bright winter sky is stark; if we were proper country folk we could identify them easily from their silhouettes. When there is a sharp frost, what could be better than a brisk walk in our delicious countryside admiring the silhouetted trees, trying to name them?

If this is the time for wishing lists and giving (note, not Black Friday, discounts and sale-shopping) what should you buy the keen gardener, or the novice? What is on your gardening wishing list?

Those of us expecting to stay in Chieveley for many years might consider a tree. The Golden Rain tree, Koelreuteria paniculata, is a joy. Not just for the twin pleasures of being able to say it's Latin name and imagining it's appearance from the common name. It makes a smaller tree that likes our free-draining soil - but it needs a hot summer or sheltered corner for maximum flowers.

Any flowering cherry is a joy in spring. They grow to modest size and flower within a few years. Of course, they will get big in time but they are the ideal starter tree for a new gardener. There is nothing better for making a garden look established and a new house mature than a proper tree in the garden. Hillier trees have pretty labels to tell you what is in store from your new tree. The staff at Penwood Nursery have knowledge and enthusiasm oozing from every pore and will encourage you in your tree shopping. Hopefully, they will try harder if you confess to being a new gardener or buying your first tree.

Finally, a book with an agenda. The RHS Great British Flower Show is a must for any of us involved in gardening, showing and the ebb and flow of village life. Sub-titled 'What goes on behind the scenes and How to be a prize-winner', it is a user-friendly guide to taking part and winning aimed at the beginner rather than the expert. The agenda? The Gardening Club always welcomes new gardeners and novices entering their first village show.

Happy Gardening, Giles Derry

Dates for your diary

Tuesday 16 January 7.30pm in Chieveley Village Hall. John Negus is visiting us again to talk about and show us 'Shrubs of distinction'. For most of us, shrubs are the bones of the amongst which we position perennials, annuals and climbers. With such a wide choice of shrubs in the nurseries and garden centres I hope the evening will help you choose well. And the homemade biscuits afterwards are fabulous! Guests and non-members are always welcome.