19th March 2018: ‘Bickham House and NGS – Julia Tremlett

What’s On This Month

Looking ahead in 2018 the RHS hosts Shows in London throughout the year and there are great savings to be made on rail fares if you book in advance, so why not plan a day out for yourself. Check out the South Western Railway website:

Click on the link below for more information about the Shows:

RHS London Orchid Show and Plant Fair – 6–7 April
RHS London Plant and Art Fair – 11–12 July
RHS London Harvest Festival Show – 2-3 October
RHS London Urban Garden Show – 27–28 October

Hardy Plant Society – Early Spring Plant Fair – 24 March, 10am – 4pm
20 of the South West’s top nurseries will be showing off their best plants. The admission charge to the plant sale and the gardens will be £4.00 for the day for all adults except RHS and HPS members who pay a reduced rate of £3.50 so please remember to bring your membership card!

What to do in the garden this month

  • Feed roses with well-rotted manure or a special rose feed as they come into growth. It’s also a good time to prune roses to encourage strong new growth.
  • Dead-head daffodils as the flowers finish and let the foliage die back naturally.
  • If any of your garden plants will need supporting this year, put the supports in now so the plants grow up through them. Adding supports afterwards is difficult and often looks unattractive.
  • Dead-head hydrangeas before new growth appears. Cut to about one third of last season’s growth.
  • Start sowing your bedding plant seeds in the greenhouse ready to plant out after the last frosts.
  • Prune overwintered fuchsias back to one or two buds on each shoot.

Did you know?

Hemerocallis (Daylily)
The genus name Hemerocallis “day beauty” comes from the Greek words “hemera” = day, “kallos” = beauty and is related to the short duration of each flower.

Each flower blooms only for a day but as one mature flower stalk produces dozens of buds this fact is not so serious. Indeed, an older plant produces up to 500 flowers which extends the flowering period up to four weeks.

Daylily history ranges across thousands of years, from their ancient cultivation in Asia, through their discovery and importation by avid collectors in the West, through the early struggles to hybridise them, and ultimately into the creation and dramatic craze for the exquisite modern hybrids. The full story is as much about the people who dedicated their lives to acquiring and changing these plants as it is about the plants themselves.

The story begins in Asia, primarily in China, where daylilies have been cultivated for thousands of years. Munson(1998) reports that the earliest known reference to daylilies is from China, dated 2697 BC, when Chi Pai wrote a Materia Medica for Emperor Huan Ti. The people of the region enjoyed the species as much for utilitarian reasons, such as medicine and food, as for the beauty of the flowers. By the 1500s the daylily had made its way into Europe, probably via land and sea trade routes. The herbalists Dodonaeus, Clusius, and Lobeluis described and illustrated the daylily into the late 1500s. Although originally daylilies were placed in the genus Liliaceae, it seems that when Linneaus introduced the now standard binomial system of nomenclature in 1753, Hemerocallis was placed in its own genus.

The period 1700 to 1900 was the era of plant hunting, a time marked by the search for new daylily species. A theory popular among Westerners at this time was that the Garden of Eden could be re-created by gathering together all the beautiful plants that had been scattered around the globe at the fall of Adam and Eve.
Ultimately, it was the collaboration of Albert Steward and Arlow B. Stout that had the greatest impact on collecting new hemerocallis species and advancing our knowledge about them. Steward lived in China and taught botany at the University of Nanking, regularly gathering daylilies from their native habitat. He sent these specimens to Stout, then the director of the New York Botanical Garden. Stout received more than 50 shipments of seeds and plants from China during his time at the New York Botanical Garden. He became the foremost authority on daylilies, undertaking the first comprehensive description and classification of the species. He also began a rigorous breeding program which opened the doors to future hybridising efforts by others.


Annual Membership

The cost of annual membership remains at only £5 per person, which entitles you to free admission to our interesting monthly talks held in Kilmington Village Hall on the second Friday of the month.

Application Form


Don’t forget that if you have any gardening stories or photos to share with us, we would love to hear from you!

Look out next month for details of the pre-Show workshop on 21st July when you can give full expression to your creative side!

Now that the days are getting longer, it’s time to explore and hunt for the first signs of spring!

In winter, when many trees have lost their leaves, one of the best ways to identify them is by their twigs and buds and you can find a printable twig ID sheet here: featuring pictures of winter twigs from common trees such as oak, hazel, beech, ash and horse chestnut, many of which you’ll find in your local woods or around the village.

Look closely next time you’re out exploring. What does the shape of the twig and the colour of the bark tell you? Do the buds grow opposite each other, or at alternate points along the twig? What about the size, shape and colour of the buds?

Many trees have unique features that give important clues to their identity. For example, ash trees have distinctive black, pointy buds. Beech trees have long, torpedo-shaped buds that grow in a zig-zag fashion along its slender twigs. As well as large, sticky, reddish-brown buds look out for horseshoe-shaped markings on horse chestnut twigs – ‘scars’ made when the leaves fall in autumn.

Trees have flowers too and now is the time when those buds and catkins will start appearing! This link will help you to identify hazel, blackthorn, silver birch, crab apple, ash, hawthorn, wild cherry, oak, rowan, horse chestnut, holly, elder.

Happy exploring!


Sydie Bones (President)


B. J. Lewis (Chairman)


Jean Falconer (Secretary)


David Bromley (Treasurer)


Beverley Perkins (Membership Secretary)