Date(s) - 14/09/2018
Kilmington Village Hall
The Gardening Club was indeed fortunate to welcome Micky Little as their first speaker of the autumn session. With a background of practical experience in both Killerton and Hestercombe before joining Avon Bulbs in South Petherton, his knowledge of bulbs and their culture is second to none. Before getting down to the detail of culture, Micky explained the differences between the anatomy of true bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes, all of which share the characteristic of underground storage. All can be grown from seed but most are propagated by offsets (small bulblets produced from the base) or by division of the parent, either manually or increasingly in the laboratory.
When choosing which ones to buy, features to consider are size, colour, fragrance, flowering season and disease resistance. Examples of the enormous range available were illustrated by detailed photographs: an A-Z of bulbs from Allium to Zantedeschia with tulips and tulbaghias in between. Words of wisdom were picked up by keen gardeners: for instance, Allium ‘Globemaster’ is sterile and therefore does not set seeds all round it as other alliums do; and plant tulips deep – as deep as possible.
With the proud record of 30 Gold Medals awarded at the Chelsea Flower Show, it was not surprising that we were treated to a pictorial journey through the process of producing a Chelsea display. From the nursery, via containers, plants were transported to Chelsea where nursery staff transformed a bare site into a winning exhibit. Finally, having handed round flower spikes of some unusual specimens such as cannas and eucomis, Micky summed up his advice: buy big bulbs, choose the right position, plant in groups at the right time of year and at the right depth. As the meeting ended, members crowded round the sales table, inspired to put this good advice into practice.