Talk of the Month

Talk of the Month: Friday, 11th October: Kingston Lacy gardens through the seasons – Andrew Hunt

What’s On in October

11th-13th October at RHS Garden Rosemoor – Rosemoor’s Autumn Woodfest will be a fun-filled weekend of activities, wood crafts, yoga, great food and talks, plus much more for all the family. See artisans at work on traditional crafts, including woodturning, carving and whittling, basket weaving and spinning in the Garden Room from Friday to Sunday.

23rd-31st October: Forde Abbey, near Chard is hosting a spine-tingling week of Halloween fun in the grounds of the Abbey over the October half term. Pick a homegrown pumpkin from the kitchen garden to suit your style and size and try your hand at pumpkin rolling on the main lawn. They’ll be dishing up scoops of ‘Spooky Road’ ice-scream in the tea rooms (white chocolate rippled with blood red raspberry coulis, studded with nuggets of squiggly marshmallows and chunks of popping candy) and there’s fun and games for all the family. This year’s bumper crop of gourds and squashes has to be seen to be believed!

What to do in the garden this month

  • Plant spring bulbs – set them at 3 times their own depth below the surface. BUT delay planting tulips until November to avoid the risk of tulip fire.
  • Plant evergreen shrubs and conifer hedges whilst the soil is still warm.
  • Tidy borders then mulch to insulate plant roots for the winter and suppress weed growth. Handy hint: you can use spent compost from annual container displays!
  • Cut back tall shrubs like Buddleia, Lavatera and Roses by about a third to prevent wind-rocking. They will be pruned back harder in early spring.
  • Harvest squashes and pumpkins before the first frosts.
  • Plant roses.
  • Take hardwood cuttings from ornamental trees and shrubs.
  • Remove any pot saucers and raise pots up onto feet to prevent waterlogging over winter.

Did you know?


Colchicum is a genus of perennial flowering plants containing around 160 species which grow from bulb-like corms. It is a member of the botanical family Colchicaceae, and is native to West Asia, Europe, parts of the Mediterranean coast, down the East African coast to South Africa and the Western Cape. In this genus, the ovary of the flower is underground. As a consequence, the styles are extremely long in proportion, often more than 10 cm (4 in). All species in the genus are toxic.

The name of the genus derives from Κολχίς (Colchis), the Ancient Greek name for the region of Kolkhida in modern Georgia (Caucasus). Colchis features in Greek mythology as the land to which the Argonauts journeyed in quest of the golden fleece and where Jason encountered Medea. The Greek toponym Colchis is thought by scholars to derive from the Urartian Qulḫa, pronounced “Kolcha” (guttural “ch” – as in Scots loch).

Plants in this genus contain toxic amounts of the alkaloid colchicine which is used pharmaceutically to treat gout and Familial Mediterranean fever. The use of the roots and seeds in traditional medicine is thought to have arisen due to the presence of this drug.

Its leaves, corm and seeds are poisonous. Murderer Catherine Wilson is thought to have used it to poison a number of victims in the 19th Century. The species known to contain the most lethal amount of colchicine is C. autumnale.


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!

Have you ever wondered where maple syrup comes from? The sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum) is the state tree of Vermont and this is the wonderful tree that produces maple syrup.

Maple syrup was first recorded as being produced in 1540 by Native Americans using the sugar maple’s sap. Vermont controls 35 percent of U.S. maple syrup production. These trees are only found growing naturally in one region in the world; which is the area between southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States. One sugar maple can produce 10 to 20 gallons of sap a season for maple syrup!


Upcoming Visits And Events

Upcoming Talks


B. J. Lewis (President)


Gill Gibbs (Chair)


Jean Falconer (Secretary)


David Bromley (Treasurer)


Beverley Perkins (Membership Secretary)


Lesley Rew (Talks Organiser)