Talk of the Month


Whats on this month

Staying at Home!

What to do in the garden this month

  • If you haven’t already done so, it’s ‘Chelsea Chop’ time! Late May/early June, shear back plants by about a third to ensure that border perennials produce more compact, neater plants with slightly smaller but more abundant flowers. Echinaceas, Phlox, Sedum and Heleniums are particularly responsive to the ‘chop’!
  • Snap off tomato side shoots as they appear.
  • Plant out summer bedding plants.
  • Tie in sweet peas and other annual climbers regularly.
  • Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of bulbs!

Did you know?

Wild bees and other pollinators are in decline. But there are things we can do in our gardens to help make our gardens bee-friendly. By planting bee-friendly flowers we get our gardens buzzing and pollinators will also help our plants and ensure our apples, strawberries, tomatoes and other fruit and vegetable crops produce fruit.

Here are the top 8 bee-friendly wildflowers to grow in your garden:

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Perennial bulbs, with stunning blue bell-shaped flowers that have a sweet scent. They look spectacular when grown in groups. Make sure you plant true native British bluebells. They grow well along a hedge or under trees and provide a great early food source for bees. Flowers: May to September.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Tall, hardy biennial with pink trumpet-shaped flowers. Foxgloves tolerate shade well, but flower best in full sun. It freely self-seeds. This classic cottage garden plant is loved by long-tongued bumblebees such as the garden bumblebee (B. hortorum) and the common carder bee (B. pascuorum). Flowers: June to September.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
A very hardy perennial, and great for the back of an herbaceous border. It prefers damp places but will grow almost anywhere. It has a long flowering period that’s loved by bumblebees, especially species with long tongues. Flowers: May to August.
Clovers (Trifolium species)
In summer, you’ll find red clover (T. pratense) and white clover (T. repens) literally abuzz with the sound of bumblebees. The flowers of red clover are particularly adored by both rare and common bumblebees. Grow clovers in a wild part of your garden or allow them to colonise an area of your lawn! Flowers: May to September (red clover); April to October (white clover).
Greater knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)
A beautiful thistle-like wildflower. It produces masses of large vibrant purple inflorescences that act as magnets to pollinating insects. Greater knapweed is a common meadow wildflower, but it also looks fabulous among other plants in an herbaceous border. Flowers: July to September.
Hellebore, stinking (Helleborus foetidus)
An unusual looking native evergreen perennial plant. It has light green bell-shaped purple-edged flowers that hang from a thick upright stem. It gets its name from the unpleasant smell of its crushed leaves. Stinking hellebore flowers in late winter so is great for early emerging queen bees. It grows well in shady spots. Flowers: January to May. Stinking hellebore starts flowering in December so it’s useful to bees that emerge from their winter sleep.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
This native plant is a vigorous climber and a great addition to a wildlife garden. In summer, its highly fragrant, tubular, pink and cream flowers are buzzing with bees and other pollinators. It is a common species in hedgerows and woodland. Train it up a wall, fence or over an obelisk. If you prune honeysuckle hard it thickens up to become an ideal nest and roost site for birds. Flowers: June to September.
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
An ancient woodland plant and one of the most beautiful wild flowers of early spring. The star-shaped flowers of the wood anemone have six white petals around a green centre with yellow stamens. It tolerates poor soils in both shade and sunlight. Plant it in the shade under trees and shrubs, or out at the front of the border in full sun. Flowers: February to May. An early flowering plant, foraging bees love wood anemone.

Hand tools with wooden handles and disposable plant pots

Annual Membership

The cost of annual membership remains at only £7 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.
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Don’t forget that if you have any gardening stories or photos to share with us, we would love to hear from you!
Here’s a couple of things you can try during lockdown.

You can learn how germination works by sprouting bean seeds in a jar. Roll up several sheets of paper towel into a cylinder then pop them inside a clear clean jar. Dampen the paper then push some bean seeds in between the glass and the damp towel. Check regularly for signs of germination and observe the roots and shoots as they push through. Do you notice the difference between the young seedling leaves and the first true, or adult leaves?

A fun project is to dig up and pot up a young dandelion. Dig up as much of the long taproot as you can and transplant it to a container of soil or potting mix. Give it a water then move it to a windowsill. Rather than being mown or weeded out, this way you will get to see how the plant produces its flowers and seeds. Why does it do this? Can you guess how many seeds there are? How would the seeds get dispersed?

Go on a bug hunt in the garden. How many can you spot?

If you’re feeling arty, draw your favourite bug. Try drawing from memory or use a photo as a guide. Don’t forget to colour it all in!


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)