Talk of the Month
No talk in August – we’re having a holiday!
What’s On in September
Friday, 13th September: Fungi – Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is an English mycologist (an expert on Fungi), author of The Encyclopedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe, and founder and chairman of the Association of British Fungal Groups (ABFG). Michael Jordan founded ABFG in 1996, having observed an upsurge in interest in mushroom hunting since presenting Mushroom Magic, a documentary on Channel 4 in 1989.
What to do in the garden this month
If your plants have survived the drought/wind/rain:
- Cut back growth in hanging baskets to encourage new flowers and foliage. Make sure you that feed your baskets well after doing this.
- Cut back hardy Geraniums and Delphiniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage new growth and further blooms.
- Keep your Camellias and Rhododendrons well-watered (!) at this time of year to ensure that next year’s buds develop well.
- Pinch out tomato side shoots each week. Cut off any leaves growing below the lowest ripening fruit trusses to improve air circulation and prevent diseases. Feed tomato plants with dilute tomato fertiliser once a week.
- As your Penstemon flowers fade, cut them back to just above a bud to
encourage more flowers.
- Complete summer pruning of Wisteria after flowering by removing all the whippy side shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm from their base (about five leaves from the main stem).
- Cut back herbs now to encourage a new flush of tasty leaves you can harvest.
- Now is the time to order spring bulbs ready for autumn planting.
- Make a note of your garden’s pros and cons at this time of year to remind you of any changes that you need to make for next year.
Did you know?
As part of the Solanaceae family, it is closely related to the tobacco, cape gooseberry, tomato, potato, chilli pepper and deadly nightshade.
In the early sixteenth century when Queen Elizabeth I reigned, Spanish explorers in South America discovered a low growing, trail forming, white flowered scented Axillaris, which in the Tupi-Guarani language was called Petun. This roughly translated from their language to the “worthless tobacco plant.” But, because of its perceived ugliness, the explorers did not think it was worth sending samples of it back to Spain. And ironically, anyone in Britain during the 1500s believed that the petunia was a symbol of the demonic power of satanism as it was reputed to harbour anger and resentment.
Fast forward about three hundred years to 1823, during the reign of King George III. Just after the Napoleonic Wars, the King of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte, (Napoleon’s Brother) sent explorers back to Argentina. This time they sent samples of the plant back to Spain, where botanists confirmed the Indian name for it and place it in the tobacco family. Just a few years later there are records that state in 1831 the great Scottish Explorer John (James) Tweedie was exploring the Americas, and he came across another genus of the Petunia, the Violacea which is purple in colour. He too, took specimens of the plant and he sent them to the Glasgow Botanical Gardens.
Tweedie is also listed as a collector for the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens and out of the 35 genera of petunia, there is one named after him. Petunia Tweedia. Categorised as a Grandiflora, the series is an example of this genus. In the late 1800s breeders, especially in England, Germany, America and Japan began crossing the sample of petunias they had in search of more varied colours and larger petals. These early crossings were referred to as Petunia X Hybrida although they were not strictly hybrids. In 1900 a well-known American seed company noted in their sales catalogue that double petunias only occurred in twenty to thirty percent of petunias grown from seed. Moving to 1934, when King George V reigned, the Japanese once again came to the forefront of petunia breeding, by being the first to breed the consistently double petunia. They had managed to understand and apply Mendel’s Third Law of Dominance. (In a cross between two organisms pure for any pair of contrasting characteristics the character that appears in the F1 generation is called the dominant one). So now you know why so many seed packets have an F1 hybrid on them.
Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 and breeders were still trying to find the perfect petunia. First, there was Claude Hope who released the F1 hybrid cultivator Connache. He was instrumental in the producing of the hybridisation of the single and double Grandiflora and Multiflora strains we see today. In addition, there is Fred Statt who we must thank for breeding disease and weather resistant plants. In 1983 a new class of petunias called Floribunda was created. In 1995 Petunia ‘Purple Wave’ was introduced and in 1996 the Milliflora was bred.
Annual MembershipThe 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
KILMINGTON KIDS' CORNERDon’t forget that if you have any gardening stories or photos to share with us, we would love to hear from you!
Winners of the Junior classes:
Pavilion Cup (year group 2 and below)
Colyer Shield (year groups 3-6 inclusive)
Miller Cup (year groups 6-8 inclusive))
Barrel Cup (year 7 and 8)
We were delighted to see so many lovely, imaginative entries in the Kilmington Fayre and Flower Show – many of them, including the finger-painted gardens, the painted flower pots and the carnival masks having been made at our Children’s Workshop held a week before the Show.
The giraffe and elephant entries for a model animal made from junk also showed great ingenuity!
We also had a couple of future contenders for the Great British Bake Off with their
sponge cake recipes!