Dartmouth and Kingswear Horticultural Society May 2011
Tolmiea menziezii! Don’t worry! You do not need a doctorate in Botany to join our society. We welcome all those interested, from allotment holders to floral artists. By the way: Tolmiea is tough as old boots, is a very easy house plant that can be used in hanging baskets, and propagation is child’s play. Its common name is Piggy Back Plant.
Looking at last year’s schedule, I notice that we held our 119th Annual Show in 2010. If we take out ten years for two world wars, this means the society was started in 1881. Our secretary informs me she has records going back to 1919. We have a lot of history. This is why we feel that we wish to continue the society in the face of a changing world.
The world is changing because we no longer need to grow our own fruit and vegetables. We have the opportunity to travel long distances in a short time. We have information and entertainment at our fingertips. Our families are decentralised, and we need to spend time visiting them. And yet there is an ever increasing demand from amateurs to grow crops, usually on allotments.
I am lucky enough to have been allocated an allotment by Dartmouth Town Council. It has been a long slow process, but now with my own level garden and greenhouse included in the plan, I have ideal facilities. Using these, I hope to grow flowers and vegetables of a suitable quality for our autumn show. Also I hope to encourage my fellow allotment holders to do likewise and perhaps also to join our society.
The society holds a number of events during the year. We have five talks by visiting speakers on a wide range of horticultural subjects. This year for example we will be covering subjects as diverse as the National Trust gardens at Overbecks, Salcombe, the kitchen garden, wildlife in the garden, and the cultivation of chillies. This year, one of these will take place in the open. We will be going to a local nursery for a demonstration of container planting.
It is our tradition in the summer to take a coach trip to a garden of outstanding merit. This year the destination is Burrow Farm Garden near Axminster. It is a good opportunity to relax and chat on the coach, and visit a beautiful garden, taking a leisurely lunch (which may be carried, or bought when you get there) as a respite.
In March or April we hold a spring show. This is predominantly a Daffodil and Camellia show. Anyone may enter the show, but there is a small charge per entry. Did you know that the Royal Horticultural Society lists thirteen classifications of daffodils and six of Camellias? You can see all of these at our spring show. If you don’t want to bother with the detail, then just come and see the riot of colour!
We need to support our events financially, as we are a fully self sustained society with no grant aid. One of our important sources of income is the bi-annual coffee morning and plant sale. Once again, you can relax and have a natter over coffee. I can guarantee that you will get a bargain on the plant stall! These are not nursery grown plants, but produced by the members themselves. You may get a rare variety of something or other. Do you know how much Dicksonia Antarctica costs in the garden centre?
The major event of our year is the autumn fruit, flower and vegetable show. This is held in September. (That reminds me, I need some more silver polish for all those trophies on my mantelpiece extension!) Seriously, I first joined the society in 1975. Because of family and work commitments I only attended one meeting until 1988, when I decided to get fully involved. It has been a long hard climb. Winning a trophy at the show is an undisputed achievement. Looking now at one of our older trophies, I see in 1947 it was won by Major EJ West and the gardener was E Hoskins, for the highest points in the floral exhibits. Our history is engraved into our trophies! There are classes for people of all ages, abilities and skill levels. Anyone may, and all are encouraged to enter the autumn show, or certainly come and see the best that Dartmouth and Kingswear gardeners can produce.
I believe that in our unique way, we are able to give a significant contribution to Dartmouth and Kingswear. You may join us at any of our meetings.
Contact me on 01803 833216
First published May 2011 By the Dart