What is happening to the Amateur Gardener?

One of my treasured possessions is a copy of A.G. L. Hellyer’s  book “the amateur gardener”.

While I was studying for a degree in Horticulture at NTU  I became a volunteer in the Walled Garden.

The head gardener recommended this book for me to study.

It is invaluable.

On recent meetings of various plant clubs  I have been inundated with info about The Annual Lecture.

Personalities  include the top people in our profession.

However, the sense of “One Up man ship” is overwhelming.

Do they all want to become semi-professionals?

There is nothing wrong with the Amateur Gardener.

In fact we should all be amateur gardeners.

Don’t loose sight of the pure joy of gardening for pleasure.

It is very important.

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Thinking outside the box.

This week I have been exploring new avenues to enrich my knowledge of Gardening Topics.

Here are some that I have put into practice.

The National Trust: Talks locally on such things as The Arts and Crafts Movement.

Local Libraries Study Group: Talks on Historic Gardens in your area.

The Cottage Garden Society:

The Alpine Gardening society.

There will be others.

It is refreshing to mix with a new group of people with different ideas.

This is a very good way to further your knowledge of gardening topics.

So read your local papers.

Search the web.

Pop into your local library.

Who knows what is out there for you to discover!

Into the Wild: Notts HPS:

Last night plant hunter Tom Mitchell from Evolution Plants took us on a wonderful journey in search of plants.

Again he  outlined the risks that Plant Hunters face.

It was amazing to see Dwarf Iris, Snowdrops, Cyclamen, Daffodils and Chionodoxa  in their Natural Environment.

These include scraggy slopes high up on mountainsides.

The views often include stunning landscapes of snow clad mountains  and clear blue skies.

At present I have a bowl of small Iris on a table in my garden.

I will now be able to imagine them in their original setting.

It is worthwhile to extend our plant knowledge beyond what we see at the nursery.

Plant Hunters collect seeds and then spend years growing the plant ready for general sale.

Tom will be on his way back to Turkey today to further his quest for plants.

Good luck Tom and do take care!

Don’t go for the “Quick fix” solution.

This week I have been very sad about the number of people that now go for a quick solution to any problem without much thought.

The first was a local school that wanted a sensory garden for the children.

They decided to ask the landscaper to just “Put some plants in”.

The next was a client who had been pressurised by her neighbour.

He had bought a new camper van.

This was 3 inches longer than the old one.

His solution was for her to take down her natural hedge and replace it by a fence  to give him more room.

Very little thought went into either of these projects.

The attitude is either” what I want” is all that matters or “lets get it done as cheap as we can”.

Thought and planning go out of the window.

Is this really the way forward for the environment , or the future?

Reading around the subject.

It is still a little cold to spend a lot of time in the garden,.

I have therefore used my time to catch up on the numerous articles about plants that I have been wanting to read.

The FT on a Saturday has a wide variety of articles that provide excellent reading.

Robin Lane Fox features every week.

Recent articles include an interesting account of Plants along the Silk Road from Turkey to China.

Matthew Wilson is another regular contributor.

His latest writing was about the struggle for land In Kenya.

The producers of Cut Flowers compete for land and water with the famous Maasai  tribe.

Jane Owen joined a RHS Plant Seekers trip to south west China and described the beautiful plants they found.

We can all take time to improve our plant knowledge.

This can be done sitting in doors while we wait for the weather to warm up!