Tilehurst Horticultural Association 

Talk Reviews 2012 / 2013

Pelargoniums - David Taylor

David Taylor of Gosbrook Pelargoniums gave our well attended talk on Thursday 25 April 2013. David used to live in Gosbrook Road, hence the name of his nursery. He had to move when there was no more room for glasshouses in his back garden. The nursery is now near Swindon. David delivers via mail order to the UK and Europe. 

Pelargoniums originated in South Africa. There are three groups – Erodium (Herons Bill), Geranium (Cranes Bill), which are hardy in the UK, and Pelargonium (Storks Bill), which are not hardy in the UK. There are several sub-groups in the Pelargonium range. These include: Angels, small leaf, pansy like flower; Ivy Leaf, for tubs and hanging baskets; Regal Pelargonium, large frilly flowers, late spring and early summer; Zonal Pelargonium, which include minatures, dwarf, basic size, variegated and fancy leaf, gold leaf types, scented leaf and several more. 

David covered propagation, care and uses of these plants. A well informed talk, which was well received by all.  


Spring Perennials - Rosy Hardy

On Thursday 28 March 2013, Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants gave a talk on Spring Perennials.  Rosy Hardy, whose nursery is on the hill above Freefolk Priors, Whitchurch, Hampshire, has been in the business for 25 years, starting at car boot sales, progressing in shows and finally to the big shows such as Chelsea and Hampton Court.  Hardy Plants has received many gilts, silver gilts and gold awards at the various RHS shows. They stock over 1400 varieties and all are grown outside.
Rosy showed and spoke about several spring flowering perennials, such as Dicentra, newly renamed to Lamprocapnos, Hellebores, Epimediums, Wood Anemone, Pulmonaria, Iphelon, Pulsatilla, Osteospermum and Geum.  All of which are extremely hardy and which will flower during the spring. As usual Rosy gave a very interesting talk with many helpful hints as to how to obtain the best results from the plants.



Growing a Nursery and Planting Tubs - Chrissy Clemson

The first talk of 2013 was given by Chrissie Clemson from White Tower Nursery.  Her topic was the Growing of a Nursery and a demonstration of planting a tub. 

White Tower Nursery was named for the water tower in Tilehurst because it was near there that Chrissie and her family lived.  They purchased the land in 1992, living in a mobile home on the site, and started the nursery.  Some 20 years later they still live in a mobile home, although not the original, but are now in the process of obtaining planning permission to build a bungalow on the site.  Planning permission is also required to build poly tunnels and any other structures required at the nursery.  Chrissie and her husband grow most of the plants they sell, apart from trees and some other items.  They grow for taste and hunt for unusual plants, which you cannot find in garden centres. Chrissie then demonstrated how to get more than a dozen evergreen winter interest plants into a smallish terracotta pot.  It helps to take out some of the spare soil at the bottom of each plant before adding them to the pot.Chrissie gave a very interesting and amusing talk, and also confirmed that members of the THA can enjoy a discount when purchasing at the nursery but must show their membership card to obtain the discount.


Heathers - John Hall

On Thursday 22 November 2012 a very interesting talk was given by John Hall on Heathers. John started his talk by saying that he had been growing heathers for 35 years and that he had taken the business over from his father.  The nursery grows over 200,000 plants a year from cuttings, which are grown outside.  There are over 1100 varieties, both of summer and winter flowering heathers. They also grow wild heathers.  John Hall Plants supply mostly through garden centres, but also supply landscapers, golf courses and local councils. They are a member of the British Heather Growers Association.  John demonstrated the pruning of a heather that had finished flowering, just shear across quite low and new growth will miraculously appear.  The talk was well received by those at the meeting. 


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