Gardening Club Activity 2007 PDF Print E-mail



On 14th February two members of the club rescued the snowdrops from being built over when the new Enterprise Centre work started. Janet Bottrill and Marian Makins transferred them temporarily to the safety of the Millenium Garden where they will remain until able to be returned to their new home around the completed building.

Meeting Reports from 2007

At our meeting on 23rd January 07 we had a talk by Darrell Desbrow regarding Plants and Places in Turkey. It proved to be much more informative than many expected as Darrell described his travels in Turkey whilst taking in not only the plants but the scenery and local lifestyle away from the tourist areas.  The historical aspects with the close links to ancient Rome were fascinating.  His light approach to the botanical side was refreshing with descriptions of plants such as ' I don't know what it is but it looks nice' and 'you don't need to be a expect in looking for plants. Just have a long lunch and look around from your table - you'll see something'. As he led us through a journey that looped along the south east coast, turned north inland and then east again we saw in particular many tiny plants that inhabit some of the most barren and apparantly poor soils (mainly chalked based) and some in unexplained acid pockets.  We had almost a full turn out of members and finished a most enjoyable evening with the usual informal gathering around Alex' kitchen table as we feasted on coffee and his tradition New Year 'Black Bun'.

At our meeting of 27th February 07 we were treated to a talk on 'flowers for cutting' by Ian Park from Creetown. Ian is well known in the South of Scotland for the displays that he enters into competitions and his many successes. He is also an old friend of the Gardening Club, having given specialist advice on several previous occassions. His talk was split into two parts (bit like the clumps of flowers in the established garden that he is about to leave) covering annuals and perennials. He described his usual method of growing annuals from seed and nurturing to maturity and readiness for showing. He took particular delight in discussing his sunflowers and lavetera (whatever the pronounciation). On he went with asters, rubeccia sweet pea etc while shoing wonderful slides of his growing plot and methods. On perenials he covered the growth and display of Japanese anenome, phlox, campanula, pheasant bush, dahlia, gladioli and lilies before touching on the more specialist plant types. There followed a lively Q & A session and the usual bun feast. Another good night had by all.
We wish Ian well in his retirement from farming, joy in his new home at Blackcraig  and success in his now full time hobby of producing flowers for cuttings and show.

At our meeting of 27th March 07 we had a presentation by Pauline Wilson on the 'Pleasures and perils of opening the garden to the public'. Pauline delighted a large audience with her anecdotes about running her garden in New Abbey where she allows visits and sells plants to raise funds for the R.N.L.I.  Instead of the serious business of being told descriptions of plants, latin names, tips on planting and care etc etc we were treated to an evening of mainly fun and laughter. The tales were too diverse to recount but even the less enjoyable experiences were clearly not enough to dampen her joy in the voluntary work that she undertakes on behalf of the charity. Pauline's cottage garden situated opposite Sweetheart Abbey is open several days a week throughout the summer - a sign outside the gate advises of opening times. The Gardening Club is planning a visit there for later this year. A wonderful time was had by all - even if it included a fairly brief AGM. We then of course retired to Alex' kitchen to sample his latest delights.

Midsummer Evening at Drungans Steading

Trish and Bill Dawson kindly hosted this event at their lovely house and garden.  Members and guests took along spare plants for the Plant Exchange. Unfortunately the weather was less than kind and a rather cold wind moved festivities from the garden into the shelter of the house. Spirits were however high and a convivial evening was had by all. We were kept refreshed by Bill and his able assistant Morag, neither of whom seemed to have much time to do anything else.

The garden has been under development for the past 8 years and much of it has been reclaimed from being a farm field. With Bill's artistic and architectural talents and Trish's drive and gardening skills it presents most wonderfully lawns sweeping through varyious level containing ever changing planting themes from the ubiquitous Scottish herbaceous borders to raised scree beds, hosta's, boulders and vegetables. An excellent achievement on this rather open and often windswept site.

Donations were gathered for the benefit of The Smile Train.  The charity works in 3rd World countries to perform corrective surgery on children born with cleft palate or hare lip.

A good evening was had by all and an extra 'hats off' to Alex who in order to reduce his carbon footprint (or was it to do with drink driving) and parking congestion did the trip on his pedal cycle with the basket loaded with Plant Swop items.


A good turn out of members travelled across to New Abbey to participate in the annual Garden Safari. After collecting our maps we set off in various groups to visit the wide selection (14 in all)of gardens open for public viewing including that of Pauline Wilson (see meeting report of 27th March 07). Tne weather was kind until the last minute when the skies opened but by then we'd had a great day, worn out our feet and filled our tummies at the tea shops - another great day.



We had a convivial sunny afternoon meeting and a fascinating practical demonstration and talk by Magnus Ramsay on the magic art (some say black) of pruning.. For many years Magnus was head of Threave School of Gardening at Castle Douglas. He lives in nearby Gelston, is a member of our club and always willing to impart his vast knowledge to those that request so.


He led the group on a fascinating tour of Alex Berrie's wonderful garden (or should that read 'estate'), selecting plants at random (apparantly) and giving either directions or a demonstration on keeping the thing under control.



Alex looked a bit bemused when Magnus got out the pruning saw and whipped off the odd limb from prize birch tree. No panic - all was well - the well judged amputations left the tree with an excellent form and the TLC administered ensured that the wounds would heal nicely.



It's pointless trying here to do justice to what was an excellent presentation.

Alex was the perfect host, rounding up the day with some fine refreshments.