Review of February meeting – Plant hunting in Yunnan

Mrs Winthorp's Garden, Hidcote

Mrs Winthorp’s Garden, Hidcote

We were very fortunate to have good weather for our February meeting which was attended by over a hundred members including several new members who were warmly welcomed.

Our information table was showing signs of impending gardening activity with details of talks and open gardens also meetings and catalogues.  We were reminded that the Michael Jefferson-Brown bulb competition will take place at the April meeting and we were encouraged to consider entering the Open Garden competition at the Malvern Spring Show.  Five or more entries gives the exhibitor  free entry to the show on all four days.

Our speaker was Glyn Jones, head gardener at Hidcote Manor Gardens for the past thirteen years.  Glyn has been gradually returning the gardens to their original planting designs.  The estate was purchased in 1907 for £7,200. As well as the Manor House it included 300 acres of farmland and ten cottages. After service in World War I Lawrence Johnson created the gardens during the 1920s and 30s.  We were told of Johnson’s life and gardening experiences and then shown pictures of a trip to Yunnan Province in China undertaken by Glyn to find plants originally collected for Johnson  by George Forrest in 1930/32, plus other new plants.  The area, on the borders of China, Burma and Tibet, contains much challenging terrain and primitive living conditions.  An amazing variety of flora exists in this region including many beautiful meconopsis, primulae, lilies, iris and geraniums.

The speaker at our March meeting (Monday 4th) will be garden writer and broadcaster Geoff Hodge.  His subject is ‘Pruning – Making it Simple’.

Our meetings start at 7pm with free coffee and biscuits.  Membership is £12 a year (visitors very welcome – £4 a meeting).

Margaret White


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