Month: April 2011

Hodnet Footpath Group

The next meeting of the footpath group is taking place in the Jasper room of the Bear Hotel, Hodnet.
We will be discussing our next group walk, general group activities and projects before taking a brief walk along the old Railway Line – weather permitting, to hopefully to see some of the fauna for which it is best known, the elusive Glow Worms.
We are a friendly informal group, new participants welcome – just turn up on the night or call Angus Taylerson (01630 685860) or Mary Hardy (01952 540970) for further information.

Footpath Group Walk

Have you ever wanted to explore some of the beautiful countryside that surrounds where we live, but never got around to it? Well the next Hodnet Footpath Group’s ‘group walk’ provides such an opportunity!
Non-members are invited to join our friendly group for a walk in the area to the North of Wollerton to Marchamley; returning via Hodnet and the old railway line. We will be leaving from Wollerton Social Club (Mill Road) at 10.30 AM, with an expected duration of around 2  1/2 hours – bring a snack/lunch, to suit.
For further details call Bruce Risdon on 01630 685630 or Mary Hardy on 01952 540970.

Children's Fancy Dress and Fun Dog Show.

Charity Fun day on Easter Saturday, 23rd April 2011, 12 Noon, At The Bear of Hodnet.

  • Children’s fancy dress
  • Fun dog show
  • Spot prize for best Easter Bonnet
  • Cream teas with homemade scones
  • Soft play area for small children
  • Craft stalls
  • Raffle

Contact The Bear Inn for further details: Tel 01630 685 214.

All proceeds to Dog’s Trust, Roden and Hodnet Primary School.

Local Charity, Hodnet 2000 Dinner Dance

Local charity Hodnet 2000 held its annual Dinner Dance at Hawkstone Park Hotel on Saturday 2nd April 2011 to help raise money in support of local young people needing financial assistance to purchase books, the cost of essential equipment or extra curricular needs.
The evening began with a three course meal and games hosted by Dr James Mehta and his wife Ros (reminiscent of Paul Daniels and his glamorous assistant Debbie McGee). Stand up bingo went down very well as did heads and tails – Both very competitive with everyone joining in & some cheating went on – all in the best of spirit of course!!
There was plenty of time for coffee and a chat which then lead nicely into the Disco for the evening.
Dancing went on well into the night with everyone disappointed when the night came to a close.
The venue proved to be perfect for a “Spring ball” with views over the beautiful Golf course and a veranda for those wanting a break from the excitement of the evening.

The Citadel Open Garden and Coffee Morning

The Citadel near Weston under Redcastle is opening its 3 acres of gardens on Saturday 14th May between 10.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. Take a relaxing wander through the extensive mature gardens, marvel at the incredibly pristinely maintained vegetable garden, enjoy the breath taking views across the rolling fields of the Hawkestone countryside. Then take a break, sit back and have a coffee and a cake. 
Every one is welcome,  £3.00 Entrance fee, payable on arrival. All profits in aid of Hodnet 2000 charitable trust.

New section for Hodnet website

Hodnet Life has been launched with the hope of increasing community contributions on this website.
It will feature regular articles on local life: the first of these is Trugg and Barrow’s Garden Diary, written by two perennial gardeners who hope to share their enthusiasm and experience. We would love to have others providing items, be they a single post or a series, for this section – please contact the webteam if you have any suggestions.
We also want to encourage you to send us your reports of locals events, either in words or pictures or both, for this section. Reports of events of all types will be welcome, for example charity fund raisers, sporting occasions, regular club meetings and so on. Please tell the webteam what has been going on. They would also like to know about events upfront so they can be included in our Events section. If you have a local news story please send them your report.
The easiest way to make contact with the webteam is by using this form.
If anyone would like to become a regular contributor to the website please do get in touch with us. If the technology intimidates you – we can train you or you can always ask your children or grandchildren to help out!
Finally, if you want to be kept up to date with all the new posts we have recently activated a facility for email updates and RSS feeds. You will find the icons for these on the top right of every page.

Trugg and Barrow’s Garden Diary: April 2011

Beginning Again – Reflections on the garden after winter.

We all know that it has been a long hard winter and, unless you are fortunate enough to have been able to get away to sunnier climes, we’ve all had the same winter. So it might seem like rubbing salt into open wounds to keep going on about it. However, as spring finally unfurls its regal greens it is now, more than ever, that we are aware of the damage done by persistent low temperatures.
We might have just passed the first day of spring but for the gardener the signs are unmistakable; the jackdaws are busy playing noisily in the oaks and beeches, toads can be seen crossing back and forth from water where geese, swans and ducks proclaim their presence.
As far as plants are concerned, sap is rising and most are putting forth new foliage. Yet the haze of fresh green fails to mask the ugly browns of withered stems and leaves left by the harsh weather. And it is always to these unsightly bare splodges that the gardener’s eye is drawn. But the time to mourn our losses is long gone: it won’t revive anything so move on.
Inevitably many of us will have lost the same things. You’ve only got to peek over a low hedge or into a neighbour’s garden to find out. Most of the casualties have been amongst those plants that have benefitted from milder winters, but in truth have always been a bit tender. Pittosporums have universally suffered, even in sheltered spots, as have Cistus and of course Ceanothus (Californian Lilac).
Now is the time to take action! Confronted with a large gap it is tempting to look at what has come through the winter and replace losses with more of the same. This, in my view is a mistake. Here in the garden there are many patches of bare soil where once there were lovely shrubs, but the idea of putting in more Pieris, Forsythia or Hydrangea simply because they have survived is a course fraught with pitfalls. For one, you run the risk of seriously reducing the palette of plants available to you. We wouldn’t be able to call ourselves gardeners if we weren’t experimenters! Of course, if you’ve already had your Ceanothus for ten years then you’ll already have had the best ten years out of it so don’t worry too much. Don’t get me wrong, if you are looking at your border and thinking “what I could really do with is some summer colour,” then go for a hydrangea, maybe H. paniculata ‘Unique’. Or for a splash of spring yellow, Forsythia ‘Lynwood’ is a good option.
Yet none of us can predict the future. We don’t know if this winter was an exceptional one or will form a pattern for the future. But before we leave all of the more tender shrubs on the nursery bed remember, they’ve done well for the last ten years. Where would our sunny well-drained places be without Olearia haastii or Cistus ‘Alan Fradd’, which look especially good tumbling down banks or over walls? We would all miss that splash of summer colour.
Roses make a good compromise. Long lasting summer colour and there is a rose for almost every position from low growing cascading shrubs like R. ‘Rushing Stream’, ‘Little White Pet’ to strong upright shrubs. Of the latter the species often capture my attention, in particular Rosa complicata which has wonderful large single pink flowers in early summer followed by juicy red hips. Yet this winter has even claimed many established roses which just shows that nothing is ever certain in gardening.
Looking Good.
More than anything, this month is devoted to Narcissus. Our own native daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus can be seen in the dappled shade amongst trees or even in wet hedgerows and ditches. It’s striking yellow contrasts well with the expanding greens of hawthorn and the hazel catkins.
At the other end of the spectrum Narcissus poeticus, the poets narcissus, hails from high alpine meadows where its pure white reflexed petals and orange corolla reflect the sunlight, and its delicate fragrance can be appreciated when planted en-masse in open grass.
Readers might have already guessed my preference for species wherever I find them but amongst Narcissus are some wonderful cultivars. Amongst my favourites is ‘Spellbinder’ which has a wonderful lime green hue.
Also looking good at this moment are the early cherries. Their delicate petals look lovely when backlit by morning or evening sun. One of my personal favourites is Prunus ‘Kursar’. It’s a good early variety with a strong pink colour and a fairly upright habit, which is good for smaller gardens or merits close group planting where space permits.
Despite mentioning it earlier, I am not a fan of Forsythia. Lovely when in flower it makes an inelegant shrub, even when pruned immediately after flowering. Let’s not forget that although they are stealing the show now we will still have to look at them for the rest of the year and for me the foliage holds little joy. By contrast, Corelopsis is a genus of elegant upright shrubs which display delicate pendant clusters of primrose yellow flowers accompanied by a light but appreciable fragrance. These are followed by hazel like leaves that altogether make it a statelier alternative to Forsythia, especially when placed around a corner or next to a path. C. ‘Spring Purple’ is available now and should suit any size of garden. Corelopsis is a lovely shrub, it also has some soft yellow hues to its leaves in autumn. I do like plants in the garden to have more than one season of interest, and what’s more it is very hardy.
For fans of Forsythia why not seek out Abeliophyllum, the ‘white forsythia’. Similar in form, it has white flowers which open from February onwards accompanied by a strong scent. It will appreciate some shelter and makes an excellent wall shrub.
In the Kitchen Garden.
One of the things that keeps me going through the cold months is that no matter how long the winter, Spring always follows (it has up to now any way). I think it must be a sign of me getting older, but over the last few years I have become increasingly intolerant of winter and more impatient for spring to arrive.
I love to see the greylag geese, the tufted ducks and the little grebes arrive back after their winter getaway. It raises my spirits after a long winter to see the first Brimstone and Coma butterflies along with those big bumble bees that appear with the warmer weather.
Trugg is right about not dwelling on plant losses from the garden, it’s better to look at it as an opportunity. Four large bay bushes that I planted as rooted cuttings ten years ago have succumbed, as well as some climbing plants and all the French Lavender. The most surprising losses have been some of the roses used for cut flowers.
I also agree with Trugg, that one of the most enjoyable aspects of gardening is experimenting with plants in the garden. I don’t think there is anything quite like a mature Ceanothus in full flower, the trouble is around here you are lucky if varieties other than thyasiflorus repens survive more than 3 or 4 winters, even the supposed hardier varieties such as Skylark are a risk. If you do plant one then you need to be selective about where it is put.
March is always a busy month in the kitchen garden as the weather starts to warm up and you hectically try to get all the jobs done that should have been completed during the winter. These jobs have included pruning of the fruit bushes, preparing ground for sowing and putting muck on the roses, fruit trees and peonies.
This month I have been planting replacements for some of the increasingly unproductive perennial crops. This includes three new varieties of strawberries, my favourite one is Honeoye. It may sound daft but it has the most incredible sweet strawberry flavoured fruits. New rhubarb crowns have also been planted to replace those that have been in for around 15 years and are ‘worn out’. A new asparagus patch was also planted, it will be at least two seasons before either these or the rhubarb can be harvested.
Seed sowing has also been in full swing, with carrots, beetroot, turnips, early peas, runner beans etc all being sown directly into the ground. The very dry weather has meant that germination has been slow, despite the warm conditions. As soon as we get some rain they will all be up, along with the weeds!
Over the next month I will continue to sow vegetable seed in small batches. I like to sow small amounts of a crop regularly to try to get continuity and therefore reduce a glut. The vegetable seed sown indoors in pots and jiffy 7’s will need hardening off before being planted out later in the month.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.

Showcase of Musical Talent Success!

On the evening of Saturday 12th March, Hodnet 2000 Educational Trust hosted a ‘Showcase of Musical Talent’ at the Lyon Hall, Hodnet. The show featured young people from around the local area, including many students from the Thomas Adams School, Wem. The audience were treated to performances from the school’s senior choir, various instrumental soloists and a variety of other vocal acts. There were also performances by students from the Grove School at Market Drayton. Many of the audience members commented on how professional the performers were and that they were pleasantly surprised to see so many talented young people giving up their time to support a local charity.
Hodnet 2000 Educational Trust was started at the turn of the millennium to support young people under the age of 25 from the parish of Hodnet, Weston under Redcastle and Peplow with their education, training and development. Despite being in existence for 11 years it was felt that many local people were unaware of what the Trust had to offer so the event was arranged to improve the profile of the charity and showcase the abilities of local young people. The comments from the audience suggest that the event has been successful in this respect.
The trustees of the charity noted that it would not have been possible to stage the event without the extensive support of the music departments of both the Thomas Adams School and the Grove School.
For more information on Hodnet 2000 Educational Trust please see our Local Charities page.