Month: June 2011

Wollerton URC Treasure Hunt 2011

Treasure hunters enjoy tea together
One of the hottest days of the year (Sunday 26th June) saw approximately fifteen carloads of local residents and friends set off on the annual car treasure hunt ably organised by Rachel Harrington and her team. This year’s route took those who followed it successfully through Hodnet, Peplow, Great Bolas, Ercall Heath, Howle, Childs Ercall and Stoke-on-Tern before returning to Wollerton Bowling Club for a hard-earned buffet tea.
As ever, the well-designed cryptic clues left some participants going round in circles well off the intended route. It was possible to collect 136 points through a combination of correct answers, right mileage and acquiring six “treasures”. Whilst some teams struggled to get anywhere near this total, the winning team scored 106, closely followed by second place with 99 and third with 95.
Well done to everyone who took part, newcomers as well as old hands.

Glow-worm hunters' late night rewarded

After the recent Hodnet Footpaths Group meeting on 23rd June, Niall Gallivan motivated an expedition to the disused railway track to look for Hodnet’s glow-worm colony. The group consisted of some members of the Footpaths Group along with family and friends, and was led by Wendy Roberts (and her faithful jogging companion Maggie May) who has helped Shropshire Countryside staff to monitor glow-worms numbers in this area for some years.
The colony is found along the old railway track in the section north-east of Station Road. It was a cold breezy night and the sun did not set until 10.30. In spite of the fears that it might be too cold or too light for us to see anything, patience was rewarded and 6 glowing females were spotted by members of the group. Unfortunately they were low down in the grass, which made photographing them even more difficult.
Female glow-worms only display in this way during the mating season from mid June to mid July. For more information, see our wild-life page here, or the glow-worm website at www.glowworms.org.uk where you can find much better pictures than these!

Without a flash a shaky glow was the best result
With a flash the dark patch in the centre was all that showed

Weston under Redcastle Village Show

Sunday 7th August 2011 from 11.30am

At The Citadel Show Ground SY4 5JY
Adults £4 Children free
Opened by Shirley Tart MBE

“A real country show”

Some of this year’s attractions: Flower and Vegetable Show Tent, Companion Dog Show, Vintage tractors, classic cars, carriage driving, pony club games, Shire horse parade, North Shropshire horses and hounds, Agri games, plant and cake stalls, and many side shows and exhibitions.

Especially for the children: Pinxton puppets, bale assault course, face painting, children’s races, children’s tug of war, animal corner, fire engine, archery, games of skill, tractor trailer rides, sit in the 2 seater cockpit of a Buccaneer Bomber used in the Falkland Island War
A grand parade!
BBQ, Refreshment Tent, Pimms, Local Beer, Wine, Farm House Ice Cream
Proceeds to St Luke’s Church, The Village Hall, Help for Heroes and Multiple Sclerosis

Schedules for flower and produce show 01939 200220
Entries to be delivered/reg between 11.30am-3.30pm Saturday 6th august
Dog show entries at 12 noon Sunday 7th August, for info. 01939 200656
All other enquiries 01939 200637 or 01630 685204

Trugg and Barrows garden diary June 2011

“Spring being a hard act to follow, God created June” (Al Bernstein)
May and June – A Passion for Peonies.
May and June are wonderful months in which to experience the first flush of herbaceous planting and no flower symbolises the glories of early summer more than herbaceous and tree peonies.
Both of these genera hit their peak at this time of year, producing wonderful ephemeral blooms and both come in a variety of species and forms.
Most peonies in the garden come in two forms, either herbaceous P. lactiflora or hybrid cultivars, or the woody stemmed tree peonies.
Peonia lactiflora was first introduced into Europe towards the end of the eighteenth century and has given rise to thousands of cultivars. It is one of the easiest and most popular peonies to grow, tolerating a wide range of soil conditions. Peonies grow best in fertile, well drained soil but can be grown in sandy or clay soils with the addition of plenty of well-rotted manure. In fact manure is a must for herbaceous peonies. Applied during the dormant season, it is best to avoid the crowns of the plant to prevent scorching of the developing buds.
Some cultivars such as ‘Festiva Maxima’ were first raised over 150 years ago but are still popular today and many make excellent cut flowers. ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ is one of the best for this purpose and many acres are given over to it in Holland. Often, when the crowns are too old for commercial production, they are divided and sold cheaply for garden use.
Paeonia lactiflora cultivars come in all colours although, because of genetics, there is an absence of a good red, the closest being magenta. On the plus side many are deliciously fragrant; ‘Boule de Neige’, ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ and ‘Gainsborough’ are a few of the most fragrant.
Paeonia lactiflora has given rise to a number of hybrid herbaceous peonies when crossed with other species. These hybrids flower over a long period of time from early spring, when the majority of the species flower, to early summer when the lactifloras are in bloom. Amongst these are also good red forms such as ‘America’ and ‘Scarlet O’Hara’.
By contrast, Chinese Tree Peonies are amongst the oldest cultivated plants in the world and make an indelible impression on anyone who sees them. They often appear delicate because of their exotic flowers and delicate foliage but in fact they can withstand very low temperatures as well as summer drought. However, they are slow growing: a mature specimen may be 3m tall but this could take 50 years or more! Many tree peonies will tolerate some shade as well as full sun.
There are also a number of intersectional or ‘Itoh’ hybrids which are crosses between herbaceous and tree peonies. At first sight they appear to be tree peonies but they are usually herbaceous and die back in the autumn, but they have the advantage of retaining their shape through the year and extra vigour which means they can establish quickly.
Hybrid, lactiflora and tree peonies will prove perfectly hardy in all areas of the U.K. Most plants will establish better if planted in the autumn as dormant crowns, or bare-root plants in the case of tree peonies. However, modern retail horticulture offers plants in flower and as long as the ground is prepared with plenty of soil improver and organic matter, and the plant is watered, they will do well. However it is important to plant the crown no more than 2in below the soil level. If this is done then the peony should settle in, although it may not reach its best for three years. If planted too shallowly the plant may not flower at all, but it is important that it gets a good chilling in winter to initiate flower production.
It is an oft quoted fallacy that peonies cannot be moved, or that if they are they will sulk. Herbaceous and tree peonies can be moved when dormant and herbaceous peonies can be propagated by division. As long as care is taken when replanting they should continue to grow well, although flowering may be affected for one or two seasons.
The main disease that affects both herbaceous and tree peonies is Peony blight which can seriously damage them. Infected tissue turns brown, then black and finally wilts altogether. It is most prevalent in wet springs, so good air circulation is important. It can be controlled by removing and burning infected tissue as soon as it appears. A preventative fungicidal treatment is beneficial.
In the kitchen Garden.
“Time flies like a jet plane, fruit flies like a ripe strawberry!”
May seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye; it’s already June which brings the summer solstice and then we are already into shortening days. There is hopefully still plenty of good weather to come and if you haven’t had chance to get out in to the veg garden yet, it is still not too late to get some produce this summer.
The beginning of May finally brought some desperately needed rain to the garden. Much of the middle of the month returned to dry conditions, accompanied by almost constant wind. This led to a need to irrigate the garden at a time of year when it is not normally required. If your veg is looking a bit stunted, or if it has bolted, then it’s probably down to the dry conditions. There were a few cold nights (but thankfully not too many and not very cold) which meant covering crops like courgettes or early French beans with horticultural fleece.
The bird nesting season is well under way and I have had the pleasure of having the company of Garden Warblers, Bull Finches and a Green woodpecker amongst others, as they energetically go about rearing a brood of chicks. The Cockchafers or May Bugs have been out on the wing also, a nuisance to us gardeners as the grubs eat the roots of our treasured plants, causing the plants (and consequently us) distress.
A certain amount of mystique and romance seems to surround vegetable and fruit growing. In reality it is mostly fairly straight forward (it’s a different thing if you want to grow a 10 metre long carrot, or a 50 kg marrow, but why would you?). Most of the skill comes in managing your growing space in such a way that famine and gluts are avoided. This can be done with successional sowing, i.e. sowing small amounts of a crop at regular intervals throughout the growing season. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get on with a second or even a third sowing of things such as radish, carrots, lettuce, baby turnip and peas, if you have the space of course.
I have also been planting brassica transplants this month. When I first came to this garden 12 years ago, a half to two thirds of every brassica crop was lost to root fly. Then I discovered the trick of placing a short piece of rhubarb stalk in the bottom of the planting hole. Most people think I’m away with the fairies when I suggest this as a cure for brassica root fly but it has shown its self to be very effective.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.