Month: February 2012

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Find us on Facebook
Hodnet website now has its own account on Facebook. You can find us here.
All new posts to the site will now also appear on our Facebook wall. Posts are those items which appear in our Local News, Hodnet Life and Upcoming Events sections on the right of every page. Make us your Facebook friend and you will be able to keep up with current stories and events in the area. You can click the Find us on Facebook button which appears at the bottom of the left side bar from anywhere on the site to go to our Facebook pages.
For those not on Facebook we have two other ways you can receive alerts when new items are posted on the site. At the top of every page are two feed icons, one of RSS subscriptions and the other for email updates.
Clicking on the RRS button will enable you to subscribe to our RSS feed. You can then add it to your feed reader account in places like Google, Yahoo! AOL and Windows Live, or by clicking on “View Feed XML” you can it add the feed to your browser’s bookmarks. Some browsers have “add-ons” which will alert you when a new feed item is added. For those who use Mozilla Firefox, Brief is one such, you can find it here.

The Email button allows you to sign up for email notification of new posts. If more than one new post is added in any 24 hour period, you will not get inundated with multiple posts, they will all be sent in just one email.
Now there is really no reason why you should miss out on the latest news from the area. However, we do need to remind you that these updates only relate to posts. the majority of the web site uses pages for static information. So please do remember to visit it regularly and keep an eye on the New & Updated Pages section in the left side bar.
Please do let us know what you think of the site and let us know any news items, events, etc. which it would be helpful to have listed on the site. There are various contact forms available to get in touch – or send us a message on Facebook.

The Big Jubilee Lunch; next meeting.

As announced by Buckingham Palace The Big Jubilee Lunch will be a part of the main programme of events over the central weekend of Diamond Jubilee celebrations. To this end, it is hoped to have a community event on Hodnet Recreation Ground on Sunday 3rd June starting at 12 p.m.
As it stands, Hodnet Sports and Social Club and the 2nd Hodnet Scouts have commited thier support. It is hoped that more groups and/or individuals will come forward to offer thier ideas and  support in order to make this a memorable occasion.

A second organising meeting is to take place at Hodnet Sports and Social Club on Monday 26th March starting at 8 p.m.

Please, please, please come along or contact Janice Parker on 01630-685 531
or Mike Powell on; 01630 685 543

Trugg and Barrows Garden Diary, March 2012

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
– Robin Williams
Daffodils and the first of the spring flowering shrubs have been in flower since mid February, leaves are starting to break out of the confines (and protection) of their buds and many birds seem to have gone into full nesting mode. Does this seem early to you?
In flower in the garden at the moment is the wonderfully scented Oemleria cerasiformis. Also known as the Osoberry or Indian Plum, it is the only species in genus Oemleria. It is native to the Pacific and mountain ranges of North America. In the garden here it is one the first plants to come into flower in early spring. The flowers appear before the leaves. It can grow to a height of 1.5–5 m; in the garden here it is kept to about 2 m by pruning. Apparently, Native Americans eat the small bunches of plum like fruit. Alas, I have never seen the fruits on any plant in Shropshire.
Roses have been pruned and hydrangeas dead headed. If you have not pruned your roses yet, try to do so as soon as possible to prevent any check in growth. The winter has been so mild that grass has continued to grow. Many lawns need cutting already. It is good practice to only reduce the height of grass by a third with any individual cut. Cutting grass too low too quickly weakens the grass, allowing moss and weeds to get established, so remember to check the blade height on your mower (and raise it if needed) before you set about the lawn.
Winter Work – Replenishing Rose Beds
The past week has been a heavy one in the garden. A rose bed that had become sparsely populated because of rose dieback needed to be prepared to receive new plants. As everyone knows, you can’t just dig out a dead rose and stick a new one in its place because of the unexplained phenomenon of rose replant disease. This causes loss of vigour, restricted growth and eventually death. If a rose is to be replaced with another rose then we have to mitigate rose sickness by changing the soil. This can entail some serious digging!
The rule of thumb is that when replacing an individual plant you need to dig out an area of soil down two feet and two feet around where the old rose was planted. In our case we were replacing a whole bed, swapping one variety for another so the whole bed had to be dug out. Now if you just want to replace one plant you can try one of two methods: either plant the rose in a cardboard box, a little bigger than a shoe box or whatever will comfortably accommodate the root ball. Then plant the box in the ground. By the time the box has rotted away traces of rose sickness should be minimal. Alternatively you can feed a newly planted rose through rose sickness by putting microrhizal fungi directly onto the root ball before planting and then feeding heavily with a high nitrogen fertiliser. However I have not experienced this method myself so offer it only as a suggestion!
As we dug down we removed and saved the top soil. This can be used on other areas of the garden where there are no rosaceous plants growing. It might seem obvious that soil infected with rose sickness should not be used around other roses but you should also steer clear of using it around other members of the rose family such as apple or pear trees. The sub soil was also kept as it often comes in handy for filling in holes around the garden.
It is amazing what you find when digging over old beds. We came across a layer of cinders that had been put down 40 years ago in an attempt to improve drainage. It had not worked and had formed an impermeable layer inhibiting the roses from growing well.
Soon we were down to the bedrock which in our case was sandstone. This is normally a good thing as it means good drainage but we used a borer to further open up the bedrock and allow drainage.
We managed to procure some pretty good topsoil from a local supplier. To this we added some well rotted farmyard manure at a ratio of 3 of topsoil to 1 of mulch and mixed it well together and then back-filled the hole until the new soil was well above the original level. This was to allow for future settlement. We will leave this unplanted for 4 to 6 weeks to allow it time to settle. If it is planted straight away the new soil can settle away from the roots which will leave the plants prone to dying of drought or being rocked clear out of the soil by strong winds.
As everyone will have noticed, the mild weather has accelerated the development of growth buds on many plants, including roses, and this means that pruning cannot be delayed. If your roses are well advanced you can still be robust, it will just delay flowering. Luckily roses are adaptable to rough treatment. Along with bud break comes the decision of whether to spray against blackspot and mildew. A word of warning; don’t spray your rugosa roses. They are genetically averse to spraying even for their own benefit. For those averse to spraying try mulching around your roses with lawn clippings, this mulch is excellent at keeping in moisture and at stopping rain splash from moving blackspot spores onto the roses from where they are difficult to dislodge.
Lets all hope for a summer in which we can enjoy our roses!
In the kitchen Garden
Due to the heavy workload in the main garden, very little work has been done this month in the kitchen garden. If you haven’t done so yet, get out there and prepare the ground and get some stuff sown; a mild Spring means the possibility of early crops. If a hose pipe ban comes in then you may be glad of early sowings. According to data from the Environment Agency, Shropshire reservoirs and ground water levels are at an exceptionally low level at the time of writing. It seems likely at that there will be a hose pipe ban this year, which is not good news for us gardeners.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.

Table top sale at The Lyon Hall

PLEASE NOTE: Late notice (16/3) Sale open to the public FROM 10:30am not 9:00am!

Saturday 17th March 9 a.m – 1 p.m. at the Lyon Hall Drayton Road Hodnet.

£5.00 per table (table provided).

Bacon sandwiches and teas.

Make some cash from your unwanted stuff and support a local event, or come along to see if you can grab a bargain.

To book a table call Mike on: 01630 685 543

Proceeds towards the ‘The Big Jubilee Lunch.’ An event to be held on Hodnet Recreation Ground to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.


An Evening with Dennis Taylor

At Hodnet Sports and Social Club

Dennis Taylor the 1985 World Snooker Champion.

8 frames of snooker with chat/jokes and trick shots afterwards.

Saturday 17th March 6.30 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. start.

£20 a ticket from the club (Shrewsbury Street Hodnet)

or call Colin on 01952 550393.

Quiz night at the Bear

There is a pub quiz at the Bear Hotel, Hodnet on Friday 2nd March starting at 8.30pm.

Entry is £1 per person. Teams welcome.

Please support your local events.

More info: Kevin Stevenson email

Trugg and Barrows Garden Diary February 2012

January produced a mixed bag of weather. There have been a few frosty nights and some warm spring like days. Many plants are ahead in growth terms and many garden birds are already singing to establish their breeding territories.It seems to have been a good flowering season for Prunus autumnalis as several people have remarked to me on how well theirs are doing this year.
Snowdrops and Winter aconites are in flower and it feels like Spring is not far away.
For most of this month we have been spreading mulch in the garden. This does a great job at keeping weeds down and helping to retain moisture in the soil through the summer months.
Colour in the Winter Garden – Hellebores.
When the leaves have fallen and before the spring bulbs have really got going, the flowers and robust foliage of hellebores always arouse warm feelings in even the coldest winter. They are amongst the most robust of all perennials and surprisingly adaptable to different conditions. Their foliage, almost universally evergreen, is attractive even before the flowers open and can reach over 1m tall, enabling the gardener to provide striking associations even when they are not in flower. Hellebores are also prolific self-sowers which provides a welcome bonus to the gardener.
Most of the species of hellebore are plants of the woodland edge or occur under dappled shade in clearings amongst trees. They can be grown in sunnier locations amongst perennials or grasses that will provide shade as the season progresses. As a rule the more moisture that the soil retains, the more sunshine will be tolerated so organic matter is the key.
Not all hellebores are hardy however; the Majorcan H. lividus is only good in frost free areas but does make an attractive houseplant. Having said that hellebores are not difficult to raise or to grow. Generally they prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil with some humus content. The only thing they don’t tolerate is water logging. Adequate soil preparation is the key as hellebores are long lived and can quickly build into impressive clumps once they become established.
In general hellebores require very little general aftercare. It is always wise to remove the leaves of H x hybridus against the spread of black spot, and an additional feed of slow release organic fertilizer will supply additional nutrients. An annual mulch of old compost or organic matter will help retain moisture.
Hellebore black spot can be identified by the black or brown patches on the leaves which merge to create large dead areas. Do not compost cut foliage but burn it instead. Hellebore black death on the other hand is more serious and destructive. It is caused by a virus and the stems and leaves are streaked by black discolouration. These mottled patches spread, producing the eventual death of the plant.
Although most associated with woodland or shaded plantings, there are hellebores for sunny well-drained spots. Indeed the greatest concentration of hellebore species is in the Baltic regions where many grow as alpine or sub-alpine plants often in full sun in well-drained conditions. Helleborus argutifolius is a Corsican native well suited to spots with sharp drainage and combines well with brooms and cistus as is its progeny H x sternii which has attractively mottled leaves.
My own favourite is H foetidus a valuable if underrated British native. These make statuesque plants, flowering from midwinter to spring and producing tubular green flowers. Although tolerant of a range of conditions, these are ideal shade plants perfect for growing underneath shrubs and trees. They also combine well with white Narcissus, pulmonarias and other shade lovers. Whatever your situation, Hellebores are a great addition to the garden.
In the kitchen garden .
Heritage apple trees.
In autumn of 2010 after a conversation between my self and Trugg we decided to plant a collection of Shropshire apple tree varieties in the kitchen garden. A couple of months of research, aided by the Marcher Apple Society indicated that there are very few apple varieties existing that are known to have been raised in Shropshire. We decided to expand the search to include those with a close association to Shropshire. Eventually a list of nine varieties was produced. Many of these are rediscovered and/or rare varieties and as such their provenance is rather shaky. We actually needed around 20 trees so the rest were made up with heritage varieties from the Welsh Marches.
Paul Davis of Dolau Hirion Nurseries sourced all of the bud wood for us and grafted it onto a semi-dwarfing rootstock. This should eventually give trees around 2.5 metres high.
At risk of boring those not interested in such things, here is the list of those ‘Shropshire’ apples we have so far;
Brookes’s. first recorded in 1820, red striped russeted dessert apple with a strong aromatic flavour. Keeps well.
Onibury Pippin. Raised by Thomas Knight in the 19th century. A dessert apple that looks good and keeps well.
King of the Pippins/Shropshire Pippin. Pictured above. A dual purpose apple with debate over its origins, it has several synonyms.
The Gypsy King , last recorded in the 19th century was rediscovered at the Apple Day at Church Stretton in 2004,
Ladies Fingers. A yellow culinary apple with a rich flavour. Raised 1824.
Moss’s Seedling. Raised in about 1955 by Chetwynd End nurseries in Newport.
Downton Pippin. Raised in Herefordshire in 1792, a small mid-season dessert apple with an intense sharp flavour.
Yellow Ingestrie. Raised by Thomas Knight in 1800. A small yellow dessert apple.
Bringewood pippin. Cider apple.
If you are aware of any other ‘Shropshire’ varieties that we might be able to add to the collection, or if you have any questions, queries or comments then please email us or use this contact form
Over the next month in the kitchen garden I hope to continue preparing the ground ready for this year’s growing season. Sowing has already begun in a modest way with cabbages and cauliflowers as well as sweet peas all germinating on the propagation bench.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.