Month: September 2012

Trugg and Barrows Garden Diary October 2012

Most of September’s weather was quite benign. There were some lovely sunny days as well as many breezy and cloudy ones, along with the occasional grass frost and daily heavy dews keeping conditions underfoot a bit damp. Typical autumn weather. The last few days of the month were anything but typical; heavy persistant rain caused flooding around the garden, with paths partially washed away, and the ground so wet that any thought of working on it was out of the question. So a few days painting benches and barrels was the order of the day.
Bountiful Fruits of Autumn.
To me nothing is more redolent of the bountiful fruits of autumn than a Rowan (Sorbus) bedecked with berries.
Rowans are attractive, slender trees with silvery-brown bark and frothy white flowers in spring-summer which are especially attractive to bees. In autumn they bear berries in tones ranging from pinkish white to orange and scarlet which provide welcome sustenance to birds, especially blackbirds and thrushes. The foliage is also light and airy making them perfect for under planting.
In the garden they prefer light, sandy, slightly acidic soils and will often thrive in exposed places. Often in the most exposed places they will be no more than shrubs clinging precariously to rock faces. When transplanted to the garden however, many make handsome trees of 15-20m tall. All are extremely hardy and cold tolerant and indeed do best in cold, temperate climates. What follows are a few of my favourites.
Sorbus commixta
The Japanese Rowan is most notable for its superb autumn colour, the leaves glow bright orange, red and finally purple. The orange-red berries seem a sideshow compared to the foliage although they do persist longer than the foliage, until the birds take them anyway. In cultivation it can reach over 20 feet but is more tolerant of heavy soils if good preparation is made when planting. The cultivar ‘Jermyns’ is especially choice with outstanding autumn colour and orange berries. ‘Embley’ makes another excellent autumn feature and in a good year the display of red, gold and purple foliage can last up to a fortnight.
Sorbus cashmiriana
The flowers of this species appear in summer and are tinged pink followed in autumn by heavy bunches of pure white berries which are often ignored by birds. Although it comes from a warmer area of the world it is perfectly hardy.
Sorbus vilmorinii
This is an ideal tree for the smaller garden. The foliage is made up of small leaflets giving a ferny effect. The berries are especially striking as they develop from rose pink to bright mauve fading to near white in the winter.
Sorbus sargentiana
This is one of my favourite trees despite being slow growing. Although the flowers are quite tiny they are born in profusion and develop into large clusters of shiny scarlet fruit and crimson sticky winter buds as well as orange autumn colour.
Sorbus hupehensis
This is one of the most distinctive trees in leaf as it has blue-green undersides to the foliage. The berries are pale pink and often left alone by the birds which means they will persist in winter. This has been the parent of some outstanding cultivars including ‘Pink Pagoda’ which has a well deserved AGM.
Sorbus aria
Native to northern Europe, including Britiain, this is one Sorbus that will thrive on chalk. The emerging foliage is covered in a silvery down which is soon shed on the upper surfaces whilst they remain brilliantly white below. The white flowers are followed by red berries.
The year of the mollusc.
In thirty years of gardening, I can’t remember a worse summer for damage to garden plants caused by slugs and snails. This includes to the foliage high up on established shrubs and to the tops of taller herbacacious plants. A number of the garden’s Hostas, many of which usually show little sign of damage have been chewed to the ground.
Slugs and snails can feed on live or dead plant material. They have tiny teeth (within there radula or mouthparts) that rasp away at foliage, stripping it to the midrib. They feed throughout the year, stopping only in dry conditions, when they look for moist conditions lower down in the soil or a damp place under rocks and the like. Snails hibernate in winter and dozens can often be found clustered together in a sheltered nook.
There are many species of slugs and snails that you may come across in the garden. The most common slug is the Field Slug. But also common is the Garden Slug, which is black with a yellow sole, producing yellow tinged mucus. The largest of the main pest species is the Black Slug, growing to more than 10 cm. It is black or dark brown with textured skin and an orange fringe and grey sole. One of the biggest nuisances, I find, is the keeled slug, which feeds underground, ruining root crops such as potatoes, carrots and turnips. The Common garden snail is widespread. They have a grey-brown patterned shell that grows up to 3 cm in diameter.
Both slugs and snails are hermaphrodite, which means that an individual can produce both eggs and sperm. Slugs lay up to 50 eggs in or on organic matter, hatching in a few weeks. Snails lay upto 100 eggs at a time in the soil throughout the summer, with the adults living for many years.
Over the years I have heard many weird and wonderful ways of controlling these pests, most of which are ‘pie in the sky’, although some are amusing. One lady told me how she would place a ‘fence’ of holly leaves around a plant that she wanted to protect, inventive, but not very practical. Beer traps have been shown to work with some species of slug, and it may be worth having a go, if you have the stomach for it. Nematodes that are available from several biological control companies work, but are expensive.
Cultural control includes keeping hiding places such as weeds and old plant debris to a minimum. Keep algae and moss on paths etc down to minimum. Sand and small sharp gravel used as a mulch may prevent slugs amd snails moving across a surface. It is worth encouraging natural predators, such as hedgehogs, birds and ground beetles.
Chemical controls are available and include products with ferric phoshate, metaldehyde or methiocarb as their active ingedient. Care should be taken to ensure that other wildlife and the environment are not damaged when using products containing these chemicals.
In the kitchen garden this month, we will continue to harvest apples, pears and raspberries (the latter as long as the weather stays dry). Carrots, turnips, potatoes, chard, cabbage, early sprouts, late courgettes are all in plentiful supply and will provide for the ‘Big House’. I will continue to do the autumn tidy up, as well as try to do some of the summer jobs that have not yet been done , such as cutting back the old raspberry canes.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.

Cheese and wine evening at the Lyon Hall

6th October 2012    7.00 pm.  onwards 

 This is an annual event to raise money for the maintenance and running costs of the Lyon Hall.

    It is a fun event and all are welcome. The doors open at 7.00 pm. and the buffet begins at 8.00 pm. Wine can be bought by the bottle at the bar and there will be a  good selection of cheeses supplied by T.O. Williams, as well as bread, tomatoes, pickles and other accompaniments. We have a raffle, tombola and a game to win a bottle of whisky and one to win a bottle of Gordon’s Sloe Gin.

   Tickets£8.50            Please contact Rachel  01630 685293          

New electrical recycling bank in Market Drayton

Shropshire Newsroom reports here that a new electrical recycling point has been established in Market Drayton.
The container is sighted at the Lidl supermarket in Towers Lawn.
The above page states:

Small electrical items can be left in them, such as mobile phones and chargers, remote controls, computer parts, printers, keyboards, scanners, electric toothbrushes, calculators, cameras, watches, electric razors, hair straighteners, irons, and similar-sized electrical goods.
However, large electrical items such as televisions, washing machines and fridges shouldn’t be brought to these sites as they won’t fit in the containers.

Another new electrical recycling location is in the High Street in Wem.
For more information on recycling small electrical items see this page.

Recycling small electrical items

Station Road Housing Development: Concept Images

Following the drop-in event at the Lyon Hall on Friday 14 Sept. we have been provided with a set of the initial drawings of what the proposed development may look like. It must be stressed that these are nothing more than concept images to give a broad brush idea of what the development may look like.
The site is the old council yard on Station Road, which Shropshire Council are trying to sell. The potential developers, Shropshire Housing Group, are considering building a total of 19 dwellings on the site. Based on figures from  Shropshire HomePoint’s waiting list of local people, if the development goes ahead the properties are likely to be a mix of two and three bedroom two storey houses, two bedroom bungalows and two bedroom flats. The concept plans give the following mix – though it should be emphasised that the layout is not finalised.

Judging from comments made at the drop-in event many people feel that there is a need for more bungalows than shown. Many people also questioned the need for the flats, whilst others questioned their location. Shropshire Housing Group’s policy is that all their new homes, other than flats, should have two parking places though garages are seen as non essential. Storage space is normally provided in outbuildings which are not shown in the concept drawings.
The proposal is at a very early stage and having held the drop-in for local people, Shropshire Housing Group now have to decide if they feel it would be worthwhile going ahead with the development.

Market Drayton Swimming Centre – Open Day

From the Shropshire Newsroom (September 13):

Market Drayton Swimming Centre and Shrewsbury Sports Village – Open Day this Saturday

Residents of Market Drayton and Shrewsbury can now enjoy an array of leisure activities with family and friends at Market Drayton Swimming Centre and Shrewsbury Sports Village, following an extensive refurbishment of the facilities.
Come along to the Open Days at the facilities on Saturday 15 September 2012 10am – 4pm, see the refurbishments firsthand, and enjoy the following activities:


Market Drayton Swimming Centre

  • Have a look around our brand new 42-station fitness suite, with health and fitness memberships from £27.50 per month*
  • Join on the day and get a month’s membership free
  • Between 2-4pm there will be free child swimming when accompanied by a paying adult.

In addition to all of the above there is the chance to win a brand new Mini for a weekend. 
As part of a significant investment programme of improvements to leisure facilities, the fitness suite at Market Drayton has converted the previous reception area into a 42-station fitness suite with state of the art equipment, and a brand new reception has been built.

Log onto for more information, or call the leisure centre team on 0345 0007 004 (Market Drayton) today for more information. Click here to go to the relevant page on Shropshire Leisures web site.

Wise & Well Information Day

Health, Home Safety and Diabetes Awareness Information Day

Tuesday 2nd October 2012 at the Lyon Hall

A one stop shop for information. This event is being organised by the Preventative Services Team at Shropshire Rural Community Council. The programme will be:

  • 10.00 am – 1.00 pm (includes light lunch)
  • Lunch 1.00 – 1.45 pm
  • Diabetes talks start at 1.45 – 4.00 pm

Starting at 10am there will be talks from Falls Prevention Service, West Mercia Police and Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service.
There will also be an Exhibition with experts available to give help and advice on Benefits, Pensions and money issues, Road Safety Advice, Support for unpaid Carers, Shropshire Link, Assistive Technology, Stroke, Crossroads Care, Senior Citizens Forum, Independent Care Solutions and many more.
At 2pm there will be specialist Diabetes talks and advice from health care professionals (eye screeners,
podiatry & a nutritional therapist). This Diabetes Awareness event is in partnership with Hodnet Medical
The event is free but booking is essential – please phone Allison Richardson 01743 342162. Alternatively you can email her. The RCC website is here.

Click the image below to download a poster.

Wise & Well Information Day Poster

Shropshire Cares Info Central

Shropshire Cares Info CentralThe web team have been notified a community website which links to online help people can access in order to live independent lives in their own homes. Called Shropshire Cares Info Central (click to visit) the site is run by David Sandbach and hosted on the Shrop.NET community website.

The site describes it purpose as:

The site is here to help ordinary citizens find the information needed to stay independent and healthy.
We also hope this site will help people to play a part in wider decision making processes should they so choose and above all to stay connected to other people in and around Shropshire.

The site lists a wide range of information sources available on the Internet, such as where to get rubber stoppers for a walking stick through to the Department of Health knowledge base and all stops in between. There is a “Can’t Find it?” page and also a “Knowledge Bank” which has an A to W list of useful websites. It is a really useful site for anyone looking for information about independant living in Shropshire.
There is a contact form on the site for those looking for other information or you can leave a message for David by phoning 07716-178814. Alternatively, you can send him an email.
If you missed the link above the click here to visit Shropshire Cares Info Central.

Station Road Housing Development: Drop-in Event

This week’s Market Drayton Advertiser (7 Sept. 12, page 2) carries a report of a consultation evening planned for next Friday which will give local residents a first opportunity to look at proposals for a housing development in Station Road, Hodnet.
The drop-in session is to be held at the Lyon Hall, this Friday (14 September 2012) between 5.00 & 8.00pm.
The Shropshire Housing Group, of which Meres and Mosses Housing Association is the local management group, is seeking to develop the site as affordable housing for local people. Representatives of Shropshire Housing Group, Shropshire HomePoint and BBLB Architects will all be present.
Local Shropshire Councillor Karen Calder told the Advertiser, “I would urge all local residents to drop in and find out the facts about the development.”
The report does not say which site in Station Road the proposals concern, but the recently closed SAMDev (Site Allocations and Management of Development) consultation identified only one possible location for future housing development. This is the old Highways Depot, close to the bridge. The SAMDev proposals identify this site as HOD001, and say that it has an indicative capacity for 12 dwellings. According to the Advertiser’s headline, the proposals being  put forward are for 19 homes!
Councillor Calder makes an important point when she urges all local residents to attend next week’s event and find out the facts about the plans. It is important that everyone makes use of the consultative and democratic procedures to ensure that the area is developed in a way which is best for all residents, especially those whose homes may one day be on this and similar sites.

Any old photos?

The Hodnet web team would like to add to the website a section containing old photographs of the area. This photograph of a train passing though Wollerton is an example of the type of image we are looking for.


Photos need not be in black and white: colour ones will be fine. Any photograph from the earliest days of the box camera through to the end of the 1990s will be welcome. Photos of any subject will be appreciated and we will sort them into galleries by date and theme.
If you would like to contribute to our collection of memories from this area, then please scan your pictures and send them to the address below. Please note, images should not be greater than 1200 by 900 pixels. If you want to retain the copyright on the images, please use graphic editing software to add a copyright notice to them (if you don’t have suitable software GIMP and Infraview are two freeware programmes that enable you to do this).
Once you have your images ready to send to us, please send them to this email address. Please attach no more than two photos to each email. You will receive an automatic acknowledgement for your first email in any seven day period. Please also tell us something about each photograph in the email it is attached to. We also need you to provide us with your name and address and for you to make clear that you give the website team permission to publish the photographs on
We look forward to receiving your photographs.

Trugg and Barrow’s Garden Diary September 2012

The end to another summer is fast approaching, but there is still plenty to enjoy and lots more gardening to do.
There are few plants to which the above adjectives can truly be applied but Hydrangeas are certainly one of them and NOW is the time when they are at their best. In addition, few other woody shrubs come from as versatile a family or display such variety.
Hydrangeas shout their presence in the summer garden when there are few flowering shrubs apart from Hypericums. There are a number of highly ornamental species and cultivars.
What makes hydrangeas so special is the longevity of the display. Roses will repeat flower all summer, presenting new flowers as old ones fade. Hydrangeas present the same flower from bud burst to first frosts. This is only possible because of the curious arrangement of hydrangea flowers. Each head is made up of small fertile flowers usually toward the centre, these are the flowers concerned with producing seed. The sterile flowers attract insects with showy bracts which, because they are infertile, cannot be pollinated so remain until the fertile flowers have been pollinated when they turn downward and change colour. Most species have lacecap type flowers except H. quercifolia and H. paniculata. Most variation between cultivars has to do with the ratio of fertile to infertile flowers.
H. arborescens was, incidentally, the first hydrangea to be introduced into cultivation and in the wild can grow to tree like proportions of 10ft or more, although it usually achieves only 3-5ft in the garden. ‘Annabelle’ is perhaps the best cultivar with huge heads of sterile flowers.
Also from America, H. quercifolia has large drooping panicles of flowers although these are only borne in warm summers. What is impressive is the foliage which looks like a much magnified oak leaf but displays wonderful crimson and purplish autumn colour. Unlike most hydrangeas which will still perform well in shade, this one demands a warm spot and acidic soil.
H. paniculata by contrast will tolerate the most extreme cold and is not fussy about pH so long as the drainage is good. Left unpruned, the bush can reach 20ft though pruned annually it makes an impressive plant of 5-7ft. This is also one of the most trouble free of a trouble free genus and as a bonus is also scented!
There are a host of available cultivars, all differing in the ratio of sterile to fertile flowers and some have a slight pinkish hue. The best in my opinion are all pure white such as H. paniculata ‘Kyushu’ or H. ‘Unique which has so many infertile flowers that they completely obscure the fertile ones. Late in the season the bracts droop and turn a lovely rust red.
My favourite species of hydrangea is H. aspera var villosa and H. aspera var sargentiana. The latter is a tall upright shrub displaying large pink hued lacecap flowerheads atop large hairy leaves. If that were not enough, the bark is a pleasing confection of brown papery peel revealing grey underneath which makes an excellent winter feature. To grow this hydrangea successfully, the soil needs to retain moisture so that the large leaves do not turn brown prematurely. With sufficient moisture this normally shade loving plant will tolerate full sun. Shelter is also advisable to help keep those big leaves in tip top condition but if you can grow this plant successfully it will make you the envy of your neighbours.
H. aspera var villosa bears purplish/mauve lacecap flowers and prefers full sun. It has slender hairy leaves and is very easy to grow. In the 2010/2011 winter, a fine specimen was cut to the ground by the severe cold and has since completely regenerated. Whereas H. sargentiana is a tall slender shrub, by comparison H. villosa is spreading, reaching 7-10ft tall by as much wide. The hairy leaves protect it from extremes of drought and cold and it is a deservedly popular plant.
By far the most common hydrangeas are descended from H. macrophylla which adorn front and back gardens everywhere and deservedly so. These are also the hydrangeas which change colour according to pH so need no introduction from me!
The climbing hydrangeas are as impressive as the shrubby ones and extend far beyond the realms of the commonly planted H. anomala subsp petiolaris, though many people seem unfamiliar with using it as a ground cover by preventing it from climbing.
Schizophragma hydrangeoides and S. ‘Roseum’ are amongst the best, both self clinging and bearing showy bracts. Content in both sun or shade they flower best in sun and on warm walls.
Pileostegia viburnoides is an evergreen relative and is worth the patience it needs to get going, after which it will reward with creamy white flowers in late summer. It does best in rich, well drained soil in sun, though it will tolerate some shade.
Easy, fuss free and affordable. Add to that adaptable, elegant and varied…what more could one want!
In the Kitchen Garden
The end of another growing season has swung around again. There is already a bit of chill in the air on some mornings, with the grass covered in heavy dew, and the occasional morning fog. As well as these early indications of a change in season, the first few signs of autumn colour are also appearing in yellows, reds, purples and oranges.
Production in the kitchen garden is winding down now and although some growing could continue, here we have a full programe of autumn and winter work in the main garden, so the race is on to get as much of the kitchen garden put to bed now. During August, as well as fruit and vegetable picking, cutting of the box hedging in the kitchen garden has occupied most of the working time. Time is getting on for this job and it needs finishing quickly in order to lower the risk from the disfiguring and potentially fatal box blight. This fungal disease attacks during the cool damp weather prevalent in Autumn (the cool damp weather we have had in summer this year has already caused an outbreak) . Large patches of the 750 m or so we have in the kitchen garden has suffered in the last 5 years from attacks from box blight. However, with good cultural practices we are now holding the disease at arm’s length.
This has been one of the least productive years in the KG for a good while. This is due to the cool cloudy weather conditions which have all kinds of knock on effects. Potatoes have produced low yields, sweetcorn has been stunted, lettuce, chard and onions have all bolted. Tomatoes don’t seem to be able to ripen; in fact a few people have told me that they gave up on these early in the season as they were doing so poorly. It has not been all doom and gloom though. Some crops such as cucumber have done very well this year, probably due to the more humid conditions that they favour.
The vegetable garden does not have to be unproductive through the winter. For example, hardy varieties of lettuce and cabbage can be grown.
Spring Cabbages need an open, sunny position together with some protection against harsh winter winds. Grow hardy varieties such as Primo, Savoy King or Savoy Siberia. A light, well-drained soil is preferable. Nothing will damage them more than water-logged conditions in the cold winter. Don’t add manure or nitrogen rich feeds to the soil as this will only encourage vulnerable soft green growth.
Generally, late July to early August is the best time to sow Spring cabbage. If you have some kind of crop protection you can still have a go this year. Spring cabbage matures earlier and more reliably under cloches.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.