Continuing our programme of workshops for National Collection Holders we moved out of Surrey up to Stratford-upon-Avon, courtesy of our very good sponsors and friends NFU Mutual. They provided hospitality and accommodation for two workshops this week, one on Plant Health and the other on Grafting and Propagation.
Joanna, our roving reporter and workshop facilitator reports:
Andrew Gaunt, Plant Health and Seed Inspector, FERA and NCH Hedychium updated us on all aspects of plant pests and diseases and emphasised the important role of each National Plant Collection Holder as a genetic resource. David Rose from the Forestry Commission talked on tree diseases – present concerns and future trends. In particular the ‘Armageddon’ of all diseases ….. Phytophthora ramorum. First found in the South West of the UK – and now alarmingly creeping across the rest of the country. David’s own theory is that climatic stress appears to be the main initiating factor for many diseases now found. Sally Smith – Organic gardening trainer and consultant gave us many tips on how to garden organically and emphasised the benefit of maintaining good soil. She told us to resist the urge to squish our pests such as slugs and snails and to remember all living things are inter-related and inter-dependent – including us!
Barry Clarke, (NCH of Rubus, Asclepias and Lobelia)and head propagator for Hilliers, excelled himself with his engaging style and the very practical nature of the workshop meant that everyone went away having put the theory into practice.
Susan Barley of NFU was thrilled when Barry gave her a family Malus grafted with three additional cultivars.
Everyone went away with grafted specimens to nurture and ten intact fingers.
And if the camera never lies, it looks as though Joanna got involved as well.
We very much appreciate the support of our other sponsors for these workshops, Brother Uk Ltd, The Mercers Company, The Topinambour Trust and The Tanner Trust.
And a message from Gillian and the team in National Office; thanks to Jack and Joan for the cake, the ginger parkin is just as good as I remember it.