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Bordering on Insanity

The Society was delighted to host Timothy Walker last night for his talk entitled 'Bordering on Insanity'. Timothy has been in great demand during lockdown and we were the 7th Zoom talk that he had given already this week. It is no wonder that his expertise is so sought after given his extensive knowledge and work experience. For those of you who missed the introduction, Timothy started his initial training at University of Oxford Botanic Gardens and then had stints at Savill Garden, Windsor and Kew Gardens. After that he returned to the Botanic Gardens in Oxford and worked there for nearly 30 years, 12 of which as Director.

The border he spoke about last evening was one created by he and his wife during their time at Oxford. His talk focused on ten key points but the most important take-aways from my perspective were: 1) start with a plan; 2) Create layers (height and space); 3) the soil must be looked after with weeding and mulching; 4) 'garden is a process, not a product' (plants die); and 5) it's about making pictures - think of 'portrait' plants then group into families and blend to form harmonious communities.

'We very much enjoyed yesterday evening's talk by Timothy Walker. He's an excellent lecturer (as would be expected from his CV) and his speed at recalling and running off the latin names of the plants was astonishing'.

Unfortunately he covered so much ground last night that it was quite difficult to catch all the names of the plants he spoke about with such knowledgable. As requested, he has kindly forwarded:

Walker's Top Ten Must Have Plants

  1. Dictamnus albus

  2. Euphorbias (any and all according to Timothy)

  3. Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'

  4. Papaver orientale (especially Patty's Plum)

  5. Amsonia salicifolia

  6. Geraniums especially 'Samobor'

  7. Thalictrums especially Thalictrum delavayi

  8. Astrantias especially 'Hadspen Blood'

  9. Clematis especially 'Etoile Violette'

  10. Alliums especially 'Globemaster'

Walker's Top Ten Shrubs

  1. Hamamelis mollis

  2. Sarcococca confusa (one of my favourite plants for by the door)

  3. Fatsia japonica

  4. Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diablo'

  5. Rose spinosissima 'Dunwichensis'

  6. Euphorbia x pasteurii

  7. Azara microphylla

  8. Solanum crispum

  9. Colquhounia coccinea

  10. Lonicera 'Winter Sun'

He also mentioned some good reference books for inspiration (quite a few of which I own and can equally recommend).

Mrs C.W. Earle et al. - Garden Colour - 1903 J.M. Dent & Co

Penelope Hobhouse - Colour in your garden - 1985 Francis Lincoln ISBN 0 00217142 2

Penelope Hobhouse - On Gardening - 1994 Francis Lincoln ISBN 0 7112 0816 6

Jim Ames - Color Theory Made Easy - 1996 Watson-Guptill ISBN 0 8230 0754 5

Andrew Lawson - The Gardener’s Book of Colour - 1996 Francis Lincoln ISBN 0 7112 0990 1

Nori & Sandra Pope - Colour by Design - 1998 Conran Octopus ISBN 1 85029 957 9

Piet Oudolf - Designing with Plants - 1999 Conran Octopus ISBN 1 84091 055 0

Dan Pearson - The Garden - 2001 Ebury Press ISBN 0 09 187032 1

I hope you all left with a smile on your face, head full of ideas and body ready to get stuck into digging, mulching and sowing. Next lecture is on 'Growing Vegetables' with Mark Saunders on Thursday, 18 March. Book through Eventbrite.

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