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'Rewilded' Walled Garden ©Knepp Castle Estate

Our February lecture was given by Charlie Harpur, Head Gardener at Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex. Charlie’s talk was extremely inspirational, premised on the belief that we all have a role to play in reversing biodiversity loss no matter how large or small our gardens. He encouraged us all to 'join the conversation' and discussed how the ‘rewilding’ experiment at Knepp really illustrated how that can be achieved with even a few small key changes: creating corridors for wildlife, allowing for disturbance, and choosing a wider range of plants to suit your current conditions be they heavy clay, poor building site material or sandy soil. And, of course, less emphasis on creating and preserving a beautiful, level lawn which supports very little biodiversity either above or below ground! Isabella Tree’s book entitled ‘Wilding’ published in 2018 is a good place to start to learn about the ‘rewilding’ of the larger estate and then their website also highlights their work and findings. We would really encourage you to consider taking even a few small steps including leaving plants standing through the winter as they provide useful food sources and habitats for many insects; leaving more areas to long grass during the year and incorporating more nectar rich plants in your planting scheme (even the kitchen garden). I will be looking at his idea of ‘dirty’ paths where you sow herbs into the paths and allow things to self-seed. Perfection needn’t be your goal. Isn’t that a relief?

DHHS Main Show 2021 ©Sheri Sticpewich

Our final winter lecture will be this month and we look forward to learning more about all aspects of growing dahlias with plant specialist and Chelsea Flower Show medallist, Darren Everest.

16 March 2023 7pm

Growing Dahlias with Darren Everest

Dahlias are a welcome addition to our late summer borders as they will continue to flower up until the first frosts. These lectures are free to DHHS members and £5 for non-members. Booking is essential via Eventbrite.

March heralds longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures allowing us all to spend more time in our gardens preparing for the growing season ahead. As you are sowing seeds and dividing plants do set aside some for the Society’s annual plant sale at the Dunsfold Fete scheduled for Saturday 13 May this year (please note revised date). We need strong, healthy, and well-established seedlings for sale. More details on how to share seedlings for the sale will be forthcoming. You will find useful information on the Society’s website for what seeds you should be sowing now and other gardening jobs for the month under ‘Latest News’.

Winkworth Arboretum April 2022 ©Jill Andrews

On 19 April we will have a guided tour of Winkworth Arboretum by Dr Peter Herring, long-time volunteer at Winkworth and self-confessed ‘tree nerd’. He will be highlighting the notable spring blossoming trees, shrubs, and bulbs on display. For National Trust and DHHS members, the visit costs only £5 per person. If not a NT member, the cost is £17 per person (inc. garden admission and the guided tour). Numbers are limited to 25 people.

Finally don't forget to enter our Virtual Spring Show. Details for entry can be found here. Deadline for Entry is Friday 31 March 5pm. Photos can be taken up to a week in advance. We look forward to receiving your photos and celebrating the many Spring flowers in our garden. We would love more entries for the Children's section!

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