This year the our annual meeting was held at the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow on the 17th October at the end of one of the best spells of autumn weather for many years. We arrived in Glasgow on a cold misty morning but by the afternoon the sun had burned through and had brought the crowds out to stroll through the gardens.
The day began with the AGM which as usual provided a forum for general discussion which this year raised a variety of subjects from insurance to proper care of disabled members to greater cooperation with the RCHS and the 40th anniversary of Busby Horticultural Society. There are always plenty contributions to these discussions and never enough time to cover everything but it gives the Council something to work on over the coming year. Perhaps we can develop these topics on these pages?
We were given a talk by Peter Foley who used to run the Holden Clough Nursery in the Upper Ribble Valley. He has retired now but has been very active since then developing his own garden at Waddow Lodge with his new partner Liz Dean. The garden includes many of the plants he has collected over the last 40 years including herbaceous perennials, grasses, old fashioned and modern roses and shrubs, heathers and rhododendrons along with fruit and vegetables and is open to the public by appointment. It should be well worth a visit.
We were fortunate during the course of the day to have the company of Jim McColl who was appointed as Honorary Vice President and gave a short acceptance speech during which he expressed his support for the aims of the Forum in bringing together amateur gardeners and supporting gardening groups. Indeed he had been involved at the inception of the Forum and encouraged us from the start. His input in the future will be greatly appreciated.
After lunch we had a tour of the glasshouses led by Will Ritchie, the recently appointed Curator of the gardens. He explained that one of their primary functions is to educate parties of school children; the conditions in the different houses demonstrate how plants have adapted to live in some extreme conditions and one house is devoted to plants that we rely on for food and drink, tea, coffee, Coca-Cola etc. A highlight for many was the filmy fern house, Hymenophyllaceae ferns whose fronds are only one cell thick and so are highly susceptible to water loss. The house was maintained at a high humidity so that water condensed on to the plants and ran in droplets over their fronds.
Many thanks to Glasgow Botanics for hosting the event, their hospitality was much appreciated.
Roger Evans (Treasurer, Scottish Gardeners’ Forum)