Our final talk of the year held at the Station Theatre was definitely one worth waiting for! Pip Bensley gave an excellent, fully illustrated talk on climbers and how to grow them in our gardens. Pip is a well-known presenter on TV and radio and a prolific author as well as being a RHS Chelsea Gold medal winner and accredited judge. She also runs courses on flowers and flowering arranging, climbers and much more.
The talk was full of amusing anecdotes as well as being informative and the audience certainly went home full of ideas for their own gardens. Her love of clematis stemmed from her very first garden, which had been neglected for many years. As she tidied it up the planting emerged, but Pip fell in love the clematis, ‘Nelly Moser’ with its iridescent pink stripe which she discovered hidden under foliage. Since then she has always had climbers in her gardens.
She also gave tips on how to deal with climbers in the garden and stressed that you need to understand how each individual plant climbs. Very few climbers can damage brickwork but it is best to establish a climbing medium such as wires or trellis.
Some of her favourite roses are Rosa ‘New Dawn’ a light pink repeating flowering climber, once voted the best climbing rose in the world!, ‘Darcey Bussell’ ( a beautiful red climbing rose) and ‘The Pilgrim’ (yellow climber). In addition to Nelly Moser she recommended Clematis ‘Freckles’ for autumn/winter colour (cirrhosavar purpurascens) or Daphne ‘Bholua’ with its fragrant pink flowers. The list of suggestions is too long to include here but can be found in her book ‘Climbers and Wall Plants’.
One of her most interesting points was concerning wisteria which winds clockwise or anticlockwise depending on the hemisphere of its origin. Most of our clematis in the UK will therefore wind around clockwise! Pip also recommended the use of Mycorrhizal root grow powder when planting new shrubs as it is guaranteed to stimulate growth of a new plant.
We are currently planning an exciting programme of talks for next year and look forward to seeing you there. Full details will be found in our Yearbook or on the website www.hihs.org.uk. Membership of the society is just £4 per annum per household.