Thursday 8th February 2024 - Gardening Club and It Had To Go
The first meeting of 2024 for the Overstrand Gardening Club was on Tuesday afternoon. The club are planning a trip to Cambridge Botanical Gardens in the early summer. Trips used to feature pretty well every year on the club’s calendar but thanks to Covid, they have been absent. The speaker this month was Jim Paine whose subject was The Secret World of Plants. He started right from the formation of our planet Earth, before there was any life, progressing onto the earliest forms of plant life and how over the billions of years plants have evolved and diversified. A truly interesting talk which also covered the latest mycorrhizal networks, commonly known as the wood-wide web, whereby fungi and trees can communicate. Since Tuesday, I have found this interesting article published in the Smithsonian Magazine about the wood-wide web. The first paragraphs are purely background but it is well worth reading further.
With trees communicating with each other, I wonder if cutting down our peach tree yesterday, to about a metre high, has sent alarm calls to the adjacent greengage tree and cotinus bush. Our peach tree has been a total disappointment, Peter has religiously sprayed it to try to stop leaf curl but despite this the fungus which causes the distortion has still infected the leaves. Once the tiny pink blossom have opened, usually before there are a lot of pollinating insects about, I have taken a cotton bud and pollinated as many of the blossoms I could reach. Peaches have formed, only to fall off before reaching a size that would ripen. So, last year, the decision was made – it had to go. We cut it back and decorated the frame with solar lights and odds and sods and named it, ‘the jumble tree’. I suppose it could have stayed that way but room was needed for our fig tree, grown from a cutting, and getting too big for its pot. That is why yesterday, while Peter was busy working on a frame on his veg plot, I reduced the peach to more or less a stump, lifted and moved the phlox next to it, increased the size of the hole left by the phlox and planted the fig. As to what to do with the remaining stump, I’m not sure at the moment. There are too many shrubs and perennials growing nearby to consider digging it up, I may just have to get the saw and cut it down further.
Today’s photo is off our tassel bush (garrya elliptica) which has excelled itself this year. It may not be colourful but is certainly a welcome sight in the spring and with waxy leaves, it has no problem with our coastal winds.