Wells Voice Article April 2022

A little madness in the Spring is wholesome even for a King (Emily Dickinson)   

There's a dark narrow tunnel in the garden of Compton Acres which acts as a link between two contrasting spaces. You emerge from the gloom into a formal Italian Garden of vibrant and dazzling design. It seemed a sort of metaphor for post lockdown gathering. The March meeting was a great if cautious success, as Mary Payne, garden consultant, explained the planting and replanting of the various zones and styles of this celebrated garden overlooking Poole harbour. This excellent talk gave us a foretaste of the coach visit that the Club will be taking in the summer.

A chance in fact to see all those thousands of plants that Mary and her associates have been sourcing for our benefit. How the English love their plants. Sometimes the addiction can be excessive. In the late 19th century Walter Savage Landor, poet and writer, was so dissatisfied with a meal he had organised in his Italian villa, that he seized his cook in anger and threw him out of the window. Overcome with concern he dashed out to inspect the damage done, not to his servant, but to the violets in the bed where the poor fellow had landed.

Now that Spring is chasing away those hibernating sensations we have held for too long, the same must be true for our fellow creatures in the natural world. There are healthy stirrings and agitations in all our plots and gardens. The violets are not the only early arrivals. Some, of course, need more warmth and this applies to many mammals, ourselves included. We all like a furry animal, so it's rather odd that the nation's favourite mammal frequently voted as such is the hedgehog. Shades of Mrs Tiggy Winkle and so on. Rarer now than it used to be, the hedgehog is still an endearing and much loved creature. This month Colin Varndell will talk on The Predicament of the Hedgehog.

Colin Varndell of Bridport is a naturalist and wildlife photographer of national and international reputation.  His images have appeared in books and magazines both scientific and popular and he has received a number of awards at the prestigious annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. The precision and originality of his photos will make this event a real delight to see. Everyone is very welcome to the Town Hall on Thursday 14th April at 7:30pm. Members £1 Visitors £3 Refreshments are free but please bring your own cup. Colin will also bring photos, cards and books for sale. An evening to remember. Details on the website: wellsgarden.club  Pip