Wells Voice Article May 2024

Photo PH:  Cowslips, Camassias and Quince

Nobody has a good word to say about this Spring. The daffodils hated it, the magnolias took one look and departed, the vegetables sulked and rotted. We just loathed it: this endless, sunless Spring. Very little in or out of the garden brought much joy. Things in general seemed bad enough without Everton Football Club being docked another two points. In 1893, Canon Ellacombe, who gardened at Wick near Bristol, wrote an account of an unusual spring of a long April drought and brilliant sunshine with north easterly winds “making the earth, even in the most favoured soils, hard and parched, and with little or no refreshment from dews, the heaven over our head being of brass, and the earth beneath us as of iron". The result of this was that the gardens produced many curious sights which might rightly be called abnormal. He found it difficult to pick a blossom on May Day, the hawthorn in flower with the blackthorn and flowering before the first swallow had arrived. What the Canon welcomed as ' the truest harbingers of summer', the redstart and the corncrake, were seen and heard on April 25. Flowers were stunted and starved, lily of the valley were like silver shot and devoid of scent, the guelder rose producing balls of flowers half the usual size and daffodils on short stalks with small short-lived flowers. We can sympathise.  

Premature and unusual blooming is nothing new but nowadays is more markedly felt, though it is not enough for us to throw in the trowel just yet. Time to sow a seed, pot on a cutting, purchase a plant, visit a garden. Or come along to the next meeting of Wells Gardening Club which will take place in the Town Hall on Thursday 9th May at 7.30 pm. The botanist and enthusiastic gardener Keith Ferguson will present a talk entitled 'Plants for Enthusiasts'. This talk has an obvious appeal and should provide an interesting and entertaining evening. Admission £1 for members £3 for visitors. The meeting is open to everyone. All very welcome. Pip.


There are visits to a couple of magnificent Dorset gardens open to all:

Thursday 20th June to Athelhampton House and garden. Depart 10am

Thursday 18th July to Mapperton House Garden. Depart 10am

For more detailed information, see here https://www.wellsgarden.club/outings-and-events