Wells Voice Article October 2021

Bright-berried autumn is in full flow and preparations underway to put things in order for next year. Where to start is ever a problem. I have discovered a kindred spirit in the Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock who is bewildered by many of the bookish instructions and advice which only add to the heap of small but significant mysteries in this business of gardening. He writes: “It appears that the right time to begin gardening is last year.” He goes on to home in on one of gardening's perennial little mysteries with loam. “All the books lay stress on the need of ‘a deep, friable loam full of nitrogen’. This I have never seen.  I do not deny the existence of loam. But I am admitting now in all humility of mind that I don't know what loam is.”

Here Leacock and I share the same bafflement. Experts tell you to work up a good rich loam without telling you exactly what it is. Apparently, it's all about sand, silt and clay. Or what Leacock refers to as “earth, mud and dirt.” Whatever it is, many of us amateur gardeners continue to do what we always have done in a spirit of happy optimism, often in ignorance but ever in hope.

Happily, Wells Gardening Club has successfully managed a programme of well-supported garden visits by car. September saw us at Holt Farm, the impressive gardens of Yeo Valley, Blagdon, and October's excursion will be to Lady Farm, Chelwood. These visits will go some way towards sustaining the Club's spirit throughout the next few months. The very reluctant decision has been taken to postpone the programme until the New Year when the hope is to be able to meet in normal surroundings and share the friendly conviviality that epitomises Wells Gardening Club. In the meantime, keep enjoying the garden. Pip.