Wells Voice Article September 2023

Photo: early ripening hips


According to an ancient Arab legend, when Adam was booted out of the Garden of Eden along with Eve, he was permitted to choose one piece of all the many plants in Paradise to take with him. He took a sprig of myrtle. Now, it's not recorded what Eve thought about this but she doubtless gave him quite an earful. We don't know, either, what he had in mind to make the planet flourish. In his defence he possibly argued that, with the help of a bit of double-digging and plenty of elbow grease, Nature would take its course. Which it did and is still doing with a vengeance. Those reliable periods of consistent weather patterns are a thing of the past. We say to each other how early everything is. Rose hips, pyracantha and cotoneaster berries started ripening at the end of July. One garden which revelled in Autumn abundance was Stourton House Garden adjacent to Stourhead. Here the late Elizabeth Bullivant with her husband created a garden which was a match to Stourhead. Anthony Bullivant looked after the structure of the yew walks and pathways while Elizabeth did the planting. Her philosophy was simple and unorthodox; she let plants grow where they wanted. At its peak it was a garden full of charm and unusual plants all year round. But in Autumn, the hydrangeas and berries came into their own. For many years she would bundle huge bunches of rose hips and hydrangeas of all colours into her van and trundle off to Vincent Square in London where she would scoop first prize at the RHS Autumn Show. It was always properly Autumn with darkening afternoons full of mist and a whiff of Winter in the air. A spectacular bonus at the garden was the sumptuous display of cakes produced by her daughter Caroline. Nowadays, Autumn shows seem to be in September. Things are changing and it's time to do our bit.

In the Wells Town Hall on 14th September at 7.30 pm the Gardening Club will be welcoming Sally Nex as guest speaker. The talk entitled 'Gardening the Low Carbon Way' will deal with the problems which face us all. What we can do in the garden is taking on a huge importance. We can make a difference. Sally, writer, gardener, designer and lecturer, is not only knowledgeable but speaks with immense authority based on experience. There will be refreshments and everyone is welcome to come along, whether gardeners or not, visitors, residents or those new to the area . Members £1 Visitors £3