Gardeners’ Question Time comes to Littlehempston

This is one event not to be missed, if you have any interest in gardening! We are extremely privileged to have an eminent panel of well-known local experts come to Littlehempston Church on Sunday May 17th to answer your questions and there’s also a scrumptious cream tea, plant swap and sale, plus a fabulous horticultural raffle to make this a most delightful afternoon.

To help solve our thorny horticultural problems, there’ll be the head gardener of Torre Abbey, Ali Marshall (pictured), Ray Hubbard of Hill House Nursery and well-known naturalist, Terry Underhill.  Ali writes: “Took on the gardens when they were practically derelict and managed to win RHS Best Garden in the south west in 2012! Bit of a jack of all trades due to wide variety of plants, microclimates (glasshouses) and themes in the Abbey Gardens and the archaeology, of course. Currently writing the garden page for Herald Express and have done fair amount of media work – a result of Agatha Christie Potent Plants garden and am a bit of an  expert in plant poisons!! Though not in actually poisoning anyone. Started gardening on an allotment and still love growing my own veg – organically of course.”

Terry reports that “I am an enthusiastic, qualified gardener-horticulturalist (practical and scientific) with a lifetime’s experience and interest in all aspects of gardening, natural history and the environment. I am a freelance plantsman, from Devon in England, known as an ‘ideas’ man, and highly respected for my knowledge and experience of plants worldwide, and ability to turn my hand to most things.”

And many of you will have already received wise advice from Ray who established Hill House Nursery over 30 years ago, restoring a garden originally created by famous plantsman and garden writer, Edward Hyams. The garden retains Hyams’s original plan and some of his planting still survives, including a wonderful Magnolia given to him by Agatha Christie. Ray was the British pioneer of the use of biological controls in commercial greenhouses and the Nursery is run without the use of pesticides and with birds and other willdlife playing an important rôle, alongside the natural predators released in the glasshouses. The range of plants there is huge and many are unusual and rarely seen.

So be prepared for some very interesting and expert answers to the questions posed. This promises to be a sell out event – tickets (£8) are available on the door but it’s advisable to contact Claire Donovan (tel 07813 811345 or 01803 862598) to reserve them in advance. If you’d like to submit a question, be quick – deadline is Wednesday May 13th. The event starts at 2.30pm with sale of seeds and plants (donations most welcome) with cream teas at 3pm, Question Time at 4pm and the afternoon rounds off with the raffle. What a perfect way to start the summer! All proceeds go to helping keep our beautiful church open for all.