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john foleyWe held our September 2015 meeting at the usual venue of the Parish Church House Hall by the main lights on September 3rd where some 30 plus members and guests came to see John Foley of Holden Clough Nurseries talk on Plants for Autumn Colour.

The meeting started off with a survey of those present asking firstly if the Fuchsia Judging competition would be better moved back a month in future to August's meetings and secondly who people used the sheds following the apparent changes in the seasons where the Autumn and Winter seem to start earlier and get colder and wetter as well.

The results of the survey resulted in two major changes for the Association. Firstly, in future the Association Mystery Fuchsia will be judged in August rather than September as from 2016 and the Sheds would reduce openings in the latter stages of the year.

The meeting was handed over to John Foley at this point and unlike many guest speakers, no slide show, but row after row of colourful plants greeted us and without a pause John launched into his talk with tips, advice and what goes best with which plant, with examples, and he kept us enthralled for a good hour or more.

Tips included, to kill overgrowth on the regular garden variety of Montbretia, the orange flowering one, was don't try to dig it out, that won't work, weed kill it. Unlike garden Montbretia the more cultivated Crocosmia "Lucifer" grows upto 5ft (and yes, John spoke in English, not Metric), and the corms should be planted 8" deep to give it the support it needs. When these start to grow horizontally like the more thuggish orange Montbretia, dig the clumps up and split them and replant.

Apply Slug Pellets to protect your Hostas as soon as the ground warms up in mid-February, not if the ground is covered in snow, wait until the snow has gone and the ground warms up, then apply at the correct rate which is on the package. This will help keep your Hostas free of slug holes and because you do this earlier in the year, the slugs will die underground thus preventing the poisonous carcasses being eaten by the birds.

To delay the flowering period of your hardy Perennials, give some of them the "Chelsea Chop" around May time and this will delay the flowering period slightly and result in sturdier and lower flowers. Tomato feed is ideal for boosting flower production because it's a high potash feed. Hardy Lobelia, not the small border or trailing Lobelia for your hanging baskets, but the big 3-4ft variety should be cut down to the ground after flowering and not left with stems above the ground as they are hollow and the winter weather will rot the roots and you'll end up with one year only display from what should be a many yeared perennial display.

This year's Mystery Fuchisa variety was Angie, a full flowering bush variety. This years winner was Margaret Metcalfe and Congratulations go to her as well as the Trophy for this year. Next year's variety will be available at the April meeting for judging in August. The first prize in our raffle was a pair of tickets to the WI Centenary Fair held at Harrogate over 3-6th of September. Congratulations to all our winners.

Our next meeting will be held at the Ilkley Parish Church House Hall on 1st October and will feature popular local speaker David Allison in a change to our published program and is a Beginners Guide to Fruit Growing. More details can be found on our website: http://ilkleygardeners.org.uk

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