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Marion Lovell, Abingworth, New England Lane, Playden

The Bowls Club Jumble Sale raised an amazing £705 . Huge thanks to everyone who worked so hard, contributed and supported the event. Carol goes straight on to begin amassing”stuff” for the Iden Fete in July. You can contact her on 280 464 if you have anything to donate.

The Mobile Library will be at the village hall on Monday from 12.05 to 12.45 pm. The very popular Coffee Morning will be happening again, from 11 am to 1.30 pm.

The Iden and District Natural History Society has the next Winter Lecture on Friday 22nd February in the Village Hall at 7.30 pm. Mr. Colin Page will speak about “An Island Race”, and we know how exquisite his photography is.

Lent Lunches will be held in the Old Hall from 12.30 to 1.45pm. They will be on Tuesdays, 19th and 26th February; and 5th, 12th and 19th March. It will be a frugal lunch and a donation will be given to Charity. Everyone is welcome. There will be time for discussion.

The Iden and Playden Garden Society much enjoyed the Winter Lecture given by Mr. Hilary Newman last Monday. He is a man of wide experience and knowlege who spoke in an entertaining manner. He endeared himself to many of his audience by revealing that he is the President of the Anti-Gnome Society ! He gained much of his experience at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens which are second only to Kew. He also worked for many years at Hadlow College.

Most plants in our gardens come from somewhere else, largely thanks to the British Empire, when people were able to go plant-collecting abroad. Many were collected in the 16th century. They came from southern Europe, China, New Zealand and Mexico, so we shouldn’t be surprised if some die during a very cold snap.*Before the war, people did not BUY plants. They took cuttings or sowed seeds. But when houses became more affordable, they wanted privacy, which led to the explosion of leylandii trees. These can be pruned to keep them reasonable, but many people leave it too late, prune hard, and then they die.

Three twigs with flowers with lovely perfume were handed round to smell - a mahonia, winter honeysuckle and verbena. They were all fresh and in flower now.

Much advice was given on pruning to obtain winter colour. Dogwoods and willows should be hard-pruned in March, almost to the ground, to produce the bright colour during the winter. Mimosa can be pruned early to keep it under control.

We saw many slides of wonderful displays of heathers and rhododendrons, and other plants flowering now - cyclamen coum, Prunus mume, Garrya elliptica, winter jasmine,(from China) Witch hazel, and others soon to be with us - snowdrops, primroses, camellias and skimmia. Colour can come from flowers, leaves or bark and all will enliven a winter garden.

Mr. Newman asked if we had done all the winter jobs. Was the greenhouse dead, diseased and dying?

To save room, fruit trees can be pruned as espalliers or cordons, and this job should be done in the winter.

If there is a pond in your garden, don’t go bashing it to break the ice, you will give the fish a headache. Just leave, or create, a small air hole by melting a small area.

Christopher Lloyd was a pioneer of the coloured foliage found in some dahlias, particularly the Bishop series. In the south, banana trees provide wonderful foliage effects.

Winter is an excellent time to review the structure of the garden when lines are not obscured by foliage. English yew is a wonderful structure plant. Topiary originating in Italy, is having a resurgence of popularity. And it doesn’t take up too much room.

He asked, but did not tell us the answer, why beech trees lose their leaves, but beech hedges do not. Who can tell me?

It was an interesting talk, full of good advice and suggestions, delivered with humour.

Have you written the Iden Pantomime into you diaries? Robin Hood will be riding through the groves of Iden on Saturday 20th April.

Could you fit in a report from the Garden Society here please? It happens tonight, and I will TRY to complete after the meeting.

The mid-week services continue at 9.30 am for Morning Prayer and 3.30pm for Evening Prayer on Wednesday.

The 9.30 am service for the Sunday before Lent will be Parish Communion led by the Vicar.