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For meetings and speaker details see Programme 2020

Sign up for Gardens History Workshop - Saturday 14 March

Garden History poster

Workshop is limited to 40 participants
Email Nicola.Thorpe@sheffield.gov.uk for details

Get to know the Gardens - starting 24 March with Spring Blossom Tour

Public tours led by Friends volunteers every 4th Tuesday between March and November at 13.00
No need to book, meet at the main entrance at Clarkehouse Road at 12.50.
Suggested donation £3. See Programme_2020 for details

Adam Frost 'A Life in Gardening' - 17 February 2020

Adam Frost book signing - J. Sinclair
Booksigning
Adam Frost: a stunning speaker for a major first for the Friends. Last night, we opened the Dorothy Fox Education Centre for the first time for a full house talk. Logistically, all seemed to have been successful: a major relief for the organising committee. The pinnacle, though, was Adam's talk. A warm and engaging reminiscence of his difficult childhood, his massive leap when he landed a job with Geoff Hamilton at Barnsdale, his subsequent development in design via Chelsea Golds. He remains, though, a totally grounded and humble man, concerned and very personally engaged with the benefit of gardening for mental health. A completely unexpected bonus was the large number of young people (including a cheerfully chuckling baby) in the audience. A wonderfully encouraging pointer for the future. Adam Frost presentation - J. Sinclair
Presentation

Update on new South African Bed in Osborn's Field - 8 February 2020

Developing well - and looking great even in February
South African Bed South African Bed

©R. Egglestone
South African Bed

Education and Engagement at Sheffield Botanical Gardens: Public / Online Consultation

Our Education Officer, Nicola Thorpe, would like to hear your views about future education programmes in the Gardens.
Further information and an online questionnaire can be found at
http://bit.ly/EduSBG19 or pick up a paper version at the Dorothy Fox Education Centre.
Deadline for completed questionnaires is 21 February

Volunteer Briefing - 8 January 2020

Curator Ian Turner welcomed everyone to the well-attended session and expressed gratitude for the work done by volunteers. During 2019 total total hours worked were a record-breaking 4448, approximately equal to 3 FTE staff. The number of volunteers was 104, the most attending on any one day was 43 and the least 6 (in spite of awful weather - the wettest autumn in Sheffield records dating back to 1882!). Volunteer hours include those experienced volunteers working at other times, not just the Wednesday morning team.
Ian next introduced the new Head Gardener, Andrea Jones, who started work in the Gardens on 16 December. We all look forward to working with her.
Ian then went on to review health and safety issues, which are essentially risk assessment and common sense. Never struggle or strain, get help or don't do it! Remember not to overload the bags of garden waste - think about staff safety too. Always select the correct tool for the job and keep your work area tidy. Trips and slips can cause accidents, be aware not only of your own safety, but also think of other volunteers, staff and the general public. On the subject of compost, new bays with solid concrete bases will be installed by the end of the month, covers will help the garden waste to reach the required temperature to ensure weed seeds do not survive. However, there are some persistent perennial weeds such as nightshade and bindweed which should never be introduced to the waste bags. It was suggested that a list of weeds be drawn up and some extra training in recognition be available to volunteers. After all, there are many rare and unusual plants in the Gardens and it would be tragic if they were accidentally dug up in mistake for weeds.

It was a lovely bright day and surprisingly mild for the time of year. Ian led a tour to inspect the projects currently in progress. The group eventually returned to the Centre in time for a very welcome hot drink and a presentation by Peter and Trish Kohn about propagation from seed.

Prairie
Prairie Garden - As reported in October last year, Prof James Hitchmough and his students are in the process sorting out this area. The intention is to remove the thuggish plants and increase diversity. As usual the ground will be treated by burning in March. Although originally seeded with North American species, the name Prairie Garden is something of a misnomer - there are no grasses!
AGM Border
AGM Border - Although totally replanted last year the this section has established well and has been much admired by visitors. It is an example of what can be achieved by the partnership between staff and the Friends.
Ian paused briefly at the top of the AGM Border and turned to the beds containing the National Collection of Weigela, he expressed appreciation for the work of John Stirling, a founder member of the Friends, who recently passed away. John was responsible for the development of all three National Collections (Diervilla & Sarcococca as well) and will be sadly missed.
South Africa Bed
South Africa Bed - Created in 2019, this bed has been designed to showcase plants from both the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. The plants have been raised from seed collected in South Africa by Peter and Trish Kohn. Again co-operation between the Friends, staff and the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust (who paid for the new wall) has proved a great asset in the development of the Gardens.
South Africa Bed
South Africa Bed - As can be seen, the planting in the new South Africa Bed has established quickly. It will be interesting to see how these southern hemisphere plants can cope with the climate in Sheffield.
Rock & Water Garden
Rock & Water Garden - The battle against the infestation of horsetails continues. The Gardens' staff were busy clearing the undergrowth and revealing the structure of the rock feature. The Rock Garden was originally created in about 1930 by Clarence Elliott, a famous horticulturalist and founder member of the Alpine Gardening Society and represents a significant historical feature.
Victorian Garden
Paulownia tormentosa - Ian was very proud to point out the Foxglove Tree growing in the Victorian Garden, as he had collected the seed himself in 2010 from a garden in Hull. P. tormentosa has lovely panicles of flowers which he claimed to smell of strawberry jelly. The flowering time can vary between April and June depending on temperature. The tree left to itself is slow growing, however, when coppiced it grows rapidly and forms huge leaves (but no flowers) - this phenomenon can be seen in the bed next to the Gatehouse.
Outside the pavilion
Pavilions lead theft- Ian paused briefly to point out the damage done to the pavilions by the attempted theft of lead last autumn. It will cost a huge amount of money to repair. The lead will be replaced by a plastic substitute once the weather is warm enough for the material to be moulded properly.
East Lawn
East Lawn - A view across the East Lawn reveals the trees spaced out in the "Gardenesque" style, each having suffient space to develop without tangling with its neighbours. Our original curator, Robert Marnock, was an exponent of this design.
Lucombe Oak
Lucombe Oak - The removal of the dense shrubbery around the oak reveals the beautiful tree and has opened up new vistas across from the Rose Garden

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