Watsonia in South Africa.
GARDENINGSOMETIMES small is very beautiful indeed.
So I am pleased to be able to give a little helping hand to a beautifully small society on the Island, which is staging a talk on the vast plant kingdom of South Africa.
And when I say vast, that is no overstatement.
It is often said more indigenous species grow on Table Mountain than in the entire UK and I can atest to that — having been lucky enough to have gone there.
The relevance of the illustrated talk to the Island is we are blessed with a climate in which we can grow a fair proportion of them.
Confessed 'plantaholic’ and member of the IW Hardy Plant Society, Helen Mount pointed to the society staging the talk on Tuesday at 7.30pm in the Parish Rooms at Town Lane, Newport.
The speaker is Dr Julian Sutton, of Desirable Plants, in Devon.
South Africa is home to many thousands of species of plants from the familiar garden perennials, such as agapanthus, crocosmia and zantedeschia, to the perhaps less well-known tree heathers (erica), watsonia and albuca.
Annuals or half-hardy perennials, such as nemesia, gazania, osteospermum and felicia, which give us so much summer pleasure and colour also originate from this floral kingdom.
His talk, entitled I Believe in the Western Cape, is open to non-members of the society at a cost of £3 per person and Dr Sutton will be bringing a selection of more unusual plants from his nursery, which will be for sale.
• Talking of talks — it’s all go at Ventnor Botanic Garden at the moment as the staff and its active Friends’ society prepare for it to pass into private hands.
On Friday, March 23, the Friends organise their latest lecture, sponsored by the RHS.
This time it brings to the Island Anne Swithinbank, well known from Gardeners’ Question Time on Radio 4.
Her illustrated talk, My Life With Plants, will be staged at Newport’s Riverside Centre and tickets for RHS members are £6 and non-members £7.50.
Sally Peake, from the Friends, can be contacted on 731403 or e-mailed at email@example.com
Chris Kidd, of the Botanic Garden, reminds me there is a meeting planned which will help shape the future of the botanic garden.
Chris, who manages it, is very much looking forward to the impetus to be injected into the garden by American businessman John Curtis
As a first step, John, who has become more than naturalised to conditions here after living on the Island for a good few years, is organising a public meeting at which he hopes people will air their ideas — and their fears.
He wants to take the helm of the garden from the IW Council and has organised the meeting on Monday at 7pm at the next-door Ventnor Cricket Club.
Chris said: "John is very keen everyone is involved in how the new operation here will run."