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A Rockery in the Garden

(20 April 2007)

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 Members of the South Chilterns Group were looking forward with great anticipation to the return of Timothy Walker Head of the Oxford Botanic Gardens, who this year was to talk on A Rockery in the Garden. The rockery he was talking about was the one at the Botanic Gardens in Oxford, which was being rebuilt. This was somewhat larger than the average rockery that most of us would have. The original rockery was laid out just after the First World War and has been replaced in the past, but it was decided that it needed to be revamped again. It is now completed and full of exciting new plants based on ideas of how rockery plants can look in the wild.

 

Timothy’s talk with some wonderful slides looked at plants in their natural habitats around the world. One place that Timothy was particular passionate about was the Burren in County Claire on the west coast of Southern Ireland. The Burren is effectively a massive rockery, all one hundred square miles of it with an enormous variety of plants. He also showed inhospitable rock outcrops where small plants managed to grow with seemingly no nourishment.

 

The possible plants that could be found and are now available in our garden centres was amazingly varied. It even included a tiny lonicera periclymenum (Honeysuckle), which was just two or three inches high. Plants varied from ferns, bright blue gentian, geranium sanguineum, to lichens, showing how wonderful and varied nature can be.

 

The talk was followed by refreshments and wine and everyone agreed it was yet another really enjoyable talk by Timothy Walker.

 

               

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