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Horticulture Society learn much from Folklore and Trees that tell a story

The Frome Selwood Horticulture Society has been influenced by folklore lately, not only by talks and a visit to see special trees, but also perhaps by rare celestial phenomenon.

For gardeners, it has long been known that some plants profit by planting on a waning moon. In this unusual month when a rare Blue Moon has lit the sky, in its second appearance as a full moon in one month, and when an even rarer two Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays occur in one month, a feature that will not be repeated for another 823 years; one wonders what the effect will be on the garden.

Well, if Mike Burkes from the Gold Club, Sherborne Garden Centre has any idea, he offered them at his Gardening Folklore talk to the seventy members who attended the July meeting at the new venue of Critchill School.

Folklore, often based on practical common sense, has long influenced when to prune, plant and harvest.  Planting onion sets on Boxing Day has been a tradition.  Less known is to plant potatoes on the night of Good Friday on a waning moon, in the dark with no clothes on, which would make sense if one did not want to be recognised working on such a holy holiday!

Plants also act as natural born killers.  Long before the EU brought in sanctions to prevent the use of certain chemicals, calendula (marigolds) were known to exude a chemical that killed off pesky weeds like ground elder and mares tails.

Plants however, have their own stories and nowhere better is that to be seen than at the Bath Botanical Gardens which the FSHS visited on an evening coach trip in June.  Magnificent trees evoked awe and imagination.  The Weeping Ash, known as Elephant Tears by its twisted head; the Dawn Redwood, thought to be extinct, The Western Red Cedar, with its circle of family; the White Mulberry with its clusters of dormant buds; the Silver Pendent Lime, now a shrinking giant in its twilight years, and of course, the Glastonbury Thorn, that legend says sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea.

Talks and visits have been inspiring.  Let’s hope that the lessons of our forefathers may be put into practice with the forthcoming Society Show, when the town is invited to see the biggest and the best at the FSHS Show at Selwood Academy on Saturday, 29th August. Doors open 1pm.  All welcome.

For more details see or call Jane on 07776 208531.