Contents of the Winter 2011 Northants News

        The Winterbourne day out              Trevor Wray


There was some discussion on a suitable venue for a 60th Anniversary day out for the branch. Ideas were submitted from branch members and the committee. Eventually we decided that a subsidised trip to Winterbourne Botanical garden in Birmingham was to be the event. Was it successful? You bet!

25 members set off from Newport Pagnell and Northampton on a glorious day in June. At Winterbourne we were met by Birmingham branch members Arthur and Gill, who kindly gave us a conducted tour of the reserve and public cactus collections. There are a lot of species grown, some are of great age and also rare plants. It was also interesting to see succulent plants being propagated to sell at the Winterbourne Plant Centre. Our members were able to buy plants and (shush) some were given some.

Then a sumptuous buffet before exploring the gardens. Now Winterbourne in June is a great garden to see interesting plants in attractive arrangements. The FL put the garden down as a ‘must visit’ for her garden club which is pretty good accolade. Highly recommended.

Above: Branch members Hugh, Roland and Barry are shown the Winterbourne reserve collection by Birmingham members Gill and Arthur.

Looking at my pictures I was overwhelmed by the Anthemis display; Winterbourne has a National collection of this genus of the daisy family. It was a blur of vibrant yellow and white (but probably only for this week in June) and worth a visit almost irrespective of the rest of the garden. There were also many unusual plants, especially trees and some attractive garden features. I took pictures of the arbour up and down then some hours later when the light had changed – delightful.

With so many interesting plants being grown in the garden I have to remind myself that I am supposed to be a cactus grower. So I was amused to see in the rooms used for school outings ‘user friendly’ cacti encased in the bottoms of plastic bottles. I sometimes wish a few of mine were ‘bottled’.

So, thanks to Roland (and the Committee; well they put their hands up), for arranging the day out, then Arthur and Gill of the Birmingham BCSS for the conducted tours. There has been only positive feedback; I have not heard any adverse comments from the trip at all. A true miracle of planning!

(This particular day out was subsidised from our branch funds. I have a little suggestion for our next major anniversary… After Winterbourne let’s go to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. What are thousands in the bank worth? We might prevail on EVJ to show us the reserve collection. What’s that David? EVJ is Ernst van Jaarsveld. Kirstenbosch is actually in South Africa. Oh well…)


P.S. The FL, (teacher - retired), read this and informed me that if her school children were asked to draw the cacti you would get the bottle drawn as well!

Left: Part of the National collection of Anthemis in the Daisy Family at Winterbourne.


Right: User friendly cacti for students in the ‘elf’n safety era. (Good idea; might pop my Opuntia microdasys in  a plastic bottle!

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