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See report on FOBS visit to RHS Bridgewater below
See report on FOBS visit to Sheffield-Tinsley Canal below

FOBS PLANT SALE - Sunday 23 June, 14.00 - 16.00

A selection of reasonably priced plants, including many special and unusual varieties propagated by our expert team in the Gardens.
Free entry, large green house near Dorothy Fox Education Centre

Next meeting

A Career in Horticulture in the Modern Age - Tuesday 25 June at 10.30

Speaker: Edward Watchorn
Edward is a horticultural trainee on the Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee Programme, currently working at Chatsworth. As a trainee, he works as part of the large established garden team, in the Cutting Garden, Kitchen Garden, Glasshouses and Pleasure grounds, caring for turf, trees, cut flowers, borders and hard landscaping whilst developing an understanding of how large historic estates open to the public function as a heritage landscape.
Chatsworth has hosted trainees through the Professional Gardeners Guild and the Historic and Botanic Gardens Trainee Programmes for many years.
Dorothy Fox Education Centre
FOBS Members free, Visitors £5, Students £2


11.00 'Houseplants and Well-being' - talk in the Dorothy Fox Education Centre
Debbie, the owner of MoonKo, is a houseplant specialist, who is passionate about indoor plants and the benefits they can bring to our wellbeing and home environments. In this workshop she will explain the restorative power of plants, as well as practical tips on how to care for them (lighting, watering, repotting) and discuss sustainability and biodiversity. There will be a practical element to the talk and a chance to ask questions. Children and families very welcome.
FOBS Members free, Visitors £5, Students £2, Children free but must be accompanied by an adult

14.00 - 16.00 Plant sale - A selection of reasonably priced plants, including many special and unusual varieties propagated by our expert team in the Gardens.
Free entry, large green house near Dorothy Fox Education Centre

FOBS visit to the Sheffield Tinsley Canal - Friday 16 June 2019

Members of FOBS accompanied Ken Balkow (one of our speakers in April) along the Canal to investigate the plant life. Starting in the pouring rain at Attercliffe, the group made leisurely progress to Meadowhall observing many kinds of flowers and plants. Fortunately the rain stopped at about the half-way mark. We also encountered a pair of Canada geese who were very protective of their goslings.
Valerian & Hemlock Water Dropwort - A. Hunter
Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) and Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenanthe crocata)
Photo ©A. Hunter
Hop Trefoil - A. Hunter
Hop Trefoil (Trifolium campestre)
Photo ©A. Hunter
Rosa multiflora - A. Hunter
Many-flowered Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Photo ©A. Hunter
Zantedeschia aethiopica - A. Hunter
Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
Photo ©A. Hunter
Wall barley - J. Sinclair
Wall Barley (Hordeum murinum) growing in a car park
Photo ©J. Sinclair
Canada Geese - J. Sinclair
Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) and goslings
Photo ©J. Sinclair

FOBS visit site of RHS Bridgewater - Monday 20 May 2019

FOBS visit RHS Bridgewater - J. Sinclair
Photo ©J. Sinclair
FOBS visit RHS Bridgewater - J. Sinclair
Photo ©J. Sinclair
FOBS visit RHS Bridgewater - J. Sinclair
Photo ©J. Sinclair

20 lucky FOBS members recently enjoyed a ‘sneak peek’ tour of RHS Bridgewater, the RHS garden being developed in Salford. The garden doesn’t open officially until summer 2020 but RHS Director-General Sue Biggs had suggested the visit when she gave a talk to FOBS last year.

Bridgewater is apparently the biggest garden project in Europe. Members were treated to a private tour of the vast grounds, once a stylish Victorian estate that has been derelict for many years. It is now being redeveloped in line with a masterplan by designer Tom Stuart-Smith (due to lecture for us later this year. It is still very much a building site, and we needed to don stout footwear and high-vis jackets for our tour. We saw progress on the first phase of works which include enormous walled gardens that will contain a paradise garden, and adjoining kitchen garden, orchards, a new lake and restored old lake, the site of the planned welcome centre, and old bothies and potting sheds that will become display areas.

The tour also included the wilder areas of the estate that will be tamed for future phases of work. We met the pigs who are helping clear the garden of invasive Rhododendron ponticum, saw where the Scouts had once created an open-air chapel, and glimpsed an island folly, a listed ice-house and the site of a lost fountain that had been brought to Salford from the Great Exhibition. It is a mammoth undertaking, being carried forward with great enthusiasm and expertise. We look forward to arranging another trip for members next year, to see the garden once it has officially opened.

Update on the 'Early Wins' Programme - 7 May 2019

South African Bed, Osborn's Field - R. Egglestone
New South African Bed
Photo ©R. Egglestone
New planting near Victorian beds - R. Egglestone
New planting near Victorian beds
next to Curator's House
Photo ©R. Egglestone
New planting in the AGM Border - R. Egglestone
New planting in one of the
Award of Garden Merit (AGM) beds
Photo ©R. Egglestone

Education at the Gardens

We’re embarking on a new initiative in partnership with Sheffield City Council and the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust. We’ll be developing and piloting a programme of events and engagement activities at the Gardens, with a particular focus on currently hard-to-reach groups. The work will be undertaken by a new paid education officer, funded for 12 months by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Trust. More details and the full job advert are here:
The closing date for applications was 15th May and we hope to have someone in post by the summer.

Update on the 'Early Wins' Programme - 2 March 2019

South African Bed, Osborn's Field - R. Egglestone
New South African Bed
Photo ©R. Egglestone
Snowdrop planting near Lucombe Oak - R. Egglestone
Snowdrop planting near Lucombe Oak
Photo ©R. Egglestone

Work on the 'Early Wins' programme continues with the erection of a supporting wall in Osborn's Field for the new South African Bed and clumps of snowdrops planted around the Lucombe Oak near the edge of the West Lawn.

Time for a change - FOBS will be updating this year

FOBS Logo 1 (1984-1995)
FOBS Logo1
FOBS Logo 2 (1996-2003)
FOBS Logo2
FOBS Logo 3 (2004-2018)
FOBS Logo3
FOBS Logo 4 - a new look coming in 2019
FOBS Logo4

Volunteer Briefing - 9 January 2019

Curator Ian Turner welcomed the group and expressed gratitude for the work done by volunteers. In the past year total hours had exceeded 4000 and the number of volunteers was over 100. There had been no days completely lost to the weather. The highest number of attendees on any one day had been 42, the lowest 11. Volunteer hours now included those working at other times, not just the Wednesday morning team. Group members were asked to contact the FOBS Chair with ideas for increasing the number of volunteers, to improve training and to help plan for additional sessions of work on other days, including weekends.

Ian then went on to review health and safety issues, which are essentially risk assessment and common sense. Always select the correct tool for the job, if any task involves strain don't do it, keep your work area tidy, be aware of other people and don't leave tools lying around. Trips and slips can cause accidents. Ask for help if something is too heavy to lift. Please don't overfill the dumpy bags - think about the safety of the staff too.

It was a lovely bright day, occasionally sunny, but cold. After pausing to admire the Acacia baileyana in bud, near the gate on the way out from the Education Centre, Ian led a tour to inspect the projects currently in progress, many of them funded and supported by FOBS. The group eventually returned to the Centre in time for a very welcome hot drink.

AGM Bed - has been cleared after the plants had grown too large. Will be dug over again and replanted with perennials. It is likely that many of the beautiful allium bulbs will persist.
Marnock Garden
Newly planted scree bed in the Marnock Garden
Osborn's Field
A new project in Osborn's Field, this sheltered south-facing patch, backed by a stone wall, has a relatively warm micro-climate. A new South African Bed will be home to plants from both the Western and Eastern Cape.
Sophora microphylla
Also in Osborn's Field is the current Plant of the Month. Sophora microphylla is a member of the pea family and provides a welcome splash of colour at this time of year.
Victorian Garden
New planting next to the Curator's House cafe includes a eucalyptus tree which will provide shade in summer.
Victorian Garden
Trees and overgrown shrubs along the wall will be replaced to provide a more pleasing background to the colourful bedding plants. The bedding is planted out twice a year and is very popular with visitors.
Outside the pavilion
Outside the central pavilion Ian stopped to talk about the gardens in general. It was noted that the clock had stopped due to a power cut. Apparently there is quite a complicated procedure to restart it at the proper time!
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
Now that the thicket of shrubs around its base has been removed, the semi-evergreen hybrid Lucombe Oak can be really appreciated.


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