A trugful of Question Time fun

October trugful.
October trugful.

I’m sure my trusty trug appreciates the admiring glances of our garden club members, the most recent being last Tuesday, as it arrived filled to capacity with gardening goodies.

Nor can the trug have failed to enjoy our recent Question Time event for HospiceCare North Northumberland. The panel included some knowledgeable and articulate local professionals; Robert Jamieson (Howick Hall), Debbie Crombie (Seaton Deleval Hall) and Dale Stevens (Cragside).

After introductions to an enthusiastic audience, we worked our way through an interesting array of plant materials brought in for identification.

These ranged from two apples fused into one, with a double seed capsule, to plants which demanded a name – most notably an Actinidia chinensis (Kiwi fruit) grown from a discarded stem found in a churchyard!

Questions flowed freely for an hour or so then Robert was invited to offer a resumé of his recent Howick Hall-oriented plant-hunting trip to Russia. Suffice it to say that if you have the chance to attend his talk on this or any of the Chinese visits – take it.

Dale then outlined what the visitor could expect to see on a visit to Cragside at present. Colour still figured highly, as he reeled off the annual and perennial favourites still in bloom. He then spoke about the glasshouses and transitional nature of the ornamental outdoor areas.

Apart from the obvious demands of keeping the appearance of Seaton Deleval Hall garden and grounds in tip-top condition, Debbie has overseen the development of community allotments on the site over the past two years.

This initiative is in keeping with the Nation Trust’s promise to free-up land attached to their properties, where possible, and help alleviate the national demand for allotments. I visited her happy group one Saturday morning last year to talk about composting and organic gardening.

My turn next and a representation of what is happening in the home garden lay in the container before me.

As ripe bunches of grapes, apples, plums, sweet corn, marrows and assorted blooms were held aloft, the one thing I failed to draw attention to was the trug itself. I do hope it forgives me.