Karen Gimson made an unscheduled return visit to Ticknall Garden Club on February 14th. She is well known for her gardening chats on Radio Leicester and her column in Garden News. While knowledgeable on all garden matters, she is particularly interested in the use of garden flowers to decorate the home. She devotes two greenhouses and one raised bed for the growing of suitable plants.
She is keen to stress that only a few blooms are needed to create an attractive display when supplemented with green foliage and foraged items from garden and hedgerow. She encouraged the use of moss to replace the environmentally unacceptable oasis. Most lawns when raked will yield a plentiful supply. She favoured the Japanese Kokedama technique which involves covering plant stems with compost and wrapping in moss which is tied in place. This only needs daily misting to ensure survival. This works well when making a wreath which can be any shape and have any material for its base though she favoured the use of willow. When picking flowers for decoration she carries a bucket of water with her to immerse the stems. Any hard stems are bashed first. She always plants tulips densely to get sturdy upright stems.
With the use of photographs Karen demonstrated how a wreath could be made through all the seasons. Ivy or other greenery such as box or euonymus provides a suitable backdrop when securely tied on with moss. Spring favourites are snowdrops, forsythia and pussy willow. Summer has an abundance of choice in sweet peas, calendula, cosmos and lilac. All are enhanced with use of ammi major. Autumn favourites include dahlias, rudbeckia, chrysanthemums and alstroemerias. Winter wreaths featured dried hydrangea heads sprayed silver or gold, viburnum and late roses. Supplementing all these were grasses, herbs, seed heads, fir cones, wildflowers and even weeds.
In a poignant part of her talk, she described the role that flowers can play in the life of those living with dementia. Seeing them and smelling their scent can revive memories of the past.
True to form Karen gave an informative and knowledgeable talk. She also recommended a look at her blog at bramblegarden.com for lots more interesting ideas and information about her talk.