Norfolk Master Gardeners came together at Easton College on Saturday to develop their propagation skills and top up their garden history knowledge.
Ian Stanton, an experienced horticulturalist and trainer, delivered an intensive workshop on cuttings – a method of propagation that can be applied to a vast array of ornamental and edible plants. He demonstrated techniques for identifying and preparing suitable cutting material, explained the after-care required and gave his personal tips for ensuring greater success.
Many questions were asked of and thoroughly answered by Ian as he worked his way through copious amounts of cutting material such as hardwood from blackcurrant, redcurrant, gooseberry, buddleia and rosemary; root cuttings of comfry and sea kale and semi-ripe stems of sage.
Following demonstrations, Master Gardeners were invited to strike their own cuttings. They didn’t need a second invite – they were out of their seats and waving their secateurs in the direction of the plant material before the words “vegetative propagation” could be uttered. Pots were filled with gritty compost and finally prepared hard-wood cuttings were inserted. Labels were written and pots were proudly lined up, before all headed to the Rectory for well-earned lunch.
Our afternoon session was completely different – our guest speaker and accomplished lecturer of garden history, Joanne Kidd, delivered a compelling story of horticultural adventure, challenge, envy and deceit. The story of The Tradescants, the father and son who changed the British Garden, was eloquently and expertly told by Joanne and supported by wonderful slides of artefacts and paintings representing the family’s life journey through the 17th century.
No Master Gardener training day is complete without celebrating our volunteer activities. Carol Crow-Mains has been a Master Gardener volunteer since we began in Norfolk, back in 2010 and she has been a Master Composter volunteer since that programme was comissioned by Norfolk County Council over 6 years ago. (Master Composter and Master Gardener are community volunteer programmes delivered and managed by Garden Organic). Carol has supported her local community and promoted composting and growing enthusiastically at events, with households and with school groups. She has volunteered well in excess of the annual 30 hour commitment we ask of people and has great practical growing experience to share with new and novice gardeners. In the annual Masters Awards 2013, Carol was nominated for the most prestigious award – that of overall Master. The panel of judges awarded her second place in this award. She was presented with her certificate on Saturday, as an unfortunate injury stopped her from receiving it at our Conference 2013.
This training day is part of the on-going volunteer support and development that the Master Gardener programme offers to its volunteers. If you would like to join Norfolk Master Gardener, visit our page which gives more information about this exciting opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles within your community.
Read what our volunteers are doing across the county.