Dr Chris Gibson talking to WB GardenersWild Flowers of Essex

West Bergholt Gardeners recently enjoyed an interesting talk by Dr. Chris Gibson about “Wild Flowers of Essex”.  Chris drew on his 30+ year career as a nature conservationist, working to preserve Essex wildlife and landscapes.  The Gardeners learnt about the large areas of ancient woodland around the county (which includes Hillhouse Wood) and the flowers and plants which flourish there.

Threats to Wild Flowers

There is a real threat to our native bluebell from cultivated varieties; we might be the last generation to see them bloom as we do now every Spring.  He spoke about the long Essex coastline with its abundant and diverse flora; this is now under threat from rising sea levels.  The pressure of urban development is such that 99% of grassland habitat has been lost in Essex over the past 100 years.

Regeneration

Despite the loss of many species of plants, he told us of the regeneration of wildflower meadows on brownfield sites.  There has been a re-emergence of some species which had been thought lost.   New flowers and plants which help to support bees, butterflies, moths and many wild creatures have also appeared.  He said that with careful future development and conservation we might be able to continue to enjoy the beautiful Essex countryside; hopefully, we’ll be able to pass it on to future generations.

Next Meeting

West Bergholt Gardeners’ next meeting on 10th December is for members and their friends, who will enjoy their annual Christmas get together and Quiz.  The Gardeners don’t meet in January but start again on 18 February with a talk by Brian Carline entitled “Soil, Sweat and Tears”; this will offer amusing advice to reluctant gardeners.  In Brian’s early days as a teacher, he was also a comedian reaching the Gala Final of New Faces in 1977.

Non-members are welcome to their meetings (£3 entry on the night) at 7.30 pm in the Orpen Hall.  Optionally you could always join with club membership at £12 for a year (Sep – Aug).  Any enquiries please contact the club on 01206 241256 or email wbgardeners@gmail.com.

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