4 October 2018 – Unusual Plants – Colin Ward

Our last speaker, Colin Ward, started out as a farmer working in the Lincolnshire Fens back in 2000 but then decided to concentrate on plants.  He transformed the typical windy, flat land into a sheltered garden, a microclimate on the edge of the windswept fens and is now rated highly in the horticultural world.  Even Roy Lancaster has visited Swine’s Meadow nursery and wrote a glowing article for the RHS magazine ‘The Garden” – see the May 2018 edition.

Colin and his wife Karen filled four long tables with an array of interesting plants – each one had its own story.  Just one example – Colin showed us Phytolacca americana – the American Pokeweed, a herbaceous perennial with white-pink flowers.  “Poke’ comes from ‘pakon’ an Indian word referring to a plant used for dye or staining.  It is reputed that the ink made from the berries was used to write the American Declaration of Independence!  Each plant that Colin showed us had an interesting back story so you can understand why I cannot fill the News with my usual kind of article this month.

So instead of my words have a read of Colin’s website account of his nursery near Market Deeping – well worth a visit.

“Swine’s’ Meadow Farm Nursery is a small family run nursery which has now been on the go for 16 years. When we first started our main interests were in Hardy Exotics, encompassing bamboo, palms, gingers and cannas. However, as our garden evolved so did our interests and desire to grow the less common and unusual. This interest and passion has never faded in fact it has probably intensified and we are always on the look-out for different plants. Our team consists of mainly three of us, myself (Colin), Karan and Marcus. Horticulture is not a career to be going into if you are planning on making a fortune but it is an amazing vocation if you are interested in nature. Nearly every day I discover new things and plants never cease to amaze me with their different forms and ways of growing.

 Our specialisms? Just amazing and interesting plants. We consider ourselves as a plantsman’s’ nursery constantly evolving and looking to increasing our repertoire of plants.  Not much free time!  What do we do when we have free time? Go looking at gardens and other nurseries! That’s our obsession!”

Mary Duff    —    Chair Fowlmere & Thriplow Gardening Club

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