BIDFORD ON AVON & DISTRICT GARDENING SOCIETY The Society’s meeting on 15th August was well attended by a 41 strong audience including 2 visitors. Our speaker was Robin Pearce whose talk “Create a Prairie in your Back-Yard” covered the topic of naturalistic planting of North American native plants to create a prairie of your own. Natural prairie covered a vast expanse of the North American continent however due to man’s influence now only 2% of natural prairie remains. There are various types of prairie influenced by annual rainfall. In the North West short grass prairie exists in an area experiencing less than 12 inches of rain a year. Travelling east rainfall increases to 12 to 24 inches and the prairie becomes one of mixed grasses. Further east still rainfall increases to 24 to 40 inches giving rise to the tall grass prairie this giving way to wood savannah where the rainfall is in excess of 40 inches annually. Although grasses abound there is also an abundance of perennials many of which we are familiar with in the UK such as Aster, Tradescantia, Echinacea, Heuchera, Lobelia, Rudbeckia and Verbena to name but a few. To create your own prairie you will need a weed free site of moderate fertility containing an amount of humus in full sun. For a natural look planting should be in drifts or blocks blending into each other using repeat species utilising colour variations where possible with paths gently winding through the border. This type of planting provides a low maintenance garden requiring no support or staking, spraying or watering giving all season interest and providing a great attraction to bees, butterflies etc. Examples of this style of planting can be seen at RHS Wisley in the borders approaching the Millennium Glasshouse, the Olympic Park at Stratford, London, Dove Cottage near Halifax and more locally at Webbs New Wave Garden at Wychbold. The monthly competition of ‘Three perennial stems’ was well supported. The winning entry was submitted by Janice Ferguson, Annette Haines came second, John Alexander-Head third with fourth place awarded to Pat Dayman. On 5th September we have our evening outing to Ragley Hall to view the gardens. We next meet at the Crawford Memorial Hall, Bidford on Avon is on 19th September at 7.45pm when Duncan Coombes will be talking about Alpines and Rock Gardens. Visitors are always welcome for a £3 entry fee, including refreshments. For more details please ring Annette Haines on 01789 268974 or go to Paul Reeves