Dear IGPS member
The restrictions of the past months are now starting to ease and it is becoming possible for slightly larger groups of people to meet outdoors while maintaining the recommended social distancing. However, despite the changes, two events which were scheduled for early July cannot go ahead and are cancelled.
Both had been organised by Northern region:the first was an evening visit to our garden at;
Pogue’s Entry in Antrim on the evening of Thursday 2nd and the second was a visit to,
Ballywalter House and Garden on Saturday 4th July.
However the good news is that at least some outdoor visits should go ahead before the end of the summer.
The Leinster Committee expects to hear soon about the availability of tour guides for the visit scheduled for
Saturday 22nd August to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and the War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge,
while the Northern committee expects to go ahead with
Saturday 5th September, the Richmond Park Ramble, although on a pre-booked basis.
They also hope to have a further garden visit organised on a pre-booked basis during August in place of the Ballywalter visit; details will follow as soon as possible.

Online plant sale
A very successful online plant sale was held in Belfast on Saturday 27th July in place of the planned sale in Antrim at the end of May which of course had to be cancelled. A huge number of plants went to new homes raising about £800 for the Society. Very many thanks to the chief organiser, Agnes Peacocke; she and John looked after the bulk of the plants destined for Antrim and somehow managed to keep them watered throughout the three month drought this spring. Thanks also to the highly skilled packing team of Robert Logan, Heather Farmer and Maeve Bell who assisted Agnes and John, to our Chairman, Billy McCone, who not only packed plants but transported the bags to Belfast for collection, and Adrian Walsh who collected the money on the day. A few photos show the team relaxing at the Peacocke’s garden after the hard work had been finished. And of course well done to all our intrepid shoppers who had been missing their usual ‘plant fix’ this spring and who, through their support, made the initiative a great success.

Loveliness during Lockdown
We are very grateful to Pat and Anne Coffey who were lucky enough to be safe and well in Ballinskellings during lockdown and sent this beautiful view from their garden.

And a final thank you to Will Hamilton who has written a piece for us on one of his favourite bulbs, camassias.

Camassias look well in gardens in mid May. These are bulbous plants that will grow in damp ground and are native to North America. Camassia cusickii sends up spikes of blue star-shaped flowers while C. leichtlinii has creamy white flowers. Both are tall, often reaching 90 cm, and combine well with a range of garden plants. Grow them with an early Siberian iris and their flowers will be fading as the iris starts to bloom, extending the season of colour. Although they prefer damp soils I have some in a woodland garden flowering along with bluebells so they will tolerate drier conditions. If you fancy a blue garden, try them with blue Jacob’s ladder Polemonium caeruleum as they both flower around the same time.

They are ideal for planting in wilder parts of the garden and in areas where the grass is to remain uncut as they will cope with these conditions. Also the flowers spikes will be held above the long grass.

Buy the bulbs in autumn and plant into the garden or into pots to plant in the springtime when you may have a better idea of where you want them to grow. I have found them very easy to grow although it does take a year or so for them to establish, but they will eventually make clumps which may be dug up to provide you with more bulbs. The RHS lists camassias as frost hardy, not fully hardy, but I have had no trouble in overwintering these plants.

Summer Special Newsletter.
The extra issue of the Newsletter to try and make up to members for the reduction in the summer programme should be with you by the middle of July. Look out for the colourful feature on members’ gardens.
Congratulations to our member Claire McNally who has been appointed Head Gardener at The National Trust’s Rowallane Gardens in succession to Averil Milligan.

Best wishes and enjoy your garden

from Maeve,
content producer
and Branka,
editor and distributer.