1. Flowers flamboyant to demure.

  2. North American plants in British gardens.

  3. The hidden world of pollen grains.

  4. Trees, shrubs and climbers.

  5. Trilliums and the woodland plants of North America.

  6. Travelling for plants in South America.

  7. Rocky Mountain flowers.

  8. Plants for enthusiasts.

  9. Patagonian garden plants.

  10. Growing and storing vegetables.

  11. A journey down the Argentinian Andes.

Please phone, write or e-mail.

         Dr I Keith FERGUSON
         Glencoe Farm,
         Barrel Lane,
         GL17 0LR


         telephone: 01452 830059

Keith trained as a professional botanist, worked in the USA for a period and then spent 29 years at RBG Kew, retiring as Deputy Keeper of the Herbarium and Head of the Pollen Unit there. He and his wife moved to Gloucestershire in 1996 and since retirement have created a new garden at their home in Longhope. They are both keen gardeners and plantsmen and have been members of the RHS for more than 45 years and the HPS some 40 years.

Keith is widely travelled, especially in the USA.

He has written regularly for The Hardy Plant over recent years and has had articles published in The Plantsman, The Bulletin of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon and in Plant Heritage. He has given talks in Europe and the USA.

All projection equipment provided - but screen and stand appreciated if available.

Fee £125. Travel 40p per mile.

All talks are illustrated with digital images.

1. Flowers flamboyant to demure

The talk follows the seasons beginning with snowdrops and winter shrubs and the theme with colourful flowers contrasted with less showy and often less well known but charming counterparts is developed. Many different spring bulbs, poppies, paeonies, other herbaceous perennials and shrubs, roses and clematis through to autumn asters, nerines and colchicums followed by foliage colour are featured. Cultural and propagation information is given.

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2. North American plants in British gardens

Many of our garden plants originate from North American wild flowers, shrubs and trees. Plants are shown region by region across the continent from the Appalachians to California both in the wild and in cultivation in British gardens. Cultural requirements are discussed in relation to native habitats. Plants we know and grow include Phlox, Tradescantia, Solidago, Michaelmas daisies and many other plants of our herbaceous borders not to mention shrubs, trees. woodland perennials and alpines.

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3. The hidden world of pollen grains

Pollen plays a major role in our lives not only in crop pollination, honey and hay fever but also in oil exploration, climatic change, forensic science, plant classification and archaeology. The amazingly different ornamentations of the outer resistant wall of pollen grains that characterises many plants are illustrated with images from the scanning electron microscope. The pollen of palms (fossil and modern), daisies, dandelions, beans and peas, holly, heather and hibiscus are included in the talk.

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4. Trees shrubs and climbers

Plants with flowers or foliage interesting for different seasons of the year are shown. Some common, some rare, most for the smaller garden but some larger shrubs and small trees are included. Cultivation, pruning and some landscape effects are discussed and suggestions of the varieties to plant are made.

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5. Trilliums and woodland plants of North America

Trilliums occur primarily in the woods of North America. Some species are much easier to grow than generally believed and some species are very difficult. Many of the species are illustrated in the wild and some in cultivation. The conditions required and the easier species to grow are discussed. The second half of the talk is devoted to spring flowering woodland plants, companions to trilliums in many cases, that we grow or know in our gardens some coming from the deciduous eastern forest others from the western coniferous forest.

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6. Travelling for plants in South America

A very long journey begins in two nature reserves in the Brazilian highlands each has a very rich flora and adjacent enchanting Portuguese style villages. It moves on to the arid "plano alto’ at some 3000m on the Argentina/Bolivian/Chilean borders with spectacular scenery and giant cacti. Travelling on through the wine growing regions of San Juan and Mendoza to northern Patagonia where snow topped volcanoes provide a backdrop to stands of Monkey Puzzles and southern beeches (Nothofagus) and some extraordinary alpine plants notably "rosulate violets". Moving west to coastal Chile we find many plants we know from our gardens. The journey concludes in the dramatic national park of Torres del Peine with some of the unique plants of the southern tip of the continent.

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7 Rocky mountain flowers

Travelling in the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming , Montana, Idaho and on into eastern Oregon a huge range of plants were encountered from the sheets of Erythronium grandiflorum and Calochortus nuttallii to majestic spikes of Veratrum californicum and cushions of Eritrichium nanum and Douglasia montana. Different species of blue flowered Penstemons abounded and among the many other plants seen were the lovely but foetid Primula parryi, the rather demure Clematis hirsutissima, Geum rossii, Aquilegia coerulea, A.flavescens, species of Frasera, Dodecatheon and Eriogonum. There are many images of spectacular scenery.

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8 Plants for enthusiasts

A wide range of more unusual and some well known perennials, shrubs and climbers. Aberrant British natives like the peloric form of Linaria vulgaris, Hyacinthoides non-scripta var. bracteata, jack-in-the-green primroses and our native Daphne laureola together with other Daphnes. There are Chilean Berberis valdiviana and Crinodendron hookerianum.. Asian Berberis jamesiana and Clematis koreana. Old cultivars are not forgotten with pinks and paeonies and the talk would not be complete without specialities Veratrum, Trillium and Galanthus.

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9 Patagonian garden plants

From Monkey Puzzles to Alstromeria there are many plants from Patagonian Chile and Argentina we know and grow in our gardens. Shrubs include Buddleja globosa, Fuchsia magellanica, Abutilon vitifolium and Berberis darwinii while Oenothera stricta, Lobelia tupa, Oxalis adenophylla and Fragaria chiloensis are just a few of the many herbaceous plants from the region. The high alpines of the region are fascinating from rosulate violets to the spectacular Ranunculus verticillatus unfortunately cultivation of these is for the skilled enthusiast. The talk will focus on the plants we cultivate but these will be shown in their natural surroundings together with images of the striking scenery.

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10 Growing and storing vegetables

The talk is based on the many years of experience of growing a range of vegetables without the use of pesticides in a cost effective manner. Fresh vegetables can be produced throughout the year.The year begins with early salad crops and carrots under cloches. Shallots, onions, parsnips, beans, brassicas and potatoes are among the staples which follow. The growing of the less common celeriac and chicory is featured. Methods of harvesting and storing are described.

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11 A journey down the Argentinian Andes

Starting on the Bolivian border, we travel south into northern Patagonia. Spectacular scenery, delightful Spanish style architecture and interesting churches are included. A wide range of plants are encountered, some we know and grow, others such as the giant cacti and unusual high alpines are not often encountered outside their natural habitat.

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