The gardening club welcomed Jeff Hutchings of Laneside Hardy Orchid Nursery, in Preston, as the first speaker of the autumn programme. Jeff has the only specialist hardy orchid nursery in the UK and is well known in the orchid world.

He talked about the different types of hardy orchid and explained that they are often seen as exotic plants but many grow in very adverse conditions and can withstand extreme cold, drought and very poor soil conditions.

Many orchids are killed with gardeners providing compost which is too rich, or over watering. The UK has several varieties of native orchid which grow in the wild in many parts of the country and can be grown in the garden. Growing orchids from seed can take from five to 10 years to flower.

Orchids in many parts of the world are not protected. It is important that gardeners buy plants from reputable sources to help to protect wild populations.

Jeff has been involved in projects to increase the numbers of orchids in the wild. Grants are available to farmers and landowners interested in turning land into wild flower meadows.

The group gained insight into these beautiful and varied plants and advice on growing them at home.

The gardening club meets on the last Tuesday of the month at the University Primary School, Northwich Road, Weaverham, at 7.30pm.

Visitors and new members welcome. For more information ring 852671 or visit our website