EGYPT is a country of vast desert, bisected by the river Nile with a narrow fertile belt to either side. Linda Farrar in her talk “Gardens and Gardeners of Ancient Egypt” took us back almost 5000 years to look at fertile belt garden designs and plants in the ancient period. Little structural evidence now exists, however the tombs of rulers and senior officials provide a rich insight into their gardens. The reason – these gardens were intended to nourish the departed in the afterlife.

Linda presented richly illustrated information from ancient wall paintings, papyrus drawings and plant materials left in tombs. The typical layout of luxurious gardens was populated by Tamarisk, Fig, Carob, Myrtle and other trees. Trees were fruit bearing and provided needed shade and aromatic foliage. Crops such as mandrake, lettuce, melons, garlic and onions were grown in waffle style raised beds. We learned also of their flowers as they were used to decorate the bodies in their tomb and remain preserved.

Gardening was hard work, rudimentary tools were used. The biggest task was carrying large amounts of water on shoulder yolks, as there was little in the way of canals.

The monthly competition, a Stem of Sedum, was won by John Alexander-Head with Liz Henigan as runner up.

The next meeting of the Society is December 21, when the topic is Bushes with Berries. Contact our Secretary on 01789 268974 for further information.