At our September meeting there was a very good turn out to welcome Darren Lerigo from Essex who set about answering this question. But before he did so he passed round a box of what looked like sweets, but not to eat, as they were little balls of clay containing wild flower seeds which he asked us to throw onto a patch of earth – in our garden or elsewhere. So, back to the question – and it seems that what most people want to do with the space around their property, according to a survey conducted by The Horticultural Trades Association, is to reduce maintenance. In order to do this Darren said that we should mulch the soil and then the easier our gardening will become. Mulching bare soil excludes the light and therefore restricts weed growth. Darren’s next tip was to grow perennials, not annuals, and he especially recommended the Hemerocallis (Daylily) and the Helenium which is especially good for bees as it frequently replenishes its nectar supply. The third suggestion was to reduce the lawn and grown tough perennials in its place. Number four was to use bigger pots. Number five was to use wool compost. It is expensive but it holds the water for longer, is peat free and provides nitrogen. The last tip was to see weeds as flowers. As Darren said “The bees don’t care”.
Darren spends a good deal of his working life on helping his clients to create topiary within their gardens. He showed us a number of photos of Organic Topiary or Cloud Pruning. Darren maintains that, in the art of topiary, the plant tells us what it wants to be. It is important to look at the characteristics of the plant, where the light reflects off the leaves and changes throughout the day. Topiary can add life and drama to a garden – but his talk on this is for another day.
Darren is clearly an enthusiastic gardener committed to preserving and celebrating nature and the whole audience warmed to his philosophy of gardening with a sense of love, calm and joy. He suggested that the use of pesticides is a mortal sin, that we should disturb the soil as little as possible, be frugal with water and make sure that there is a plant outside our front door to welcome us home. Darren said that we humans, as top level predators, have a duty to enhance life. He suggested that, in our gardens, we cut back on pesticides, create a pond and plant flowers for the bees. How refreshing to listen to someone who talked such sense!
the master craftsman at work!
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 15th October when Rob Potterton will be talking to us about Alpines and Bulbs. Please do join us – just come along to the Village Hall for a 7.30 pm start – you will be made very welcome.
New members and visitors are always welcome.
For more information contact: Linda Truscott on 01234 270747