The A – Z of Foolproof Gardening

On the 21st June we were pleased to be joined by Chris Day.  Chris is the Publicity Manager at Buckingham Nurseries and Garden Centre.  He has worked in a variety of horticultural environments and has also spent many years involved with gardening journalism. Chris’s enthusiasm for all things horticultural shone through during his talk which was illustrated by the plants which he had brought with him and which were for sale at the end of his presentation  This was an alphabetical wander through horticulture with an emphasis on garden plants and Chris was keen to help us make the most of our outside spaces …

Starting with A for Allergens – the most common being pollen.  Chris highlighted the plants which produced more limited amounts of pollen and were therefore better for hay fever sufferers, these included geraniums, busy lizzies, vincas, azaleas and rhododendrons.  B for Bees and Butterflies came next with details of how to hard prune buddleias in the Spring to maximise the length of the racines.  There was much      discussion about C for Compost.  The target date for all peat free compost is now 2025.  Members agreed that the peat free composts dried out more quickly.  Chris had a good tip – he uses a very small amount of washing up liquid in his watering can, this provides a good wetting agent.  Dual purpose plants came next and Chris gave lists of plants which provided coloured foliage as well as flowers.  Sarcococca – the sweet box was particularly mentioned for its glossy dark green foliage and very fragrant small white flowers.  E gave us Easy care plants and Edible flowers.  F for Fighting growth and Chris advised cutting out dead, diseased and damaged growth in trees and shrubs in the first instance – followed by shaping and pruning directly after the plant has finished flowering and then feeding.  Chris continued with plants for Ground cover and he suggested putting bark chips around plants rather than slate or grit as these become too hot in the summer and damage or even kill the plants.

Lots of useful information was provided when we reached H for House plants which are good for health and well being and help to remove impurities from our indoor spaces.  Very good tips on  growing phalaenopsis or moth orchids.  Making sure that their roots have access to light and mist spray the backs of their leaves with an orchid feed.  And so it went on through Innovation, Japanese maples, Kitchen gardening, Lasagna planting – putting into the bottom of the pot those bulbs that flower last – so one might layer, alliums then tulips, narcissus, crocus and finishing with miniature iris – for a display lasting many months.  On and on through the alphabet – much discussion when we came to S for Slugs and Snails and W for weed control.  Until we reached  Z z z z z – as Chris said if we had followed all this gardening advice we would all need a good rest.  Chris was so full of brilliant ideas, tips and really useful  gardening advice and it was a pleasure to listen to someone who was so knowledgable and presented in such an engaging way.

Please join us next month on Tuesday 19th July for a brief AGM, followed by a talk by Corinne Price who is a member of the Bedfordshire Gardens Trust, followed by cheese and wine.  The meeting will be open to all members, new members and visitors we look forward to seeing you then.                                 
Linda Truscott                                                

New members and visitors are always welcome.  
For more information contact: Linda Truscott on 01234 270747

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