Judith Goodall welcomed 35 members to the April meeting of Retford Ladies Probus Club and introduced Rachel Barrowcliffe, MCI Hort. Rachel trained at Brackenhurst and she was extolling the virtues of container gardening.
Apparently, the main elements are Thriller, Filler and Spiller: firstly the tall dramatic plant, secondly the small plants and thirdly the trailer. Just four plants can work to great effect in a suitable container. Rachel prefers larger containers which do not dry out so quickly. Water absorbent granules are good for hanging baskets and slow release fertiliser can be added to compost. Broken pots need not be discarded as they offer good drainage to alpine plants.
Rachel showed pictures of unique planters, one being a Belfast sink with plates in it and white Alyssum flowing out of it to make bubbles. Shirley Pickersgill, who gave the vote of thanks, amused members by saying she had used a large bra as a planter (suitably reinforced of course!). Anything is possible, if you just let your imagination run riot. She is also an advocate of planting vegetables in containers which can look very attractive with a bright pot and painted trellis, together with the advantage of having a cut and come salad.
No gardening theme is complete without the mention of pests; vine weevils, slugs and snails being the main culprits. Now slug pellets are banned due to the harmful effects they can have on benign creatures, Rachel is in favour of nematodes, beer, egg shells, coffee grounds and even porridge oats (not cooked) which swell up inside. However, these are not harmful if the slug is eaten by a bird or hedgehog. The members asked several questions and found the handy tips very informative.
The club’s next meeting will take place on Wednesday 11th May at 10.00am for 10.30am at Westhill Community Centre, Ordsall. All are welcome.