The March meeting was very interesting, thought provoking, and a bit controversial. Howard is a horticultural broadcaster and writer, he also judges and advises several sheltered housing projects on their gardening, it being used as therapy in many cases. He showed us examples of good and bad containers via photos on his computer. The controversy arose when he was advising on hanging baskets and containers, dismissing several commonly used plants as not worth bothering with, for example, trailing lobellia and Surfinia petunias.
He advised not using many favourite plants such as fuchsias, as they need too much water to sustain them, bearing in mind the imminent hose pipe ban. Mixed planted baskets were not too popular with him, either, he prefers them with a single plant in each container. It is true that that way they can be moved around to create the best effect, but personally, I could not give up my mixed plants and colours in the same container or basket! It is all down to personal preference.
|Here is Howard with club member Elizabeth Glendenning, both enjoying a nice cup of tea.|
Bearing in mind the possible drought approaching, he gave us several tips to help with that, such as trying grey and silver leaved plants, as they tend to be drought tolerant and using water retaining crystals in the compost. He also said that not all containers need to be planted up, some could just be left empty among planted displays, to make a visually pleasing effect. He gave photographic examples of this as well.