21 May 2013

May 2013 meeting.

This months speaker was Debbie Hart, from Writtle College. Her subject this time was "summer hanging baskets". As well as being a teacher at the college she is a trained florist and this came through in her talk and the photos she showed us. First of all she showed photographic examples of good and bad hanging baskets, also  suitable and unsuitable sites to put them. They need to be in proportion to their surroundings to be properly appreciated. For example, a large arch would need a really full and flowing basket with lots of trailing plants, foliage as well as flowers to give it the required length as well as the width to follow the lines of the archway. Some unusual types of baskets were also shown, notably, one with succulents all around it. This had been achieved by inverting one basket over another, so forming a complete circle. Mind you, I bet watering was difficult, it is a good job they do not require much. She showed us ideas for winter baskets as well, which was good.

When the photos were finished she started the main demonstration of the evening, actually making a hanging basket. She showed us various types of basket and liners, also different soil types, and passed samples round so we could feel the difference in the weight and texture, discussing the pros and cons of each.

After deciding on a wire basket and moss to line it, she supported the basket on a large plant pot and  mixed the compost with water retaining granules, also known as "Swellgel". The moss needs to be thick so that a finger cannot be pushed through, also come to over the top of the basket to hide the wire and provide support to any plants that are trailing over. I learned this the hard way, when several of my fuchsias snapped when I had not padded it enough.  Next came a circle of plastic to provide a reservoir to stop all the  water from draining away. A small amount of compost was added, followed by the trailing plants. These were wrapped in plastic prior to being pushed through from the inside out, so the rootball is not damaged. Any leaf damage can be mended, not so the roots. Fuchsias should be pinched out above the third lot of leaves to make a bushier plant with more flowers.  More compost was added then the top plants were put in and extra compost was put between the plants. A colour scheme needs to be decided on at the start. Debbie had red, yellow and purple at the bottom, and repeated by the top plants. An upright fuchsia in the middle and trailing plants all around made a nicely balanced basket, although it did look a bit sad by the time it had finished, but it will quickly recover.

Debbie planting up her basket.
 When it was finished she added fertiliser tablets to the compost to feed all the plants. This generated a discussion on the different types and merits of fertilisers amongst her and the members.
A rather sorry looking basket.
When it was finished Debbie donated it to the raffle and it was won by Jeanette, who takes the subs at the back of the hall. She also said that any plants she had over could be purchased for 50p per plant, a good bargain for those who got to the front quickly in the interval.
Debbie answering questions at the end of the meeting.
It was a most interesting and informative evening, enjoyed by us all.

No comments:

Post a Comment