Date(s) - 09/02/2018
Kilmington Village Hall
Neil Lovesey set about providing some of the answers to a familiar gardening query. He explained that it’s all about understanding the lives of plants which are infinitely varied. Gardeners, however, tend to give them same treatment – dig a hole and bury their roots in the ground. To identify what plants need, Neil illustrated with diagrams some elementary botany showing how plants absorb nutrition and water from the air and the soil. All plants require different treatment, and it is helpful to find out where and how a particular plant grows in the wild and try to match it. If a new purchase fails to thrive in one position, move it into a different environment in the garden.
Moving onto specific plants and problems, Neil emphasised that cold + wet is a lethal winter combination. It is wiser to lay pots on their sides rather than leave them standing upright on cold concrete. Winter is not the only danger season – plants can die just as easily in mid-summer, usually by roasting in plastic pots, but occasionally by too much sunshine which can be fatal to those with variegated foliage. There are also many misconceptions about individual plants: hydrangeas do need lots of water but also plenty of sun; salvias require a hot, well-drained position, plus regular watering; cannas will die if the temperature drops below freezing, but dahlias can survive low temperatures if kept dry. Neil’s advice was wide-ranging, covering feeding and watering, light and shade, soil and climate. He left us with a few invaluable tips. Cut penstemons back by half in autumn but do not cut right down until new growth starts in spring. A dead clematis may not invariably be the result of wilt – slugs could be the problem. We learned that there are so many ways to kill a plant and welcomed such good advice on how to avoid the pitfalls. Neil’s talk was amusing as well as full of wisdom. His notes are available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org .