10th December 2016
Barry is locally well known as a down-to-earth experienced gardener.
He advised members to compost all garden waste a and leaves, which he finds makes useful compost, unturned, in two years.
He summarised his own strategy for an attractive garden, saying that he believed in using common plants because they work. He likes to use a mix of shrubs and perennials in borders and throws out plants that don't do well.
His own garden is modelled on the Bressingham notion of 'island beds', and includes tall plants, like Verbena bonariensis, that allow the other plants to be viewed through them.
He has included a number of star performers, for example, Daphne 'Jaqueline Postill', - evergreen, with shiny foliage and good early scent, in March.
Barry included special plants like some species of snowdrops, which flower in December.
He noted that his garden, in Santon Downham, on the Brandon to Thetford road is in no way a naturally sheltered garden, noting that the temperature on one night last week read -7C, and that in one of the recent bad winters, it had descended -22C. Barry likes paths to meander through the garden and avoids them looking like aircraft runways!
By growing a great many plants from seed, Barry has taught himself what works, without great expense, and provided himself with knowledge of a huge range.
He advised collecting seed and sowing it as soon as possible, keeping seed trays and seedlings in a cold- frame through Winter..
He recommended buying plants in Autumn. These would have been grown on since Spring and could be divided and planted from September until the weather gets too bad, to give a better and more cost-effective display, the following year. He reminded us that plants might still need watering during Autumn.
Barry recommended using pea--sticks for staking, advising that the tops should be bent over into the centre, where they would soon be grown over. Barry grows his own bamboo!
He also recommended circular wide wire mesh plant supports with long straight legs, and mentioned having used copper piping, which corrodes and could deter some pests.
Barry showed a range of slides, describing the advantages of different styles of growth and flowering habits.These are described in the more detailed write-up which will be published in the next Newsletter.