Lecture Reports 2017

March 14th 2017
Control of Pests and Diseases with and without Chemicals - Tom Cole

Tom deputised for Ken Crowther who was unfortunately not able to join us. Tom’s wide experience and knowledge and some interesting, though sometimes gruesome, slides took us through pests, diseases and plant disorders that we all might encounter. He suggested Epsom salts for yellowing leaves, lime for clubroot and once our rocket crop had bolted, we could eat the flowers. Many of our gardening problems could be overcome, or at least discouraged, by good cleanliness and housekeeping in the garden.

April 11th 2017
Growing and Using Plants in Containers – Robin Carsberg

A new speaker for the Society, Robin delighted us with many photos of plants in unusual containers. Some of his tips involved staging containers in groups at different heights. This can sometimes be done by simply placing one pot upside down and another on top. He recommended thinking about the contents of each pot using the maxim “thriller, filler and spiller”. Use an eye catching plant in the middle, some trailers over the edge of the pot and fill in the space in between. So, think carefully next time you plant up a pot and how much better it might look if placed in a group.

May 9th 2017
Happy Healthy Roses – Geoff Hodge

Geoff entertained us very well on our last lecture of the season and generously donated several gardening products to increase our raffle prize selection. He gave so much information about roses and their care including adding sulphur chips to acidify soil, tearing off suckers at the point of growth and to just cover the knuckle of the rose when planting. He recommended controlled release fertiliser lasting six months and systemic insecticide and fungicide. Discussing pruning (do you regularly sharpen your secateurs?) he recommended hybrid teas to be pruned hard to 4-6” and floribundas 6-9” from ground level in late February/early March. A great end to the lecture season.

October 10th 2017
Therapeutic Horticulture at Corbets Tey School – Sarah Young

Sarah, a teacher at the school for over 15 years, more recently trained with Thrive, an organisation specialising in therapeutic horticulture. Sarah showed us with enthusiasm the principles of introducing horticulture, particularly outdoors, to the children at the school. It was clear from the presentation that the children benefited enormously from the contact with the outdoors and having responsibility for their own little piece of ‘garden’. The School has a variety of garden areas including raised beds and two biodomes which allow activity whatever the weather.

Daffodils – Reg Nicholl

Reg, a long term member of the Society and of the RHS Daffodil and Tulip Committee, introduced us to some of the 27,000 varieties of daffodils, some of which he had personally developed. Some lovely photos and interesting anecdotes, unfortunately terminated due to lack of time.

November 14th 2017
Say it with Poison – Russell Bowes

What an entertaining evening you missed if you were not there! Russell delighted us with an amusing and surprising journey as he accompanied us through a garden fraught with plants that might cause injury or death! With references to Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, operas and fairy tales, we were drawn into the possibilities of death by poison from many of our ordinary garden plants. His cautionary tale ended by concluding that modern forensic methods could now identify any poisons that might be used.

December 12th 2017
Growing Organic Vegetables – Brian Carline

On a cold winter’s evening, those who turned up for this lecture were not disappointed. Brian’s knowledge and personal experience of growing as organically as possible was well narrated and photographed. He recommended the improvement of Essex clay soil with much compost, leaf mould, sand and grit. Organic fertilisers should be fish, blood and bone and pelleted chicken manure. Companion planting: basil with tomatoes and lavender with roses. Lots of hoeing to aerate the soil and remove weeds and a garlic wash for pests. White Lady runner bean and Montfavet and Ferline tomatoes recommended.