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Residents Association MagazinearrowSummer 2003 - 13

GROW IT IN A CONTAINER

It isn't necessary to have a large garden to be creative with vegetables, fruits and flowers and I was advised it wasn't even necessary to have a sunny garden.

As a complete novice to gardening of any kind and with spring just around the corner. I sought help and the Royal Horticultural Societies Tubs and Containers day at Wisley seemed the ideal starting point.

Feeling exceptionally nervous, we arrived at 10.00 and got straight down to the coffee and honeycrunch and from this point I just knew I was going to enjoy the day.

We were shown many types of tubs, pots, hanging baskets and containers in various sizes and it became apparent marrying the plant to the size of tub was crucial to your success or failure. Small pots (it seems obvious now), hold little compost and tend to dry out rapidly requiring the need to move specimens on to a tub one size larger as soon as it is filled with roots. Larger containers however, may hold several plants or a larger individual specimen. Draining holes and raised pots ensured good drainage and guard against water logging.

I was astonished to find there was a different growing media for plants intended to last only one season, to that for plants intending to remain in the same container for more than a year. How green can you be (excuse the pun)? There was also compost for plants that were limehating such as azaleas and camellias.

Once planted, aftercare in the form of feeding and watering complete the basic knowledge needed for success. I do mean basic and as the day progressed I became more and more fascinated at just what I could achieve.

We were introduced to the best seasonal plants for containers of all types and for situations such as north facing areas. It was delightful to see the enthusiasm shown by the RHS staff.

Following a superb lunch we were introduced to cultivating fruit and vegetables in containers for your own consumption and dare I say a little something for the local show. As you can see by now my confidence had zoomed. When the grow bags full of young lettuce of at least 4 varieties beckoned me I just couldn't wait to get into the RHS garden centre. I was truly amazed at just how much one can grow in such a small area. Potatoes, leeks, carrots, tomatoes and red peppers to name but a few can be successfully grown in containers.

I was particularly interested in the fig trees that had been grown in pots at Wisley. I now have my very own specimen fig named Brown Turkey.

For more permanent planting in tubs and containers, dwarf conifers and alpines or heathers can give a good display in limited space. Shrubs and climbers also provide year round interest.

Questions and Answers followed tea and cake and I can truthfully say I learnt so much. The staff at Wisley were inspirational. Having said our goodbyes, we spent the next couple of hours in the gardens. There is an Events and Activities booklet available from the RHS. Please do have a day out. I guarantee you will have a fantastic time.

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Last Updated: 20th February 2004