Sharing tips smooths out the process

Members of Alnwick Garden Club. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Members of Alnwick Garden Club. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Hands-on gardening is not everybody’s cup of tea so it is refreshing when someone you know confides that they’ve started cultivating a few plants and appear to be warming to the experience.

On such occasions positive, supportive words are in order. Negative elements, such as the prospect of pests, will reveal themselves soon enough.

Friend Brennan’s interest probably grew from the stunning floral displays that adorn the busy inn he runs. The outstanding hanging baskets were planted by a professional, but had to be maintained ‘in house’. This has inspired him to share an allotment patch and try his hand at vegetable growing.

The enthusiasm is evident as he relates how his brassicas, courgettes, et al, are making progress and begins to enquire about protecting them from pests.

I’ve had the pleasure of Carl’s company on Lionheart Radio’s Weekending Show for almost 10 years. Poor soul has had to listen to my tips and response to questions so long that he’s decided if you can’t beat them, join them.

Now he’s growing vegetables and when I reveal ornamental plants, he comes up with their botanical names. No surprise then that having moved to a different address and bigger garden, he and his wife Heather are enthusiasm personified.

It was a pleasant surprise when they turned up at Alnwick Garden Club, where there was an opportunity to mix with fellow enthusiasts. Membership ranges from beginners to experienced gardeners, and the speaker’s presentation is generally followed by an informal question and answer session.

Various routes lead to success in gardening, some have more hurdles than others, so sharing cultivation methods and experiences, both good and bad, can make for a smoother ride.