Just what the Doctor ordered, by Roger Hirons

What more suitable subjects could there be for our return to the Village Hall, than “The Plant Doctor”, Roger Hirons, talking to Grayshott Gardeners about plants which like Acid soil and Shade!

Roger, who is  Dorset born and bred, could call on over 35 years in the horticultural industry with his experience from his education at Pershore, plus running plant centres such as Hilliers and broadcasting on all things plant related.

Roger gave a fascinating talk with tips on how to get the best out of our plants, projecting colour images to clarify the points and recommendations he was making of what we should plant and where.

He stressed how important it was to think ahead prior to planting, and to spend as much time and effort as possible preparing the planting hole which will give our plants such a good start in life. He gave us many useful tips, such as incorporating a handful of chalky soil at the bottom of a deep hole for Clematis.

A further interesting tip was to mark your garden into sections and set up a chart on a calendar, then regularly annotate the chart with the date, colours and plants which are in flower as the year progresses. Thus you are able to move or add different plants to create ongoing colour during the growing season.

Roger advocated the benefit and the importance of good mulching for fast draining and dry Grayshott soil to ensure plants can survive. This included using mulch from broad leaved trees where pines are present to reduce the acidity of the soil, and vice versa.

He also explained how to obtain the best flowering from a Camellia in the spring is to ensure it is well watered during the previous September and October, plus ensuring it’s roots are confined and competing with other trees and shrubs rather than in free soil, in which the shrub will grow well but not flower well.

Roger was an inspirational speaker whose knowledge of plants was encyclopaedic, and who shared that information with us with enthusiasm and humour.