Talk by Fergus Garrett at AHS February meeting

Fergus Garrett, the Head Gardener at Great Dixter and CEO of the Great Dixter Trust spoke to members and friends at Aldersbrook Horticultural Society’s February meeting. He spoke of learning from the great gardener Christopher Lloyd who owned Great Dixter. They worked together for many years and Christopher Lloyd was Fergus’s mentor. His talk was on Succession Planting, explaining how to ensure that our garden borders and beds can look good all the year round by planting different plants in succession, leaving no gaps in the soil at any particular time of the year. He explained which plants work well together, for example, growing small and relatively slow growing spring bulbs under deciduous trees or with ferns and hostas before they come into leaf. He explained how important it is to use shrubs for all round interest and provide shape and mass in the border. He said some plants would be too thuggish to plant with others and emphasised how important it is to plant the right plant in the right place and showed how even different varieties in the same genus of plant will develop in different ways and emphasised the importance of observing your plants and how they grow. The audience was wowed by beautiful slides showing how each area of planting changed through the seasons and how some plants take over when others die back or disappear underground. He recommended marking out a border so that you know which plant or seeds can be planted in which section of the bed. At the end of his talk, Fergus answered a number of questions from enthusiastic members of the audience, who gave very positive feedback and we hope to invite him for another talk next year.