Longframlington Gardening Club, September meeting

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ALPINE GARDENING: Mike Dale spoke to members of Longframlington Gardening Club in September.

His subject was Alpine gardening and he gave a very thorough account of the whole process in its many forms.

First, he defined the term, an alpine plant is not merely one that grows in high places, for dandelions grow on the Cairngorms.

Rather, it is one that grows in difficult conditions, which can mean little soil as well as high altitudes.

A gardener wishing to grow these delightful plants must therefore provide coarse-grained soil with free drainage.

By means of excellent photographs and sketches we were shown how to do this in sink gardens, pots, and raised beds of many types.

There were even containers fashioned from fallen trees, Alpine gardening with a chain saw.

We saw the finished effects in pictures of ambitious projects in large gardens as well as in tiny pots holding individual plants.

Mr Dale’s method does not, however, rely on the computer and the screen.

Equally effective in arousing the interest of his audience was the collection of materials he brought along.

There were five different kinds of grit which we were told to listen to as it was rolled between the palms: “If it doesn’t talk to you, don’t use it.”

Old polystyrene fish boxes, ingeniously disguised; blocks of tufa drilled with holes, wooden crates with makers’ signs still on, all were pressed into service, as well as more conventional containers.

The meeting ended with a video provided by one of our members of the summer outing to Holehird Gardens, Windermere. This recaptured the delights of a very successful day.

The next meeting will be on October 14, at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall.

It will be the annual general meeting but will also include an examination of gardening books.