The Society is indebted to Chris Thorne of Aylett Nurseries for stepping in as our guest speaker at the very last minute as our scheduled speaker unfortunately had to cancel at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances.
Chris, the Retail Manager of Ayletts for the last 16 years, provided a very informative talk on the huge range of garden care products currently on sale at the popular St Albans Garden Centre.
His top tip was ALWAYS read the small print on the label as this will help you compare products. Many brands are packaged in different colours with different wording and different pricing. Often the contents are identical!
Gardeners looking to get the most out of their plants like bigger flowers, more colour, more leaf growth there is a growing and diverse range of fertilisers to choose from.
Plants need three basic types of food. Nitrogen which helps shoots and leaves to grow, Phosphorous which encourages roots and Potassium, important for fruits and flowers. A general purpose fertiliser like Growmore will contain equal amounts of the above nutrients and can be used on all parts of the garden. These nutrients can be bought separately and are known as ‘straight’ fertilisers.
Fertilisers are sold in different formulations. Liquids that are quick acting but granules can be slower in their action. Miracle Gro for example is a controlled release fertiliser releasing food over many weeks.
Then there are specialist fertilisers like Tomorite which is high in potash which encourages flowers to form resulting in more fruit. Also useful in hanging baskets where flower production is essential.
Mycorrhizal funghi (been around 400 million years!) has grown in usage in recent years, heavily promoted by Monty Don on Gardeners World and endorsed by the RHS. The fungus colonize roots forming a biological link between the root and the soil. The fungus in the soil absorbs water and nutrients and accelerates healthy root growth.
Nematodes now can be bought in packs which are important in the decomposition of organic material and recycling of nutrients in soil.
Ayletts produce over 40 leaflets to help gardeners get the possible advice and are freely available online or from the nursery. Ayletts have a large, knowledgable staff who are on hand to answer any questions gardeners may have again online or on site.
Last top tip from Chris was if you are buying winter pansies in the next few weeks only by plants in flower. If they are not they will not produce flowers until the Spring.
For further information, help or advice contact:
Aylett Nurseries (south of St Albans on the A414….. Sat Nav AL2 1DH)