Galston District Garden Club

Garden Club
By Greta Wickham

The Galston District Garden Club has great pleasure in announcing resumption of monthly meetings beginning 14th April 2021. The meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month in the Galston Community Centre, 37 Arcadia Road, Galston. Time, 7.30pm

We always enjoy welcoming new people and visitors to the Club. A knowledge of gardening is not a prerequisite, only a love of gardening and plants. Club meetings give you the opportunity to make new friends, improve your gardening knowledge and hear some terrific guest speakers.

At our first meeting in April, Judy Horton will be our guest speaker. Judy is a horticulturist who retired in 2015 after working for 22 years as a garden advisor for Yates. Judy still wears many hats, answering questions on ABC 702 “Weekends with Simon Marnie”, editor of “Our Gardens”, the Garden Clubs of Australia quarterly magazine, and a botanical guide for Botanica World Discoveries, among just a few of her activities and interests. A talk from Judy is always entertaining and informative.

Did you know why the 17th March was such a significate date in our calendrer? Yes, it was St. Patrick’s Day. However, apart from that it was also a reminder to plant SWEET PEAS. I love Sweet Peas but I usually want to kick myself because it is when I see them flowering or in a vase indoors that I remember, I have forgotten to plant them. Not this year!

Gardeners have been planting sweet peas “Lathyrus odoratus” for years and it is the fragrance that really captures the imagination. However, according to Malcolm from Gardening Australia, it is important to be careful because many modern cultivars have been bred without fragrance, so read the label carefully to ensure you buy the form you want.

Select a wide, open sunny aspect, with good drainage and an ideal pH of about 6 ½, Sweet peas are best grown in a soil that is slightly alkaline. They also love water and will grow vigorously in the right conditions. One of the mistakes people make is they load the soil up with lots of nutrients. The plant then responds by putting on lots of foliage at the expense of flowers. Add compost or really well rotted manure prior to planting. Wood ash is also good as it is based on calcium carbonate and potassium carbonate. The calcium makes the soil slightly alkaline and the potassium is really good for enhancing the potash, which helps the plant produce more and better quality flowers. If the soil pH is too low, at about five, add dolomite. If the soil is heavy and loamy, add gypsum.

When it comes to water, keep it flowing. The more water they get the bigger they will grow. In a wet season, they will go crazy and grow way beyond the top of their trellis. A lovely cut flower for indoors, the plant responds well to being picked.

The more you pick them the more the plant flowers and the longer the season extends, but if you leave the flowers on the plant they go to seed and the plant will stop producing subsequent flowers. Sweet pea seeds can be picked and stored for sowing next season.

Therefore, my garden preparation for the Sweet peas starts this week and I hope this article is a reminder for you too.

The Club welcomes you to 2021, with lots of guest speakers, friendships and gardening information. For more information, visit our website: www.galstongardenclub.com.au

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