Courtney Whittaker and Denise Hattingh from Starke Ayres travelled to Aberdeen for the day, and both speakers impressed the members and guests with their in-depth knowledge of their products.
Courtney spoke first, and spoke with humour and authority on fertilisers, seeds, and general garden care. Members were very interested in his demonstration of the properties of palm peat, a refined coconut product that retains water and is very useful in many areas from seed germination to garden plants. After the dry product had soaked for an hour or so, he was able to show how much water had been absorbed, which was very impressive.
A range of products to deter garden pests were also shown, with great interest in those to deter ants, cockroaches and mice particularly.
Throughout the talk, many products were given away to those asking questions, and a lucky draw was also held. Packets of seeds were also available on all the tables for members, and Adri Verwey of SSK Agriland also donated a bumper bag of products.
After a very welcome break for refreshments, Jadre Lategan and Estelle van Wyk then shared their experiences of making draped pots from cement and old towels. In a rather messy demonstration, they showed how an old towel, cement mix, vermiculite and peat moss could be used to fashion a most unusual pot for the garden. Some of the experimental “failures” were also shown as a learning aid, with thin material that was not suitably robust or absorbent being the main problem. Overall, members were very impressed with the ingenuity of these two “crafty” ladies!