© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Tips, tricks and Thrips

Timithi Aplin-Barrett
Local apples and pears
Some of the local fruits that survived the summer heat Timithi Aplin-Barrett

The Canterbury Horticulture Society talks tips, tricks and thrips

"How's your gardens?" asked Michael Coulter, a nurseryman, at a Canterbury Horticultural Society meeting. There was a collective sigh around the room and the answer came. "Dry!"

The society has been around since the mid 1800's and is now the largest horticultural club for home gardeners in New Zealand. They meet regularly and hold various events in between. For example, they're closely involved with the Edible Gardens Awards. Their turnout for meetings can exceed well over 100.

This time, the topic was the weather and a nasty little bug called thrips which infest your garden and cause considerable damage to plants. Tips were shared as to how to get rid of the little pests. Then the talk turned to the hot, dry weather and the water restrictions that come with it. 

"I'm worried about the council telling us to hand water our gardens," Mr Coulter said. "It doesn't work! You end up sort of halfheartedly swinging the hose around for a few minutes everyday which isn't doing the plants any good."

He said it would be better if they could have a good, long watering intermittently because the water would get deep down into the soil and the roots of the plants. There's no move to talk to the council yet but if the dry weather continues...

Thankfully, local apple crops didn't seem to have suffered too much. This was evident from the enormous apple someone brought along and showcased. Some interesting pear breeds were also shown around. 

After the official part of the meeting was over, it was time for tea and biscuits and chatting about lawn length, how best to protect your garden from white butterflies, a plant no-one knew the name for and other little tips and tricks for the green thumbs in the room.

Their next meeting (the AGM) will be in new quarters in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens on the 18th of March and will no longer see Alan Jolliffe as the president. He is standing down after three and a half years heading the society.