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Stuart Lees - Adventurous Container Gardening

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

Our Guest Speaker on 13th May was Stuart Lees who gave us plenty of advice and ideas for Container Gardening. Stuart trained as a horticulturist and worked for the Cadogan Estate in Chelsea before progressing to various Head Gardener positions. He now runs his own Garden Design and Consultancy business and will entertain you with Adventurous Container Gardening – daring you to be different!

At the beginning of his presentation, Stuart said that he was speaking on behalf of the Perennial Charity. At the heart of horticulture for more than 175 years; Perennial is the only UK charity that supports people working in and retired from the industry including their families, in times of crisis. They provide free, confidential advice, support and financial assistance to people of all ages. Their help extends out to a wide range of horticulture trades such as gardeners, nursery staff, parks & grounds care staff, botanists, landscapers and many more horticulture professions.


Use containers for display or even as a feature.

Buy good quality containers, cheap ones don't usually last as they generally suffer from frost damage.

Don't put a small plant in a big pot. Place pots in a good visible space.

A pot either side of a Front Door or in front of a window can look good. Troughs hung from windowsills are favourable too. You can also hang pots on walls for a good display. Pots up steps either side looks great with bedding plants and Phormium, however this can be high maintenence as it will require plenty of watering.

Putting a plastic pot inside a ceramic pot can stop frost bursting a valuable container.

Offcuts of sleepers can make good value containers. No need to screw together and use Ericaceous compost to nourish.

Perhaps have 1 or 2 plants in a number of pots supplemented with other plants to vary the overall display.

Terracotta with topiary looks good if you have the budget. Box Ball in a simple terracotta pot does really well. Feed once a year with fertilizer.

An Olive Tree in a shallow container works OK. Planting pansies around the outside in winter can make for a good display.

Stuart was thanked by our Chairman after his presentation and he also answered some questions from those present.

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