Botany specialist David Southall spoke about Dirt Free Combination Plants at the first General Membership Meeting of the Naples Garden Club season.

David and his wife, Suzy Valentine (an accomplished horticulturist and flower show judge in her own right), entertained us with a presentation on why not to use ‘dirt’ for potted plants. Instead he suggested the Cornell mix of 1 cubic foot of peat, 1 cubic foot of Perlite combined with 10 ounces of Osmocote (preferably the one with minor elements). He said that using stones or gravel at the bottom of our pots is a no-no because the material takes up space and nutrients that the plant’s roots need.  He also debunks the popular myth of the benefits of using shards in the bottom of pots.  “The perfect hiding place for slugs and snails!” he explained and suggested using plastic screening in the bottom instead.

At the end of the meeting, Garden Club members counted off numbers, and the winners whose numbers were selected were encouraged to take home the centerpiece, pot up the individual plants in the container provided, and bring them back as Flower Show entries.  Watch for these combination plants on March 18 and 19 at our Flower Show.