Listen to what your plants are telling you, says author and gardening expert

 In Events, News

GARDENERS should listen, talk to and even stroke their plants and flowers to help them grow.

That’s the view of horticultural lecturer and garden designer, Julie Kilpatrick in her new book, The Plant Listener.

Julie will be at Cardwell Garden Centre, near Gourock on Saturday and Sunday September 14 and 15, between 1pm and 3pm to explain her unusual gardening advice and sign copies of her book.

The book is an entertaining and easy-to-understand explanation of plants, their evolution, growth cycle and how gardeners can get the best out of their flowers and plants.

Julie tells the reader how they can listen to what plants are telling them, so the gardener knows how best to look after them.

She explains: “When I mean by listening to plants is that we should pay close attention to everything that’s happening to them. As soon as we choose to grow plants and flowers they spend their whole lives telling us how to do just that.

“All you have to do is listen to what it’s trying to tell you. The secret to caring for plants is being able to anticipate their reactions to certain events.”

Julie also ascribes to the theory of talking to plants, but as another way of making sure gardeners pay close attention to the plants and notice when they need care.

She explains: “Talking to plants makes you pay more attention as, in mid-conversation, you’ll notice if the plant needs more water or if the flower head needs to be removed.

“If you talk to something and even give it a name, you’re likely to care for it more.”

Julie also suggests that it’s a good idea to stroke or massage houseplants.

“Without passing animals, or wind to push them around, houseplants don’t need to strengthen their stems as much as those exposed to the elements,” she says.

“But like anyone who doesn’t exercise, they get lazy and lose muscle tone. By stroking them or shoving them gently, you’re encouraging them to toughen up.

She explains: “This isn’t a form of therapy for the gardener – it’s like a gym session for your plants.

“The process of plant’ reaction to touch in this way is known as thigmomorphogenesis, but I prefer to call it personal training for plants.”

Cardwell Garden Centre’s retail general manager, Paul Carmichael said: “We’re looking forward to hosting Julie’s book launch event.

“Julie certainly has an unexpected and entertaining way of describing how plants can grow and flourish, so I’m sure our visitors will have lots of questions for her.”

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