This was the first meeting after the summer break, and it was busy and very interesting one. Members had taken photographs of wildlife in their gardens for the first competition of the season. There were photographs of snakes, insects and many other creatures. The joint winners were Mitch Fell, with a photo of a lizard, and Roger Wagstaff who had photographed a mantis.
An avocado growing trial had been inaugurated earlier in the year, and some members had had success with this. Plants in varying stages of development were shown, and although the plants were small they were obviously healthy and growing well.
Anna van Djik then gave a very interesting and thought provoking presentation on the subject of the “Senses of Plants”. Her research showed very interesting results. American University experiments show that plants do indeed have a variant of senses akin to our own. Plants can “hear” the sound of a caterpillar eating a neighbouring plant. This triggers the production of insecticides in the leaves, making them less attractive to hungry caterpillars. It has also been shown that playing classical music to plants accelerates their growth. Acacia trees can “ smell” the gasses given off by other acacia trees when their leaves are eaten by giraffes. This stimulates the growth of the spiny thorns that are the acacia’s main defence against giraffes. Plants can also “see” light; they grow towards light sources so as to promote growth and photosynthesis. Plants are also able to detect touch as is demonstrated by the carnivorous Venus Fly Trap. The steps of an unwary insect will cause the leaves to close and trap it. It is only when the imprisoned insect struggles to escape that the plant secretes the digestive enzymes that allow it to consume its prey. Anna also explained the ways in which plants can “taste”, growing towards sources of food and water. Plants are not at all helpless creatures, indeed their senses enable them to defend themselves very well. This area of research is relatively new. Future research will be most intriguing.
Irene Davis, the Club’s Secretary hosted the meeting and also gave a fascinating talk about her “August Project”. Irene had asked at a local garage if she might have some old tyres! Over the month she painted these tyres in lovely vibrant colours, lined them and filled them with compost and plants to fill a corner of her terrace.
The next meeting will be held on Monday 3rd October at Bar Trasgu, Calle Alicante 12, Formentera del Segura, at 2.15 for a 2.30 start. This will be a very special surprise meeting, and if you would like to attend please let the Club know, as exact numbers are needed to ensure that the surprise will work! If you are interested in gardening and would like to come along to the meeting, please do so, you will be most welcome.
For further information, please contact The Vega Baja Garden Club at email@example.com