The Society had a very entertaining evening supplied by Karen Kenny who talked about Friends & Foes in the Garden. We started off naming all the friends and foes we could think of ensuring we did not fall asleep. Karen then went on to discuss various organic ways could deal with these pests. She stressed how important it is to keep the ecological balance in the garden and that by using sprays of pesticides we are harming the very creatures we want to attract. The definition of a foe in the garden is a creature that shares our plants without our permission. The foes we discussed were Aphids, lily beetle, cabbage white butterflies and vine weevils. To attract the friends into the garden they need water and plants to attract them and encourage them to lay their eggs, such as poached eggs plants which are used by ladybirds early in the Spring to lay their first eggs and then the larvae will eat the aphids. Blue tits will also eat them and a piece of fat hung near the roses will encourage them. Black flies can be a big problem on dahlias and Runner beans, using a sacrificial plant such as nasturtians, planted under the dahlias and beans will attract the black flies to them, nipping out the shoots of the runner beans also helps as they like the soft tips. To deter cabbage white butterflies and some aphids strong smelling herbs will confuse them as they are attracted by the smell and shape of their preferred plant, tomatoes, fennel, rosemary all help in this respect. The dreaded lily beetles who have no predators, have a cunning habit of dropping off the plant and falling upside down if someone tries to catch them, a piece of white paper underneath solves this problem. The disgusting larvae can be washed off with a hose pipe, but best to move the lillies to a beetle free area as they hibernate in the soil. Slugs and snails can be dealt with at the egg stage as well as the adult stage, centipedes, slow worms and rove beetles will eat the eggs while frogs and hedgehogs will eat the adults. Beer traps are to be avoided as they catch the good guys as well as the bad. Vine weevils can be dealt with using a biological nematode or as a preventative cover the pots with a thick mulch of gravel as they cannot burrow into this to get at the soil. A very informative and fun evening . The next meeting will be the inter club annual quiz so come and support your club.