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by Janet Prescott - Monday, 4 March 2019, 2:36 PM

Another one for level 3, this time from R3114 Feb ‘18

Q2a) Describe THREE benefits of growing plants in containers for display. [6 marks]

b) Describe ONE suitable irrigation system for a container display. [4 marks]

This question relates to the following part of the syllabus:

1.1 Describe the characteristics of a range of specialist areas. Garden and urban situations to include the following: 

- woodland; - prairie; - wildlife; - wildflower meadows; - sensory; - potager; - courtyards; - container gardens; - roof gardens; - living walls; - green roofs; - street plantings; - community gardens; - amenity bedding (to include: traditional,   carpet, three-dimensional and sub-tropical). 

Please note for assessment 1.1 (describe the characteristics of a range of specialist areas), plant examples are needed where appropriate.

1.2 Identify establishment and management issues associated with specialist areas (For the situations listed in 1.1) To include (where appropriate): - site selection; - site preparation; - hazards; - vandalism; - security; - micro climates; - shade; - temperature; - irrigation; - nutrition; - pollution; - litter; - weeds; - pests; - diseases.

Both parts of the question ask you to ‘describe’ so longer answers are needed. For part a) as three benefits are required, it is a good idea to number use bullet points for this. It is important to make it clear which are your three distinct points.

For part a) the examiners’ comments stated the following as suitable benefits that many candidates answered with:

The ability to use a specific growing medium to suit the plant enabling a wider range of plants to be grown, such as ericaceous plants, where soil is not suitable; moving pots around the garden to vary the display and also to move tender plants undercover in winter; and use in hard landscaped areas with no garden soil.

For part b) the examiners’ comments stated that most candidates chose to write about an automatic drip feed system. There are four marks for this part, so it is important to make sure you choose a system that you can include a good description for.

Other good answers suggested by the examiners’ comments include ‘self watering system, drip and seepage’. The further detail suggested includes ‘a description of the source of water, when and how applied and how it was controlled. Accepted answers included mains water or water reservoir with a timer, pumps or containers with an inbuilt water reservoir with wicks, or containing Leca’.

Although a diagram isn’t specifically asked for, they can be helpful in answering this type of question. The examiners’ comments pointed out that some diagrams were not clear or well labelled. It is important that any diagrams included in exam answers should be appropriate, clear and well labelled. It’s a good idea to practice drawing very simple diagrams so you don’t waste time in exams.