Gardening in December

Now for some task you could do:

  1. Take an inventory of tools and equipment that you need for next year. Add them to your Christmas list! How about an Osslating hoe,to save your back when weeding? Have some in stock.
  2. Finish off cutting back herbaceous plants and apply a mulch of compost / manure sealing in what ever heat is left, and protecting the soil from weathering.
  3. Bulbs are beginning to emerge now a good reason to finish off any clearing and weeding.Plant tulip bulbs, provided the ground isn’t frozen and waterlogged.
  4. Plant bare-rooted hedges, trees, shrubs and also native hedges  especially hawthorn-Crataegus monogyna  to encourage wildlife and create attractive boundaries around your garden.Blending it with species such as field maple, hazel, spindle, buckthorn, wild rose and viburnum make for tough and variated hedging. Planting two-foot high saplings a 30 cm apart will provide a fine hedge within four years. Since many are woodland species, they thrive in creating a thick wall of foliage as they vie for light.A wildlife fruiting hedge with crab apple, wild pear and guelder rose. A flowering hedge, with berberis, forsythia, fuchsia, ribes, hydrangea and philadelphus.
  5. Good time if you need to move young deciduous and evergreen shrubs as long as they’re not too large and the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.  Pre-dig the new planting hole before digging up plants to make the transplanting process as quick as possible and protect the roots from drying out.
  6. If you leave your dahlias in the ground , cover with an extra layer of mulch. If you don’t have any compost or mulch cover with a layer of leaves. Peonies don’t like their crowns covered as it prevents flowering.Baby slugs love to eat emerging shoots, so pull back the mulch in early spring.
  7. Take hardwood cuttings of dormant shrubs and fruit bushes.
  8. Sow antirrhinums (Snapdragons)in a cool greenhouse now for early flowering in the summer.These make great cut flowers.
  9. Protect your poinsettias from cold draughts and allow them to dry out slightly between waterings to make them last for the whole Christmas period and well into January. My last years plant is still thriving.
  10. Bird feeders give them a good cleaning and try and make them squirrel proof. Don’t forget to have water available for all visiting creatures.

What to do in the Garden November

Much easier to get jobs done now before Christmas. Spring bulbs will suddenly start to appear making it very difficult to hoe sebaceous borders. Soil heat levels drop  considerably. It is also important not to be too tidy, as we share our gardens with all kinds of creatures who also need shelter from the elements and places to hibernate safely.

  1. Finish planting any bulbs you have, except tulips which can be plants as late as January.
  2. Any seedlings self-sown in gravel or in you herbaceous beds, lift and pot up ( Plants for free).Sow broad beans, onion sets and garlic.Harvest Jerusalem artichokes, saving some tutors to resow.Divide large rhubarb stools and plant asparagus in very fertile rich soil.
  3. Plant colourful, cyclamen, violas, and polyanthus  to give a splash of colour. Erica (need  eracious compost) and hellebores can be planted into the garden when finished flowering . When in the garden centre check out scented shrubs for now, you will be surprised. Plan how you are going to care for  your Dahlias through the coldest months — lift or leave in  the ground? They will die back with the first frosts.
  4. Take hardwood cuttings of roses, favourite shrubs, fig, gooseberries to name a few.
  5. Trim your lawn edges as  probably lawn is too wet to mow.Also spike and brush sharp sand or grit into the holes to improve drainage — give the lawn a good scratch.
  6. Containers believe it or not can dry out, not much watering will be required, the same applies to your house plants at this time of year.Lift containers off hard surfaces to allow for drainage and air circulation.Wrap any that might not be frost hardy.
  7. Collect as many leaves as possible, run a lawn mower over them — if you can. Store in black plastic bags, lots of holes, stack and forget about them for a long as possible — year.This is how you make leaf mould a very valuable garden resource — add to containers, garden soil, sterilised good for seed sowing. Leaves at the base of roses, especially if there was black spot should not be composted but should be removed and disposed of separately to help break the cycle of these spores.
  8. Leave seed heads on plants in the borders. Birds are vital to have in the garden and will keep pest numbers down, don’t forget they also need to drink.
  9. Check tree ties and stakes. Make sure the ties are not cutting into the trunks. Consider applying  grease bands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless female winter moths climbing the trunks and laying their eggs in the branches.
  10. Now is time to plant bare rooted shrubs and trees.Shrubs and trees that need to be re-positioned, now as the soil is still warm which will allow for a little growth.

Black Spot home spray.

Black Spot Spray, 

500ml water,

3 tsp. Baking Powder/Bicarbonate Powder,

1 tsp. Vegetable oil,

A dash of eco soap (non eco soaps can have unfriendly chemicals)

Mix all together into a spray bottle. If the roses are very dry ,give them a good watering before applying spray.Cover leaves well with spray, will need to be repeated.

December Gardening

Happy Christmas every one and a Fruitful New Year

Just a few thoughts for now, what you could  or might do.

  1. Feed the birds and don’t forget they like to drink.
  2. Get all those leaves off your lawns the grass will suffer underneath.
  3. Clean your tools
  4. Finish planting your bulbs, they don’t do very well in brown bags!
  5. Decide now and make a list of any seeds you would like to grow.

I think this enough, remember imitate our garden at rest and do the same. Looking at books filled with beautiful plants and gardens will inspire you. The best and nicest Irish book of course is Jimi Blake’s book “A Beautiful Obsession”. Many of the photos were taken by Bernard van Giessen who has also photographed Mornington Garden.One  more thing, Fumbally Christmas Market on Sunday 15,  Green Vegetable Seeds, will be there with the best organic seeds you can get.

Workshops

How to prepare for the winter         

with  Klaus Laitenberger                 21 September 2019

How to prepare for the winter – green manure, seaweed, covering with plastic etc.  Growing winter crops – garlic, broad beans and winter salads. Using your tunnel or greenhouse in winter. Planning for next year.
Ants in the Garden

Up coming May Workshops

 

Natural Pest and Disease Management

Saturday May 25 No need ever to use Chemicals.

10am-4pm

Ingrid Foley

 Your health starts in the garden and Ingrid will show you how to avoid toxic and dangerous chemicals. She will demonstrate how to keep your garden healthy and protect your plants from pests and diseases with an emphasis on prevention! Learn how to deal with problems from slugs to wireworms, from blight to other fungal diseases. Get advice and help on how to prevent problems. All other mechanical and biological controls will be explored and various antifungal and antibacterial teas, brews and sprays will be introduced. The course we believe all gardeners need to do, but often shy away from.

10am – 4pm

You can book here.

Dee Crofts will help you capture flowers and foliage in plaster by creating your own “fossils” from Mornington Garden. Using potters clay to make your mould and plaster of paris to create a unique art piece.

May

The best and worst thing about gardening is that time does not stand still, and I suppose neither do we.Gardening is about life and the desire to live.

Really enjoy every day of May as the country side and our gardens push up new growth, the leaves on the trees, so fresh and vibrant, the Cherry, Apple blossom booming, drink in the fresh air which we are now beginning to realise we cannot take for granted. 

The combination of our non toxic gardening will have a benefit , encouraging bio-diversity where it is difficult to exist in other places,  such a natural thing in our gardens, on our balconies where ever we can encourage flora and fauna to thrive.

May Day was born from the industrial struggle for an eight-hour day.For a gardener as the days stretch we have the opportunity to extend our time in the garden — no May Day for us, but then is it work?

May  the beginning of summer, the seeds were sown in spring, new life really starts to be seen in the garden.The apple trees are in full bloom bearing fruit in the autumn, completing their cycles of life, with the production of seed to continue on.

The soil is beginning to warm up as the days grow longer and generally in most parts of the country around the 20 May we can start planting out our more delicate plants without the worry of frost.The protection we gave the soil  in the autumn and late winter will now begin to pay dividends, without good soil we are lost.

I suppose the best indicator that things are happening is the growth of weeds, and  so keep hoeing. Weeds are flowers growing in the wrong place, so you choose, as dandelions are still one of the best sources of early pollen for our precious bees.

For me May brings back many very happy memories of my Holy Communion picnic on the shores of Lough Corrib with the Hawthorn in full bloom. Enjoy.

1 Plant up your tomatoes into the best possible compost, plant them deep.

2 Early flowering shrubs when finished, such as  Forsythia, now is the time to prune as they will produce their flowers again on this years growth.

3 Mow your lawn often keep short and allow the grass to stay there helping to feed the soil.

4.Dead head Tulips and Narcissi ( daffodils) as they finish, allow the leaves to die back naturally, as they are feeding the bulbs for next year, this can take 6 weeks 9 mid June).

5 Keep a good eye out for slugs and snails, they are most active int the evenings. Set up beer    traps for them, hoeing in the morning also helps to reduce baby slugs.

Get those summer containers Hanging now

Next Sunday 28 April I will be getting my summer pots and baskets ready for the new season of SUMMER

This will be a morning of plant selection and planting so bring along your Favourite pot ,container basket and let’s get going.

We will start at 11 with a cup of coffee and now that the nettles are still young some nice teas.

You can book on line or contact me on 087 2256365  look forward to meeting you

Top 5 Gardening Tips for March

Top 5 tips for March

Fleece covering pelargoniums

1.  Pot on seeds now ready, those with true leaves about two whorls high into a potting mix which will give them nourishment.Such as found in John Inns no 2 Also lots more seeds to be sown now, check your existing seed packets and sow what you want and can.

2. Divide clumps of Galanthus sub. ( snowdrops) and place in an area where you wished they were and also will not be disturbed when dormant.You can still divide clumps of perennials and most importantly cut back grasses before they really take off with growth which would make it extremely  difficult later on.

3. Keep hoeing paths and beds with an Osslating Hoe ( I have some here for sale) my favorite  tool .By doing this you are preventing weed development, also churning slug eggs to the surface making a delicious meal for birds. Also check to see if you have frog spawn in buckets ponds etc and treasure it. Frogs are very  beneficial in a garden.

4.Cut grass if dry. If the ground is wet wait as a heavy lawn mower will form ruts and compaction. If you have a lawn with obvious edges ( unlike mine ) consider a robot lawn mower lovely and light.

5.Keep an eye on the weather,protect vunerable plants with fleece or straw, especially  tree ferns. Potted plants group together and  shelter. Also it can be drier than you realise so check potted plants for watering, even though they don’t need much water, growth is about to begin so demand will increase.

5 Things to do in February

5 things to do in February

1. Cut back ornamental grasses  such as Stipa gigantia, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’  Grasses such as Stipa tenuissima – Pony Tail grass, Stipa arundinacea better to pull your fingers through and remove spent fronds.Better to wait until the soil warms up before dividing clumps of grasses and there is better new growth.

2.Prune apple and pear trees whilst they’re still dormant. Leave plum , cherry  and apricot trees until the early summer as pruning these fruit trees now will make them susceptible to Silver Leaf disease.As soon as they start to open their leaves, good time to prune as their sap is now beginning to rise.

3  Plant bear rooted trees and roses .I prefer to plant my roses when in flower so that I am sure I have what I want – labels can get mixed up.Using a Mycorrhizal fungi can add dividends creating that bridge between root and soil.

4 Check out all the fabulous scented shrubs now such as Daphne, Viburnum x bodnantense, Witch Hazel – Hamamelis x intermedia and Wintersweet Chimonanthus praecox.

If you have these shrubs already once  they have finished flowering ,carry out a light pruning.

5 As the weather has been very mild,the soil is not too cold — well here in Dalkey. If you haven’t mulched do so immediately. You can use piles of leaves. shredded compost, manure, and compost such as Enrich.This acts like a blanket, surpasses weeds, protects the soil structure and also if we have a drought again next summer you will be glad you have done this, as it will act as a water retentive sponge in your soil.

Now the cold has arrived, how quickly we had forgotten how it can feel. Plants like tree ferns are not totally hardy so invest in some horticultural fleece and wrap them, making sure the wrappings are secure and will not blow off.

As the cold is necessary for lots of plants and seeds to develop  be glad it has arrived. Wrap up, and enjoy the light – welcome to Spring 2019 and  the the rebirth of the garden.