Natural Pest and Disease Management and Grow your own Cut Flowers.

Natural Pest and Disease Management with  Ingrid Foley

Pests and Diseases

7 April 2018

10am-4pm –  Lunch included

Ingrid will show us how to avoid toxic and dangerous chemicals.

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.

Fionnuala Fallon Cut Flower Gardener

April 8, 2018

10 am – 4 pm    Lunch included

Grow your own cut-flowers seasonally and sustainably

with Fionnuala Fallon

How to grow your own cut-flowers with Fionnuala Fallon: An in-depth one-day course/ workshop on growing your own seasonal, sustainable cut-flowers for the home or as a supplement to your floristry business, covering everything from the best, most long flowering and floriferous varieties to grow, recommended seed suppliers, methods of propagation (seed, cuttings, division), growing under cover, useful web/ published resources/reference works and how to beat weeds, pests and diseases to the best methods of conditioning and presentation.
Fionnuala Fallon is a flower-farmer/ florist, author, and the gardening columnist for ‘The Irish Times’ as well as a regular contributor to other publications including ‘The Irish Garden’ and “Garden Heaven’. Together with her husband, the garden photographer Richard Johnston, she runs an organic flower farm, ‘The Irish Flower Farmer’ in a Victorian walled garden near Blessington, County Wicklow, where the focus is on growing/ providing a wonderful range of sustainably grown, seasonal flowers that are reflective of the Irish gardening year and which are produced without the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or artificial fertiliser.

Garden in Autumn

Next Weekends Workshops

Patrica Tyrrell will be here next Saturday 24 10 -4pm  a day-long master class on Plant Driven Design. Patrica is a Bloom Gold medalist and lecturer and will help you really think about what to do and how Lunch is included.

Also on Sunday 25  10- 1 pm, I will have a kick start to Growing your own Vegetables, this is an intensive morning and I will provide you with notes and a hands-on experience. Please book now to secure your places in these very special events of Learning

Whats the difference between a Snow Drop and a Snow Flake?


Galanthus spp have two distinct whorls of corolla segments (“petals”), arranged so that the three outer segments are large and usually unmarked, while the three inner segments are smaller and form a tube in the centre of the flower. They usually bear green markings at their tips and sometimes at the base as well.


Members of the genus Leucojum, have six corolla segments(petals) of equal length, each tipped with green or yellowish-green. Their leaves are also usually glossy bright green, and the plants look much bigger than a snowdrop. The spring snowflake is, and the summer snowflake, or London lily, is L. aestivum.


Galanthus spp. commonly know as Snow drop comprises since  February 2012, from the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognises 19 species:A 20th species, Galanthus panjutinii (Panjutin’s snowdrop), was recognised during 2012.

Discovered in five locations in a small area (estimated at 20km2) of the northern Colchis area (western Transcaucasus) of Georgia and Russia, it is classed as Endangered. One of its five known sites, at Sochi, has been destroyed by preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Galanthus nivalis as the most common.

Galanthus nivalis is admired for its delicate beauty; millions of plants are sold each year by the horticultural trade. It is one of the most popular of all cultivated bulbous plants and is widely enjoyed as an outdoor, early spring flower.Best time to plant is when they have finished flowering and are in the Green, also as the bulbs are so tiny it is much easier to choose the sites where you wish to enjoy them the next year.

The common snowdrop also has medicinal uses, for example it contains an alkaloid, galanthamine, which has been approved for use in the management of Alzheimer’s disease in a number of countries. Galanthamine is also used in the treatment of traumatic injuries to the nervous system. Galanthus nivalis is also an emmenagogue ( herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus) and as such it stimulates or increases menstrual flow and so can induce a natural abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. Snowdrop lectin (GNA; Galanthus nivalis agglutinin) is also being studied with regard to its potential activity against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

Snowdrop lectin is also an effective insecticide, and can be used against pests in the orders Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and Hemiptera (true bugs including aphids and leafhoppers). Research has suggested that snowdrop lectin could be a candidate for introduction into genetically-engineered crops, such as tobacco and tomatoes, to increase their resistance to insect pests.This is perhaps where Geneticaly modified crops (GM) could be good, but all need to be very well tested before such seeds are released into the open. Also. bio diversity, is critical  to our well being, acceptance of imperfection is also worth while.??! Bugs we think are bad are food for something else.


Amaryllis also known as Hippeastrum

Amaryllis also known as Hippeastrum

Amaryllis also known as HippeastrumHippeastrum from South Africa and Amaryllis from South America.

Quite often we receive them as gifts at Christmas. They are very large bulbs and not cheap. As gardeners, the trill is always to have our plants for years and rewarding us with their blooms.Hippeastrum, which is very similar in appearance to Amaryllis, except Hippeastrum has its origins in South America and the other – Amaryllis – South Africa.

In order to keep it healthy and flower again, throughout spring and summer feed with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. and water once a week( keep it well drained). deadhead spent blooms, remember the primary reason for a flower is to produce seeds, and as we don’t want the energy going into seed production remove the stamens early on (preventing pollination) and this also helps to prolong flowering. You can leave them outdoors during the summer, so as to enjoy extra light and humidity, protect from slugs.By placing them out of doors you are exposing them to a healthier environment and they can add to your pot display without thier flowers.

Amaryllis also known as HippeastrumIn autumn bring back into the house, as they require a temperature of 9 -13 C from mid-November for around 10 weeks, keep the compost moist, stop feeding, remove old yellowing foliage, do not dry off bulb or cut new healthy foliage.
If bulbs have outgrown their container, or they are in the same compost for more than two years, replant into a free draining compost ( one part perlite two compost – similar to a cutting compost mix).

Move plants into a bright position with a temperature of 18 c ( window sill, near a radiator) to stimulate flowers, also while growing restart feed but at mid-strength, until after flowering, returning to full feeding until November. To prolong flower life move to a slightly cooler position.When flowering has finished, in order to rebuild the energy stored in the bulb.
Very glad you enjoyed your flowers.

Seeds – a little information

Seeds-a little information.

Coco de Mer a species of Indian Ocean Palm

35-40cm size of the seed weighs  40 kg (88lbs) — the worlds largest seed — imagine that falling on your head!!!

Arctic lupin seeds were found to be viable after 10,000 years lying frozen in the tundra.Dandelion can travel 200 km in a storm, fern spores have been knowing to travel 200 km from their parent. Seeds such as cleavers are responsible for the invention of Velcro.

A seed holds the complete DNA of every cell, hair, vein, leaf, petal and root, is preprogrammed and waiting for germination.

Some seeds germinate immediately some can take years, Some need to be digested by animals, some need fire for a trigger ( many S. African and Australian plants) Some need periods of cold, winter before their seed coat will break open.Have you ever wondered how a Buddleia ends up growing out of a chimney pot?

Ferns are interesting as they don’t produce flowers and for a long time were not understood.There are 2 distinct stages in the life cycle of a fern.They produce spores from the underside of their leaves, which are dispersed from the fern and they germinate. After germination, they grow into small heart-shaped plants known as prothalli. male and female cells are produced on these plants and after fertilisation, the adult fern begins to develop.

Germination is triggered by water, heat and air found in soil/compost. As light levels rise you have less risk of seedlings becoming very leggy-sweet pea — don’t panic, pick out very leggy shoots and this will encourage a stronger stem.

Growing indoors allows us to cheat winter a little allowing a head start using best compost.I sow tomatoes seeds, your opportunity to grow unusual varieties.

My first workshop will be on how to Seed Sowing on February 10 from 10 -1 pm you can book

Have a look at

Irish Seed Savers, Brown Envelope Seeds, Green Vegetable Seed.

Seedaholic– great information with their packets.

Some seeds to sow now ( February) undercover — either in a greenhouse or a window sill.It is still too cold but as soon as temperatures begin to rise – March? You could begin to Harden them Off – which prepares them for the great outdoors.

Also when you sow seeds they are sown into a compost that has very little nutrition-they don’t need it as the seed comes with its own food supply. As soon as the true leaves appear the seed has become a plant and it now will require feeding — planting on. Overcrowded seed containers lead to poor growth, as there is not enough space for the young plants to thrive, therefore you have to “thin out” the seedlings, and plant on the stronger ones.

Some seeds to start now-February- seed packets will give you lots of information.


Tomatoes – like a bit of bottom heat to get going.

Sweet-pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

Lettuce Seeds

Antirrhinum majus


Globe artichokes,






Morning glory (Ipomoea),

Marigolds (Calendula and Tagetes species) and sunflowers (Helianthus cultivars) can be started off indoors to create flower displays for the summer.

Outside: Weather permitting you can try planting out broad beans, spinach, kohlrabi, onion and shallot sets, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnip and early pea varieties.

Always label your seed trays, Name of seed, Date.

Bare Rooted Plants

Deciduous trees and shrubs are about to “break bud”the garden is waking up, time to plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs, which are cheaper to buy now and easier to plant. The younger the whip the better it will settle well into its new home. Don’t forget to stake when planting the tree, when necessary.Don’t plant if the ground is frozen or waterlogged.

Perennials and Bulbs in flower now

Hellebores are in full bloom, so its great time to buy them in garden centres. I consider them “Excellent Value Plants”.Remove all their leaves ( they will regrow ) this allows you to see and enjoy the flowers and also make it easier for pollinators (Bees) to get in to fertilise the flowers and make new seeds.

Snowdrops [Galanthus) are popping up, people who go nuts for these tiny flowers are called “Galanthophiles”.

Daffodils-Narcissi — remember the ones you planted in the autumn? Should be looking well now and going into March. Traditionally we planted potatoes on17 March –  St Patrick’s Day, which you can but sometimes the soil can be too cold or wet-quiet often it is best to wait until April.The optimum temperature for growth is between 5-7 degrees.There are hundreds of varieties and cultivars and 3 different types of potatoes.First earlies, earlies and main-crop.

Pest & Disease Mgmt

The seeds you planted earlier will need to be pricked out into cell-trays or modules, using a good quality seed compost with some nutrition.Divide clumps of ornamental grasses and bamboo now.

Jobs to do now

Comb through and Cut back spent ornamental grasses-such as Stipa tenuissima.

Divide ornamental grasses and bamboo.Tidy up and allow the new shoots to come through.

Feed Bamboo.

Divide large clumps of perennials that you didn’t get to in Autumn.Replant, pot up and keep until you decide where you wish to replant them, share them with friends, sell them at plant sales, compost the tattered bits.

Snowdrops (Galanthus spp)are now in full flower when they finish flowering, divide large clumps, and place them where you would like to see them next year. Share some with friends.

Check Dahlia Tubers and start to get pots ready-starting Dahlias in pots allows for strong early growth. You can take stem cuttings from the new plant, when in growth and have the cuttings producing blooms later on in the year. It also helps you to prevent slug attack as you can spot it earlier.If you have managed to attract hedgehogs, frogs to your garden they will help you with a slug problem, and also all the birds you looked after will now eat your snails. This I consider fare exchange and balance.

Start to prune roses-they produce their flowers generally on new growth.

Prune wisteria — the whippets which grew last year.

Cut back Cornus alba ( to encourage new growth)-that lovely red or yellow stemmed winter shrub. If it is not pruned you lose the young coloured shoots for next winter.

Autumn fruiting raspberries should be cut back to the base, as fruit will be produced on new growth.Again, hoe gravel paths, vegetable and flower beds, keeping weeds at bay will be very rewarding later on.Hopefully, you did get your mulch onto your beds in the autumn, now with lots of rain, if the soil is not covered try to cover it now either with a mulch or even leaves, protecting it from erosion and damage. Remember as temperatures increase, slugs begin to surface and commence their eating, They don’t know the difference between your Dahlia and a weed. Be vigilant and pull back large clumps of compost from plants, so as dissuading a slug from an easy dinner.

Apply slow release fertiliser such as chicken pellets in areas where there are lots of bulbs.This is the time to feed bulbs, as they are emerging out of the soil.Having a mulch of FYM or Horse manure is an overall feed also for the emerging bulbs.

Cut back spent growth, again hedgehogs etc are still hibernating — not too much and be aware.

Feed birds-much of their habitats have been removed, for nesting as well as for feeding, therefore we need to give them a hand.Domestic gardens are of great benefit to all creatures besides us!! Make sure there is water available for all garden creatures, we are all 80% water.

Botanical Plaster Casts and Vouchers

Finally, we have some very unique and special products for my gardening friends.

Deirdre Crofts and Cera Doyle have come together producing a collection of Plaques using Plaster of Paris mounted on Mahagony and Walnut frames reflecting their love of nature.

I have a small selection in my shop, but if you wish to see more give me a call on 087 2256365

Sunday November 26 Christmas Wreath Making Workshop.

Create your own personalised Christmas wreath, using natural materials gathered and foraged in Co Wicklow. Learn how to do it, bring it home and continue making your own.Enjoy some Festive refreshments to kick start the season.

Sally Horn from The SallyGarden, will help guide you through the process in this 3 hour workshop.Sally is a florist, who sells Irish Organic grown flowers in Killruddery Farmers market every Saturday, throughout the year.

Her style is natural and informal, using country cottage flowers grown in her garden or sourced from The Irish flower Farmer from early spring until late autumn. During the winter,she forages locally and buys flowers in from mainland Europe.

Book Now

Christmas Wreath making workshop Sunday December 3

Christmas Wreath workshop

Create your own personalised Christmas wreath, using natural materials gathered and foraged in Co Wicklow.

Sally Horn from The SallyGarden, will help guide you through the process in this 3 hour workshop.Sally is a florist, who sells Irish Organic grown flowers in Killruddery Farmers market every Saturday, throughout the year.

Her style is natural and informal, using country cottage flowers grown in her garden or sourced from The Irish flower Farmer from early spring until late autumn. During the winter,she forages locally and buys flowers in from mainland Europe.

Workshop Full

Sunday 22nd October, 10am - 1pm Venue: Mornington, Saval Park Road, Dalkey Fionnuala Fallon

Fionnuala Fallon

Sunday 22nd October, 10am – 1pm


Dalkey Garden School,” Mornington,” Saval Park Road, Dalkey

as part of places are limited    book now on

Fionnuala Fallon

The Magic of Flowers

‘I can’t remember exactly when I first became a gardener but I know that it was a moment in my early childhood, soon after I sowed a handful of seeds from which nasturtiums quickly grew – an eruption of leaves and fiery orange flowers that seemed to me both astonishing and miraculous.’ read more

  Book now   as places are limited                  www.dalkeycreates,com