What to do in the Garden in December

Greetings fellow Gardeners,

Because of some building work, being carried  out in the garden, I am unable to host a Christmas Workshop this year, which I really will miss as it is our way of a small Christmas celebration.

Also I would really would like to thank my Garden visitors, my Garden Volunteers, and my amazing inspiring Students. All of you are the reason why I do what I do. Appreciating our tenderer and gentle environment, really appreciating what is happening beneath our feet, what it gives us, is so fantastic, thank you.

Have a very Happy and Holy Christmas, see you next Year .

Annmarie 

What to do in December

  1. Harvest your Brussells sprouts for your Chridtmas Dinner.
  2. Make a wreathe using Willow or Cornus alba as a base. Cover it with moss or lots of ivy, old mans beard – Clematis vitalba. String cranberries, dried roses using fine wire, bright ribbons, dried fruit, pine cones sprayed white or gold or silver.Poppy seed heads, tiny Poinsettia, twigs covered in lichens
  3. Clear out your shed, clean your tools. Buy an Osslating hoe – I have some in stock, great gift.
  4. Choose 3 annual flowers you love, order the seeds.
  5. List the veg you eat, order their seeds.
  6. Check your tree ties.
  7. Tender plants check they are protected.
  8. Water available for visitng creatures.
  9. Plant all those bulbs you have now, make sure you include tulips.
  10. Collect and compost your leaves, you will be glad to have them  later in the year.

What you might do in the Garden in May

Some things to do in the garden in May. 

  1. Keep Weeding, use your osslating hoe often.
  2. Start watering indoor plants liberally until autumn, include liquid fertiliser.
  3. Refresh compost,remove dead or damaged growth.If your plant has outgrown your favourite pot, rather than buying a new larger pot, root prune and top prune, fresh compost and off it goes again.
  4. Start hardening off  all your now potted up seedlings.
  5. Keep mulching soil before the plants grow too much and you can still get in between them and see what you’re doing.
  6. Allow your spring bulbs to die back naturally, dead head,including you’re tulips as they fade.
  7. Prune shrubs that have flowered such as Japanese quince, choisya and ribes.
  8. It’s a good idea to get ahead of the game by putting in supports for oriental poppies, peonies and delphiniums. Once plants have got going it’s really difficult to try to prop them up and they may already be damaged. Look at putting in canes or pea sticks next to sweet peas, climbing roses, runner beans and peas, and tie the plants in to them as necessary.
  9. Divide large clumps of grasses such as Calamagrostis, Stepa gigainata and Molina Transparent, they prefer a warmer soil to settle into.
  10. Remove suckers from fruit trees and lilacs, also stray raspberry canes.
  11. Sow runner beans, don’t forget the supports.
  12. Keep harvesting you rhubarb – freezes really well.
  13. Start thinking of plants to put into your summer containers, include some wild flower seeds.
  14. Sow basil, tarragon, coriander  in pots, carrots in the ground ( don’t forget about carrot root fly and how to protectthe carrots.)

What to do in April

  1. Keep weeds under control – use your oscillating hoe (have some in stock) and also get down on your hands and knees.
  2. Protect fruit blossom from late frosts.
  3. Tie-in climbing and rambling roses.
  4. Sow hardy annuals, herbs and wild flower seed – Sunflowers, Cosmos, Ammi Majus, Calendula, Cleome, Marigolds, Basil, Coriander, Dill and Chervil.
  5. Start to feed citrus plants – oranges and lemons. I have them in pots which I protect during the winter.
  6. Increase the water given to houseplants – tidy them up, check if they could do with a compost freshen up and take cuttings.
  7. Feed hungry shrubs and roses. Chicken manure pellets are a great slow release general fertiliser.
  8. Sow new lawns or repair bare patches. Only time to water grass is when it has been seeded.
  9. Plant summer bulbs, corms and tubers –  Dahlias, Begonias, Gladioli, Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia) ,Lilies to name a few.
  10. Vegetable seeds –  here are a few – corn,broccoli ,beetroot, kale, peppers (Capsicums), Perpetual spinach,  tomatoes again wonderful opportunity to sow perennial seeds to flower in your garden for many years.

Ants in the Garden

Are ants in the garden bad?

The good and bad news about ants and plants. Just as a weed is a plant growing in the wrong place, insects in the wrong place are pests.

Ants play a very important role in the ecology of your garden for good and for not so good…Ants are predator and prey since they eat the eggs of many insects and serve as food for birds, lizards, and other beneficials. Their tunnels aerate the soil and allow water and nutrients to flow directly to the plant roots. They also distribute seeds by storing them in their tunnels.

The caterpillars of some butter­fly groups – read more on Blog page

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 July

Mid summer July –  Have you done it all ?

Some gardening you could do.

  1. Flowering shrubs which have finishes such as Wygelia, Syringa vulgaris’Madame Lemon’ (Lilac), Philadelphus ( mock orange), in order to enjoy the flowers lower down consider pruning to reduce height.
  2. Geraniums which have finished flowering cut back some will reflower again in early autumn.Keep dead heading flowers such as cosmos, dahalia’s, sweet pea and roses for repeat flowering.
  3. Sow salads and spinach for winter and early spring crops.
  4. Cut out fruit stems raspberries to their base, and tie in new canes for next years fruit.
  5. Thin apples after the ‘June drop’.Leave two or three fruit in each group for larger fruit.
  6. Take cuttings such as camellias, heathers , penstemon.
  7. Feed your tomato plants and remove axil growth on cordon plants.
  8. Keep an eye on newly planted plants for watering. The wind is very drying.Plants do better with a good soaking once a week, as using a hose can sometimes just give a useless sprinkling. Plants prefer rain water, so if you are using mains water allow it to sit for 48 hours in order for the various additives to evaporate.
  9. Plant any annuals you have sown from see, such as Nicotiana,Holyhock and Lunaria annua (Silver dollar plant).Also visit your garden centres to see what is flowering now to fill some of your planting  gaps.
  10. Take photos of your garden to help you make changes in autumn and spring.
Mad as a March Hare

What to do in March

LAWN

  • Sow lawn seed when the ground is dry and rain is expected.
  • Lawns need feeding in most cases at this time, especially those that grew poorly last year and have a lot of moss. Use a fork or bio fork to help aerate  a compacted lawn.
  • Mow when conditions are correct, ie ground not too wet, not too low a cut yet.

FLOWERS

  • Planting of new perennial flowers and lifting and dividing of established plants can be carried out if necessary, but do not delay, and make sure the plants are watered until they re-establish fully.
  • Spring bulbs can be lifted green in full leaf, just after flowering and moved to other areas.
  • Gladiolus corms can be planted directly outdoors from the middle of the month.
  • Lily bulbs can also be planted out or potted up for summer flowers.
  • Hardy annual flowers such as calendula and candytuft can be sown now and will flower in late summer.
  • Start off begonias and dahlias in pots of compost.
  • Re-pot house plants that are pot-bound and falling over.

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS

  • Onion sets and shallots can be put in now too.
  • Potatoes should be ready and if conditions are right plant.
  • If new fruit trees and bushes plant now to benefit of the best growing part of the year, also coming to the end of Bare Root season.
  • Apply some potash to fruit trees or a fruit fertiliser to improve growth and yield but not rich compost or manure when tends to promote soft growth and diseases. Fertiliser potassium is sometimes called “potash” .Potash ores are typically rich in potassium chloride , necessary for flower formation leading to fruit.
  • Pruning of apple and pear trees and blackcurrant bushes should be completed in early March because the buds will be already opening.
  • Weed around established herb plants to ensure they are weed-free as new growth begins.Weed your paths, etc and you will be glad later on.

Some summer flowering bulbs to consider

Some Spring Planting Bulbs (Summer Flowering)

Crinum flowers.

  1. Begonia Tubers   in a container protected from frosts
  2. Dahlia Tubers   in a container protected from frosts
  3. Crocosmia Corms   choose something like Lucifer as the orange one I love is very invasive and a bit of a nuisance at times.
  4. Lily Bulbs -plant only if the soil is not too wet, lilies look great in pots.
  5. Zantedeschia  (Calla Lilies ) again think of pots
  6. Crinum
  7. Eucomus
  8. Gladiolus Corms   (Symbolising strength and moral integrity, gladioli also represent infatuation, with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion. Striking and colourful with towering stems, this August birth flower and 40th wedding anniversary flower evoke the drama of Roman gladiators)
  9. Canna
  10. Liatris spicata 

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.

February 2019

5 things to do in February

1. Cut back orHelleborous namental 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.Planting bear rooted trees often allows you get great value, also good root /soil connection. Using a Mycorrhizal fungi can also add dividens 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.

Fleece covering pelargoniumsAt the moment growth is very much ahead of itself, I would advise not to be complacent, remember St Patricks day last year  —   snow.

There is lots more to do but I don’t want to frighten you. It is really worth your while to hoe weeds now on paths and hand weed between your bulbs.One more thing, if you are lucky enough to have clumps of snow drops , you can lift some and replant into positions where you would like to enjoy them in the future.My favourite hoe is the Swiss Osslating one, I have some in stock, if you are looking for one.

Planning, being prepared to take advantage of the weather, knowing what to plant and where and  when you visit a garden centre- a listwill help you to create a garden which will be both pleasing ,beautiful and within your budget.Patrica  Tyrrell is coming to Dalkey Garden School on Saturday 9 February for a day long  Workshop on Plant driven Garden Design. This is nearly booked out so if    you wish to participate reserve your place now Plant Driven Design  

Gardening Classes are also starting now and the next 6 week course will commence on Tuesday 26 /Thursday 28 March with Easter in the middle.

Saturday, March 4. I will be holding a morning workshop on Willow Weaving, such a beautiful material to make garden supports with and more.This is always a popular morning.

Later on in March 23  Klaus Leitenberger will be here, all  the way from North Leitrim. Klaus is the author of several Vegetable Gardening Books based on his experience of growing here in Ireland. This unique opportunity to have such an expert share his knowledge. Vegetable Gardening and Planning  Numbers are limited early booking is recommended.

Gardening Classes

Saturday 26 January.

GI Cooking for Weight Loss and Learn how to Plant your own Veg boxes 10 – 4 pm  with Cathy Soroghan Nutrition and Fitness Training – ‘Women on the run’ and Annmarie Bowring

Sowing SeedsGardening opens up and awakeners an awareness to our environment, the life and beauty it holds for us.

Growing our own food, harvesting our own flowers, sounds of life,  swish of plants, what more could we need!

A healthy vibrant gardens add so much to us, here in Dalkey Garden School we inspire you to be the best you can, to enjoy and see what is all around us.What we do, how we garden does matter.

Classes are open to alland those who want to do more. Enjoyment and sharing  are key and we will be starting on with Tuesday 29 or Thursday 31st January 10 – 1pm.