Fungi aka Mushrooms

Fungi aka Mushrooms

Mushrooms are the flowering heads of Fungus
What do they do for our diets? What do they do in our garden?
In 1991 David Hawksworth, a mycologist at Kew estimated the world’s fungal diversity at 1.5 million species (equal to the estimated number of all known other living organisms). This was thought at the time to be a radical overestimate, but now other researchers have proposed figures in excess of 13 million. Guess what they are still discovering more
The majority of the world’s fungi are microscopic, tiny and they do not usually produce structures which are visible to the naked eye unless the *hyphae form a thick growth (Often referred to as ‘moulds’).
However, the most familiar species are those which produce spore-bearing fruit bodies, which are clearly visible to the naked eye. These include puffballs, coral fungi, earthstars, truffles and other forms of mushrooms and toadstools.
*The basic structures of most fungi are microscopic threads called hyphae

What do they do?
One particularly crucial role of fungi is in the transport, storage, release and recycling of nutrients.
The ability of fungi to decompose major plant components — particularly lignin and cellulose — is the basis of their organic recycling role. You can buy mycorrhizal fungi which speed up the root connection to the soil.
Without decomposer fungi, we would soon be buried in leaf litter and twig debris.
They are particularly important in litter (leaf) decomposition, nutrient cycling and energy flows in woody ecosystems, and are dominant carbon and organic nutrient recyclers of forest debris.
When you turn your leaf pile and see a white powdery covering that is decomposition in full swing the little thread-like hyphae.
Acid Soils =low ph. Eracious soil.
Fungi are particularly valuable in acid soils, where the low pH makes it difficult for the survival of other organic decomposers such as bacteria and worms.
Bacteria release nitrogen in the form of nitrate which is easily leached from the soil and therefore lost to surface roots.
However, the fungi that break down the organic surface litter release nitrogen into the soil in a form of ammonium nitrate which is less mobile. Less likely to be washed away into the nearby water systems. This could be very important to the successful establishment of young trees and to the sustainability of the ecosystem as a whole.
Fungi need a constant supply of organic matter to survive and thrive. Like us all, we need to be fed, as they do not have the ability to photosynthesise their own food, no green chlorophyll
The nutrient cycle relies on the reintroduction of dead material (compost) to provide a constant source for the fungi to decompose.
In an existing woodland the organic horizon — top layer, is topped up each year with falling leaves, but in our parks and gardens, or on new planting schemes, this source of nutrients is either non-existent or is removed as over-enthusiastic gardeners remove all the autumn leaves. In these situations, the application of an organic mulch becomes very important and will improve the quality and productivity of the soil.
Therefore save your leaves, compost them and add them back into your garden.

A well know Fungi on an ornamental, which we don’t like is
Black spot which is a fungi. It overwinters on fallen leaves, hence the reason to clean up diseased leaves, as spores will sit on the top of the soil and will through splash back up onto the plant.

Prevention is the best cure, spray with a fungicide, of your own makings such as MILK or Baking soda.
Mix equal parts milk and water, then apply this each week with a sprayer to the upper and lower section of the roses leaves. This milky solution causes an invisible and friendly fungus to form, which will help prevent the formation of the dreaded black spot.
Baking soda.
Mix one tablespoon of baking soda or baking powder into one litre of water and add a drop or two of washing up liquid for stickiness.
Again, apply this each week with a sprayer to the upper and lower sides of the roses leaves. The baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) causes the rose leaf surface to become exceedingly alkaline which again prevents the blackspot from thriving. Remember fungi generally prefer a more acidic environment.
Both methods are effective only if used at the first sign of symptoms.

It is important to rake up the withered rose leaves and petals that litter your beds and borders, as these can act as a breeding ground for the blackspot fungus and to avoid splash back thus reinfecting the new leaves in spring. Pick or snip off any live leaves that exhibit black spots, as well as looking unsightly they aid the spread of the disease. All infected rose leaves and clippings should be placed into your brown bin not composted which could continue the cycle.
That is why never add to your compost diseased material.

In the good old days when we were allowed to have a bomb fire, diseased leaves and plants would be burnt ant the wood ash added to the compost, but now the priority is given to burning fossil fuels in our cars and an excess of methane from our beautiful cows.
Most importantly do not worry if you see Mushroom rings in your garden lawn, Fairy rings, your lawn may be a bit damaged but don’t worry as they will disappear. If you can remove them before they send off their spores as then, control is very difficult.
There is a very serious fungus which is called Honey Fungus and this can have serious consequences on the health of your trees.
If it is present you will see the tiny hyphae on the tree trunk.
Call a tree surgeon.

Fionnuala Fallons workshop

DESIGNING YOUR CUT FLOWER GARDEN WITH FIONNUALA FALLON

With delight, I look forward to welcoming Fionnuala Fallon of the Irish Flower Farmer and Irish Times on Saturday 13 as part of Dalkey Creates writing festival. We will be here in Mornington Garden the home of  Dalkey Garden School from 10 – 1 pm If you would like to come to call me now on 087 2256365. The cost for the morning is €45    SOLD OUT

Fionnuala Fallons workshop.

 

What to Do Now in the Garden October

Top 10 things to do in
your garden now

1 Photograph your garden- it is amazing how we forget.

2 Visit garden centres to see what plants/shrubs  are flowering now to fill in gaps

3 Divide large clumps of perennials – we get more plants, free up space and allow for better growth next year.

4 Take hardwood cuttings – this is when this year’s growth has become harder – firmer in other words not soft.

Take care to choose a healthy parent plant free from pests or disease and use a sharp, sterilised secateurs or knife. Careful labelling is key and should include the date the cuttings were taken, along with the name of the parent plant, use a compost 50 / 50 sand in a pot. Plant around the edges of the pot. Also, there can be a low rate of success so take lots. Unlike soft and semi-ripe cuttings, hardwood cuttings do not require bottom heat or a moist atmosphere. If you have space you can also simply dig a slit trench half the height of the cuttings and fill the bottom with sharp sand or grit.

Insert the cuttings vertically, to a third to half of their length and back-fill the soil, firming them in. You can use a hormone rooting powder, but this is generally felt to be unnecessary. Water well and label the cuttings so you know what they are. A cold frame can be placed over the top to encourage faster rooting if required.

Hardwood cuttings are very slow to form roots, so don’t expect them to root fully until at least the next spring. If rooted well the cuttings will sprout strong shoots and grow away.

Ideal shrubs for hardwood cuttings are Buddleia, weigela, privet (Ligustrum), Philadelphus, forsythia and willow, but you can experiment with any woody shrub that takes your fancy. Taking cuttings is free, and if they don’t succeed, no harm will have been done. Others plants eminently suited to being propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings include many shrubby evergreens such as rosemary, sage, lavender, box, escallonia, holly, viburnum, hebe, camellia, ceanothus, cistus and choisya. Good luck.

5 Plant bulbs for spring – wait till November to plant tulips. Think also of indoor bulbs for Christmas such as Hyacinths, plant NOW for Christmas. Narcissi Paper White take 6 weeks from planting to flowering and have an amazing scent to fill your home at Christmas when they are finished flowering plant them out into your garden the same with your Hyacinths.

6 Plan your flower borders for next summer — look at midsummer magazines etc for ideas also include spring as it will help you choose bulbs. Come to Patricia’s Workshop on Saturday, November 3.

7 Get your leaf pile organised — you can’t buy leaf mould.

8 Trim lawn edges, scarify and repair lawn, use a low nitrogen law feed.

9 Cut your hedges before frosts – pruning at this time of year is for shape.

10 Veg garden plant garlic, onions, broad beans and green manures.

It is very nice to have a neat tidy garden with good structure but don’t forget to leave some areas for all the little creatures to hibernate in – so don’t be too tidy. Leaf and wood piles make great places for hibernation and shelter. I take down my hanging baskets and replace with bird feeders. Birds are essential for our gardens and they do need a helping hand. Containers with water can act as little ponds for frogs and of course sources of drinking water for our little visitors.

There are lots of other jobs to do as well, but try and get as much done now before it gets too cold to venture out.

5 Garden Herbs for Flu Season

5 Garden Herbs for Flu Season

A very good reason to have your own selection of homegrown herbs available, the very good reason for including them in your diet, a good reason to cook from scratch. Here in Dalkey Garden School feel that understanding how to get the most from your garden, terrace, patio and balcony is really worthwhile.

5 Garden Herbs for Flu Season

Sunday, September 30.Gardening Workshop covering the basics.

The garden is now going to sleep, and now is also the time to plan your beautiful garden for next year.
Seed sowing at this time of year can give you a head start on Spring, roots develop and are stronger. Division of plants- making more, moving plants to better positions, planting bulbs for spring and summer. Feeding your soil, protecting it for the weather ahead- drought, are a few of what we will be covering.

Arranging Garden Flowers for Winter Interest

Sunday, October 7 10- 1 pm

Sally Horn florist extraordinaire.

Sally will show us how to use Seed heads, fresh flowers, greenery to make pleasing Winter displays. How to condition your flowers and greenery to get the longest life from them.

If you have a container you would like to use bring it, and we will also have some for you to use also.

All materials will be provided.

 

Fermented Foods

Fermented Foods

on some of my fliers, the date is wrong Sorry !!!

Saturday 20 October 2018

10am – 1pm

Ever wanted to try making your own fermented food but don’t know where to start? Come along to this demo and learn all about fermenting food and drinks, nature’s probiotics! Learn how to make milk and water Kefir, fermented vegetables, sourdough bread, labneh cheesecake and more. It is a fantastic way to introduce natural probiotics into the body. Walk away with your very own sourdough starter, recipes and a confidence to make them all at home.

Fiona Staunton is a  Ballymaloe trained Chef and has a Degree in Education from Trinity.
Having worked as a chef at Ballymaloe House she started her own successful catering business in Dublin in the late 1990s, catering for Private and Corporate functions.

Plein Air Oil Painting

Plein Air Oil Painting

25 August 2018

10am – 4pm

Orlagh Murphy

Orlagh Murphy is based in Co Cavan and started concentrating in 2010 on her studio practice after working freelance as an interior decorative artist in the US, Italy, Japan, UK and Ireland.  Orlagh now lives in a very rural area of Co Cavan and this has formed the basis for her work to date. The inspiration comes from an area of about 4-8sq kilometres comprising of farmland, river, lake and bogland which surround her home, she also produces work from Sligo, Mayo and West Cork always in a direct response to the seasons. book now

Ants in the Garden

Are Ants Bad for 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 beneficial. 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 produce a sweet substance known as honey­dew to attract protectors. The ants “farm” the caterpillars, sometimes even carrying them into the ant nests to complete development. This interaction can add more butterflies and birds to your garden as they become attracted to the greater insect activity.

The bad news is that ants can protect honeydew-producing, sucking insects that do a great deal of damage, such as aphids — white, green and black fly also scale and mealybug, populations in the garden.

They actually will drag their eggs into their nests and protect them.

Wasps eat aphids. Aphids produce honeydew which ants love.

Controls of ants in your garden

Planting aromatic herbs around the perimeter of your home can also discourage ants. The added benefit is that other insects and vermin are also put off by the aroma. Any mint plant – mint needs to be planted in a container as it will become too common in your garden, also Tansy and Sage can also be effective repellents.

You can reduce their numbers by pouring boiling hot water on their nests. This technique will help you control population numbers at source.

Ants don’t like citrus. Squeeze a citrus fruit in the direction of your plant so that the juice spritzes out. This should help to repel the ants.

  • To make a more heavy-duty citrus repellent, boil the rinds of half a dozen oranges in water for fifteen minutes. Also, you could use citrus drops.
  • Blend the rinds and water in a food processor and pour the mixture around your plants.
  • Make your own soap solution with 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap in 1 pint of warm water  or you could use washing up liquid diluted
  • Spray it on and around your plant. Soaps containing peppermint oil are particularly effective.

Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, chilli powder, coffee grounds, or dried mint tea leaves can be scattered around the base of the plant to deter ants too.

Spray the flying ants ( which are mature mating creatures) with dishwashing soap 

Diluted dishwashing soap is an effective agent against flying ants as it attaches to their bodies and dehydrates them.

Get yourself a spray bottle to catch the little creatures in flight and mix two generous squirts of dishwashing liquid with water. This is also effective on aphids on your plants. My mother would have used the water from the basin of washing up water to do this.

Using pesticides can damage beneficial insects and also the balance in your garden is really important to allow nature to do its job.

Botanical Plaster Casting Workshop Saturday 23 June

 

Botanical Plaster casting with Dee Crofts. Saturday 23 June 10 – 4 pm

    

We ran this workshop twice last summer and the response to not only learning and creating a unique piece of art was fantastic. Lunch is included in this workshop.

Again all materials are included. We ran this workshop last year and we had a fantastic day creating plaques and learning in a very social and enjoyable way.