What to do in September

Lots to do, just some ideas for your September list.

  1. Start your compost heap — compost is garden gold. Compost seals in the moisture of the soil, protects soil surface during heavy rain, feeds all the creatures, micro organisms, bacteria, fungi which is the essence of and basics of a healthy growing garden.It is free resource, and you are returning to the soil what you have taken from it.You can make a liquid feed from your compost. Place some compost into a porous bag — soak for a couple of days, liquids now a feed for your Camellia, Rhododendrons and Magnolias, as they are busy producing flower buds for next spring.
  1. Empty vegetable beds,  either plant spring cabbage or sow a green manure Phacelia Tanacetifolia, Clover,White mustard or buckwheat. I have sown clover, but would also like to plant spring cabbage!!! Green manures  fertilise the soil for the following crop mainly through the intake of nitrogen, which is then dug back into the soil ( cabbage likes lots of nitrogen).
  1. Sow seeds of perpetual spinach, baby leaf kale, lettuce such as Mizuna red Emperor as you can also use this in stir fries. Sow seeds into best quality compost, err on having it warm as this also helps with germination.Theres are more.Last Sunday I planted at least 20 trays of ornamental, vegetable seeds — hope my students enjoy pricking them out !!! 
  1. What ever herbs that still look fresh, clip and freeze . Also if you have lots of tomatoes ,broad beans all these can be frozen for later use.
  1. Flowers are setting seeds, collect when ripe on dry days  (damp will cause mould). Sweet pea, garden peas, broad beans all very easy( pods should be brown) for collection. Place into a paper bag, store in a dry dark consistently cool place in a plastic, metal or glass container. This can be a very interesting activity. A sweep pea packet of 20 can cost €2.49 not a lot but imagine saving your own and you can use the money for seeds you don’t have.
  1. You can start dividing some of your herbaceous perennials, such as Astrantia,Pulmoniara, Ophiopogan. If you have too much pot them up and share with friends. Be gentle with cutting back and autumn clean up of the garden as it is still providing food and shelter for many creatures.To prepare for their hibernation, hedgehogs eat as much as they can during autumn, munching on beetles, caterpillars and earthworms to build up good fat reserves. They will then seek out a quiet spot to rest for the coming months, usually in piles of dead leaves, stacks of logs, compost heaps or under garden sheds.The exact time they retire to this spot will depend on how mild the weather is. Hibernation can take place any time from October to April, but in a warmer winter you may still see hedgehogs out and about in December.
  1. Keep dead heading your Dahalia’s, as this prolongs flowering, food again for visiting pollinators.Saw quiet a few butterflies in the garden today Yippee.
  1. Bulbs ,start getting them into the ground.Tulips are the last and generally are planted in Winter  November, December and even January. If you can consider planting organic bulbs.
  1. The lawn, re-seed patches and also perfect for a new lawn. Did this in spring — disaster, soil too cold, too dry, now is perfect.  Scarifying or raking will really help with moss removal (moss is very useful for birds in spring for their nests not a total villain}. When I am collecting leaves or even planting and have made a mess on the grass, simply raking hard often is sufficient. Lawns are getting bad press now, but they act as an anchor for a garden, they absorb carbon dioxide, water soakage and give off oxygen. There is never a need to water it during droughts, leaving your grass cuttings feeds the soil, which brings us back task no 1. Biodiversity in your lawn is very welcome.
  2. Fruit trees, apples, pears, plumbs, all can be give a tidy up now.My plumb tree gave me 3 plumbs this year. Fantastic flower in spring, frost around 14 May, not too hard but as my garden is very dry I suspect the severe lack of rain in April-May had an affect. Plumbs are members of the prunus family so only prune gently and do it now before dormancy sets in. Pruning now is for shape. Hedges could also be cut now for winter structure.

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.

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.
  • Mow when conditions are correct, ie ground not too wet, not too low.

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 

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.

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.

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.

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.