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.

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

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.

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.