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Margaret's Blog














The Secret to Success:

Ensure the soil is warm. Warm up your soil by covering it with black plastic a few weeks prior to planting. Those extra degrees will translate into earlier tomatoes. If you are planting in a pot or growbag, put a sheet of aeroboard/polystyrene underneath. This is a much warmer environment for the root system by creating a barrier between cold soil and roots (and also a great way to re-use aeroboard).

An exception to the rule, tomatoes can be buried deeper than they come in the pot – all the way up to the first few leaves. Tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. If you can't dig a deeper hole, simply dig a shallow tunnel and lay the plant sideways. It will straighten up and grow towards the light!

Pinch and side shoot tomatoes regularly. Remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches (picture)



xtomato sucker 3.jpg.pagespeed.ic.eA6Gn0jb l

Mulch your tomatoes after the soil has had a chance to warm up. As tomatoes love heat. Mulching conserves moisture and prevents soil and soil-borne diseases from splashing up on to the plants.

If planting in a pot, Place pot near warm wall as the heat is reflected from this

Remove leaves from the bottom 1ft of the stem. These are usually the first leaves to get disease and fungus problems.

Water regularly to keep the soil/compost evenly moist. Feed every 10-14 days with a good organic tomato feed , changing to feeding every 5-7 days once the first fruits start to set. Grow Basil at the base of your tomato plant! This will act as a mulch, and is naturally a great combination plant for tomatoes.

A few marigolds planted in close proximity will help keep your tomatoes free from insects Greenfly & Whitefly If you do happen to get a few insects on your plants, you can boil up some garlic from your kitchen in water, allow to cool and use this as a spray.



Growbags can be difficult I'm not a big fan of growbags for the growing of tomatoes, especially when the growbag is left flat and is planted with three tomatoes. To me, it's far too shallow and plants are difficult to maintain from the point of view of watering. A far better idea is to grow the tomato plant in a pot, approx 50cm in diameter, and use John Innes multipurpose compost. For better depth, cut growbags in half and you have two upright plastic pots.

Sungold - yellow fruit, medium sized, fantastic flavour!

Alicante - medium sized, good old fashioned flavour!

Money Maker - red medium sized, very hardy

Shirley - medium sized with a great taste!

Tumbling Tom - trailing variety, great for containers!

Try a hanging basket of tumbling toms. A great way to grow this little beautys

tumbling tom red tomato



blueberry plant


Blueberries So simple to grow and so good to eat. These berries are absolutely delicious whether eaten fresh or cooked. They grow to approximately 1 metre high, or a little lower if grown in containers. The best soil to use grow the plants in is a lime free compost, with some slow release tablets added. Here's a useful tip: it is best to grow two varieties of blueberry to get good pollination! Always plant your blueberry in Ericaceous compost. This is really the only requirement. It is such a hardy plant that it will survive what ever our weather throws at it Go on! Rediscover the good life – growing fruit is easier than you'd think!


Strawberry Strawberries large

Anyone for Strawberries? Homegrown strawberries taste amazing and are so easy to grow – but, not in the ground! I have found it much easier, and an abundance of fruit had grown, when I grew my strawberries in growbags, in hanging baskets and in raised beds. When strawberries are grown up high they won't get attacked by slugs. Why not grow a few strawberries in a high plastic container, recycle an old drum and cut holes in it and plant strawberries through the holes on top of the container as well. You will have a wonderful crop of great tasting strawberries in no time! A really tasty variety is Elan. This is a professional variety for the demanding amateur grower. It has been given the title of gourmet strawberry. Up until recently, this variety was exclusively available to the professional grower, so it's a real delight to finally be able to offer this on the domestic market! Both of these fruits are Granny Griffins favorite ingredient for her scones. If you would like more advice with tomatoes or any gardening advice, please feel free to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tidy Towns Open Day 2017 
How to Earn the Extra Points with Tidy Towns
Open Day for Tidy Towns and Residential Associations at Griffins , Dripsey
Saturday 8th April
Enjoy both presentations and inspirational demos, full of planting combinations, easy gardening techniques and practical advice that you can adapt to suit your town, village or estate. 
We would like to invite 2 members from each Club to either a morning or afternoon event.
To Book your FREE tickets for your Group,
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ring Miriam on (021) 7334286
Morning Event
Registration at 10:30am
Event: 11 - 1pm
Afternoon Event
Registration at 1:30pm
Event: 2 - 4pm
Demostrations and presentations include the following topics
How to earn those extra Points
- Buzzing about Bee’s & Pollinators
- Wildlife Habitats & Natural Amenities
- Landscaping & Open Spaces
- Residential Streets & Housing Areas
- Approach Roads, Streets & Lane
Container Planting:
 -Easy Maintenance
- Proven Winners: Top quality annuals or perineal flowering plants.
- Combination Planting
- Bee Friendly Baskets
 Limited Tickets so book today:
To Book your FREE tickets for upto 2 members from your Group,
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ring Miriam on (021) 7334286

Muintir na Tire Launch Cork School Garden Competition at Griffins Garden Centre.

Pictured at the Launch of the Muintir na Tire Cork School garden competition. Included are Margaret Griffin Miriam Dillon and 'Queen Bee' Jennifer Cotter of Griffins Garden Centre, Bee keepers Ben Philpott and Noel Riordan. Cork County Council officials Louis Duffy, Dr.Mary Stack and Conor Nelligan. Deputy County Mayor Kevin Conway, Donal O'Leary Macroom and District Environmental Group, Pupils and teachers of Scoil Chroí Iosa Blarney, Banteer NS and Aghabullogue NS. Sean Holland Denis Kelly and Seamus Forde Muintir na Tire.

The Muintir na tire Cork School garden competition was officially opened by Deputy County Mayor Kevin Conway last monday in Griffins Garden Centre Dripsey and many primary schools across the County have already entered their school garden in the competition. Muintir na Tire, Cork County Council and the team at Griffins created a Real buzz at the official Launch of the Competition.

Ted Walsh Emma Hughes and Erin Hickey and Deputy Mayor Kevin Conway having fun making 'Bee Friendly Seed Bombs' with Queen Bee Jennifer Cotter at the Cork School Gardens Competition Launch

 Deputy Mayor Conway  said he personally and the County Council were delighted to be associated with this great initiative that helps children to learn the importance of nature and growing your own food while at the same time staying active. Margaret  Griffin and and her team were on hand to gave the children and teachers lots of invaluable advice in Fruit and Vegetable Gardening ,

Pupils from Aghabullogue NS Anna O Leary James Lane and Michelle Murphy learn how to grow potatoes in containers watched by Queen Bee Jennifer Cotter and Dr. Mary Stack Environmental Awareness Officer Cork County Council at the launch of the Muintir na Tire Cork Schools Garden Competition
Erin Hickey Emma Hughes and Ted Hickey show Louis Duffy head of the Environment Directorate Cork Council the art of growing potatoes in a bucket.

Special guest included the children and teachers of Scoil Choí Iosa Blarney, and Aghabullogue and Banteer National schools where they got  the opportunity to Meet and chat with local beekeepers Ben Phillpott and Noel Riordan and learn the importance of Bee friendly Gardening. The children  learnt the fun of guerrilla gardening. The queen Bee Jennifer Cotter taught the local kids how to make bee friendly seed bombs. When they throw the these bombs in to wasteland, the seeds will germinate into a wonderful bee friendly flower patch .

Queen Bee Jennifer Cotter with Pupils of Banteer NS. Rachel Collins Aoife O Connor and Nicola Corkery learning how to make Bee Friendly 'Seed Bombs' with Deputy County Mayor Kevin Conway

A real Favourite with the children was the Bee Mobile at Griffins.  To celebrate the work of the bees and pollinators the vibrant bee mobile at Griffins was unveiled. This is a fun bright display that portrays the importance of bees to our environment. This year Griffins are awarding a special award for the best 'Bee friendly School Garden' and the Bee mobile was a great attraction to all at the launch. Margaret Griffin and the Local beekeepers  have asked all schools to help protect our bees and Plants Bee friendly gardens. Her message is simple. Plant flowers and bees will follow. Through the Cork Schools garden competition , Muintir na Tire Griffins and Cork county Council will  reward schools for their hard work with biodiversity and bee friendly gardening

Buzzing about bees  Local Beekeepers Noel O Riordan and Ben Phillpot take a well earned rest by the 'Bee Mobile' during the launch of the Cork School Garden Competition for Primary Schools in County Cork 
Dr. Mary Stack Environmental Awareness Officer of Cork County Council pictured at the 'Bee Mobile'

Dr. Mary Stack Environmental Awareness Officer of Cork County council encouraged schools to rethink, repair, refurbish along with reusing & recycling items in their garden as this is very important for the environment. 

Conor Nelligan Heritage Officer and Dr Mary Stack speaking at the launch at the Launch

Conor Nelligan Heritage urged schools to think Biodiversity when gardening. He particularly suggested the inclusion of natural hedges, log piles, bird boxes, bird tables, wildflower meadows, nature-trails and the use of native flora.

Mr Séan Holland of Muintir na Tire who heads up the organising team speaking at the Launch

Sean Holland of Muintir na Tire who co-ordinate the competition thanked Cork County Council and Griffins Garden Centre for all their support in organising the Competition. He said that Garden Categories for 2017 will  include Edible Garden, Biodiversity/Wildlife Garden, Up-Cycling Art and colour Garden, Mixed Garden,   Small Garden, Best New Garden , Innovation and Creativity and the overall best  Pride of County Cork Garden  for which  all  schools will be automatically judged.

 He said children and teachers can  Log on now to www.muintir cork.com to register your school for the 2017 School gardens competition. He said the website  and the School Gardens Blog are filled with great advice and inspiration for school kids and teachers alike. Sean said that all schools big and small should enter the competition. 'dont worry if your garden is in its early stage you should still enter and learn as you go along'.

All photos by Timmy Griffin

For more information please contact Denis Kelly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0872034876

Dianthus Memories
Memories 002
Masses of double flowers from now right through  summer. A lovely Coronation with masses of double, snow-white flowers highlighted against a neat mound of soft, grey-green leaves. The flowers have a spicy, fruity fragrance which butterflies love.  An improved version of an ole favorite Mrs Sinkins . Loves a sunny position and will keep on flowering if you dead head it
house forest tree garden dahlia
Dreaming Of Dahlias:
Dahlias are invaluable for the summer border, in patio containers or as cut flowers, often flowering until the first frosts. The 2017 Collection at Griffins has an array of colour, heights  and varieties to choose from.  Be warned, many varieties sell out fast so do not delay.Here are a few of my favourites:
Colour spectacle, white aster , Dahlia Tsuki-Yori-No-Shisha,
Dahlia Park record and of course the bishop of landoff.
A great way to buy dahlias is inspirational gift bags, these are a combinations of 8 dahlias that compliment each other.  Our customers love the vibrant orange range, its our no.1 seller in dahlias this year.

Our Bee friendly mixes have and assortment of bulbs where the flowers produce a lot of nectar. A combination of dahlias, crocosmia and Tigridia 

bishop of landalf

My top tips to ensure Dahlia Success
How to Grow Dramatic Dahlias
Dahlia's need a sunny location to thrive; they love early morning sun, which is great because many other plants will not like this aspect.Prepare you flower beds:
Try to prepare your flower beds a few weeks before planting. Use well-rotted farmyard manure on the bottom of the bed and cover this with more soil so that the tubers don't actually come into direct contact with it. A good slow release compost should be mixed in as well as John Innes Multipurpose Compost. If your soil is very heavy add plenty of grit.
The ground should be allowed to warm up before planting Dahlia tubers. This will not be an issue this year as we experiencing a very mild winter.Do not water the bulbs after planting. I always soak the dahlias in a solution of tomato food for a few hours before planting, and leave them to nature after this.
Over-watering can cause tubers to rot. If you had difficulty previously with bulbs and Dahilas plant them up in pots first and then transfer into flower bedsBark mulch does not allow the ground to warm up properly and this may result in the tubers not sprouting properly. Bark may increase soil acidity as well, which is harmful to dahlias.
If shoots appear through the soil early , I would recommend covering them with a frost protection fleece. Dahlias are a bit like potatoes when it comes to frost damage, so be wary of this.
Dahlias hate to be over-fed:
Too much farmyard manure and much nitrogen makes the dahlia's stems weak and flower poorly. Tubers can rot with too much manure as well, so it is best to keep manure underneath the tuber, under a layer of soil. When planting the tubers, make sure to add grit to the soil and this will give them the ideal environment. This is why slow release is so valuable, as it releases food little by little over a 6 month period! Not too much and not too little, this is just the right amount.

Growing Potatoes & Harvesting

Potatoes are the backbone of any vegetable garden. You get them in relatively early and apart from some earthing up and keeping an eye out for blight there is very little to do.
There are so many different potato varieties, usually described as early, second early and maincroppotatoes. These names indicate when they crop and also give you an idea of the space you'll need, how closely and when they can be planted.
zoom 2 2
First Early :

First early potatoes are perfect if you want to grow small, new potatoes and should be planted from the end of February to late May. They'll be ready to harvest in about 10 weeks from the planting date. It's a good idea to 'chit' these varieties before planting - this produces long shoots from which the plants will grow. First early potatoes are ideal for growing in potato patio planters or containers. If you are short on Space and would love to Grow Potatoes,  The PotatoPot is ideal for you.

A few of our most popular First earlies are 

Sharpes Express,: ‘Sharpe’s Express’ is a favourite early in Ireland for good reason. It is unusual amongst ‘earlies’ in that it is a floury potato . Ideal for steaming

HomeGaurd :  a superior potato with excellent flavour

Pentland Javeiln: A lovely soft waxy-textured new potato with white skins and flesh that is ideal for boiling as a salad or new potato

Other Varities: Aaran Pilot, Duke of York , Epicure, Maris Bard, Red Duke of York,  Rocket, Orla 

 It's also worth remembering that earlies are less likely to encounter pest problems as they're lifted so much earlier in the year. 

Second earlies take 16 to 17 weeks to mature after planting, so you should be able to harvest them from very late June through to the start of August. Kestrel - An exhibition winner – with outstanding taste  British Queen : This  variety is over 100 years old and still highly prized for its yield, shape, floury texture and delicious flavour.

Other Varities : Caitriona , Kestrel, Record, Wilja, International Kidney , Charlotter

Maincrops are ready 18 to 20 weeks after planting, so they can be lifted usually from July through to October. Maincrops take up the most space in the garden, but they tend to be the best varieties to grow if you want some for storage. Sarpo Mira : Blight resistant winner:  unprecedented blight resistance, good slug resistance and it grows well in a wide range of soils. Potato'Sarpo Mira' produces huge yields of tasty, floury tubers that have a long storage potential. 
Pink Fir Apple – Wonderful nutty flavour – RHS Award
Cara : An allotment Favourite:  Excellent for baking and Chipping. Rooster: the good old favourite in Ireland . Its the most widely grown potato in Ireland Ideal for the novice gardener
Other varities : Golden wonder, Kerrs Pink, King edward,

How to chit : Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting.. Start Chitting Now . Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of 'eyes'.  Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light . Keep this room cool.   The potatoes are ready to be planted out when the shoots are 1.5-2.5cm (0.5-1in) long.
How to plantPlant your chitted potatoes when the soil has started to warm up, usually from ST PATRICKS DAY.  
Plant early potatoes about 30cm (12in) apart with 40-50cm (16-20in) between the rows, and second earlies and maincrops about 38cm (15in) apart with 75cm (30in) between the rows. 

Chitting potatoes

Handle your chitted tubers with care, gently setting them into the trench with the shoots pointing upwards, being careful not to break the shoots. Cover the potatoes lightly with soil. 
As soon as the shoots appear, earth up each plant by covering it with a ridge of soil so that the shoots are just buried. 
You need to do this at regular intervals and by the end of the season each plant will have a small mound around it 
Seed Potato

Open Day 2017

An exciting date for your dairy. Wednesday the 8th of March  and Thursday the 9th . Griffins of Dripsey are hosting an  Open Day for Clubs, Societies and Associations .This free event begins at 11 am with Granny Griffins Award winning scones and tea / coffee on arrival to welcome you. Through out the day there will be lots for you to experience, taste and enjoy There will be samples of our Cooking demonstrations by Head chef Raphael and Creative  Gardening by Margaret Griffin.  Fun Interactive day guaranteed and don't forget to enter our draw to win great spot prizes  and to collect your VIP gift bag packed filled with treats and surprises. This free event is a ticketed event with limited spaces. To book your Free tickets (maximum four per Group) please contact me with the name of attendees, Club/ Business   and which date you would like to attend.  Book Early as this is a popular event.  
If you require any further information about our “2017 Package for Groups & Tours”, please feel free to

contact us by email

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or phone

021 7334286.


Some demonstrations will take place in our all weather outdoor area : So Dress Warmly

 Groups Day Invitation 2017 BACKweb




Mon-Sat 9am - 6pm

Sun 10am - 6pm

Bank Holidays 9am - 6pm

Restaurant open til 5:30pm



Dripsey, Co. Cork.
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