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Margaret's Blog

 

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Blog

The Guide to Herbs

Gardening and cooking with herbs is becoming more popular every day. There's nothing like the taste of herbs picked fresh from your own garden! They're so easy to grow, whether in beds, borders, containers or on windowsills and with our full range of herb plants at Griffins growing your own herbs has never been easier. Many herbs can also be grown all the year round and will save you buying expensive supermarket produce. Follow Margaret s easy guide to learn how to grow your own herbs.

Herbs in Containers: Growing herbs in pots and containers is a great way to grow fresh produce if space is limited. Place them outside your back door for easy harvesting when cooking! Choose relatively deep pots and make sure the container has drainage holes and is raised up on bricks or 'pot feet' to prevent water logging in the winter. The best compost to grow herbs in is Westland Multipurpose John Innes. Feed your pot-grown herbs regularly with a tomato feed throughout the growing season, following the manufacturer's instructions. Over-feeding can cause the leaves to lose their pungent flavour so don't be too generous. One of my favourite house warming Gifts is a beautiful pot filled with Herbs.

growing-herbs in a pot

Growing Herb in your garden and raised beds : Growing herbs outdoors in a dedicated herb garden makes harvesting easier and will create a rich scent on hot sunny days! You could make a herb garden quite ornamental by combining the silver-grey foliage of lavender  or sage with the blue flowers of borage and the movement of dill and fennel There are also great variations in foliage colour with herbs such as thyme , Mint.Herbs also make a great addition to flower beds and borders if you don't have the space for a dedicated herb garden. Try using low-growing herbs such as Chives and thyme as an informal edge to a path. Herbs such as thyme and Corsican mint can also be planted in the gaps in paving and patios and will withstand light foot traffic; releasing their delicious scent when walked on. The tall, feathery foliage of fennel looks good in a herbaceous border and the yellow flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. Always ensure your herbs are grown in a well drained and sunny position

herb bed

Growing herbs indoors is convenient for harvesting and great for those without gardens. It also extends the season for annual herbs so you will have fresh produce all year round! Suitable herbs to grow indoors on the windowsill include chives, parsley, Basil, Coriander, Dill and Mint. Grow on a sunny window. Water well when dry and enjoy your culinary delights basil is best grown indoors in a sunny position. The plant is a tender so treat it with a little extra love and it will reward you with a fresh floavour all summer long.

General care

Herbs are relatively low maintenance unless they are growing in containers where they will require routine watering and feeding. Good Drainage and a sunny position are the two keys to a good herb bed. Trimming herbs in the spring will encourage a flush of new healthy leaves. It's also best to dead-head your herbs as the flowers start to fade to channel their energy into leaf growth. You can trim shrubby herbs such as lavender and thyme .

 

My favourite herbs to grow are Parsley ,Thyme, rosemary, Coriander, Mint, ,Spearmint, Sweet Bay, Lemon Balm, French Tarragon. With this selection you will have most recipes covered

Harvesting and storing herbs is quite easy, Herbs are best harvested in the morning before any essential oils evaporate.Harvest no more than one-third of the plants at a time

Air drying herbs is not only the easiest and least expensive way to dry fresh herbs, but this slow drying process also doesn't deplete the herbs of their oils. Cut a bundle of healthy herb, hang upside down in a warm dry room. Keep an eye on it, after tow weeks the herbs should be starting to dry out. When full dry store in an airtight container Herbs are excellent for freezing enabling you to enjoy their flavours all year round. You can either freeze whole sprigs in a freezer bag or freeze chopped herbs with water in ice cube trays.

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We are delighted to announce that Griffins are shortlisted for IEDR Optimise Fund ! There was  over 150 applications which have been shortlisted down to 32 at the moment.  15 winners will be selected from the shortlist, 10 by public vote and 5 by our judging panel.  Griffins would love your Vote

 

Can you imagine Griffins of Dripsey, Munster's only five star garden centre, home of the award winning restaurant and Ireland's best scone could be open 24/7 with your help? Vote for Griffins in“Optimise 2015, Iedr eCommerce and Website Development fund and it could be a reality.

Like to take a virtual stroll around Griffins from the comfort of your home? Order that special gift, get it wrapped with style, delivered to your door or ready to collect in store with a“Click & Collect”service? While on the go, Book an afternoon tea or your table for the best Sunday lunch from your smartphone? Ever wish you had Granny Griffins' home baking in your kitchen? All could be possible with our online take home range of baked goods and gourmet food.

Or going gardening? With Griffins' tutorials, vlogs, blogs you could have a Griffin's plant expert in your garden, advising you on your garden, solving your problems and recommending the best proven winners available. Click, Collect, Plan!

All under one virtual roof Griffinsgardencentre.ie why not organise that yearly visit to our very special guest while the little ones are dreaming of a white Christmas? Book your VIP seat at Griffins' Magical events? Sign up and cycle for charity?

To ensure that we have the friendliest trustworthy website available, we wish to work with the best and Optimise 2015 offers us a unique opportunity to do this. It is only a click away, Vote Griffins Garden centre for your magical online Griffins' experience. Click Here To Vote

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Optimise Fund 2015

 

Now in its fifth year, the IEDR’s OPTIMISE Fund was created to encourage and enable Irish SMEs or micro-enterprises to make greater use of existing web technologies to maximise their online presence. Since its’ launch in 2011, the OPTIMISE Fund has provided funding to 60 Irish SMEs and micro-enterprises who have invested its’ funding in expanding their websites to facilitate online selling and to optimise their online presence. Through an increased and improved web presence, businesses have successfully been able to reach a wider audience and, in turn, grow their businesses.

There are 32 businesses shortlisted for this year’s OPTIMISE Fund, including Griffins Of Dripsey. This shortlist will now be reduced further, down to the 15 final companies who will be selected as this year’s OPTIMISE Fund recipients.

An online public vote will select 10 of the final 15 fund recipients with the additional five businesses selected by the independent judging panel. This year’s independent judging panel is chaired by Conall O’Móráin (Today FM’s Sunday Business Show) and consists of Keith Bohanna (Near Future), Ronan Smith (AIB) and Alan Sherlock (SFA)

 

Granny griffins scones are officially the Best Scones in Ireland. Goodalls of Ireland, Odlums and the Public have given Granny Griffin this award for 2015



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Makes 15-18  Award Winning scones 

 
Turn on oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan oven).  Always make sure it is hot before
you start 

 

Ingredients:
 
2 lbs of Odlums Self Raising Flour
2 level teaspoons of baking powder
8 oz of Cold unsalted butter
2  of Granny Griffin handfuls of Shamrock Quality Sultanas.
2 free range eggs  (do not whisk the eggs)
Fresh Milk from the fridge
Butter Milk at room temperature
A teacup of Siucra Caster Sugar (150-180g) adjust to taste. 
 
Mix all dry ingredients and Cubes of butter with your cool hands 
Add in 2 whole eggs (not whisked) and an even mix of whole milk and Butter milk.
The amount of milk
will vary but Granny Griffin always aims for quite a wet mixture .
 
Granny Griffins Secrets from her  treasured recipe book
 
Always keep your eggs at room temperature. Never in a fridge and not in a very
warm place
in your kitchen
 
Have all your ingredients as cool as possible. 
 
Mix all the dry ingredient well first and then add cubes of butter. You need to do
 this with very coldhands. As they say cold hands .... Warm heart.
 
 Dont over work these ingredients. Then out with a fork and mix in the eggs and milk
mixture to a nice wet consistency. 
 
Cool your hands with water again and knead the mixture. Handle the dough with love,
Never ever over work it. 
 
Roll out the mixture on a cool table to a thickness of an inch high. 
Cut with a cool scone cutter. never twist the scone cutter.  Try to cut straight down. 
Glaze scone with an egg. Top and sides. This will help your scones stand proud.
Put scones  into your warm oven as quickly as possible. 
Bake for 15-18minutes. ever oven is different
 
Always bake your scones with love and quality ingredients. 
 
Serve with Homemade jam and Freshly whipped cream. 
 
For a Seasonal strawberry scone replace the sultanas with the best strawberries available.
Rosscarberry Strawberries are given the seal of approval From Granny Griffin 

 

Heavenly hanging baskets are a lot easier to create than many people think. Margaret Griffins top tips will ensure that Cork will heave the best hanging baskets this summer.

 

Firstly you need to decide where you are hanging this basket? Full sun or shade

 

Then what size basket? Smaller than a 14” basket can be very hard to keep watered during the summer.

 

What style basket would you like? One block colour can be very striking and visual from a distance. While a basket with a mixture of colours and plants will reward you with personality and colour

 

 

Here are a few of my favourite Hanging basket recipes

 

The Summer Breeze.

Vibrant Colours of the Coast has inspired this recipe. Sky blue and Lime surfinias, yellow biden and blue bacopa. Plant the Biden in the middle and feed it through the other plants.

 

summer breez basket

 

White Icing.

The elegance of a white hanging basket is second to none. Create this look with a mixture of plants that are pure white, White ivy leaf geraniums, bacopa , Verbena, lobulaira princess and White surfinias. If possible during hanging this where a light reflect on it and it will shine bright through the night.

 

 

County Pride.

Support your county with a basket overflowing with a mixture of reds and whites. The rich velvet verbena, red Surfinia mixed with a white verbena, bacopa and the fragrant Lobulaira princess will create a proud basket

 

 

 

Mediterranean Dreams

Ideal for a windy position as geraniums do not need much watering.

The ivy leaf pink geranium is vibrant yet elegant. It will flower all sumer long and ideal for a hard to reach baskets. ( tip a geranium basket require less feed and water than most other summer plants).

 mediterranean basket

 

 

Shade loving blooms .

The proven winner for shade loving baskets are begonias. They will keep on flowering till late autumn. Have you tried a million kisses begonias? The name says it all

begonia2

Top tips for all baskets

 

  1. The larger your basket the easier it is to maintain and keep watered.

  2. Always tilt trailing plants when planting. They will perform much better and create a basket that is overflowing with colour

  3. Never leave your basket dry out. Always Increase the watering as the baskets get bigger

  4. Use a good quality compost. I always use Grosure container and hanging basket compost.

  5. Add extra feed with a Slow release tablet. Grosure tablets will ensure that you basket gets a constant feed all season long

  6. Regularly remove spent flowers and your basket will continuously produce new blooms.

  7. Plant the right plants to suit the environment. Certain plants are shade lovers while other prefer to get the midday sun.

  8. I often drop my baskets down to see if they need extra compost, to remove all dead heads and to water the basket well. It is so worth doing this every few weeks. Add some tomato feed to the water can when you are doing this

 

 

 

Shade loving plants:

Begonia's, Fuchsia, Diascias

 

Sunny Position:

Geraniums, Surfinia, Verbena, Nemesia, Bacopa Million bells, Lobularia,

Tried and Tested ...... Proven Winners at Griffins

Looking for plants you can trust to create a beautiful, easy-to-maintain garden? All you have to do is look for the Proven Winners name to

know you're getting the most distinctive plants on the market. That's because Proven Winners have been tried and tested by our head grower John

to ensure our varieties are vigorous, healthy, vibrant, and unique.

Proven Winners plants are:

Easy to grow and care for

  • Covered with blossom and blooms

  • Bright and colorful

  • All-season bloomers

  • Disease free

 

I am sure my favourite proven winners will also be your when you test them this year

 

Osteospermum symphony Orange . Vibrant orange daisy Flower with a purple centre. Loves a sun position and very good drainage.

Beautiful in pots, hanging baskets and beds. Low maintenance and no deadheading required. Combine with purple surfinia in a sunny window box

or pot and this plant will reward you all summer long.

osteospermum

Nemesia Trio Mio Alegria: trio mio creates the perfect summer pot or basket with one easy plant. Three varieities of nemesia have been carefully

selected and planted together as a recipe to make a beautiful display. Bright, cheerful and sophisticated. Alegria combines the best of early flowering

Nemesia in red, yellow and white, all with coordinating yellow eyes on green semi-trailing foliage.

algeria 2

Verbena Vepita Dark red , White or Hotpink.

Verbena have a beautiful large round clusters of bright dainty blooms that appear against luxurious green spreading foliage. These trailing plants are so easy to maintain when planted in grosure container and hanging basket compost. They love full sun and flower from the end of April to October.

Perfect mixed with other seasonal plants for bowls, baskets and other containers, alternatively they can be planted on their own.

verbena dark red

Nemessia Cherry on Ice The unique red and white bicolour flowers of Nemesia Sunsatia™ 'Cherry On Ice' make it ideal to grow in a

courtyard pot, in a basket or for stunning garden display. Flowers from May to October, easy maintenance with no deadheading. Feed with slow release

granules when planting for a longer flowering period

 

nemesia cherry_on_ice_pot

Million Bells Double RUBY also known as Calibrachoa SUPERBELLS are delightful, interesting and easy-to-grow annuals that flower all summer.

Superbells ‘DOUBLE RUBY’ is a novelty in Calibrachoa with fully double flowers which resemble small roses in a beautiful ruby red colour.

It has a slightly trailing to upright, strong and rich growth. Prefers a sunny spot, but is resistant to rain and wind. The greatest winner last year

for my front door basket

doubleruby2

 

 

Buddleja Buzz ivory, lavender and sky blue. Three of the best varieites of small buddleja A Buddleja for the pot!

A revolution in Buddleja, the Buzz series has been bred to be suitable for the container and border planting.

Great for butterflies and bees too!

Buzz ‘Ivory’ are strong, elegant plants with gorgeous, white flowers.

Buzz 'Lavender' Wonderful violet-lilac flowers with an orange eye on good container performing habit.

Buzz sky Blue Sky-blue flowers emerge in early summer attracting butterflies and bees.

 

Salivia Hot lips This variety flowers from June right through to November! It's a very easy Salvia to grow and if we get a 'normal' Irish winter,

it should flourish again next year. 'Hot Lips' is a wonderful for patios and it's striking red flowers really stand out in a container.

It has won numerous awards in UK flower shows and are well worth having as an outstanding addition to your patio garden!

What People Don't Know about Rock Gardens (in the Natural World)

 rock-garden-plants

Rock garden plants grow on very high altitudes, which means they need to tolerate being exposed to the elements. On these mountainous landscapes, the ground is generally shaley rock, with very little actual soil. From this natural habitat of 'rock garden' plants, we know that stoney, well-drained soil is best.

The conditions typically seen in this habitat can be a far cry from wet and sodden soil of Cork and Kerry. This is why a lot of plants rot and die in our climate! Rock garden plants are very useful for harsh climates and exposed gardens, and once you invest in a few bags of grit, you're on your way to adding an amazing feature in your garden.

Rockery plants must be cut back regularly to give repeat flowering. Most colour rock plants will flower until late summer when this is done.

Contemporary Rock Gardens

The modern contemporary rock garden is based on the use of clean design lines, with the focus on hard landscaping materials – stones, concrete etc. The planting style is bold but simple, with the use of drifts of one or two plants that repeat throughout the design. Grasses are a very popular choice for this style of design and lighting will sometimes play an integral role in the modern garden, especially low voltage LED lights, used to create subtle and atmospheric lighting effects.

Japanese Rock gardens

Japanese rock gardens are probably the best in the world, at least, based on the principles of rock and gravel gardening, with most of the plants consisting of evergreens such as pines, mosses, Japanese Maples and Japanese Azaleas. The attention to detail is always strikingly obvious in Japanese rock gardens and most are actually very small in terms of area.

Margaret's Tips for a 'Wow!' Rockery

1. Strive to achieve year round colour – most rockery gardens look well in spring but fail to impress in late summer and winter.

2. A raised bed would make a great rock garden

3. Most banks or slopes just scream 'turn me into a rockery!'

4. Poor, stoney soil is your main criteria

5. Use rocks that are local to your area as they will look more natural

6. A gravel area where you can sit is worthwhile in every rock garden

7. Rock gardens can be serene or full of life and vibrant colour, depending on your own taste.

Some great rockery plants:

Arabis

A foolproof choice of plant for any beginner gardener. Beauty as well as simplicity!

Alpine Phlox

Alpine Phlox is an amazing plant, quite happy to sit in gravelly paths and crevices. Phlox absolutely hate damp, sodden soil.

Campanula

Most people will recognise this plant for it's ability to hug rocks and ditches to produce an abundance of flowers all summer.

campalula

Aubretia

The mainstay of any spring garden. By cutting back when flowers get tired, this plant will give wonderful colour until late summer.

Arabis

A foolproof choice of plant for any beginner gardener. Beauty as well as simplicity!

arabis

Lithodora

there are few plants that have such a contrast between bright blue flowers and deep green foliage,

making an unforgetable Display.

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