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Margaret's Blog






Poinsettia pot

Poinsettias remain one of the most popular holiday flowers. Hybridizers have expanded the range of colors from the familiar red to pastel yellow and vibrant bi-colors. One of the most common questions after Christmas is “How can I care for my poinsettia so that it will bloom again next Christmas?”. While this can be done, it's a very fussy, exacting process and since the plants are not that expensive, you might just choose to start fresh next year.
For those of you who are undaunted, the process for saving your poinsettia and getting it to rebloom begins with the care you give it the first season.
When You First Bring Your Poinsettia Home:
Light - Place it near a sunny window. South, east or west facing windows are preferable to a north facing window. Poinsettias are tropicals and will appreciate as much direct sunlight as you can provide.
Heat - To keep the poinsettia in bloom as long as possible, maintain a temperature of about 20°C during the day. Dropping the temperature to about 16°C at night will not hurt the plant. However, cold drafts or allowing the leaves to touch a cold window ca injure the leaves and cause premature leaf drop. If you've ever see a gangly poinsettia in bloom, with only a couple of sad looking leaves hanging on, it was probably exposed to temperatures that were too cool or extreme shifts in temperature.
Water - Water the plant whenever the surface feels dry to the touch. Water until it drains out the bottom, but don't let the plant sit in water. Wilting is another common cause of leaf drop. A wilted plant can be revived and salvaged, but it will take another season to improve its appearance.
Humidity - Lack of humidity during dry seasons, in particular winter, is an ongoing houseplant problem. If your home tends to be dry and your poinsettia is in direct light, you will find yourself watering frequently, possibly every day

After Christmas Care:
January - March: Keep watering the poinsettia whenever the surface is dry.
October: Poinsettias are short-day plants, meaning their bud set is affected by the length of daylight. To re-bloom, poinsettias need about 10 weeks with 12 hours or less of sunlight per day. You will have to artificially create these conditions and it's crucial that you be diligent. Beginning October 1st, keep your plant in complete darkness from 5 pm to 8 am. Any exposure to light will delay blooming. Use an opaque box or material to block out light. Many people place their plants in a closest, but if light gets in though the cracks or if you open and use the closet, it will affect the bud set. Move the plant back to the sunny window during the daytime and continue watering and fertilizing
November: Around the last week of November, you can stop the darkness treatment and allow the plant to remain in the window. You should see flower buds at this point
December - Stop fertilizing about December 15th. Keep watering and treat your plant the way you did when you first brought it home in bloom. If all has gone well, it should be back in bloom and ready to begin the process all over again.

Daphne Eternal Fragrance 2

30 years in the making by a renowned nurseryman, Robin White of Blackthorn Nurseries in the UK, this is a superior twist on the classic Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance'

This is a truly new breed of Daphne with intensely scented blooms and unique re-blooming characteristics. Eternal Fragrance offers an almost continuous flower production beginning in spring and continuing in flushes right through to autumn. Along with the dainty white flowers comes an exquisite fragrance. The perfume is a delightful scent, sweet and elegant. Eternal Fragrance is a more floriferous variety than other hybrids currently on the market.

Daphne Eternal Fragrance has a tight, rounded, compact growth habit 2' x 2' with the flowers forming tight clusters at tips of evergreen foliage. Its compact habit makes it ideal for large containers, small gardens, patios, and courtyards.

 Eternal Fragrance grows best in full sun, can tolerate dry siol and will grow in limey soil, which is a welcome change!



It's so much fun making your very own Christmas wreath be it for a door or for a loved ones grave. The sense of achieved is immense and the enjoyment you get out of it is very fulfilling

What you need


• Conifer like material 

• Christmas tree ends 

• Cones

• Berries 

• Crab apples 

• Ivy

• Red berry holly

• Variegated holly

• Vines of clematis 

• Ribbon of your choice


Wire base and real moss or an oasis ring

Wires for wiring you foliage cones and berries


Hang your wreath, step back and feel the magic of Christmas!





The evergreen holly is a native species which you will find in a lot of our native forests and woods. Holly dates back to the druid era and it's name as gaeilge is 'Cuileann'. It's evergreen leaves represent immortality; the spines recall Christ's crown of thorns and the red berries drops of his blood. Holly is always used as a decoration in Irish houses – I know in our house, my mum would bless the holly with holy water before putting it up.
Planting and Care of Holly
Holly likes a very well drained soil and a relatively sunny position. It is very hardy and can put up with pretty cold conditions. Holly likes good nutrition in the soil, so use slow release fertilizer when planting and every 6 months from there on.
Male or Female Holly
Most people get very confused with varieties of holly – it is very hard to tell the sex of a holly from the leaf, you would have to wait until it flowers! Generally, if you have a male and female holly in the same garden, you will get a good crop of berries.
My favourite varieties:
'Silver Queen' is a dense small evergreen tree or shrub with purple young shoots and pink-tinged young leaves. Mature leaves spiny, dark green with a broad cream margin. Flowers small, white, male
'Golden King' is a small bushy evergreen tree or shrub with broad ovate, slightly spiny leaves margined with bright yellow. Flowers small, dull white; berries brownish-red, not abundant
'Handsworth New Silver' is a compact, dense evergreen tree or shrub with purple young shoots. Elliptic leaves, to 9cm in length, have spines in plane of leaf, and are broadly margined with white. Flowers small, white, followed by bright red berries
'Madame Briot' is a bushy small evergreen tree with purple young stems. Leaves broadly ovate, spiny, with a bold golden-yellow margin. Flowers small, white; berries bright red



Windfall Cyclamen, the variety we grow here on our nursery is a much hardier variety and will withstand wetter conditions. Yet saying that, how you plant them will dictate how long they will last for you. 
The most important thing is that they dislike wet conditions so you will need to make your soil very free draining. This will be achieved by adding grit or perlite to your soil or compost, the latter being the lighter option. It's the area in contact with the roots that you need to have the grit as this will keep the roots happy. 
The other stumbling block is people have a tendency to plant cyclamen too deep.
Windfall is a fairly new introduction and in trials around Cork last year and the year before, they performed very well! They clump up better and have much more flowers than the older varieties of Cyclamen.
This variety is not readily available everywhere so make what you buy is Windfall – a lot of the imported Cyclamen are not at all hardy! At Griffins, we grow our Windfall Cyclamen along with 80% of our plants, and we ensure every plant is acclimatised to the Cork climate.
Good enough to eat!
Ornamental Cabbages are the coolest heads in town. For performance in cool weather, colour, texture and fantastic container displays, few plants can compare to the amazing ornamental cabbages and kales. These cabbages kept their colour from September until February last year.
Margaret's Tip: keep dry, use plenty of horticultural grit and Westland slow release fertilizer.
3 for 2 on Ornamental Cabbages at Griffins!
Stunning Winter Displays with Cinerarias
A beautiful seasonal display in winter is a wonderful sight to behold, and the Cineraria gives that perfect silvery, frosty look. Could it be the hardiest plant of all time? It's certainly the hardiest I have ever come across and it will happily thrive in the coldest of conditions! To keep Cinerarias looking their best, try to ensure that they are very dry and use plenty of horticultural grit. So easy to grow and great for people who don't like watering!
Spring Woodland Gardens
Everyone can create a woodland garden. Even if you only have one tree in your entire garden, make the most of it and underplant it with some of the following bulbs: Frittalaria, Snowdrops, Bluebells, Chiondoxa, Narcissus, Scillias.
Maybe in your veg plot it would be nice to incorporate and element of spring woodland! Containers and tubs are also ideal for achieving this woodland effect.



Grape hyacinths are hardy, easy to grow, and have long-lasting blooms - no garden should be without them. They are particularly spectacular when allowed to naturalize, whether under trees, along a pathway, tucked into ground covers, or in a bed. 'Blue Magic' has a true-blue hue and is great for forcing. They are fragrant, with good early color. Muscari can be forced and are very adaptable to various growing conditions, but must have well-drained soil.
Other, cultivated varieties of Muscari armeniacum come in different shades of blue, and one variety comes in white. Different species of Muscari provide additional variety in terms of colour and form: Muscari azureum has a somewhat more open and less "grapey" look, Muscari latifolium is two-toned: light and dark blue, and Muscari plumosum is feathery and mauve in colour.
Combinations to plant with Muscari 
The winning combination for me is Muscari  mixed with tete et tete daffodils ,this is a stunning combination of yellow toned down with the blue of muscari. Both these bulbs will come back without fail year after year to give you joy for weeks and weeks. 
Margaret top tip 
Tete-a-Tete Daffodil
This is a vigorous, dwarf daffodil bearing 1-3 flowers in early spring, on average between late February and April. The golden-yellow flowers are perfect to lighten up dark areas and are beautiful in mass plantings.

It is easy to grow and compact, making it ideal for smaller gardens and areas where the traditional size daffodils can be too much. It has been bred to have multiple flowers per bulb for a fantastic bright display. This cultivar can also be grown indoors for early flowering.This is what I call the 'fool proof' daffodil. Even for the gardener that can't seem to grow anything, this variety is so easy to get going. No matter how awful a gardener you may think you are, there's a 100% success rate with this variety so there is no excuse! It really couldn't be simpler, and with that classic daffodil look, it will really give your garden that perfect spring ambience


Margaret's Tip: Soak your bulbs overnight in a mixture of tomato food , this will give to a much longer flowering period, in Spring when your bulbs have finished flowering give them some slow release feeding and this will keep them in top condition for another year




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