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Margaret's Blog








There are many trees widely available for smaller gardens, in all shapes and sizes, evergreen and deciduous. Given that many of us have limited space in which to garden, it becomes important that any trees chosen are right for their surroundings, in terms of proportion as well as for their decorative value.


Most trees growing near buildings cause no damage. Subsidence and structural damage can be caused by many other factors, including soil type and depth of foundations. This is why it is important for qualified professionals to carry out a detailed site assessment to determine the exact cause.


There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a tree for a small garden. Here are some of the more important ones:


Height and spread: This is probably the most important factor. Even small ornamental trees may, over time, reach a height of 6-7m (20-23ft) or more. If this is too much, consider a weeping form, as these rarely increase much in height or even a large shrub. Spread is not normally such a problem, unless in a very restricted area, in this case consider a columnar tree, as these do not spread appreciably


Season of interest: Consider when you want your tree to look good, thinking about flowering time, foliage, fruit and bark. If you only have room for one tree ideally look for one with more than one season of interest such as fruit or autumn colour following on from flowers


Deciduous or evergreen: Both types of trees have their advantages, the obvious one for evergreens being that they keep their leaves. But you don’t get the lovely autumn colours with evergreen trees

Trees for specific locations: we have also provided the following profiles to help with growing trees in containers and trees for wet soils


Trees and buildings: many people worry about planting a tree close to a property, and there can be risks in doing so. To help you choose, you may find it useful to visit gardens where a good range of well-established and mature ornamental trees can be seen and evaluated.


My Top10 best trees for a relatively small garden are as follows





Japanese maples

Betula (Birches)



Laburnum x vosu

Weeping cherries

Cotoneaster cornubia and Cotoneaster hybrid pendula.


Trees can be grown in large square containers. Nearly all trees can be grown in containers and this is a great way of keeping them at a smaller size. Imagine a wonderful tree on your patio – wouldn't it transform the whole setting?

Handkerchief tree_1



Davidia (or the 'Handkerchief Tree') is a medium-sized, deciduous tree with ovate leaves and small, dark green flower-clusters each subtended by two large white bracts and followed by ovoid greenish-brown fruits


Overview: Deciduous tree up to 20 m tall, with bark lifting from the trunk in large flakes.


Leaves: Vivid green and heart-shaped with a fine point at the tip. Young leaves are scented.


Flowers: Borne in compact, roughly spherical, reddish purple flower heads, about 2 cm in diameter. Flower heads are overshadowed by a pair of thin, white bracts, the longest one being up to 30 cm long and about twice the size of the other. The delicate bracts flutter in the breeze giving rise to the common names handkerchief, dove and ghost tree.


Fruits: Hard, dark-green nuts, which turn purple when ripe. Each fruit contains 6–10 seeds.

Seeds germinate erratically, and trees may need 10–20 years to flower


The most striking feature of the handkerchief tree is its flowers, or more accurately, the bracts, or protective leaf, outside the flowers. The flowers themselves are small and purple but are literally overshadowed by two thin white bracts, one of which is twice the size of the other. These delicate bracts flutter in the breeze providing the tree with its common names.

The tree can reach a height of 20m (65ft) in the wild but does not produce its signature flowers until it is about ten years old. The leaves of Davidia involucrata are a vivid green and are heart-shaped with a fine point at the tip. The flowers emerge in May, followed by dark green fruit in the form of a hard nut, which turns purple when ripe


What looks well as a combination with davidia:


Azaleas (evergreen )

Lily of the valley

Ferns Japaneze maples

Peony rose


Solomon seal




Double flowering primroses that last longer than any other primrose!


Look at where primroses grow in the wild. Yes, on ditches and dry banks and under trees. Notice how they grow at an angle allowing rain to run off them. How do we plant them? If we plant them upright they won't have as good a chance of surviving, so simply copy nature and angle your primroses when you plant, putting lots of grit or stone underneath. This way of planting will ensure you get a long flowering period. If you love spring, then you will have to love primroses!

Primroses like spring sunshine but full-on summer sun is far too intense and drying for them. Place them under deciduous shrubs - viburnums, philadelphus and hazels, for instance - where spring sun penetrates the bare branches early in the year.

The named doubles and singles mix well with other spring-flowering woodlanders such as snowdrops, hellebores, dicentras, wood anemones, Viola cornuta and cardamines. The black strappy leaves of Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' are a perfect foil for pale and white primroses, whether planted in the ground or in a container.

The intricate double and laced forms need to be seen at a raised height to be fully appreciated. They can be grown singly in pots and placed on staging in semi-shade. They can also be grown in containers with spring-flowering bulbs, heathers, ivies and with winter-flowering shrubs such as sarcococca and skimmia.

Position in garden: The Primrose makes an excellent garden plant for a variety of garden situations, including the wild garden, orchards, hedge bottoms, under trees and in the front of the herbaceous border. They appreciate light shading during the hottest months of the summer, which can be provided as taller herbaceous plants grow in early summer. Primroses benefit from planting in a fertile, well-dug soil, and from frequent division.

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!





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Bank Holidays 9am - 6pm

Restaurant open til 5:30pm


Dripsey, Co. Cork.
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