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Margaret's Blog

 

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Gardening

Dianthus Memories
 
 
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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.
Planting:
 
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.
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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
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

Maincrop 
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


Lithodora 
Varieties Heavenly Blue , Blue star
This is one of the best Blue Flower ground covers available and is well know for its vibrant colour and good  ground cover spread.This award winning plant which is evergreen and flowers from April to September will brighten up any rockery or container. It thrives in  full sun and but will take  partial sun. Lithodora will cascade over a rock wall on down a side of a raised bed if you plant it at a tilt on the edge. 
Lithodora is a low maintenance plant that will not need much care. To ensure a healthy plant, create good drainage in the bed or in you container and feed well when planting. I would recommend a good slow release feed. This plant will on require further feeding if the foliage is changing to a lighter green. If required lightly prune back after flowering season to prevent your lithodora becoming twiggy. 
 
 
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Bee Friendly :  Lithodora diffusa attracts pollinators, and it also looks  fabulous in the garden. perfect

Grevillea lanigera ‘Mount Tamboritha' is an utterly charming, low-growing shrub that copes perfectly in a wide range of climatic conditions. This native of Australia resists every heavy blow that Mother Nature throws at it , from stormy coastal winds, to hot and dry summers to extreme winter cold. It is a superbly neat evergreen that only grows to a height of 30 to 50 cm, but can spread to a width of about 1,5 to 2 m.  its dense and soft needle-like foliage and its toughness, make it ideal for planting over terrace walls and for filling gaps on slopes. It is also lovely in a rock and gravel garden.Flowers are spider-like clusters and can be red or pinkish-cream. Best suited for a sunny position

The Grevillea is considered valuable as a honeybee plant because it produces such significant amounts of nectar and pollen over a long period of time.

Grevillea Lanigera Mount Tamboritha 2
 
 
 
Iberis Sempervirens 

Iberis sempervirens is a well-loved perennial, whose deep green foliage and pure white flowers create form and color at the front of the border and lining pathways. ideal for  a rockery  spreading to about 2 feet and about 10 inches tall. Iberis sempervirens is one of the best low growing perennials to bloom in the spring

The perennial Candytuft blooms from April through June. There is good reason it has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit

Their fragrance will attract a wide variety of butterflies and bees. The attractive plant is fast-growing and very low-maintenance. Use the bright white flowers to highlight other colours in the spring garden! Perfect with the Lithodora and Grevillea 

 

 

Iberis sempervirens Snowflake 11715 1280 1280

 

Top Fragrant Daffodils For a bright Spring

Some of my favourite daffodils are the ones that exude a wonderful fragrance in spring and early summer. Some of these scents are so nostalgic, bringing me back to my childhood and wonderful walks through fields and gardens. There is something about the fragrance from a flower, it's like a time machine has been switched on and has taken you back to your childhood. The Variety of Double Fragrant Narcissus this year are amazing

Double narcissus have extra petals present, or have a double trumpet, and sometimes both. This double effect makes a very interesting flower that will add a special touch to any garden or landscape. Often Double narcissus have more than one flower per stem and the following varieties have a wonderful fragrance

Narcissus Rose Of May: Delight your senses with this compact, late-blooming daffodil. This distinctively different variety produces fully double whorls of ivory white petals that resemble gardenias, and exude a most delicious fragrance

rose of may 1200 a

Narcissus Obadam :The large, Gardenia-like blooms of this highly fragrant daffodil make a show-stopping and stylish addition to the spring garden! The fully double, clear white blooms of Narcissus 'Obadam' are produced in mid to late spring, looking superb in contemporary containers or planted in bold drifts through borders. These scented narcissus flowers are also excellent for cutting

Narcissus Pipers End : This small cupped pure white variety is a valuable addition to our range. Pipers End flowers in May and has a distinctive sweet scent

Narcissus Rip Van winkle:

An Extraordinary, Yet Beautiful Dwarf Daffodil with Highly Cut-petals like a homemade child's star. Its one of my all time favourites.

narcissus rip van winkle dwarf double daffodil 373

Margaret's Tip of the Week:

It's a great idea to plant your bulbs in a plastic pot (recycle some) and then plunge them in the ground. When flowering is over and you have got all of the please that these plants have to offer, lift the whole pot out of the ground and hide it somewhere in your garden, so that you won't have to look at the dead foliage of the daffodil.

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Tel: +353(0)21 7334286

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