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Margaret's Blog








Creative Hanging Baskets for your Home & Patio. 



Favourite part of my day is without  question it is planting up and creating hanging baskets and containers for our customers. The fragrance and Colour in the garden centre on the sunny days this week brings joy to all our staff and customer.  Here are a few top tips to creating and maintaing your summer baskets, window boxes  and pots.
Create a container/ basket to suit your colours, style and environment. 

Easy maintenance
If you want to be transported to the Amalfi coast,  Grow a lemon tree or olive tree in a pot, Surround your self with Trailing Geraniums and vibrant coloured pots and containers. If your baskets are located in a Sunny windy position or maybe difficult to water,  then Ivy  geraniums will thrive the best for you. Geraniums give a magical blast of colour and dont require as much watering as other summer plants. Ivy Geraniums  require so little maintenance. Don't forget the rule of Gardening , Always Plant in odd numbers in a basket . 


mediterranean basket


Shade Loving Basket/ Pot

Begonias & Fuchsia will brighten up that corner for you. Both of these have been the best performers over the last few years as they dont mind a cloudy summer. Often with plants like begonias, A basket filled with just begonias can be a real show stopper. 

A Wow Basket 
When A customers request summer baskets bursting with colour for a sunny position,  Its Surfinia baskets mixed with white bacopa, vibrant verbenas  and bursts of yellow biden flowers that will tick all the boxes. The bright colours  and quality of Cork Grown Surfinias that  are the Base to all these baskets. I love the Double headed Surfinias for very large baskets but these need to be dead headed reguarly. If you are not a fan of dead heading, The Million bells and Nemesias would suit you. 
Here are a few of my favourite cominations
White Icing basket or containers
A combintion of these will give you an elegant white Basket or window box: White bacopa,  Nemesia Anona, White surfinias , Buzzy lizzies and White verbena 
white icing
Country Cottage Containers or baskets
Ostopemum Orange underplanted with purple surfinia,  Verbena Blue Violet, White bacopa and yellow bidens
 osteopemum orange
County Pride: Calebrate the Cork county colours :
Nemesia Cherry on ice. red  and White surfinia , White verbena , Red and white upright petunia

county pride1
Pastel Pinks
Verbena Coral stars, Hot pink million bells (calibrachoa ), Brachyscome Magenta Delights, Blue vien and pink vein Surfinias , Doble headed pink surfinias
Cool Blue:
Bacoppa Colossal Blue, Deep blue Calibracho , Verbena Silver magic, Neptpea ,  Blue surfinias
 Petunia surfiniabluevein
Planting your basket 
Does your basket suit your bracket, I would recommend a 16inch bracket for 14 inch Basket
Make sure you basket has good chains and liner. Fill the baskets & pots with Grosure container and hanging basket compost. When planting a basket always tilt your plants and don't plant too deep. Add 3 slow release tablets to your basket

Aftercare of your Baskets

Basket provide a great source of colour and vibrance all Summer but you need to give them appropriate care:

• Check for water requirements. If it has become dry water thoroughly. If it is still damp refrain from watering.

Sometimes the weight of the basket is a good guideline.

Sometimes you have to water a number of times before the compost soaks up enough moisture so we suggest you water each basketor container and repeat a few minutes later. Touch the compost with your hand and if it is nice and moist you have done the job well!

• Griffins Baskets will have Slow-Release Tablets in them but it is a good idea to add some more throughout the Summer. Liquid feed with Tomato Food is also highly recommended (make sure to follow instructions)

• Dead-head when required.• It may be necessary to rotate your basket on it’s bracket to get a nice even display of flowers.




Moon Garden 2017

With the long summer evenings coming, We all try a spend more time out doors, relaxing in the Calming environment of our Gardens. One of the most romantic garden beds is a moon garden. This is becoming a very popular style as your garden bed rewards you at the night, when you are at home the most. Moon gardening  is a great way to enjoy white or light-colored, night blooming plants, in addition to those that release their intoxicating aromas in the evening. Design a Moon garden and the White Blooms and silver Foliage will reflect the Moonlight or Soft Lightening and  Solar Lights

white hidcote
Design Tips 
1. To create you Moon Garden, first choose the location. ensure it is a position that you and your visitors will enjoy while also reflecting the moon or uplight it with Solar Lights.
 2. Chose a selction of shrubs and plants that will bring a white glow to your garden through out the year. Below is an extensive list that can be included in your Moon Garden.  Consider height and tier these plants, the result will be magical as if the white blooms are floating at night. 
3. Make Use of design element such as gravel paths, arbours or Large stones
4. Consider artifical light source such as solar lights, lanterns, candles or water features
5. Install piece of art or Mirror, I love garden mirrors in the right place to reflct the moon
6. Choose the correct piece of furniture, I love this years vienna range from LG at Griffins, Ideal for your moon garden or why not paint your Graden bench white.
7. Looking for extra height or a feature, Concrete urns and pedestals filled with White fragrant plants will complete the look. 
white foxgloves
Climbers and Trees to consider :Davidia (dove tree) Silver Birch, Cornus China Girl,  Jasmine, Clematis alba , Climbing hydrangeas, Snowball tree

Shrubs that are ideal for a Moon Garden for their white flower or silver foliage
Hydrangea Lime light,    Bridal Wreath Spirea, Choisya Ternata, Daphnes,  Philadelphus. White Carpet Roses, White Astible, Convolvulus crenoum, cistus white (rock rose), corokia cotoneaster,  Standard white carpet rose underplanted with white pansy   Plant with a Mixture of white showy plants, 
Foxgloves( Height), Bleeding heart, Dianthus Memories, Cosmos, White Nicotina, White Pany, White Busy Lizzies,Llily of the valley, whie Agapathus and Aliumn, Phlox, 
moon garden
Silver or Varigated Foliage : Stachys byzantina (lambs ear), Cineraria, Hostas, Russian Sage, Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'
White Flowering bulbs: White Trumpter Tulip, White Crocus, Snowdrops, Thalia Daffodils , white cyclamen
 Magically White Hanging Basket or containers,
 Bacopa, Surfinias, Verbena, Nepeta, white Ivy Geraniums, Trailing Geraniums, Dichondra Silver falls 
So Fall in love with your garden and create your own moon garden, If you would like adice bring photos into to our design team at Griffins and we will help create your moon Garden
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




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