5 Evergreen Feature Plants For Planters

Ligustrum delavayanum

Above pictured is the Ligustrum delavayanum, set to go right outside the front door of a Dublin home this week. There was one, just the one…. suggestion that I maybe could have gone with the Laurus nobilis of a similar shape in its place, but for me the internodal distance of the Bay is just too great to keep that balled head looking perfectionately ~ is that even a right word ? Either or, there is nothing worse than meeting gangly wooden stems at easy eye inspection level.

The flip side of that choice, is that the slower a plant grows, the longer is takes to become a saleable plant and the longer it stays in a nursery the more it costs. With that in mind, the Ligustrum delavayanum is sold by height as well as by head size and whilst quality may and can come at good value, it is not readily available off the shelf or the euro saver menu.

That in part is what will make a dark glossy green leafed plant stand out ~ not everyone can have one and that they may ever look exactly the same is somewhat dependant on the grower and the mood he was in that morning. Nota Bene: plants.

Click here to continue reading

Bare Roots and Root Ball 2012

This seasons winter planting bare root and root balled list is in and listed below. Of course and like the image above one can have anything one wants, at any size one wishes – Higher, bigger or larger than the list below is usually deemed one off, special order or whatever name you wish to put on it and all you have to do is ask.

That said, should you be intending to plant a hedge, a row or just an avenue of beautiful trees, the following might just help in that regard.

The beauty as always in this case is that the trees and hedges are planted in their dormant state and therefore the maintenance to them is nigh on zero until they come they come into bud in Spring.

Take a leaf through [see what I did there.... I'll get my coat] and see what you think.

Click here to continue reading

Dublin Landscaping: Cobble to Pebble Drive

I love the metamorphosis that is taking a space outside, removing it in its entirety and replacing it with something totally different. I like that I can see the end result before it starts and to this day that evolution still makes my heart beat just that little bit softer.

More than that there is something considerably greener and soothing about turning a totally covered in surface to free draining, with a side salad of by far better looking now, that I love about this type of landscaping ~ in this case, from cobble to pebble and planting.

Machine the preferred option in this case, cobble up and away the next step was to ensure that the below ground specifications were to absolute perfection. Of note and quite visible here were the excesses of sand, where it should have been hardcore. This rectified, the base layer was brought in and a whacker plate used to harden.

A retaining plinth of sandstone cobbles were laid to separate the pathways and the start of the driveway and the same batch of stones also used as the base to the front step. Some may query why I chose not to use a brush in type expanding sand here. Answer, the pathway edge was jagged and the yellow would have shown up its unevenness and taken away from what is [in short] a pretty sexy looking stone.

Albeit ever so minor, it should be noted that this type of softer, hard landscaping can and does come with its teething problems. Double underlined, minor. In short, horse powered cars have an ability to make stones move or shift and with a little time these undulating compressed aggregates will settle as they should.

From the aesthetically pleasing department, the planting on the far side is by choice extremes of height and seperated ~ as versus one big clump of a screen. Do bear in mind none existed there before hand, that and it’s also winter. It’s also the first time these phtosynthetic fellows have sat ’round the table’ together, so to speak and planted at the right side of the hibernating season, collectively they’re are gonna look absolutely glorious come the middle of spring sat right in front of their new home.

Personally, I like the little touches. I like the fact that the divide between the neighbouring driveway were wooden hand-made planters, planted with slightly more mature Vinca minor and Escallonia ‘red dreams’. Quite friendly really when you think about it. On the far side, the bed [not done any justice due to my terrible photography skills] is planted with a mix of semi mature: Mahonia, Hammamelis molis and an absolute stunner of an Acer palmatum Sagokaku. Down a level in height but high in colour are a mix of Rudbeckia, Daphne mexereum ‘Rubra’, vinca minor, Astilbe, Coreopsis grand ‘Rising Sun’ and some Heleborus niger.

From an overall complete picture perspective, I like the fact that the varying facets of the rugged sandstone cobbles, the pebble, the planting, the planters and the home in which they are now arranged in front of look like they have been together for some time – just never aged. More than that [?] honestly, what makes this garden really [really, really] great is it’s owners.

I love that I can make gardens more beautiful but that journey by a long shot is so much sweeter when the people you create it for are genuine lovely. And isn’t that nice. It is. Very. ;)

Contact Peter Donegan:

Welcome The New, Molly Bloom Tulip

When I go all the way back to my youth, way back, the first bulb I ever bought and planted was a hyacinth. In context, my pocket money was 10 pence, the bulb cost 17 pence and on that day I had already spent 3 pence on sweets. That’s just the way we rock and rolled it back in the eighties. The flower shop owner lady in question let me off the 10p shortfall.

I remember my Dad teaching me how to force the hyacinth and in a pot with the tip peeping just out of the soil. We wrapped it in a plastic bag, elastic band to hold it in place and put it in to the darkness and the heat under the stairs.

That bit, the waiting for its hardened green point to peep out was, for me, like waiting for Santa to arrive. Sometimes I checked it more than twice a day, just to see if it had grown even a little. The funny thing is that naive-esque anticipational [now] trait has never left me. It still makes me smile see the results. I’m simply a little older.

After it had flowered, I remember planting it outside in the front garden and my brother telling me that ‘manure’ was good for fertiliser. Being that we lived in cow-less suburbia, this at the time 6 year old went around collecting dog poo to place on top of it. Yup, I know…. now.

To more recent times, when the call came in to go to the Dublin’s Botanic Gardens to meet the ex Head Designer of The Keukenhof, The Ambassador to The Netherlands and Dr Matthew Jebb ~ pause ~ the who’s who of the horticultural world and the kind of folk you could only wish to have on your pub quiz team. Round 6. Category: Horticulture ~ I of course was there in a jiffy.

I have to admit, it excited me. New plants don’t happen every day. More than that, the last bulb to be named after someone Irish was former President of Ireland Mary McAleese. That’s the level we’re pitching at here. Also it’s not boil in the bag bing popcorn. If you get me, you can’t just make nature make another one. I of course accepted the invite.

The Sodshow, the garden radio show I do will explain the story in full with all of the gardeners Top of The Pops voices on record

My advice, go to The Botanic Gardens this month and see the blank soil bed Jan Guldenmond speaks of and photograph it. Then go see it the following month on the same date and so on until it comes into flower. I promise you, if you can picture my opening paragraphs, you will not be disappointed.

If you can’t make it don’t worry, I’ll be keeping a close eye on it for you.

More – Bulbs: Plant now for Spring colour

Bulbs: Plant Now For Spring Colour

I’ve possibly told this story before, I can’t remember…. Anyhow, I remember years ago planting my front lawn, around this season, with daffodil bulbs. Tonnes of them, literally. Side-tracking slightly, the bit I love, the child like bit, that makes me almost want to go out every day to see if they’ve peeped their heads even ever so slightly above ground, is what does it for me. And it’s when they do that bit, that the effort, is made so very worthwhile. I know, kind of childish, a little bit.

Back to it, I planted one big massive dormant love heart shape covering the entire front garden in these yellow flowering Allium’s. For all of the world to see. In short, in hindsight, or at least at the time, I thought it was romantic…

My bruised arm definitely didn’t see it that way as they started to protrude and then come into flower.

And back to horticulture. If you are gonna do bulbs, my suggestion is to do it en mass. Plant them into your lawn, under plant the tree areas or alongside the front of your hedge. I did it on the road side opposite my home 2 seasons ago for people to take as they were passing by. There should be a lot, lot more this coming February. And that’s the other great thing about bulbs, you only need to plant once and then [pretty much] ignore them.

I might plant some this weekend with my little Ella. Dad and daughter things to do are very important. Personally, I like the fact that she gets to pick some for Grandmom. Free smiles all round are very much a good thing in any language. Even wee Ella’s babbling conundrums understand that one.

As a by the way. Twice the depth of the bulb below ground. Also note geotropism. And enjoy.