Posts

Top 20 Green Influencers to follow on Twitter

...

...

Niall and Lauren did something similar over on Simply Zesty

But whilst this list refers to those only green – it is here I must side step slightly….

For it seems in Ireland, in the horticultural department at least…. we really do not get the online gig. And if ‘we’ do… it’s not done terribly well.

I found it extremely difficult to get to the Irish ten mark. And I basically had to give up after….. I could not find 10 Irish & green twitter accounts that I would recommend one follow.

I’m not saying there aren’t 10 green related people on twitter….. I’m talking 10 that use it for what it was intended and for what you wish to use it for…. Not the numbers game, not some company or politicians pimping themselves because some social media guru said so…. but for the exchange ie.  a two way street of useful information…..

That’s the thing with social networks – it’s meant to be a conversation – not a megaphone!

In that context I had to travel outside of Ireland…. and here’s what I ended up with. I’ll borrow the simply zesty disclaimer for this list and save myself the hassle. The list has been compiled based on my own personal opinion of using Twitter over the last year and is by no means the definitive list. There will be some who feel they belong on the list (add yourself in the comments and I may turn it into a top 100 soon) and there will no doubt be a couple that I have completely forgotten and how I follow everyday and who will be offended, I apologize in advance.

*click on the persons @ name to go to that account

1. @PatFitzgerald

pat

pat

based in kilkenny, Pat is a master grower of a mildly different range of plants in an Irish context… I’ve known Pat for I dont know how long, created I dont know how many gardens with and even managed to meet on the odd occasion for a few cups of tea. With over 85% of his products exported, this plant grower, plant breeder and part blogger really does get the online gig. Top that off with simply being a really nice guy. visit: the myplant website

2. @RepakRecycling

I worked along side the repak boys [and girls] on their recycle week 2009 launch garden… but it is the little trinkets of information that come out of someones head a couple of times a day that make me smile. visit recyclemore.ie

3.@PowersFlowers

jane

jane

A garden writer, journalist, with the Irish Times since 1995 and an actual garden lover who simply loves the great outdoors. Jane has gardened since she was a small girl, at first sowing and growing the usual suspects: lettuces, radishes, spring onions and nasturtiums. She now lives and gardens in Dun Laoghaire. She has a sixth of an acre, which she gardens organically, and with respect to the rhythms of nature, as much as possible. read Janes article every Saturday in The Irish Times. 

4. @IrishAllotments

run and managed by Thomas Cowderoy based in Cork. Surprisingly Tom is not a gardener…. this is something he runs in his spare time. Another one of lifes good guys. Visit Irish Alltments website

5. @BordBia

with the amalgamation of bord glas [the green board] and bord bia [the state ‘food board’] into one there really is no alternate to these guys. In that context I may disagree and equally agree. But, if you wish to know what’s happening in Ireland in the green department, here’s your answer. visit Bord Bia‘s website

6. @WildIreland

Described as Ireland’s wildlife and nature in 140 character burstsand that pretty much sums it up. New-ish to the scene but very much one to watch. No website to date.

7. @DoneganGardens

yip thats me. 😉 stuck on numbers at this point and so I’ve got it to 7. Onwards and upwards………visit Donegan Landscaping blog

8. @The_RHS

RHS

RHS

The royal horticultural society on twitter? I neraly fell off my stool when I found the oldest gardening society was embracing technology.

I even blogged it – but credit where it is due these guys really are one to watch and use the online medium to its maximum. It took the Irish equivolent a few years to catch on to this one and check out the date of announcing online [via online] ticket sales. Vist the RHS website

9. @GreenOptions

Green Options describes itself as ‘a community and network of blogs dedicated to helping you figure out what sustainability means to you. Pick a channel above or browse around.’

And that’s exactly what it is. What I choose to do is the somewhat the opposite… I keep an eye, sometimes, on the tweets and – if – the post interests me, I’ll give it a browse over. Some interesting stuff in there! Visit The Green Options Website

10. @ShawnaCoronado

shawna

shawna

I reviewed Shawnas book a short while ago now. Not a gardener all her life but now she is and loves every second of it. A consultant, author, columnist, and wild woman. Loves life, health, greening, the environment, and digging in the garden. Visit Shawna’s blogs here

11. @OrganicLife

Organic Lifestyle Magazine is a digital publication dedicated to organic lifestyles, alternative health and green living. I’ve never bought the magazine but like @greenoptions at number 9 some interesting pieces in there well worth a read. visit organic life website

12. @grow_green

an Irish one that almost slipped by there. Not too sure who grow green, due to the fact only that there is no website linked. That said, the answer seems to be someone who loves the great outdoors. With messages explaining that weeding was order of the day all weekend and most recently this little nugget… 😉 love it! No website to date.

Just joined 10:10 – the project to cut UK carbon emissions 10% in a single year. http://1010uk.org: an idea whose time has come. #1010

13. @treehugger

Links, Ideas and Conversation from the TreeHugger hive mind, the latest in modern green. Visit the tree hugger website here

14. @ecopond

Ecopond helps you play a part in keeping our planet green. Visit ecopond website here

15. @sweetrebecca

rebecca

rebecca

Landscape Designer, Garden Coach, Blogger, Live-Eat-Breath anything garden related, mom of 2 wonderful teenagers. Life is good!! – is how Rebecca Sweet describes herself. There’s not a day goes by that she’s not talking plants with Pat Fitzgerald….  Her blog site Gossip In the Garden is well worth a daily read

16. @interleafer

The musing of California based Laura Schaub all in one bite sized nugget. A award winning landscape designer, writer and photographer and now on the staff of the San Francisco Garden Show. Is there anything this girl hasn’t done. Oh did I mention she was also really nice.Visit The Interleafer website

17. @GardenInTheDark

the green thoughts of freelance writer and journalist Sandra Dark. New to gardening…? follow Sandra her little trinkets are just genius…. 😉 Read Sandra’s gardening pieces here

17. @cop15

cop15

cop15

I’m holding at 17 here…. zero interaction but – a useful one to keep an eye on….. moving on – United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen (COP15), brought to you by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Well worth watching noting and paying particular good attention to… you’ll read this and wonder why carbon credits exist in the first place.  All bundled up into 140 charachters. Visit Cop15 website

18. @LifeOnTheBlcny

Fern Richardson writes her blog 99% about container gardening on balconies and patios. The reason why I actually pay attention and it seems so many others do to. Videos, images, reviews and anything else you reckon you couldn’t do in a small space….all rammed into 140 charachters and one whopping blog site!Visit Life On The Balcony Website

19. @bbctreeoclock

Meet Kate from the BBC Breathing Places team and make your pledge to plant a tree for Tree O’Clock. They’ve already smashed the world record for number of trees planted by 100 people.

All their trees count towards the UN Environment Programme’s Billion Tree Campaign. Hoping this one is simply gonna continue…. it might just start a trend elsewhere. Visit the BBC Tree O Clock website

20. @TheWoodlandTrust

wasn’t best pleased to see a little of the twitter numbers game being played byt then who I am I to argue. But then I’m an individual and not an organisation. That said Sharon from the Woodland Trust Digital team along with a few colleagues from around the organisation  do actually keep you posted on what they do and what you can do 😉 I’ll give them credit for that. On another note – If there is a variation of this in Ireland… I’ve yet to find out about it. As a twitter account it works and really well. Visit The Woodland Trust Website

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

December In The Garden

And what an end to November and a start to the month it has been…

Firstly to those affected in any way by the adverse weather conditions…. my sincerest best wishes to you all, I hope it sorts itself out as soon as possible. To those who chose to stand up to the Green Party politicos  [especially on RTE’s The frontline yesterday] more concerned with defending the amount of action groups who solve extreme weather conditions by sitting at a round table…. I applaud you. I also think Fionn has a point…

...

...

But thats another days work…. and on to Gardens we go…. well, as best as is feasably possible….

You see gardening is a funny business. It’s not a subject that one can put off. The elements maybe against the preferred conditions – but if [for example] the bulbs aren’t planted in the garden this December… it’s now spring 2011 before you will see them pop up… you follow? If you put it off last month…. you’d better get them wellies on or be a very fancy dancer – one that can dodge rain droplets 😉

Despite the weather, I’ve still been working out there. You heard me 😆 It has to be done.

hedge cutting gardening-dublin landscaping-in-dublin-

first up is hedge cutting – some prefer to do it in the summer…. but if you have something like the forsythia which flowers on bare stems in and then goes into leaf – you’d be mad not to. Some say the best time is…blah blah blah 😉 I say, this when I’m doing my crataegus and my fagus. Its also when I’ve been cutting others escallonia… get the rakes, secateurs and the lopping shears out and go for it.

landscaping-in-dublin cutting back plants gardening-dublin

It is also a time for more select pruning. Maybe in this case the hedgecutters maybe a little too harsh. In this category I would add the removal of suckering growth – see the difference in leaves on the Corkscrew hazel [corylus avellana contorta – first image] ; the pruning back of smaller plants that have been let go a little – in this case the likes of the helichrysum [second image above – and similar in habit to lavender]; and also the pruning by hand saw of branches that have become a little elongated – almost tree like when it should appear as a shrub. Moreso, it is also to do with good garden hygiene.  

...

...

But the biggest gig that most may possibly forget is the fact that it is tree planting season. The season when dormant and mostly native Irish trees get to go in the ground in their over wintering state. If you are looking for some ideas and names of, see this post on Irelands favourite native trees which can be planted now – I said now !!! Don’t forget the straps, buckles and tree stakes.

If you have existing trees – check the straps and buckles aren’t choking the trees – if they are – remove or loosen them.

Regarding your lawn…. you may get a cut in before the Christmas. Once again, the ye olde garden fraternity may suggest this is the wrong time – which is perfectly fine if it is the local croquet club… but if you are my Dad… well, you’ll be picking up the phone and telling asking me when am I getting my butt over to the house to cut that grass.

...

...

After that – the bird feeders still need filling, the shed needs to be painted and I’ll guess you never did the new-ish garden furniture last month ….well don’t say I didn’t tell you 🙄

If you take my advice – sure get it all sorted – then go and buy some instant colour in the form of winter planters, window boxes and hanging baskets. Really brighten the place up…. God knows you deserve it. Now all you need to do is to go and get that Christmas tree 😉

Whatever you do and if you are doing it yourself… stay warm, dry and be careful. If you are getting the gardeners [at least for me anyways…!] in…. put the kettle on and give ’em a nice cuppa and a mince pie. If ever I wondered what a kite must go through…. recently is the closest I’ve ever come to realising it 😆 Oh and in case I forget…. do enjoy 🙂  

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Irelands Native Irish Trees [listed & detailed]

With the lead into the winter spring/ tree planting season I went searching for a list of native Irish trees recently. Fair to say I was left extremely disappointed by what I could find.

There are many lists of trees available. On many [state involved] websites I found it extremely difficult to find any details at all. Some showed up but the pages were down or the site ‘suspended’. On others the details were so inaccurate [botanically], or the advice that came with was merely illogic horticulturally. One in fact noting that the Alnus was suitable for growing in a container, others simply a list.

I came up with what I can only describe as the most definitive list of native Irish trees that I have ever seen. That said, I don’t believe I am missing any ?

Before you go any further… I have excluded as best I can what may better be described as  a shrub. I have also chosen to list the trees alphabetically by their botanical names rather than their often variant common titles.

If you are thinking of going native Irish this season have a quick read first… you might just change our mind 😉 but I hope you dont.

1. Alnus glutinosa [alder]

[betulaceae] the commn alder. This deciduous tree can grow up to 25 metres tall and 10 metres wide. It has dark green leaves and produces clustered catkins in winter and ovoid fruit in summer. It grows quite well in poor soil and wet lands. Easily propagated by seed or hardwood cuttings. I always remember this one for its use in farmland shelter belts.

2. Arbutus unedo [Strawberry Tree]

[ericaceae] This evergreen beauty is a big shrub, if it is to be considered so, growing up to be considered so. It can grow up to 8m in height and width. For me it is the reddy peeling bark [kind of eucalyptus like…] that does it for me. Throw in a mass cluster of white flowers in autumn and some red fruits [not to be eaten!!]. Great in a mixed woodland or a specimen. Love it. That said, I’ve rarely seen it on a request list.

3. Betula [birch]

[betulaceae] there are 2 native birches in this list. Another catkin grower, produced seperately, these fellows are most famed for their white/ silver bark and their small leafed autumn foliage. The Betula pendula [silver birch] can grow up to 25 metres tall and 10 metres wide whilst the Betula pubescens [downy birch] can grow to 20 metres tall and 10 metres wide.

4. Corylus avellana [hazel]

[betulaceae] there are many cultivars of the avellana variety. Probably most famed is the C. avellana ‘Contorta’. But they are not to be confused. And one should pay particular attention to the last part of the name, not only here, but with all trees. You have been warned!! Generally speaking the C. avellana’s can grow up to 5 metres tall and wide. Obviously they are most famed for their edible nuts and their yellow and very beautiful winter catkins.

5. Crataegus monogyna [common hawthorn]

[rosaceae] that rose family….once again, pinky white flowers borne in late spring adorn this thorny tree,that are followed by dark glossy red fruits; the seeds of which will cause some stomach upset if ingested. Whilst it is more often grown as a hedge [scioch] and wuite suitable for that, as a tree it will grow to 10 metres tall and eight metres wide. One of these most resiliant trees I have ever met and an absolute must for any garden that is seeking to attract nature. For logic reasons, they’re not a gardeners favourite for a planting nor puning – but I love them.

6. Fraxinus excelsior [Ash]

[oleaceae] The common ash. A deciduous tree, easily spotted in winter by its black buds and grey stems, personally, I love this guy purely for its autum [foliage] colour. The feathered like leaves can grow to about 12” long and go almost bright yellow – the tree itself however can grow up to 30 metres tall and 20 metres wide. Famed for its use in making hurleys…

7. Ilex aquafolium [common holly]

[aquifoliaceae] this fellow make the list of trees but really is more of a shrub or bush, to you and me that is. A more obvious member of the evergreens, its dark green prickly leaves grow to about 10cm, its red berries produced in winter are followed by spring to summer flowers. It can grow up to 25 metres tall and 8 metres wide. Not the prettiest of the holly family… but great for wildlife.

8. Malus sylvestris [wild crab apple]

[rosaceae] another member of the rose family, you can gather therefore its most promnent features are its fragrant cup shaped flowers, in ths case pinky white produced in spring. The flowers are followed by, of course, its red fruits. Often thorned this quite susceptable beauty can grow to 9 metres tall and 7 metres wide.

9. Pinus sylvestris [scots pine]

[pinaceae] with its greyish crackily blue bark at the bottom and a more reddish bark at the top. This pine really [in my opinion isn’t, in my opinion, the prettiest fellow in the book at all. The male ‘cones’ appear like catkins [tiny slim soft pendulums] the females of the pine family are more cone-like, are green conical, 6cm long approximately and can take 2 – 3 years to ripen to a red brown finish. In height up to 30 metres tall and to a width of about 8 metres.

10. Populus tremula [poplar]

[salicaceae] One of the fastest growing upright looking trees I have ever met. The small diamond leaf, spring catkin producing tree [green for the female and red/ grey for the male] has one of the most vigorous root systems I know of. It also grows up to 20 metres tall and 10 metres wide. This is another that I remember famed for its use in shelter belts in farmlands.

11. Prunus [ornamental cherry]

[rosaceae] Once again there are 2 in this block. We’ve all seen a cherry tree at some stage or other…. The Prunus padus [or bird cherry] produces white fragrant flowers in spring followed by black fruits. The difference between this and any other variety of cherry…. this one can grow up to 15 metres in height and 10 metres in width. Like most natives, not exactly one for grandma’s 2 bed town house.

The second is the one I would be more familiar with, the Prunus avium or commonly called wild cherry. I prefer this for its glowing red bark, its white flowers followed by its more coloured red fruits. Once again however it can grow to 20 metres tall and 10 metres wide.

12. Quercus [oak]

[fagaceae] Two oaks enter the native Irish category and here we’ve really hit big boy territory. The Quercus patraea [sessile oak] can grow up to 30 metres tall and 25 metres wide. Whilst the Quercus robur [common oak] can grow up to 35 metres tall and 25 metres tall. In general and as most already know,the oaks are famed for its acorns, the fruit it produces. But I love knowing the fact that its minute male and female flowers are produced seperately but on the same plant usually around late spring.  The males then follow in catkins whilst the females follow in the form of a cluster of flowers on a central stem [raceme]. Then follows what we know as the acorn [fruit]. In my opinion – these guys will grow just about anywhere. I also love their foliage in autum.

13. Salix [willow]

[salicaceae] a genus of around 300 species, the willow in my book holds so many personal memories from baby baskets to simply getting the back of my legs whipped as a nipper by my friends! To horticulture…. a deciduous tree that grows in almost any condition but much famed for that near excesses of water. Its greatest asset, after its stem [for me] is it silhouette through the winter sun – or its form and its smooth, soft catkins that grow upright. Famed in its weeping format… once again be careful the variety that is chosen. Too many varieties to be extremely specific.

14. Sorbus [sorbus]

[rosaceae] thats right, another of the rose family and 2 of to the group…. who’s more than just a pretty face?!! The Sorbus is a great producer of late spring flowers, in clusters that are followed by amazingly spherical fruits – not to be eaten by the way!  The Sorbus aucuparia [rowan or mountain ash] foliage is almost identical in layout to that of the rose [yes valentines etc as you know it] but these grow to about 8″ long. It grows to 15 metres tall and 7  metres wide. Its fruits are reddy orange in colour. 

The Sorbus aria [whitebeam] – now heres a totally new equation – yet still related. Its leaves are round and silvery hairy on the base. It produces white flowers in spring and then produces dark red berries just after. This chappy also grows up to 25 metres tall and 10 metres wide.

15. Taxus baccata [yew]

[taxaceae] an evergreen shrub on the poisonous [all parts except the arils are toxic if ingested] and the conifer list, this chappie kind of also hits the I don’t know whether I’m a tree or a shrub/ bush list. That said the reddish flaky bark is stunning when it is grown for that. The alternate is of course that it is kept as a hedge. It has dark green matt leaves, produces yellow [male] cones in spring and its fruits are green surround by red [arils]. It can grow up to 20 metres tall and 10 metres wide.

16. Ulmus glabra [wych elm]

[ulmaceae] Now here’s one thats a toughie. This species suffered its own variation of the plague when Dutch Elm disease hit and almost wiped an entire species. As a result, you wont see too many of these guys around. No way hosé!! To the spring red flowering tree that is the U. glabra – that is followed by the production of winged green fruit; it is deciduous, its leaves grow up to 15cm long and turn a delightful yellow in autumn. It can by the way reach a height of 40 metres tall and 8 metres wide. Give one of them to your mother in law as a gift!!

activity in the garden this month…

gat the garden in groove...

get the garden in groove...

need some effin direction...

need some effin direction...

You may think there is little to do in the brrrr freezing cold this January. But, it is what you do now that will prove so fruitful in a few months time. Aside from the aesthetic gains to be reaped and after listening to RTE1 for too long recently – where the news, primetime and even the weatherman depressed me – I realised we all need something to smile about. I had to get outside.

But there is also another [moreso recently more serious] side to gardening and that is of keeping active. According to one report, if maintained for at least 30 minutes gardening can be so beneficial. They say…

  • Digging the garden burns between 150 and 200 calories per half hour
  • using a push mower burns 180 calories in women in half an hour and 240 calories in men, while using a motor mower it drops to 135 and 180 calories each.
  • planting, pruning and trimming flowers, shrubs and trees gives a moderate workout, burning 135 calories in women and 180 in men in half an hour.
  • weeding might be the scourge of most gardeners, it burns off 140 calories in women and over 180 in men per half hour
it's not a total dead end...

it's not a total dead end...

So having dusted down those tools and psyched yourself; having saved your petrol money so as you might drive to the gymnasium and having sold those spandex tracksuits 😉 here’s what you can do

  • trees, trees, trees – the best time to plant bare roots and rootballs types as they’re still dormant. They’re also great value.
  • tree’s, the Christmas tree – it could sit there for ages. Recycle it!
  • weeds – start doing it now. [see above]
  • mulch – i find it warms my hands! Buy it loose or by the metre cubed. It’s better value.
  • tree’s – adjust those straps and buckles. Not too loose mind you.
  • hedging – bareroots are still available – plant them now.
  • fertilise – yes fertiliser. If you use a slow release version [not 10:10:20 style] you can apply it now as you are planting or as you are mulching.
  • buy Grandma’ a rose plant – and pot it up yourself. Great value and she’ll love you for it
  • edging – re-edge those beds. Use a length of timber to stop damage on the lawn if necessary
  • prune – remove any dead or diseased wood from your trees
  • fruit – trees [more] are always good
  • vegetables – plan your plot for the new year – now!
  • birds – fill the feeders
  • garden hygiene – a good garden ‘spring clean’ so to speak is always necessary. It prevents a build of pests and diseases.
  • planting now means no watering – good for the environment

However, if you’re like my Dad 😉 you’ll probably just do the 30 mins and leave the rest to someone else….. That said, a great time to get a head start is now. Enjoy 🙂

start now & add that little groove into yours...

start now & add that little groove into yours...