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10 Plants For A September Irish Garden

herbaceous border

I use these 10 plants for an Irish garden type lists when I’m doing gardens for people who maybe want to tell their mates what they have got in theirs or, in the plants off the season when you just can’t remember the name or describe just what that stunning clump of green foliage will look like in a few months time.

Of note these are 10 plants that are as they look as of about 5 days ago. And should your garden look like 50 shades of bland, this is where spending the extra dollar combined with some cocky horticulturist like myself superior horticultural knowledge really pays off. It is the difference between we got the garden done and it looks grand, except for the planting is shite, if you will.

Also I say September, its more August and September. And see images taken this week, below. And it’s been a cracker of a much warmer summer so all the ‘flowers between then and then’ garden books are miles off the mark. Unless they’re extremely vague. Anyhow, just in case you wanna heckle me this time next year coz your Rudbeckia came into bud 3 days later than I told you so. If you get me. You get me ? Anyhows….

Not all of them will catch your eye. Far mor importantly, horticulturally not all of them will grow in your garden. But like Heaney and Hendrix there is a place where, when we sit together and close our eyes, they and we fit perfectly.

1. Echinacea purpurea magnus

echinacea p magnus

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Plant Division: Hellebores

hellebore propagation (1)

There are about 20 species in this genus of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants that come from the Ranunculaceae family. Fancy Dan long words and technical horticulture aside, if you ask one of them reads like a star sign garden advice columns for a flowering winter plant, Hellebores will no doubt always feature.

That said, for the old school gardeners out there, not having a Hellebore in your collection is a bit like not having Creedance Clearwater Revival on vinyl. And I and you both know, there is something seriously wrong if that is the case and for damn good reason. The reason I love them, is that they are best propagated, multiplied if you will, by division. A less technical term to use here might be splitting.

The Monty Don type gardening programmes of this world will recommend you put two garden forks back to back, bending the handles in opposite directions and tease them apart. Personally, though they are the best man for the job, I hate them short-handled ‘gardening forks’. And unless you are a Leprechaun, you will find they are just too small and require a fellow of my height is bent over at all times during their usage and that, unless you like moaning about your aches for eons is a pointless exercise.

Some may say I’m wrong to advise different to what for decades has always been the advice. But for me, in gardening one needs to be a little bit cocky. Cocky in a good way, if you get me. Like that dosser mate of yours who was always just too good at Mathematics whilst you struggling the whole time through and never understood why he never had to work at it; in reality and behind the scenes he very simply got and understood the equation. Yup, there’s a bit of that here for me.

The key here is knowing how far down to ram the spade in to insert your spade head, tiddling either through the newer growth as you go. To better get a grasp on it, when I was 12 or so I used to use my Dads hand saw for cutting steel; to better get a sense of how to instinctively just know. Funnily enough, when I got to college I was handed the exact same tool to propagate mint. And if you look at the image above, you’ll see the plant has a root system which has always reminded me of a sort of spliced cross section of a chocolate biscuit cake; so it kind of makes sense, if you get me.

Division done. Pot them up. Replant one or two bits for yourself and let the whole process start all over again. As for the rest of the plants, you can give them out as pressies. I know both Grandmam’s will be getting one from Ella once the pots root systems fill out. And isn’t that just the loveliest case of home grown is always better than shop bought πŸ˜‰

hellebore flower


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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.

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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.

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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