free advice for the great outdoors – if its not here – tell me

lawn problems….?

Last year from around the middle of May through June Bank Holiday weekend climates and weather almost mirrored that of  what we are having now.

With reference to lawns here are the articles that I wrote then:

**images 4 & 5 are a patch of grass I started to repair about 6 weeks ago. The rest of the images are from last year [2008]

One should really take the first article and read it well. The second of course being my sense of humour but still a very logic answer.

I have prepared lawns that have had full seed germination within 10 days. I have also prepared lawns where very little to nothing will happen…

  • as long as one of the factors required for the growth of any plant is missing
  • as long as it is not ‘logic’ for the seed to germinate
  • as long as we do not have ‘typical irish weather’

And the answer to that of course is when it comes to nature sometimes patience is the greatest asset. My own lawn prepared about a month before I wrote the above articles is clear evidence of that and hence where I got the photographs from, The lawn sown in the pebbles almost a better germination…?

One may have had the soil prepared and presented well when the contractor left the garden… the soil may have dipped and hollowed slightly… some may have the ‘sahara desert’ cracking effect… in some cases some stone has been brought to the surface… all in all it looks a bit rough. I assure you – unless one has a bottom-less supply of rolled turf, a fire hydrant on full blast over night where the lawn will take in the most water and a shaded [completely] garden – no green [or very little] will appear… Funny thing is, the weeds will most likely grow there first.

I have just re-read – again – my article from last year…. and I once again realise that not even a degree in horticulture will help one here… it didn’t help me. It just helped me to understand better the why and why nots.

The truth is even when all of that is overcome…. the shelves of the supermarket gardens centres are brimmed with horticultural paraphernalia to help you and your lawn… and for very good reason. Clover, moss, weeds, fertiliser the list goes on *and* has done for eons…

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small gardens, ideas, designs & what to do

got a wish list...?

got a wish list...?

there has been a massive wave in search for ideas all to do with small gardens.

here are the top 10 or so that you have read in the last 12 months. You chose them.Just click on the highlighted word in each line to go to that article.

If it’s not on this list. You can leave a comment and ask or take a browse through the categories list [over there on your right].

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How To Make A New Patio

 

NB: This post is not a post about the most beautiful patio competition ~ or anything like it. It is a short post on how to lay a patio.

This area was where a sunken shed was. It flooded. It was to be raised. It was a sun trap. Grey slabs were asked for. Fancy giving it a go ? Until you give it a crack – you can’t really ask the questions…. Images below.

  • the shed/ area cleared
  • the base for the patio was put in using new sleeper timbers

Then…

  • 9 square metres of paving were ordered
  • the frame for the base was complete using 6 new timber sleepers
  • a little over 1 tonne of hardcore was using for the base

Then…

  • the whacker was hired for a half day for €26 [thanks Elayne!]
  • the hardcore is wacked first then the sharp sand is wacked after
  • screeding is also done until the surface is ready

Then…

  • the patio slabs are then laid
  • about one bag of fine patio sand is then brushed into the gaps

In short and in brief – there you have it. My other advice

  • make sure that spot is where you really want it to go
  • always order a little more than you need – spare slabs will always be required and extra delivery of minute amounts is a bad idea
  • ‘measure twice and cut once’ – so to speak when making your list of materials and order it all in the one go
  • shop local if possible – it may cost a few cents more but free advice when you are stuck is well worth it

what I ordered for a 7.8 metre squared patio

  • 9 no. metres squared of slabs
  • 2 no. bags of 6″ nails
  • 7 no. 2.2 metre new railway sleepers
  • 65 no. 25kg bags of hardcore
  • 15 no. 25kg bags of sharp sand
  • 2 no. 25kg bags of fine/ brush in patio sand

what tree will you plant this week…?

i planted a tree...

i planted a tree...

Today is the start of National Tree week. There are loads of events on – some are free, some will be extremely boring – some will be great for the family.

Either or it is amazing the bargains that always existed in this department.

Trees don’t have to grow huge. They can also be a ‘small tree’. They can fit on your balcony. They’ll cost about €10-15. And that includes the compost and the pot. If you need for a specific place and you are unsure just leave a comment here.

In the picture I have two trees. One died 🙁 but it’s staying where it is. I have plans for that…. 😆 So I planted a fig tree in front of it. I guess I didn’t want the garden to look bare.

Fig Trees
can be grown in a wide range of soil as long as it’s well drained. They are ‘usually trained up against a wall or fence. [This one won’t]. They are self fertile and easy to grow. I chose the Brown Turkey variety. It cost me €12.

fig-tree-brown-turkeyfig-tree-brown-turkey-1fig-tree-brown-turkey-2

vernalisation

a little frost...

a little frost...

As I write this post – it is freezing cold! But whilst we are wrapped up so snug and warm nature is at work everywhere we look – although possibly unknowns to us….

Vernalisation is the acquisition of the competence to flower in the spring by exposure to the prolonged cold of winter. The word vernalization comes from the Latin word vernus, meaning of the spring. blah, blah, blah….. [courtesy of wikipedia]

Vernalisation is essentially exposing a store of food [a bulb or seed] to a period of low temperatures [usually below zero celcius]. This generally happens naturally in winter time/ spring, but sometimes when I’m sowing seeds i have bought I would first pop them in the freezer for a day or two. In my opinion it speeds up the germination ie. the amount of time it takes for a seed to pop its head above soil level. The period of frost/ cold [in a word] breaks the dormant state of the plant, or as my Mom would say… it makes the seed wake up 🙂