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Use Water Sensibly

The weather quite recently in Ireland has been tipping the 20 celcius mark. For some, the purchase of some plants from that good looking gardener [ 😉 ] that you intend to plant may not actually take place as the vinyl player speakers are popped out the window and the bottle of wine comes out of the fridge. And rightly so….

It was over this bank holiday weekend, the second one in too short a spell for this gardener, only from a one who does it for a living full time perspective that I have moaned, to myself and very much under my breath. Because you see, the sun has been shining so brightly and of course this is a glorious thing in all of its formats. But that said like the law of diminishing returns, there is also the too much of a good thing with all of the down sides syndrome that may occur.

With the short weeks this has meant that there is of course more time for me to spend in my own garden; but again basing this now on others experiences and also the flurry of emails that pounded my inbox, I realised what had happened with two consecutive long weekends was that the trip to the garden supermarkets and plant purchases from good looking gardeners had been made and the living products still sat outside or very near the back door. Not for all, but for many. Or some. Well at the least the very many who had contacted me. All that time while, myself included, chose to relax in the great outdoors and then returned to work. The plants I’m told [for some bold enough to admit it] may still be there. I am of course excluded from this category entirely.

I did a quick video which I uploaded to youtube and posted to the blog. Nothing too scientific about it as such. Let me side track slightly. A show garden of sorts I had done some time ago involved some wheelie bins and a consaw and what I had been left with was the bottom [half] of one. Sidetracking over, I filled this half a wheelie bin with water obtained from my water butts [which as a by the way one buys with bin tags – which as a by the way you claim back of your tax at the year end…] and submerged the plants below the surface of the water covering the foliage in its entirety.

This has a two fold effect. It is the splash of water on your face after a long sunny days jog and also [analogising plants with humans now complete] it replaces every pocket of air with water. One could call this drowning, if the plant varieties were of a heart beating type. They are not. I then placed all of my plants into the shadiest part of my garden with the lowest amount of air movement.

Let me delve a little further. Water or watering on plant leaves placed in the sun will act like a magnifying glass of sorts and tend to scorch the plants leaves. They, the plants, of course rely upon the green pigment in their leaves for photosynthesis, the process by which all plants make their own food and energy and therefore grow.

If the factors required for the growth of any plant are reduced, not eliminated, but reduced… we therefore reduce plant growth. This conundrum requires water and carbon dioxide [air] for the first part of the photosynthetic equation. And whilst one can’t reduce the amount of air in the planet one can reduce a plants requirement for water. Thus allowing you to enjoy your weekend and logically neglect your plants…. am I good or am I good !

Assuming any plant is growing in soil, it has a suitable temperature, light, air and moisture it should do as it is supposed to, which is grow. But to the the big killer of plants and the reason I put such emphasis on this, is that it is usually done by lack of water. Of course those who had minus Celsius and a few inches of snow a few months ago are of course pardoned with a bonafide horticultural explanation.

But with the greatest logic in the world too much such sun light will use too much water and so on the logic goes. To the more practical. A potential mild trickle or even a day of rain most likely will not penetrate down three or four inches of Irish soil. Unless of course you live on a golden beach of pure sand. And if you have purchased plants this or last weekend and allowed both of them to rest in the garden… but yet you wish to get them grooving and planted as soon as, here is the logic to do them an added bonus favour.

Drown them, as explained above until all water has been expelled from the plants pot. You’ll know when this has happened as the water will stop sending bubbles to the surface. Having your hole dug and your soil ready to firm back in your plant in advance will also help.

I did mention this process last week to a friend of mine who said he followed all of these steps, but planted and then extra watered just after nine o’clock in the evening. He woke up to find the slugs had eaten his plants in their entirety….

Gardening. Don’t you just love it!

Water Conservation

Today I discovered some of plant collection had been, put simply, close on fried. It’s rare for me to complain about the weather…. but here’s my situation.

For gardens that are new, or newly planted [Hi Julie and Terry 😉 ],for best results and knowing that the hose must be used…. try water at night time. It ensures the plant isn’t competing with the sun for water intake and therefore gets the maximum return from the watering and your time in doing so. Also one may find the water, combined with the days sun can act like a magnifying glass of sorts and cook the leaves slightly.

When these water charges do come in – the county councils will most likely up the price of those water butts too. My advice get one what you can sooner.

If however it is newly selected areas of planting, you may find that the water butts are an option to be considered.

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[bio]diverse bats?

a lepidopteran of some kind

a lepidopteran of some kind

biodiversity: n the existence of a wide variety of plants and animals in their natural environments [collins dictionary]

I came home one night [a little the worse!] and saw this fella at my front door. So I took a photo. I thought it was a bat? It’s not. It looks like one. It’s not. But in my research I found Bats are good. Necessary; for plants, for humans – for life. They have a role to play.

I tried to check it out on the Bat Conservation Ireland website, but I found their web information so technical, for me anyway, as an apprentice novice of bats.

What I did find was [yet again & well done] by Dubln City Council. So I telephoned the number and got Mairead Stack [we’d met before], well her voice mail. So I emailed. [Mairead is the biodiversity officer for DCC]. I wanted to find out if it was a bat and what on earth were they good for!

The website pdf says:

The main value is insect control. The common pippistrell can catch up to 3,500 midgets in a night. Bats also serve as indicators of the health of the ecosystem.

God, if we didn’t have bats. Imagine what outside that spotlight would really look like…?!! Mairead also responded [thank you] to my email and informed me that:

It certainly isn’t a bat…. It’s a lepidopteran of some kind (moth).If you go to Bat Conservation Ireland’s website you will find lots of helpful advice and guidance on bats. Also, the DCC Biodiversity Action Plan on www.dublincity.ie lists the 8 species we have in Dublin (there are 10 in Ireland). The main thing re gardens and bats is to grow lots of insect attracting flowers so nectar producing, sweet smelling (especially in evening/night time). Also to have some water feature, again to attract insects on which bats feed, have a mature tree which is forked in which they can roost and put up bat box in the apex of the eaves of your house.

Full credit to DCC and Mairéad. Bulaibh bós in fact. It’s amazing the varying [and most welcome] calls that come in to a landscape & design office [partly the reason why I blog]. But I now know in writing that people shouldn’t be afraid of these chappies – we need them. Now all I need is a picture of a moth bat…