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Autumn Colour…

Can you imagine if every house in Ireland planted just one tree, how beautiful would this country look….

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I really do love this time of year.

Last week I was walking down Griffith Avenue and being honest it almost brought me back to my childhood days of not that long ago…
I used to love the leaves on the ground and absolutely hated it when people swept them all up and made the place look tidy. When I saw the piles I was one of those ‘little terrors’ who kicked them all over the place and most likely got an ear clipping for it 😆
Sidetracking slightly, Jane Powers who does the Irish Times garden column, this weekend wrote about the beauty of autumn colour. A great read. Bulaidh bós Jane.
You see, landscaping, well more the trends [?] took a turn for the worst in my opinion over the last few years. Trees, if not all then most definitely the larger members of the family were not allowed. They became surplus to requirement. Some, quarantined them in the high maintenance category. So much so that I find it hard to find [for example] a ‘conker tree’ in North County Dublin…. which is why I went to Griffith Avenue 😉 [I also visited my older brother who lives just off and had some home made chocalate pie and real coffee….]
But its not until, maybe, one sees a tree in its finest splendour through a season that one thinks…. well maybe I would like one of those. And with that in mind tree planting season is almost upon us…. Now is the time to decide that you would like.
Can you imagine if every house in Ireland planted just one tree how beautiful this country would look. If you don’t plant one…buy one for somebody you like to brighten their day up… then go and admire their one… or rake some leaves up and allow the kids to kick them all over the place…. 😆
As a by the way…. autumn colour is brought about by a build up in sugars from warm temperatures during the day and then a cold night where the sugars are held in the leaf.
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gardeners charity poker classic in ballyboughal

are you going...?

are you going...?

***Tickets can be bought behind the bar in The Village Inn from Kevin or drop by my house or give me a call 🙂

From Yes folks 7 tables of 7 people will battle it out for the title of Ballyboughals best poker player Friday 16th October.

The gig won’t take place in O’Connors pub exactly as the people wont really all fit in… rather it will take place in the old school opposite… but systems are in place that a lounge person will run back and forth constantlty from one to the other with your beverage in case your taste buds dry out 😉

The reason… well of course the trad session is on so when you finsh your game of cards… simply walk the far side of the [very narrow] road and have a listen to some of Ireland finest musicians.

Sandwiches will be provided on the night and the trad session [as always] is free in.

All money raised will of course go to my trip to South Africa with the Niall Mellon Township Trust. Click here to see how much I’ve raised so far.

Never been to ballyboughal [just outside Swords btw] here’s how to get here

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building repak recycle week 09

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Its a little of a crazy one when given a one day build time for any garden… everything must go perfectly according to plan… 

Unknows to most preparation for this garden started about 7 weeks ago. 

‘The greenhouse effect’ was intended to be a full and proper garden but as things do change… the ‘fail to prepare’ cliché definitely lent itself to this one. Once again it is only by working alongside such amaing people that everything runs so smoothly and it [some may say 😉 ] appears to be so easily done.

There are people involved in this short time frame build who where given literally hours notice, there are those who would have been on the phone to me on their weekends and/ or well into the wee hours of the night. In fact there was at one point 2 wheelie bins being cut up at approximately 11pm at night… once again at an hours notice [thanks John 😉 ] To those who did make life that little more enjoyable rather than work stressful. Thank you. It is also because of you that I love so very much what it is I do. 🙂

For more information on repak recycle week 2009 visit www.recycle more.ie

 

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october in the garden…

The Sepember in the garden post seemed to go down quite well so… here’s your monthly bit for October. And a little music to read with…

Now that your bedding plants have just about gone to pot and the garden [in some cases] maybe lacking a little inspiration… it’s time to take down those hanging baskets and planters, identify those blank spots in your beds and get the place spruced up. 😉 Believe me you’ll thank me for it.
garden-colour-small colourful-plants-small spring bulbs

While you’re there… don’t forget spring bulbs are on sale now. If you want some spring inspiration year after year… this is a ‘right now’ must do. Chose not to do so in advance and what one finds is that the left over bulbs are planted in pretty pots and come January, sold with a big bow wrapped around it… and a price tag to match.

removing a lawnmower blade lawnmower-blades-sharpen lawnmower-blades-sharpen-angle grinder

Next up… the evenings are getting that little bit darker so I’ve decided I’m gonna get started on some early winter chores. I’ve started with the lawnmowers. The problem has been that even when the sun did shine, the grass was still wet and the blades took the odd bit of hammering. I’ve got all the undersides cleaned out and out with the angle grinder to give the blades a bit of a sharpen. Apart from that usual service rules apply, but nothing a good drop of oil can’t solve. If you’re not into that, book it in for its annual service… before everyone else does that is!

muddy-grass weeds weed-control

From a weed control point of view… once again the weather has played absolute havoc. Assuming you have a couple of hours dryness, the grass/ weeds are dry and you use a translocated spray…. whilst teperatures are around the 12-14 degrees celcius, I’d make sure  you get the place tidy[er] for this coming winter a little sooner.

lettuce-plants lettuce greenhouse

The lettuce crops are still trying to bolt into seed. I’m still fighting it… nature will eventually take over. That said I’ve not been as reliable on my sorrell plants and as a result their green leaves will carry me easily through December. Next after that is a good tidy up of the greenhouse. I need to get ready for some spring crops….

garden-furniture sale barbeque wild-berries

If you fancy building your own BBQ check out this post. Other than that… a good clean up of the entire set is necessary and store it away until next year.Yes that’s right wash it… not leave it out to rust like you did last year 🙄

Don’t forget your wild berries. Just because they’re not in a plastic container… they’re exactly the same thing. Go pick. Make jam. Bake cakes. Free food season is on. Before the birds get it.

Passing through some garden centres recently, Now is the best time to buy your garden furniture, benches and tables for next year. It is the end of the season and some ranges – If you want to get some kind of garden together for next year and need those few bits. Take my advice – the real bargains are on now

beaujolais-nouveau

and enjoy

For the moment there’s not a whole lot else – but in garden terms always remeber that preparation is everything and forgetting this month may leave you in mild despair for next year.

With all that hard work done… 😆 You’ve a great excuse now with the evenings closing in – go ahead grab yourself a glass of wine, sit back and relax.

As I said last month… if you see something thats not here – just leave a comment – I’ll know the next time ;) I also dropped in a little music from Paulo Nutini, because I find I can read better with music when the article is a little longer. Personally, I dislike the ever copy and pasted 5 pointer one liners that reappear in the usual gardening columns so I’ve tried to make this a little different[ish]. I just hope you enjoyed it.

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never had your garden ‘designed’ before

Here’s a piece I wrote some time ago. Recently we have had a wave enquiries where people feel that not paying for a design is saving money. That’s perfectly fine but as long as you take the correct free advice and from the correct people.

We have designed anything from 17th century five acre gardens to the most modern and futuristic of advanced and out of place designs – and built them. We have also on the other hand designed and built gardens that dont cost the earth but do look really good.

The second piece of advice is to take the correct advice. So should one pay for a consultation charge? The answer is of course if you feel you should and naturally if you will get something valuable and worthwhile for your cudos. If you do decide to get a garden designed and/ or built for either sixty five euro or sixty five thousand euro remember the numbers at the bottom of the page of the invoice is what it actually costs and you gotta pay that amount [I’ll get back to that later]. In the meantime – enjoy the article.

peter

You want to get the garden designed. You have already tried and after spending the entire lottery, it still looks humorous. The sun is shining. The neighbours have just started their barbeque. You own a jungle. Where do you start?

On the cheap: Measure up the garden. You don’t need a measuring tape or trunnel wheel. One large pace equals one metre approximately and one of your feet is one foot (you’ll have a rough idea). Drop down to the local garden centre and with sketch in hand ask all the questions you can. Its better to go on a Monday when it’s quiet. Always give an idea of the theme you want in the garden, don’t tell them I want this and one of them etc.(if you say water feature and it may not ever have looked good in your back yard – the friendly people who were going to give you advice are now on commission and your stuck with a gift for your sister.) Remember you don’t have to purchase on that day. Call the offices of a professional landscapers/ designers association. They’ll put you in touch with somebody in your area. Generally you can get advice (free) over the phone. They don’t have to call out.

  • Pay a little: Call a landscape contractor of reputation. They may charge for call outs/ consultation charges, but this is a very wise investment (even if the Father-in-law and Jimmy’s brother/ cousin/ sister are all expert green fingers). Decide on the basics with your family first. Do you need?
  • A shed – what size and type? Brick or timber?
  • A washing/ clothes line – Rotary/ retractable/ or one for the local football team?
  • A barbeque – built in or moveable? Gas or coal? Consider the neighbours and the clothes line!
  • Kiddies play area – Swings, slides and pits? sand or bark mulch? Moveable or resident? In my opinion it is better to put these ‘built in’ in one area – this can be adapted/ changed to suit your investment/ garden at a later date. ie. when the little ones mature.
  • Lights – how many? Security and/ or decorative? Sunken or above ground level? Remember low budget/ plastic looks better below ground and you’ll still see the light.
  • Outdoor electricity points/ plugs – where? Always get a double and get the two done together.
  • Outdoor tap/ water source – where? Both of the above mean the contractors don’t need to traffic over your new flooring and you don’t have to be there shedding tears at the state of the place halfway through the job.
  • Table and chairs area – Just for two or the entire Partridge family? Decide on whether it goes to full sun or shade. Please, pick/ measure the dining set you want first and allow 1.5 metres off the back of each chair. This means you only get the size of patio required and the stonemason doesn’t retire on your entire garden budget. (It also stops Nanna falling into the new rose bush when she pushes her chair away to get up from the table.)
  • Raised timber structure/ Patio – take the advice of your consultant and ensure it fits into your overall theme.
  • Green waste area – they can be ‘off in scent’ but they are in todays genre a must.

Ask for a rough ‘outline overview sketch’ of what the garden will look like – on headed paper – this will save you the cost of a full design service. Assuming it’s not a requirement of planning, this should, with a little vision and trust on your part, suffice. Again give a general themed idea of what you would like.

Pay a little/ lot more:Call a registered landscape designer. They usually charge for call outs/ consultations. They will charge for their design and also a percentage fee to oversee their design. This will be a very detailed design with a planting plan you may not understand ever and may come complete with a visual impression of what you can expect to see. Your garden designer will ensure you don’t need to do any of the above. Ensure your requirements are met so as not to result with your designers very own memorial playground. Let them know how much time and what gardening tasks you are willing to spend/ do in the garden (be honest and realistic!). Find out what contractor will carry out the necessary works and as important if they will do the after care/ maintenance. Get an estimate of cost on the landscaping of this wonderful design before you pay for the actual drawings. This ensures you don’t end up with a very expensive piece of paper that will never become a creation.

Remember:

  • Know your budget limit but be realistic.
  • Agree all prices before your contract starts.
  • Stonework requires dry weather and plants/ lawns need water.
  • Don’t pay for contractors tools to sit in their shed on ‘down time’ and don’t end up paying a contractor to water you plants
  • You don’t have to do it all at once.
  • Gardens can be phased in over a period of time. It may take a little longer but you will get that dream.
  • Don’t be afraid to do something different
  • Quality products cost more and cheap can be often tearful rather than cheerful.

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