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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!

Rediscover Fashion

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With an estimated 93% of all textile waste in Ireland sent to landfill, rediscover fashion is a spin off – now fashion label – from Rediscover Centre Ballymun. Set up in 2007 its aim is to demonstrate the potential for textiles recycling, reuse and recovery in Ireland and also to highlight the environmental, social and economic benefits.

Yesterday I attended their second fashion show. All the clothes were made from recycled materials. Some from pillow cases, some from ikea waste bins and old restaurant uniforms. Others were made from jeans and old suits. I know for a fact for one piece in particular the material was taken from a skip….

Ballymun now has won 30 environmental awards. In 2008 it was voted Irelands fair trade town. They have also won the Arthur Guinness Fund.

I worked with the rediscovery team last year when we built a recycled garden at the Smithfield festival and of course also when I bought my kitchen chairs from their rediscover furniture revcycling project.

Take a look at what one can do when the imagination is really put to the test. Now pretend I never told you this fashion show took place in Ballymun, in an Ikea store and that some high street fashion label was the designer. In all honesty, I know all of the pieces were for sale yesterday. But I could not tell you whether they would have cost €75 or €1750. I also know diddly about fashion…. but this blew me away and from a green perspective it is exemplary.

See more images of the rediscover fashion show 2010.

I have also covered more the fashion element of this over on culch.ie

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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.

As always you can rss the podcasts via iTunes or direct via audioboo or you subscribe to the blog and listen to them right here.

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The Guardian Newspaper – The New Carbon Hypocrites…?

Today I got a message noting the guardians coverage of a nice story

World’s coral reefs could disintegrate by 2100

Researchers at Carnegie Institution say corals are being overwhelmed by rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

This is the original post for The Guardian by Ian Sample, science correspondent, in San Diego…. It even has some lovely photos 😉

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I read the piece. And a fine written article it is if I may say so. I was impressed. That was until I saw their ads for their online shopping parked right beside it…..

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Yes that’s right…. you can read about the CO2 destruction of the coral reefs whilst drinking your coffee from a mug that has been posted and delivered to you from the UK…. ? Aparently….

It reveals the worlds most severe carbon footprint offenders

Erm…………? What’s the word I’m looking for……?

I live in Ballyboughal. So it’s plane to Dublin Airport. Then to the sorting office…somewhere…. then to Balbriggan and then to my house…… ?

I’ve spoke about green ethics here before… but this one simply stinks of anything that’ll make a few bob being very honest…. that is unless the guardian are going to have an organic corn fed carrier pidgeon deliver this mug right to my door….. ?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Guardian Eco section simply had a sign there saying buy local as possible…. ?

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St Valentines Shouldn’t Cost The Earth …?

I got a ghetto blaster for Valentines day……. Look! It’s even got a twin deck record cassette system….  I reeeeaaaally L-O-V-E that gurl….

For me, when I got to about the age of 22, the big splash had been made. I bought her a VHS player…. ja uber romantische!  but that was pre jewelery days and very much in the he said she said ‘if you hurt my friend…‘ best friend speech days…. ah the memories!

If you remember the above bits I’ll assume your birth date is pre Wham! [ala George Michael careless whisper era] and you are thinking of that next thing to do – that, that is getting just that little bit more difficult to conjure up….

As a rule, I never do flowers on Valentines Day. Never. Well I did once. I made the bouquet myself about ten years ago for her and I just got giggled at. Anyhow, gardeners giving flowers,  is a bit like Alex Ferguson giving his wife a DVD of ‘Man Utd’s best goals against Aresnal’. It simply doesn’t feel right.

Jokes aside…. but not really… I like the quirky side. I say quirky. I mean, whatever is the opposite of…

Here ye go love, box of turkish delight there for ye… I’ll see ye after the match yeah…

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I have a list in my head of things to do for the day. It may have taken me 0.4 seconds to collate mentally – but that’s just how my brain works in my personal life 😉

And if I see you removing a wheel barrow [red bow wrapped around it] from the rear wind screen of your prized sports car… I’ll know you weren’t paying attention….

To that, I still hand-make the card myself. The last one was from a cornflakes box and covered in matt black card and red ribbon. I then wrote a poem and put that in the middle. A made look old black and white photo went on the front. You’ll have to use your own imagination [and your own photo! ] but it looked really cool. Was a little green and homemade is always better of course …isn’t it?

Second on the list is breakfast in bed. Some fresh coffee  [the grinds of which will go on the mulch heap], poached eggs [taken from the hens that reside out my back garden] and some homemade brown bread. You could always buy some hens as a gift… ? That’d be different 😉

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After that it’s on to one of my favourite parks, Newbridge Demesne. This year Valentines Day is on the sunday so a little day trip out will fit perfectly. I like walking this park. I like the tea shop and I love the wee farm that’s out the back. It may not be your nearest park – but I have a list of parks I’ve reviewed here. I may just just bring the picnic and the flask of tea and coffee.

This post isn’t about me making myself look all wonderful and fantastic [even though I may already 🙄 😆 ] It may just however make your Valentines a little more romantic, a bit less commercialised and at the same time a little greener. And wouldn’t that be nice 🙂

I guess I don’t see what’s wrong with planting a tree for someone you love and watching it grow, together. And isn’t that a nice idea ?

Anyhow… from sometime ago here’s that poem I spoke about. For no aparent reason I titled it Balderdash:

Licking stamps eyes closed wide
Holding hands a winters tide
Cealing kisses an envelope torn
And doth returns the summers mourn

Fussy, would he is he can?
Holding hands when all began
Crossing roads an intersect, scorn
And lovers cry together reborn

A smile a glance a passing face
A flowers petals stripped of lace
Warmer softly into began
And tossled sepals a trickle ran

A smile so soft a rushing glow
A lovers charm a pause, you know
Happy, nothing but hands hold warm
And so returns a summers morn

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