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The Growing Season Has Officially Started

It may well remain a little chilly for some to brave the great outdoors but weather whether some agree or disagree, it seems the growing season has started in Ireland.

The problems that usually arise, garden wise, are best described with hindsight being that of 50:50 vision, in the context that once one sees the plant in its fullest glory one may wish they had planted some of this or that, that could only be there if planted some months previous.

As I look over my own garden, not entirely in all its glory, its clear to see the trees have all started to produce buds. The new growth on the lime trees in particularly amazing to see. Although not as visible, it is quite qevident on that of the Gleditsia too.

This a clear sign that if you wanted to have a ‘I’d love one of them‘ in your space outside, you really would want to make a call on it and have it done sooner rather than later. This timeline also includes trees that need to be moved.

But it’s not just the trees. It’s in the ‘shrub department’ too. Last week at the nurseries the hellebores were just a wee while away from bursting into flower, while the dwarf Photinia was producing some nice new red growth.

My rhubarb still grows were it was first planted in the darkest and dampest parts of the garden. Sidetracking slightly, it is also one of the few that has never been involved in the Peter Donegan relocation programme. In a slightly brighter part, my sorrel, now 3 or 4 seasons old tells me salad may just be on the cards that little bit earlier than expected.

In the beauty spotting category the Jasmine [jasminum nudiflorum] was looking really great and for good reason it remains one of my favourite climbers. On the flip side the hydrangea’s from my friend Philips garden that I planted about 2 seasons ago are just ripe to burst open.

As if I’d nothing else better to do on a Sunday, when I was at Michael Nugent’s garden on Sunday just gone, Michael was proudly showing off all of the bulbs he had planted in his front garden. And when I say all… I mean all of them. Think in tonnage here.

All grown in pots. In anything that could be even mildly considered definitive of the word container and of every type available to mankind in Ireland.

But it’s not just Mick Snr’s garden. Philip has them growing too and not in pots… just willy nilly planted and left to pop back up year after year. The same way I do it.

Rummaging around my shed I found some left over garden bulbs… don’t ask [?] that some how I forgot to plant. I finished dealing with them on Sunday – but from the garden type bulbs to growing your own food, from bulbs, I was also busy planting garlic and onions from sets.

The funny thing is that once the hammamelis goes out of flower the leaves will appear, the lime trees bright new growth will become hidden with it’s large oval leaves. The bulbs will become more prevalent and produce flowers for the kitchen and my onions will produce food. The red growth that spans the motorways of Ireland will turn to green and an entire new range of whats hot and en vogue will appear for us to admire.

The question is will you be braving the elements so that you can have that little bit of glory in your space outside that for very good reason I call the great outdoors ?

note: *all images taken within the last 7 days

small garden… any ideas?

Whether small or large, the size is irrelevant, your garden should still be given the same amount of thought, detail and attention as any other. If you are looking for ideas, you’ve had enough of the January blues and February is the month you really need to make life that little bit brighter… Then here are some ideas to get you in the groove [see the images below]. Believe me a little work now does pay dividends.

Why now – there’s no looking after it really and plants will take this opportunity to settle themselves in their new homes rather than trying to produce foliage/ flower and possibly having a stressful settling in period.

Some of the images naturally required a little more work than others, some you may need a little help to get you out of the starting blocks… others you may be able to do yourself. But if that little bit of inspiration is lacking at the moment and you need to brighten up your day… soon! Simply, step outside, close your eyes and imagine just for a little and smile 🙂

activity in the garden this month…

gat the garden in groove...

get the garden in groove...

need some effin direction...

need some effin direction...

You may think there is little to do in the brrrr freezing cold this January. But, it is what you do now that will prove so fruitful in a few months time. Aside from the aesthetic gains to be reaped and after listening to RTE1 for too long recently – where the news, primetime and even the weatherman depressed me – I realised we all need something to smile about. I had to get outside.

But there is also another [moreso recently more serious] side to gardening and that is of keeping active. According to one report, if maintained for at least 30 minutes gardening can be so beneficial. They say…

  • Digging the garden burns between 150 and 200 calories per half hour
  • using a push mower burns 180 calories in women in half an hour and 240 calories in men, while using a motor mower it drops to 135 and 180 calories each.
  • planting, pruning and trimming flowers, shrubs and trees gives a moderate workout, burning 135 calories in women and 180 in men in half an hour.
  • weeding might be the scourge of most gardeners, it burns off 140 calories in women and over 180 in men per half hour
it's not a total dead end...

it's not a total dead end...

So having dusted down those tools and psyched yourself; having saved your petrol money so as you might drive to the gymnasium and having sold those spandex tracksuits 😉 here’s what you can do

  • trees, trees, trees – the best time to plant bare roots and rootballs types as they’re still dormant. They’re also great value.
  • tree’s, the Christmas tree – it could sit there for ages. Recycle it!
  • weeds – start doing it now. [see above]
  • mulch – i find it warms my hands! Buy it loose or by the metre cubed. It’s better value.
  • tree’s – adjust those straps and buckles. Not too loose mind you.
  • hedging – bareroots are still available – plant them now.
  • fertilise – yes fertiliser. If you use a slow release version [not 10:10:20 style] you can apply it now as you are planting or as you are mulching.
  • buy Grandma’ a rose plant – and pot it up yourself. Great value and she’ll love you for it
  • edging – re-edge those beds. Use a length of timber to stop damage on the lawn if necessary
  • prune – remove any dead or diseased wood from your trees
  • fruit – trees [more] are always good
  • vegetables – plan your plot for the new year – now!
  • birds – fill the feeders
  • garden hygiene – a good garden ‘spring clean’ so to speak is always necessary. It prevents a build of pests and diseases.
  • planting now means no watering – good for the environment

However, if you’re like my Dad 😉 you’ll probably just do the 30 mins and leave the rest to someone else….. That said, a great time to get a head start is now. Enjoy 🙂

start now & add that little groove into yours...

start now & add that little groove into yours...