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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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nice people who deserve a mention….

First up….. I asked a while ago if your product was amazing and Irish

In Ireland it seems we still operate [to an extent…] by the ‘do you know someone who does…..‘ rule. Sometimes I come across these poeple. Some have no websites. Some just don’t pop up too well when searching in google…. some a bit new or some just a bit Irish 😉

meadowsweet-apiaries-ltd birdwatch-ireland houses-castles-and-gardens-of-ireland

Either or here’s a few that I found in the last while that deserve a bit of a mention…

botanic-greenhouse-company john-farrell-atfar-construction bdf-commercials

  • Meadowsweet Apiaries Ltd
    Contact: Andrew Mc Guinness. Based in Offaly, Andrew had no website when I met him but his prices seem logic enough. Andrew produces honey & beeswax products and also supplies beekeeping equipment. Email: andrew [dot] mcguinness [at] hotmail [dot] com. Either that or call the Irish Beekeepers Association
  • Bird watch Ireland
    I spoke to Niall Hatch of Birdwatch Ireland sometime ago now. Once again I found no website on the information leaflet I was given. You can however email info [at] birdwatchireland [dot] ie for further information
  • Rothe House Family Garden
    described as ‘an early 17th Century  Irish Merchants garden’ this is one on my must do list. Based in Parliament Street, Kilkenny the Rothe House and Gardens are privately owned by the Kilkenny Archealogical Society [KAS] and managed by the Rothe House Trust Limited. www.rothehouse.com
  • Irish Wildlife Trust.
    I’d met Joanne Pender of the irish wildlife trust back in June. Nice lady. Love their magazine. They can be contacted on their website www.iwt.ie
  • The Just Food Company
    Established in 2004 by Deidre Hilliard this amazing story of organic handmade food started as a stall at Middletons Farmers Market and is now a commercial kitchen. I met Deidre and fell in love straight away….. with her organic hummus and rocket pesto 🙂 Contact Just Food at www.justfood.ie
  • Botanic Greenhouse Company
    based in Donabate, North Dublin and managed by Eoin Hurley. I like the fact that these guys cater more specifically for the domestic market and cover all of Ireland. A nice guy and a straight talker. Take a look and see what you think…. then give hime a call 😉 www.botanicgreenhouses.ie
  • D.B. Painting & Decorating
    David behan. Another straight shooter. Another with no website. I said it before and I’ll say it again. One of lifes good guys. Needed a hand out recently. Dave stood up and was glad to do what he could. Gardens and features need painting too… 🙂 contact david behan painting 087 – 2551928
  • John Farrell
    a little like David above. I simply needed a little help and some good advice. I rang John and you might say he answered the call. A civil engineer. Owns Atfar Construction Ltd. Nice, honest and an all round good guy. Contact Atfar Construction via their website
  • John Friel
    B.D.F. commercials really only do big trailers… the ones with 16 wheels. Once again its the nicer guys in life who make thing go that little smoother. John was there when I asked for a little hand out with regards to my own one. Thanks John & Cáitlín 🙂 rivet guns are not something most landscapers own!
  • John Kenny
    absolutely zero to do with the landscaping industry. John’s business is a packing machine solutions company but once or twice I’ve asked and on all occasions answered. Thanks John for the loan of the angle grinder.
  • and finally to Adrian for the computer advice, Rebecca for the sketches, Paul for the timber help and Philip for the wi-fi assistance and the nice chats. Really apprecaited. Sincerely.

As a by the way this list was built up over a 3 month odd period. Usually garden advice plants and the barter rule apply… but sometimes its just nice to say thank you 🙂

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powdery mildew

powdery-mildew

powdery mildew

I noticed this white almost chalk like residue on my corkscew hazel the other day.

It is powdery mildew.

Caused by a variety of fungi  including Oidium, Uncinula & Sphaerotheca; the powdery chalk like residue sits on and clings to the top of the leaf.

It’s sister downey mildew clings to the underside of the leaf and is damp and fluffy to feel… So as not to confuse the 2, remember: powders could not sit on an underside [as simple as that sounds – to the non horticultural C.S.I. diagnostics team it is very important 😉 ].

Back to it…. One must remember that this is a fungal problem. And spores are spread by wind, rain or even plants rubbing together. Powdery mildew likes a dry site and fungi usually grow in areas where it has little chance of being disturbed. So, whilst it can be sprayed/ treated chemically… this will solve the immediate problem but, the chances are the disease will return as the conditions/ environment have not changed. My methodology is to remove all of the diseased material; then wait if possible ’til the off season and move the plant to less enclosed spot.

The reality is, one should also remember that this is not a bacterial disease of the plant so whilst photosynthesis is affected; and therefore fruit/ seed production – the disease is not as such detrimental to the plant.

Chemcal treatment is usually done via the use of a translocated/ systemic insecticide and fungicide mixed as most insects are disease vectors. Make sure [please] you have a seperate applicated sprayer to the one used for herbicide 😉 That said, I prefer working with nature where possible and would always first recommend the biological control first.

While I’m here… if you are spraying it can leave a white residue…. don’t confuse the two 🙂

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simply zesty, facebook fans & gardeners….

face book

face book

Over at Simply Zesty – I recently became a guinea pig… 😉

Niall and I were chatting yesterday over how I marketed loved writing my blog for the pure [horticultural/ green] fun of it and the mystique that quickly arose as to why I would bother at all when it may never make you money.

For me, I explained to Niall that it was never about the money – so I was always on a winner as long as I enjoyed what I was doing… 🙂 This I explained [I believe] quite well in this post: why bother with a blog.

But the question Niall and his team have raised is slightly aside of that and very much so worth a read – especially if you are in the horticultural industry.

Gotta love his closing line 😆

By the way – do go to the statistics on the poll. The results I think ou ma find are quite surprising…. if you are a little more of the green field type. Thanks Niall

Click here to see the original post over at The Simply Zesty site

Would You Become A Fan Of A Business On Facebook?

Posted on September 16th, 2009 by Niall Harbison in Social Media
facebook logo

...?

If one more person sends me a message asking to become a fan of their page on Facebook so as they can get to the 100 fan mark (so as they can clain their vanity business URL) I am literally going to have to pull what hair I have left out.

Last night I had a chat with Peter who is a landscape gardener and John a photo blogger. Myself and John came to the conclusion that we would never become a fan of a landscaping company even if it did belong to a friend and that the whole fan page thing for small business was a little flawed.

Facebook fan pages on the whole are a really great way of showing off content but I do have a couple of small issues with them that small businesses especially should be wary off…

1.Does anybody really care about your small business on Facebook?

Using the example of Peter’s Landscape gardening page is there any value in him acquiring fans? Even if he produces the best content ever are people actually going to care enough to interact with it? Is he going to get business out of it? Direct sales? I’ll be totally honest here and I like Peter as a guy and follow him on Facebook and twitter but I have no interest in seeing anything about landscape gardening in my personal stream, I’m just not into it, I live in a flat. This is the problem…who wants to become a fan of a chemist, flower shop or accountants? If they made great content like videos and photos maybe but chances are the won’t. I won’t say don’t do it but I will say don’t do it just for the sake of sending out links to your friends through the page.

2.Is it really a good idea to pay for ads on one part of Facebook to send people to another part?

So just think about this for a second….Lots of people are currently paying Facebook a handsome daily sum to send Facebook users from one part of Facebook to their shiny fan page!!! Now the big winner here is Facebook! There is no doubting the power of fans and a fair price can always be put on their acquisition as they add value and can interact with your content but are fans really going to help a small business? My feeling is that they are perfect for a big brand who have the marketing budget but I would question this sort of tactic for acquiring fans for a small business.

I think Facebook fan pages are a super tool and advise most clients to get one but just make sure you can give them the time they deserve and please don’t come asking me to become a fan to get to 100 fans only to abandon the page and never update it again :)

Our Facebook fan page with lots of cool content is here, become a fan

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i want that one…

Christmas trees! I love this time of year… I just love it! While you’re at the turkey stuff the begrudgers, the doom and gloomers and anybody else who’s a pain in the tuschie, take out the mistletoe and have a mince pie. It is the season to be jolly – and don’t you forget it 🙂

With whole place decked in holly, last week I and ‘her indoors’ [as Arthur Daly would say], went to pick out our Christmas tree. There is, possibly unknowns to some a Christmas tree farm in Rolestown North Dublin [just outside Swords and after Kettles Hotel just on the left]. It’s brilliant. While I was there, the Moms flocked in with their children, wellies and woolies on and went with Mick to select the specimen they wanted.

€30 any tree, netted and the butt drilled or trimmed to suit your stand. If you’re nice he’ll even give you a lolly pop! If you have never seen a tree farm or never selected your own live tree it is a great experience .

Have a really Happy Christmas, have a great new year and enjoy!