Trees: Phoenix Park, Dublin

phoenix park trees (5)

Measuring 707 hectares, Páirc an Fhionnuisce better known as The Phoenix Park is Europes largest walled park and to even attempt to cover it with just a wee handful of  photographs simply would not be possible.

And though it has been some time since I noted a park on this landscaping blog, I was there of recent with family having cake and goofing around with a frisbee by my favourite spot at present just by The Visitor Centre where the so very well kept walled garden, the café and the play ground resides. Read more

Talking Trees with @FarmerSimonK

The video above came in via Simon Kenny who, for those that are not aware is a farmer based in Kildare. We’d been chatting about trees some time ago and this is his update.

I replied with this video.

I should note, that I am not in any way being critical of Simon and how he does his trees, domestic versus farmland, I personally wouldn’t have used any straps or stakes. I simply think that in my garden [domestic scenarios] they look better and neater when first planted 😉

Simon is @FarmerSimonK on twitter if you wanna ask him a little bit more about his woodland.

Trees: Betula – Utilis versus Pendula

betula utilis jacquemontii bark

The Betula or more commonly known Birch are a genus of around 60 species of deciduous [their leaves fall off in winter, in short] trees that grow extremely well in our Irish climate. By its soft leaved foliage I find it quite feminine in feel and appearance which works really well in softening any landscape or building exterior.

All of our photosynthetic friends have in them at least one outstanding trait for which we want to grow them. In this case, it is without question the birch’s bark. But, like all things great, you get what you pay for and there is always a reason why one is cheaper than the other as I will discuss shortly.

Asking for a Birch, just like any plant, needs to be a lot more definitive. It’s got more than 60 relations of the same second name remember. To these two fellows: The difference between Betula utilis and Betula pendula – couldn’t be that much ? You might be surprised.

Betula utilis

The Himalayan birch is an absolute stunner. As it matures from a young main stem to a tree like trunk its skin peels and develops from a rusty orange tinged brown to a soft pinkish white, then further maturing to a bright smooth as you like, white paper skin.

Although it will do so anyway, I always love the fact that you can peel it off like a bad roll of sellotape. The utilis types are upright [ ie. go against gravity] by their appearance and habit and can grow to about 60′ tall. I have 5 in my garden – worth every single cent and centimetre .

  • recommended: Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’

Betula pendula

The main trait of the Betual Pendula types is that they are all [think about it… pendula, pendulum ~ ie. swing ~ ie. must hang ~ as versus upright] weeping trees by their nature. That said they can still grow up to 80′ tall.

Far more important than that however is that they have a glitch, a flaw in their character. Like the way I’ve never not met a Jack Russell without a dodgy back leg; as the tree matures it’s bark cracks and the newly maturing and indented creases of the bark then turn to black.

In the not so pretty department, it’s not only the bark that’s a bit brutish in appearance and touch as you’ll find the stems of its foliage suffer a similar effect.In comparison, it can be a little scraggy, depending, and just doesn’t cut the mustard in the same way the Betula utilis ‘jacquemontii’ does.

  • recommended: Betula pendula ‘youngii’


The key to developing that white bark all over is the crown raising. Strip the lower branches bare, like a telegraph pole and try as best as possible to retain only one leader. this I should add and double underline, is something that is so very important and really should be considered when first selecting and choosing the trees for purchase. The wounds will heal over and what may [possibly] seem a little unfair will pay its dividends.

More information and enquiries:

betula utilis jacquemontii bark

Tree Moving in Dublin, This Season

Today was a great day for moving trees. The ground was wet, but this makes the digging a lot easier than when bone dry. It also allows for the more fragile of roots to maybe tease out as verus break inside a clump.

More than that the tree is in its dormant state.

Digging carefully around what you believe is the circumferance of the root zone and as best aspossible below, what one need to do is lift as much of the tree [below ground] as possible with as little disturbance as one possibly can. Sometimes easier said than done, I’ve used the Apricot as the example as versus the Oak trees I had to move later on today…..

With the trees lifted out of the ground, here’s what you find

These were the trees before I moved them….

Now all I need to do is replant them. I’ll give them a little fertiliser as they are going in and stake and strap them just to make life a little easier.

The Sodshow – Garden Podcast & Radio Show

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