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Diverse Gardening

peter donegan

Outside of the window from where I type now there sits a compost heap. I don’t know whether I should call it that as I have never actually taken compost from it. It does its thing, bothers no one and just as it’s getting ready and maybe believes that I might put the wellies on and jump inside, reality kicks in.

I may never actually use my compost heap….

I need to be honest about these things. I know people who like to jump in and turn the decaying material over. If you enjoy that sort of thing, brilliant. But, personally, it’s just not for me. Are either of us wrong ? no. The reality is quite simple, my boundary hedges alone will keep that area of my garden full for the rest of it’s life.

What are my options ?

One could suggest that I get rid of the hedgerow and build a wall or even a fence. And before I even go near that as a topic, the hedgerow looks as [or more] unkempt as the green waste heap.

But In my mind life works really well with a symbiotic sort of relationship. I don’t tidy up the hedge, thus the brambles get to grow as they should and in return I get fruit. Free fruit.

Then again, I’m in competition with the birds for that. But then again I’ve spent ages trying to encourage birds into the surrounding greenery and now they are here…. I guess it’s fair to say we have an understanding in that I and they take as they wish and can. I must admit I really like their singing. It makes me smile. So far so good.

Somewhere along the road someone decided to put a name to this getting on with each other business and [in short] called it biodiversity. For a while I thought someone had set up a new band or dance group, but it turns out they were talking about the birds and the bees. I guess I just didn’t realise I had been doing it for so long.

A pile of logs chucked in the corner…. check.

Bird box…e..s….. yes. check….

I was beginning to wonder if I was at some sort of gardeners pub quiz. It was so easy and much easier than being a grow your own fanatic. No offence an’ all.

From a previous blog post I’d written, the check list suggests you plant a native, in your/ my case Irish, tree. I like to go a stage further with that one and try to plant a native Irish tree every year. If I haven’t got a spot in my garden or simply can’t find one this season, I give one away as a gift, planting included. No excuses – and pretty cost effective I should add. Also the bird boxes are in there which can be easily made at home and painted, another great gift.

Next up, is rain water harvesting. We have been here before. Although recently at a friends house he had very simply made his own from a length of guttering and an old plastic barrel. Miserable so an so I thought for a second. You might say smarter, something I admitted to after, but I bought mine with my bin tags and claimed it back off my year end tax. Either or it’s the thought that counts and great minds think alike.

It’s not until one speaks to someone like young film maker Eoin Delaney [Directing Media] that you realise just what is happening our surroundings. Two days waiting to see if he can capture a fox, on film that is. No sighting. Hares yes. Fox no.

Jane Powers some weeks ago on the SodShow told a similar story with regard to the bees. Bees that are needed for us to have, at the very minimum fruit and vegetables.

Is it all that bad. Is it really, enough for me to give a sh….

No maybe not. At the the very least not in the very rural surrounds where I live. That said in my own garden it took three years for me to find birds nesting. Three years after first planting approximately one hundred and twenty trees. The big flip side is that it’s your garden and not mine and I guess all I can do is say how it works for me and hope you may like a little of what you hear.

The Ladybird

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Coccinellidae or ladybirds as we know them are members of the beetle family, generally red with black spots head and antennae and can be anything up to almost half an inch in size. But with over 5,000 species they can also be any colour from yellow to black. The less prettier and often referred to a the mealybug Ladybird cryptolaemus montrouzieri should not be confused with the Coccinella septempunctata or what I should refer to as the common ladybird

The ladybird is most famed in horticultural terms for being predators or the boilogical control of the aphid [whitefly or greenfly] and they really are a gardeners friend. That said if you spoke to my niece Lilly… they are most famed to her because she had a pet ladybird once…. but it ‘flew away‘ 😉

Ladybirds and other garden predators are/ can usually be encouraged easily by having areas of undisturbed ground and also by the introduction of attractive flowers.

I spotted this guy above just sitting pretty whilst clipping some crataegus in the garden yesterday…. 😉



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national tree week

Blog posting #300 🙂  March 1st – 7th 2009 is National Tree Week. It’s a cool week. There’s loads of tree events on – literally all over the country. There is no excuse not to get involved. I have some posts on trees, trees, trees and trees here to get you in the groove. That said if you don’t want to plant a tree yourself – you can always sponsor a tree – and it will be planted for you.

The trees don’t have to be huge – they even don’t have to be expensive – but they are important and if we did plant one tree each [that’s over 4 million!!] can you imagine how beautiful the country would look. If where you live is ‘not as green as it should be’, if you want to give something a little not so expensive and don’t want to look like a cheap-skate or if you haven’t seen a bird in your garden since you moved in…. You could… and you really could, make a difference.

Go on plant a tree. And give it a hug after 😆 but of course!

have you seen this guy…?

peter donegan landscaping squirrel

I was reading this article on squirrels – I’d seen them in Brackenstown recently and a good friend had some pics which he kindly passed my way.

So I rang Ger from Fota Wildlife Park for a quick chat. Nice guy. Nice place. [I should visit more.]

Reds and greys aside I simply asked Ger what can one do to encourage squirrels. He kindly explained that:

the grey ones are not bad although they’re having an easier time than the reds. But wildlife and squirrels need a diverse habitat. In our open spaces to encourage them [he suggests] If the leaves fall, don’t rake them all up totally or rake them into a corner and leave in a pile. If you must have a pristine garden try and leave even a section aside to grow a little wild. they’re also love oak trees and if someone has the space thats a really good thing to do to help them.

If you are about Cork, I recommend dropping in – it is so worthwhile. If you’re too busy you can always adopt an animal at Fota [click here] and you can assured the squirrels simply do normal squirrel things….