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Brown & Black Leaves ?

In north Dublin last week I recorded temperatures just over -8 celcius and although the wind chill factor was something a lot greater than that, with the recent weather and the subsequent thaw….what one can see now is [maybe] mildly uncertain regarding what plants have survived the minus temperatures due to the fact that a lot are at present leafless and dormant.

A plants cells are made up essentially of water and in extreme conditions that water in the plant cells expands resulting in the cells bursting. The bit that’s important to you, the plant owner, is that once the plant cell has burst it is dead – and – put very simply beyond resurrection.

The question is how far or how much of the plant is actually dead, if it has just burnt some of the leaves or it has actually made it’s way into the ‘heart’ of the plant. For this there’s really no one definitive answer, but [for example] for my own bay laurel hedge [above] I’ll simply cut out the brown and work my way down the stems until I can only see green. It may well look a bit sparse and patchy after, but it’ll come back for next season. Smaller and younger plants may not have been so fortunate.

My advice is to get out into the garden and have a good rustle through the aftermath and give each plant a good close up inspection. In fear of a frost return you may consider mulching around the base of your plants which will aid them that little bit better – and – they will thank you for it come the new year.

Unsure if one of your plants has survived [?] you can contact me in the following ways…

See the image above…. this is [image below] the exact same hedge plant just 7 days ago.

Ilex – Holly

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The aquifoliaceae evergreens and [unknows to some] sometimes deciduous shrubs, trees and [once again, possibly surprising to some] climbers are a genus of about 400 species. Famed for their berries and foliage, there is a lot more to these general stalwarts than meets the eye.

Take a listen to this ….

Their flowers are generally borne from spring to summer depending on type and climate. But it is after here that one should pay attention if anything more than that [ie. berry] is required, as the male and female flowers are borne generally upon seperate plants. ie they are monoecious/ they require a polinator – or – in more simple terms, the male and female come as seperate plants. That said, they can also come as dioecious ie. having both male and female flowering parts.

The problem with this is, should one purchase the wrong [?] plant, ie. the male, one will never see a berry at all, as they do not produce them. If one does buy a male – to go with the female, or a plant that is both male and female…. take your time and read back if you must, one should see berries – the reason, most likely for which you bought the plant.

I personally recommend the following:

  • Ilex Gold King [female]
  • Ilex JC Van Taol [dioecious]
  • Ilex Aureum Marginata [dioecious]

The great thing about Holly’s  is, that should one follow the basic rules…. ie. buy once and buy well and plant it right – one has, in simple terms, a plant for life. Personally, I like the fact that there’s a male and a female in the garden together. A happy couple, sort of…. And that makes me smile. 😀

They’re in berry all over St Stephens Green at the moment…. I bought the last 2 potted, but it is coming into rootball season and I think I’ll be getting a few beauties for my own garden this year. What about you….?

For more gardening news – listen to the #sodcast

time to wake up…

I was out and about in the garden and it seems nature is actually waking up all around me… It is a little the storm before the calm. The vernalisation period that we [in Ireland] had last week and now are tipping over the ten degrees…

But whilst temperatures may fluctuate – it is essentially the plants choice – when, exactly it is the right time for them to wake up. That aside, I love this time of year. It is so inspirational and for those who put in the little extra graft over the winter period, extremely rewarding.

If you haven’t dabbled in your green pastures yet… now is really time for you to really get started.

write, is there any point…

hmmm....

snow point....!

Well there is something good about this weather, horticulturally, but that’s another post for next week:) In the meantime now is a good time to get a little of myself out there. For as you [should] know by now I love to write. I love horticulture. Put the two together and I’m pretty much loving life.

For the moment here’s what someone else has written about me…

Peter studied horticulture for four and a half years. He holds a certificate in commercial horticulture from Teagasc, an Advanced Diploma in Horticulture and the general examination in Horticulture from the royal horticulture society. He is also a Full Member of the Institute of Horticulture.

Peter has been involved in the horticultural industry since 1992. With several working places in Ireland, England and Scotland before starting his own business, Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd.

Peter has written for many publications; The Farmers Journal, Self Build Ireland magazine. Freelance including The Irish Independent, Diarmuid Gavin Design magazine, Horticultural and Landscape Ireland.

For those who don’t know… I have written about ‘horticulture’ pretty much since time began. If you do need a writer, a one off, a freelance, a regular… then here’s a brief synopsis of who and what I am… I need a writing challenge.

If you’ve got a idea, a suggestion or simply want a cup of real coffee [arsenal mug supplied – see photo -or bring your own 🙂 ] you can contact me by phone, email info[at]doneganlandscaping[dot]com or simply direct message me on twitter.

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...