Gardening with Anne McKeon.
The garden has come on in leaps and bounds after what was along winter and I have been busy photographing progress. I’m particularly happy with my water lilies (purchased some years ago in Carlow) and my peony roses. They are flourishing this yearand about to flower. I must make a note to buy more of them. You can never have enough of a good thing, can you?
I probably have too many pink (perennial) geraniums but I’ll remedy that one of these days. Also my Alchemilla mollis has gone a bit mad but a little thinning out will solve that problem also. As friend told me once, ‘there are no problems only solutions’.
I intend to make some cuttings one of these days also as there are plants in the garden that I want to give as gifts or simply preserve for myself. I believe that many of the gardens in this country were formed from ‘slips’ taken from plants while people were on church outings, social bus tours, in public parks or while passing the neighbours garden etc. Such people were regarded as having ‘green fingers’ whereas in fact they most probably had the luck of taking the cuttings at the correct time of year even if this was by accident rather than by design.
Soft or semi hardwood cuttings can be taken from May to September, while hardwood cuttings are taken from November right through to late March.
Softwood cuttings should be 4 inches to 6 inches long, with pruning cuts being made at a slant under a bud, in order again, as outlined above, to allow for water run – off. Place cuttings in pots or trays, which have been filled with a mix of 2 parts peat to every 1 part of sand and then position the trays of cuttings indoors in a warm atmosphere, away from direct sunlight. Use horticultural sand or even builders sand (If necessary) but do not use sea sand, as this is much too salty. Rooting powder is often used but personally, I find that cuttings taken at the right time of year and in the correct manner, will generally root without the aid of any powders or potions.
Keep the trays watered so that they are moist but not wet. No swimming lessons please! Rooted cutting can be potted up over the winter or early next spring.
Some of the most treasured plants I have were given to me as cuttings from friends gardens and I want to continue the tradition by giving plants in return. Why not have a go at taking some cutting this week and start your own tradition.
- Protect plant against summer winds by staking them.
- Continue spraying roses against greenfly and black spot damage.
- Spray potatoes when blight warnings are issued.
- Thin out carrots, beetroot and parsnip seedlings. Remove discarded seedlings from the ridge.
- Be on slug alert.
- Continue removing side shoots from tomato plants.
- Water and feed greenhouse food crops.
- Re-pot house plants.
- Remove strawberry runners.
Anne McKeon of Gum Dearg Teoranta,
Buaile Beag, Bearna, Galway operates a Garden Design & Advisory Service. Anne presents a gardening spot on Galway Bay FM radio every second Thursday morning at 10.50am approx. and writes gardening articles for various publications. To date Anne has also written two gardening books, one for adult beginner gardeners (Don’t Forget Your Shovel) and one for children (Green Acres – Hobby Gardening For Children).
Phone: – (091) 521186 (office)
087 1441623 (mobile)