Posted by in Features.

A new year is upon us and with it, come all our dreams, resolutions and aspirations for the months ahead. Some of us will include our garden in these aspirations, other’s won’t, but whither or which there will be joy for everybody at some stage, from their garden.

We should not look upon the garden as a chore but as a hobby. Many people are turned off gardening—some by spending two hours cutting a lawn—if it is that big buy a ride-on lawnmower or buy a share in one with one or two friends or neighbours. This will cut down on your workload and not be as boring. Don’t leave all your gardening to the last minute or one or two times a year. Spend an hour or two twice a fortnight and it won’t build up, this will be more rewarding and relaxing as well. Many Health Boards, Mental Handicap Associations, Doctors dealing with depression recommend gardening. It is known to be relaxing and very therapeutic for patients. Hence you will often hear people say “I love being out in the garden, I find it very relaxing”. Of course it is, sowing plants, watching them grow, keeping them alive, watching the nature around them. So put an hour or two aside and try different things in your garden and enjoy it.

Most of our heavy frosts are at this time of the year so protect any plants that need it. Cut away any old seed heads or dead stems of perennials to tidy them up. The vegetable garden an have compost or rotted manure or seaweed spread on the surface before digging or rotavating it in. All trees should have their stakes and ties checked. Planting of all bareroot hedging and trees can continue as can planting of all fruit trees and fruit bushes.

You can still spray any fruit trees with tar oil to help clean any moss, liverwort and algae off them. It also helps kill any overwintering pests and diseases on the tree.

This months Irish Garden Magazine has a piece on cleaning Birch trees or the same as above. Basically remove some of the lower branches. Use a rough brush to remove any debris. Mix your tar oil solution and wash or brush down the tree with the solution.

Scrub down paths also or wash with a power hose to prevent any algal growth—leading to slippy paths. Cover parsley and other herbs outside to prevent frost damage. Deadhead old heads of winter flowering pansies. Any straggly shoots can be shortened to encourage bushier growth. Very overgrown and neglected deciduous hedges can be rejuvinated by some hard pruning. This promotes the production of fresh new growth from lower down. Plants such as privet, forsythia and Beech can benefit from this.

Did you know?

  • Weather has an affect on the size and shape of garden spiders webs. In windy weather the spiders build smaller webs with fewer spirals of silk spaced further apart. When the weather is warmer and there is more food about, the spiders build larger webs, increasing the size of their snare.
  • When the level of humidity goes down so does the size of the web. So a big spiders web and a red sky at night, is it a sign of good weather coming?
  • In the new millennium, nursery men predict that lettuce and tomato plants will be replacing plants such as Begonias and Chrysanthemums as pot plants!
  • A building company that recently felled an oak tree in England were fined £25,000 as it had a preservation order. Here in Ireland many people do not know that before you cut a mature tree down you must notify the Gardaí and obtain a tree felling licence from your local County Council.
  • All the locals will know this one, but its amazing how many people have asked us about the Nine Arches. It’s many the school project that has been written about or constructed on the Nine Arches. For those that do not know, the original River Clare ran through these Arches opposite Dunleavys until the new bridge and road was built in 1953 (I think). Now that they have started clearing them, it makes them a great feature in the village.

That’s it for now,
Happy gardening,
Bosco McDermott, Jnr. Glynn’s Garden Centre, Lydican.