Christmas is well and truly upon us and we can look back and review the year that has gone, from a gardening perspective.
From a positive point of view, many would see it as a good year, particularly people who are starting off and getting the garden off the ground. The more experienced gardeners will view it as a disappointing year with harsh weather in Spring for bulbs/shrubs etc, a very wet Summer which was detriment to the summer bedding plants and then an extremely wet and windy Autumn. However, with Christmas approaching, we can turn our thoughts and plans to the new year and enjoy our Christmas with friends and family.
The lawn needs very little care at this time of the year and only cut it, (raise the mower) if the ground is firm. Leaves should be cleared from the lawn as they smother it, and can be placed on a compost heap. It makes a great compost when broken down. Your vegetable garden can also be tidied up. Remove all the old debris and dump it or place it on the compost heap. The cleared area can be dug over or rotovated and any kind of organic material dug or rotovated in. Ideal material would be seaweed dung, material from your compost heap and mushroom compost. Mushroom compost contains a high degree of lime which is ideal for Brassica’s but not ideal for root crops so beware.
A lot of people are still planting bulbs because November was so wet, but will still grow but may be late for flowering. All the Winter bedding plants can still be planted, winter pansys, polyanthus, wallflowers etc. all of which add some colour on a drab day. Roses and fruit trees can also be planned now and most garden centres would have a good stock of them at the moment. Also Bareroot trees, Conifers and Hedging are done at this time of year, between now and March and they are usually cheaper than any of the potted varieties, so save and get planting.
A common question at this time of the year is What do I do with my roses at this time of the year?
Well, basically it is very simple. Roses as a rule, other than climbing varieties, can be cut back by approximately a third now.
Some varieties can be quite tall and with all the wind they rock over and back, water lodges in the hole at the base and if you get frost, it can damage the plants. To prevent this happening, cut the roses back by a third and do not be fussy where you cut them. The main pruning and feeding is done in March, around St. Patrick’s weekend and I will detail that in due course.
Christmas is not Christmas without a Christmas Tree and nowadays there is a huge variety to choose from. The most popular nowadays is the noble fir. This is a beautiful full green/blue non-shed conifer with a beautiful scent. These trees are specifically grown by growers for Christmas. The next is the lodge pole pine or scots pine. This is another non-shed light green tree. The third tree is the old traditional Norway spruce, not as popular nowadays, as it sheds so many needles. Lastly, there is the artificial tree, of which there are some very realistic types, but like Coca Cola, you can’t beat the real thing!
For the Love of your life, who is gardening mad, you never know what to them. Do I get a plant, tools or a book? Well, there is a huge range to choose from, pottery, plants, tools, books etc. Perhaps the answer is a gift voucher from our garden centre and let your loved one choose for her/himself.
A lot of people are asking what is actually in flower as a tree or shrub at this time of year to give as presents. Four that spring to mind are Hammamelis mollis (Witch Hazel), Viburnum Tinus, Viburnum Bodnatense Dawn, Mahonia etc.
During the festive season, a lot of people will receive pot plants as gifts and do not know how to take care of them. I will name a few and outline how to look after them.
- Poinsettias They like average warmth, with lots of light, water thoroughly but wait until the compost is moderately dry before watering again. If the room is very humid, mist the leaves occasionally.
- Solanums The Christmas Cherry likes a cooler room temperature lots of light and keep the compost moist at all times. Mist occasionally.
- Cyclamens They like a cool room temperature, lots of light and keep moist at all times, using soft water (rain water) semi tepid (lukewarm). Put pebbles on the tray or saucer if possible.
- Christmas Cactus They like an average room temperature, well lit spot, no sunlight, water liberally when the compost begins to dry out.
- Chrysanthemum Bright light is essential, but shade from the mid-day sun. Keep the compost moist at all times. A cool 50–60°F temperature is ideal. After flowering most plants are discarded, but pot chrysanthemums can be planted out in the garden where, if they survive, they will revert to their natural growth habit.
Lastly, Glynn’s Garden and Fruit and Vegetable Centre is open every day to Christmas Eve for all your fruit and vegetable needs, plants, Christmas Trees, holly wreaths, holly, fresh flowers, pot plants, fruit baskets, gift vouchers, pottery, ceramic pots, lights, Christmas Decorations. We look forward to helping you.
On behalf of all at Glynns, we thank you for your custom and wish you a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year.
Bosco McDermott, Glynn’s Garden and Fruit & Vegetable Centre
Tel: 091 799135