Melanie Dool’s gardening column in association with Orchardstown Garden Centre
BEING outside and close to nature brings a multitude of benefits which are not always that obvious but it is usually a positive sense and feel good factor which permeates your being at some stage after immersing yourself for a while in the fresh air.
There are obviously parts of the country where you like to be for a variety of reasons, much of which is to do with relaxation and taking it easy but lack of time in our increasingly busy lives means that we cannot do this as often as we would like. In an ideal world we would like to be able to come home from work or whatever our daily routine is, and then almost instantaneously go into a relaxing space to chill out and this is what your outdoor space can provide. Whatever area you have to yourself, be it a balcony, small backyard or a large open garden, it is ‘Your Space’ and you can make it as intimate, private and unique as you wish.
Most of us have an expertise in some form or other, while for a minority there is a rare breed of people that have a whole range of skills and can put their hand to anything. Typically with gardening these days, people just do not put too much thought into their design and their layout just evolves in a haphazard way, and for the most part it works. In hindsight, I do think it is worthwhile in most cases to work out what you want from your space and try and make some sort of plan incorporating your ideas.
If needed, there is outside help in a wide variety of sources including the internet, library, books, television, garden clubs, other experienced gardeners, professional horticulturists and landscape designers. All these can be of great help, and at least you will get on the right road as too often in my experience, people just jump on the band wagon and spend a lot of money, only to discover a few years down the road that it has not worked out.
The only word of caution from using the internet is that the ideas originate from all around the world and quite often are unworkable in our country. If you wish to use a garden designer, try to find out one that has a good reputation and who will then be able to provide you with a practical plan which you can follow yourself or get someone in to complete the development.
Painting, decorating and changing parts of your home is part and parcel of how your living space evolves according to your current tastes and needs. It is the same in the garden where nothing stands still as there are usually some plants growing there, and therefore the design can change many times during the course of a lifetime and with it should come a fresh approach, interest and enthusiasm. The autumn through winter is a good time to reflect on your garden and to look at all aspects critically and decide if there are any changes to be made. There is no hurry as the garden is going to sleep shortly and there are many dormant months in which to mull things over. Planning should not be rushed but when a decision is made, that is the time for action.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Within a few weeks the winter onion sets and garlic will be available and they can be planted into a plot of ground vacated by a previous summer crop. More people are opting for planting onions in this way as they then obtain larger and earlier crops by the following summer.
There is an eight week window to sow new lawns and also you can over-sow and feed established ones that have bare patches.
This week you can give the last liquid feed to house plants, vegetables, flowers, patio and container grown plants, and that should see them out for this season.
Bare containers and window boxes can be potted up with a mixture of double begonias and some autumn colouring bedding plants such as pansies, violas and coloured heathers.