Friday, October 11, 2019


Melanie Dool’s gardening column in association with Orchardstown Garden Centre


AS anyone who is involved in outdoor activities knows, you cannot change the natural cycle of the seasons, and early on you accept the limitations or opportunities and work with them for your own means.


Golden October

For those engaged in gardening, it is obvious that the growing period is coming to an end, and adjustments are being continually made to making the best use of the plants, until one night a sharp frost will decide that enough is enough and that is the official end to growing for that year. In the meantime we will try and eek out the last of our patio containers, perennials, fruit and vegetables.



There is a huge range of garden activities that people engage in and yet, they and others would not classify themselves as gardeners. I would say that a person who has a great interest in their garden and spends a significant time there would be a gardener in the traditional sense. Outside that description, I would say that all others are people who just enjoy being outside in the garden but do not have a strong continuing interest all the year round.



Gardening is a very popular and diverse hobby and there are so many variations that there are always some aspects that will be of interest. It can be a broad interest of a number of gardening themes or even on one specialist subject. Oddly, today we have had two separate customers come in who have a single gardening interest, one of which was cacti and the other was growing vegetables, principally to enter into agricultural shows and he does very well, with the added advantage that they have some food crops to eat. My constant belief in gardening is to do what you enjoy and never let it become a burden or chore.



We are nearing an end to routine gardening and therefore, it is a good time to review all aspects of what happened in the garden this year and make notes or otherwise critically look at what you enjoyed or got satisfaction from and from this period of reflection plan for the year ahead. In our situation at Orchardstown it was a very busy year, mainly due to the mild winter followed by a reasonably good summer which I have to say continues, with the exception of the odd little hiccup, and therefore, something had to suffer and in this end our garden went wild, with our vegetables planted but not cared for, and our fruit left to fend for themselves. We are slowly catching up and hope to be ready for a better year next spring.



The downside of our personal gardening is disappointing as it has never happened before but, we have looked at it philosophically and put it behind us. We are not yet enthusiastic about next year’s crops but that usually comes later when the new vegetable seeds arrive in January.

In the meantime, we love autumn and hope for many days when the weather is fine and we can enjoy the leaves changing colours and also on many plants the extra bonus of some berries.



Planting garlic can in theory be carried out from October until March but, to have any chance of harvesting some plump cloves at the end of the season you need to grow them between now and December. They do like a period of cold weather before the growth starts and, if you can give garlic a well fertilised piece of ground where it will make roots first and then the shoots will appear in late winter, then you will have given them a good head start.  Remember we are also at the margins of being able to grow them successfully as our seasons are too mild and wet during the winter months, so plant one of the varieties that seem to do well here and they include ‘Marco’ a very popular type but other good varieties include ‘Germidour’, ‘Dario’ and ‘Thermidrome’.

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By Melanie Dool
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