Melanie Dool’s gardening column in association with Orchardstown Garden Centre
SOME of the lyrics in Ella Fitzgerald’s song ‘Summertime’ resonate with me, such as “livin is easy” in the garden… or it should be! There are the many positives to gardening around this time of year as the negatives have been kicked to touch, such as the frosts, heavy or severe wind.
In the mood
Without doing anything at all, we normally have more light and warmth which encourages us to stay outdoors for much longer until, for a small reward, we might indulge in a drink of “whatever you fancy” to round off the day. We do have to water and feed patio plants, vegetables and perhaps some fruit but if you get on top of the weeds they will not have the energy to roar into action like they did during May and June.
Basically, all the planting and sowing has been completed and there is more time to indulge in a casual and more leisurely gardening pace, which means just relaxing in the atmosphere of spring time efforts. You might have a few casualties along the way and there are enough replacements around if you need to fill any gaps or make up a few new colourful containers.
Even if your garden is full, it is difficult to stop squeezing in “just one more plant” and that is one of the more rewarding things about gardening. Plants do die and sometimes it is a mystery but that is then an opportunity to introduce a new variety. There are enough worthwhile new introductions around so the available choice is good.
As many of our regular readers and visitors to our nursery know, we do not promote any plants just because they are new – we have to be happy that they will not only survive but thrive in general gardens. Every year there are ’new kids on the block’ that are promoted to generate the sales that will make good profits and more. While there are throwaway seasonal plants, we like to promote plants that will last longer and grow with us. We also like those plants that give that little bit more, such as berries after flowers and perhaps autumn colours or they have a fragrance with the flowers or foliage. White flowering lavender is one worth having for a change, and also the hardy fuchsias, which are as colourful as the bedding types but last for years.
It is one thing giving some advice and another to implement it and quite often distractions get in the way and then it might be too late for that season. We have followed our own advice with strawberries this year and, of course, there was an obvious motive in having our own delicious fruit. We increased our season of home grown strawberries by picking early, mid and late harvesting varieties and, in addition, included three alpine and ever bearing types. The strawberries we now grow in our garden are Cambridge Favourite, Elsanta, Symphony, Mount Everest, Mara Des Bois, Summer Breeze (White fruit) and Maxi Fructa.
TIP OF THE WEEK
It is about the last week for sowing some vegetables, such as beetroot and carrots, but purple sprouting broccoli and leeks grown in trays can be planted in areas where early potatoes have just been harvested. It is important to water and feed all food crops as they otherwise will not reach a harvesting size in time. Keep cutting the grass to a reasonable size and do not scalp it and it should stay an acceptable green colour! If you have any queries or comments you are welcome to share them with me on 051-384273 or [email protected] and if of general interest I will include it in a future article.