Tuesday, December 21, 2021


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


THE year has been one roller coaster and just moves on at a quicker pace, now we are already in the week leading to Christmas.  While it will come at a rush on the weekend, it is over just as quickly leaving many of us totally exhausted and needing a break.



The traditional Christmas season has faded quite a bit from former decades when there was a comfortable routine to the whole affair. It appeared more relaxed and it was people orientated with a strong faith. I think most people would agree that they were some of the most peaceful and happy times and that there is some regret that materialism has crept in so much and become a dominant force.


Great Expectations

Everyone has their own idea or opinion about what Christmas means to them regardless of where they are coming from. We now have a large number of people in Ireland from other faiths, traditions or none, the vast majority of whom do respect each other’s celebrations and festivals whenever they occur. If you have great expectations for Christmas you might be disappointed so, maybe, lower your desires into a more modest quest and you cannot go wrong.


Reality check

The reality is you cannot force the change that you might be looking for and it is best to accept whatever comes around with a smile. That is not to say you have to change your mind about anything as people will see you as an individual and might adapt some of your ways. What we all wish for is a peaceful time with family and friends and maybe share some food, fun, comfort and company.



There are an increasing number of people who will be proactive and balance out the eating, drinking, sleeping and TV by taking time out alone or with family and friends and head out into the country, walking the beaches, hills, lakes, rivers and Greenway. The Coronavirus will again curtail our activities and we must continue to try and protect ourselves as far too many losses have occurred, which is tragic.


The week after

Being outside in the fresh air is one of the most health giving aspects anytime and reduces your risk of catching an illness, including Coronavirus, indoors. Spending time in the garden and finding some task that will warm you up is a bonus. Chopping wood, pruning or trimming overgrown plants, clearing out briars and ivy, and digging a plot of ground for the spring are some suggestions if you need them! I find that once Christmas and St Stephen’s Day is over we can get back to normal and that is when we can totally relax.


Pleasing plants

We are relying for colour on those plants that are flowering during Christmas and into January. They include Mahonia, Hellebores, Viburnum ‘Deben’, V.tinus and Erica carnea, and are all useful for indoor decoration too.  I wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.



We brought out our bird feeders last week and within a few days all the usual types were back and helping themselves to our food mixes. We are using a combination of feeding stations for Niger seed which the gold finches love, the mixed seed which all birds will eat, the meal worms for robins and peanuts and fat balls which all birds will feed on. With little or no gardening to do I will restrict myself to getting the last of the fresh indoor decorations completed and have hung out the door wreath made from the same materials in the garden. 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.

Comments are closed.

By Melanie Dool
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

More Well!

Green Fingers: A good gardening year

More by this Journalist

Green Fingers: A good gardening year

Green Fingers: Plants for warm conditions