Tuesday, August 16, 2022


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


WE all have a general idea how the seasons might turn out but nothing is certain with the climate and we have to take a leap of faith each year when it comes to gardening. On the other hand, if everything was rigid and predictable we would soon become bored with gardening as one of the most popular hobbies.


Keen eye

It takes a while to observe what is happening around you and the town person who arrives in the country misses a huge amount, with the same thing happening when a country person visits the city.

The same applies to gardening, including the natural world and the only answer is to get out there often and just look and you will be surprised at how soon you will notice a multitude of living animals and plants. You will notice seeds germinating, plants growing, the first signs of a disease or pest with the great advantage of doing something about it before things get out of hand.


Just rewards

The hard work in gardening has been done in the spring and we are now reaping the rewards and pleasure which will go on until the autumn at least. As many of you will have realised, I prefer preventative measures regarding most operations, such as pests, diseases and nutrition, and that results in being as organic as possible.


Packet gardening

Gardening ticks all the boxes in that it is good for physical and mental health, increases biodiversity and helps the environment. Unfortunately, there is a push for reducing the size of back gardens in housing developments, with the argument that the majority of people do not use it and it ends up as an untidy tip or storage space. I would suggest that if garden sizes were reduced that alternative areas such as an allotment be given to those who want them.


Good luck

There is always a certain amount of luck in whatever you are doing and there is a degree of satisfaction when things work out well. You can increase your chances with gardening by taking on board good observations and a concentrated effort doing all the preparation work in the spring – then you can relax a bit for the rest of the summer with some maintenance.


Best of luck

If I condense my gardening routine it would include only food crops that we like to eat and after that I grow a significant number of really hardy plants that will look after themselves after the initial establishment period. I leave out all those that need pampering or are time consuming. I am a huge fan of trees, shrubs, climbers and perennials and have mentioned many of these before but some perennials are longer lasting so they should be considered in most gardens – they include: Agapanthus (blue and white), Heuchera (multicoloured foliage), Delosperma – those bright daisy flowering alpines that are growing over walls along the Copper Coast, Verbena Bonariensis (huge attraction for insects, including bees), Fatzia (green and ‘Spiders Web’) a dual purpose plant suitable as a house plant or outside for a tropical look.



When flowers fade, many plants might still use their energy to produce seed pots so when we have time we remove the dead flowers, especially on young plants, and only give up this practice when plants are more established. Some people like to grow potatoes for the Christmas Day dinner and this can be achieved by planting this year’s tubers into a few tubs and leave them outside until the middle of September when they can be transferred into a tunnel or glasshouse to finish off growing.

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.

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By Melanie Dool
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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