Tuesday, May 23, 2023


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


IT is a great time of the year for gardening but for those who have not yet started planting, there is no time to lose. Get out there, make a start and complete your needs before the June weekend if you can. In that way, with a little encouraging watering and feeding, you will catch up and have a good display of flowers for the summer months.



Whatever we think or do, the not so subtle pressure is heading more and more into organic and sustainable activities and that includes gardening. Increased charges will continue to be applied to make the more reluctant comply. It is common enough for gardeners to modify and improvise a whole host of items into something useful for their hobby. It was not that long ago that country people did not have a bin collection and for many there was not much left that needed a bin as almost everything was used.



It is not that difficult to make your own compost. All it takes is a little more effort and persistence until it becomes a habit. I hear that there will be extra charges for collecting organic waste bins shortly so for many it might be a time to set up your own compost heaps. Readymade compost bins can be bought or you can construct your own with a few 1.5m (5’) poles and 4 pallets on their end into a square shape and you are ready, all for about €28.



I realise that not everyone can set up a recycling and a compost unit but I am sure everyone can go a long way to achieving that. We at Orchardstown have been recycling from our beginnings and try and make use of all our surplus and waste materials. All organic materials go into our composting unit to supply our commercial needs, while the chickens benefit from some items and the dogs and cats have their fair share too.


Instant Infill plants

In our mixed shrub and perennial beds there are gaps to allow for future plant growth. In the meantime we will plant annual summer flowers to provide a splash of colour for this year.

Suitable bushy plants include Snapdragons, Ageratum, Nemesia, Marigold and petunia. Any raised beds or similar can have Surfinia (trailing petunia), Bidens (yellow or orange) and Bacoba (lilac, blue, pink and white).


Long lasting flowers

There is nothing like a variety in foliage and flowers and some of my favourite easy growing long living perennials include Helleborus orientalis, Bergenia (late winter  to spring), Geranium, Geum, Nepeta, Astible, Aconitum, Campanula, Hemerocallis, Heuchera and Scabiosa (Summer), Aster, Agapanthus, Echinacea, Kniphofia, Anemone, Phlox, Rudbeckia and Salvia (late summer into autumn). Some special shrubs include Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’, ‘Annabelle’, Syringa ‘Miss Kim’ (Dwarf lilac), Callicarpa (white berried form), Corylus ‘Scooter’, Daphne ‘Marianii’, ‘Perfume Princess’, Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ and Sambucus ‘Black Lace’.



What is life without some temptations now and then and it could include nice and more unusual perennials like Alstroemeria (Peruvian Hybrids), Brunnera, Dicentra Formosa, Eryngium ‘Little Hobbit’,  Limonium, and Thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’ or T.delavayi.



The ground is nice and warm now, which makes it ideal to sow grass seed and treat for weeds and moss if needed. Many of the products for getting rid of moss can be applied without the need for raking off afterwards. It is an important time for sowing flowers and vegetables and planting out seedlings but larger trees and shrubs can be added as and when you like during the next few months.

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.

By Melanie Dool
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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