Q. George, in Mount Merrion.
"Quick question, do you have any advice on flowers for a grave?"
Firstly, when selecting your flowers, keep in mind that there are other graves around / beside you. Go for something that will give you good value and that will flower for a long time.
Often you will find that it is seasonal plants that look good at a particular time of year. E.G. Springs low growing bulbs, and Spring Annuals. For Summer, you can get some very good bedding plants like 'geraniums'. Its best to pick according to the season. Although this does involve more work, the result is a beautiful well kept grave, and one that changes with the seasons.
Q. Derick, Waterloo, Dublin South.
"I want to set some lavender, but don't know what variety as there seems to be a lot"
I would recommend 'hidcote'. Its a wonderful variety of lavender, with strong colouration and scent.
Q. Sinead, County Kildare.
"I want to plant ivy in order to cover a small shed. But I am worried that it might take over the garden. Any advice?"
Ivy can be slow to get established but then takes off. Go for one called 'Gold Heart'. As the name suggests, it has a golden centre and has smaller leaves. Its pretty easy to trim back if needed, so this could be the one that you are looking for.
Q. Becky, in Cabinteely.
"What would you think is the best type of Rose for this time of year?"
There is a huge variety. If your looking for any member of the Rose family, I recommend a visit to Hughes Roses in Garristown Co. Dublin. They have some stunning roses available and can give you some expert advice.
A really nice one in my opinion is 'rhapsody in blue'. Its a stunning Rose, with a lovely dark blue / purple colour and fantastic scent. Another thing with Roses is they can last all Summer long (make sure to dead head them!), so they really are a great addition to any garden.
Q. Pam, in Dundrum.
"I really like the look of heather - Is there any type that I can set in my back garden?"
Yes - Heather is an excellent plant. There are many types available, and the great thing is you can get ones that grow at specific times of the year. So you can have a succession of heather flowering at different times throughout the year.
You can get ones that grow to be small and compact, to ones that grow larger (but still relatively small). Also, they come in a range of colours - Mauve, Purple, White etc. You can even get a variety called 'Calluna' which has little bells on the flower. Heather is a really good addition to any garden.
Q. Carina, in Monkstown.
"I want to get a flower / plant for my aunt who lives in a nursing home. The thing is, I cant get one that is too scented"
Good on you for been so thoughtful. There is a lovely plant called 'begonia rex'. It has fantastic leaves of a deep purple / pink colour with a dark centre. It looks wonderful and does not have any scent. It is also very tolerant, so it can handle going dry / wet without causing shock. I'm sure your Aunt will love it.
Q. Maureen, Greystones Wicklow.
"My husband sprays the weeds in our driveway - is it not better to dig them up instead? I am concerned about using spray as we have children who play out the front"
Ideally digging them up would be better alright. But this is often not feasible. By all means use spray as required, but make sure to apply the spray on a DRY day with NO WIND! You don't want surface water carrying the weed killer onto neighbouring plants / footpaths, or indeed the wind doing the same.
It cant often be a good idea to firstly power wash in between the joints of your driveway, before applying a light spray. This has the effect of removing the small bits of soil that the weeds grow out from, and should prolong the time required between weeding / spraying (it also tends to remove the weed physically).
But just spraying weed killer by itself will be the finest. IF you were to power wash first, make sure you let the driveway dry out COMPLETELY before applying spray.