Before we get in to June, now is a good time to talk about controlling pests within your garden. Click to read more | Dealing with Greenfly and Slugs
Q. P Ford. Joyce avenue - Foxrock.
"What are the best type of plants to grow in containers at the this time of year"?
Apt question, as this is the very time of year for growing in containers / finishing off plants. One that comes to mind is Camille's: They would be finishing flowering around now, but the new growth will have begun.
As the new growth starts, that is telling you where next years flowers will be. Its very important to get the plant evenly moist, not too dry, not too wet. The best way to ascertain this is to feel its weight. You will know by the weight of it in your hand.
As new growth begins, its a very good idea to give the plant its annual dose of sequestered iron plant tonic. This facilitates the absorption / boots the nutrition to the plant, exactly at the time that it needs it - which is now! (new shoots).
Q. JJ. Lawanswood Stillorgan.
"I am growing plants in pots, mainly shrubs and roses, but the leaves are starting to wither. Is there a treatment I can get?"
This is one of two things: The plant is dehydrated (i.e. not getting the nutrition it requires) or has been exposed to the wind and is scorched. It is more than likely simply not getting enough water.
A good idea is to mix tomato feed with water in a spray container (like one that you'll find underneath your sink. Just make sure its very well washed out etc), and spray some of that mix onto the soil. Then put the pot in a shallow bowl, and place water in the bowl. The plant will take up what it needs. Remove from the bowl after 24 hours say. If you repeat this process (not necessarily using the diluted tomato feed) twice a week during the summer / hotter months, your plants will thrive.
Q. Faith. Dublin D4.
"My tulips seem to have a lot more leaves this year. Will I cut them back, or what to do"?
Its important to let all the leaves die naturally - that way the energy will be transferred back into the plant. A good idea when planting tulips is to set them that bit deeper than recommended. So if the guide is 10cms, set them 20 or 25 instead. This will encourage new growth and new flowers to come back the following year.
Otherwise all the energy may go into developing new small bulb'lets, where as you want the energy going to the existing plant (unless of course you fancy having new bulbs). But you can avoid that by planting them a little bit deeper.
Q. Emer. Glencullen.
"Any advice on making compost? Good idea, or bad idea"?
Making your own compost can be a great idea. Like everything, there is a correct way to do it, and other not so correct ways! The general belief is to have a mix of 50% house waste and 50% garden clippings - which can work very well, AS LONG AS YOU USE THE CORRECT CONTAINER!
If using food waste, you need a bin with a secure lid. Otherwise, it will be attacked by rodents, have no doubt about it. The lid / top sides of the bin should have very small holes or slits for ventilation.
Try to build up your layers. Example, household waste (that DOES NOT INCLUDE MEAT), followed by a layer of grass clippings, layered with twigs or hedgerow clippings, then repeat the layers like this. Also, keep the compost bin sheltered, as you don't want rainwater seeping in and lodging at the bottom (very small holes at the bottom of the bin can be drilled in order to avoid this)
In relation to the household waste, try to avoid putting in MEAT etc. Think, vegetable peels, egg shells instead.
Q. Denis. Naas, Kildare.
"I have a 'hybrid tea rose' in my back garden. Its a wonderful plant and is in full vigour. The problem is, I'm moving to a new house in the next few weeks. Its planted and growing for approx 3+ years. Can I dig it up and move it with me"?
The bad news is no. As its well established, and in flower at this time of year, the likely hood is it would go into shock and not reestablish itself. However, there is a even nicer rose, with a fantastic scent and lovely yellow flower called 'Graham Thomas'. If you plant it in your new house, you should have flowers this year, and it will get better and better each year after that.
Top tip: Here is a list of fantastic 'fragrant climbing roses', that are ready for planting now.
Albertine rose: A lovely Cooper pink coloured rose with double flowers, very scented.
New dawn rose: Wonderful pink coloured, full double flowered rose. Very easy to grow, and carries lots of flowers.
Iceberg rose: has a classic white flower, normally a bush plant, but you can get it in climbing form as well.
Maigold rose: Really beautiful flowers. Has a rich deep yellow colour - Flowers quite early (in May). Big scent.
Zephirine drouhin rose: Deep pink colour. No thorns whatsoever, and wonderful large flower heads.
Etoile de Hollande: and if your looking for a classic red rose, look at one called 'Etoile de Hollande'. Has a very deep red colour with good sized flowers.
These are all great climbing roses, and are ready for planting NOW!
Q. Becky Daley. Wicklow, Wicklow.
"I have a Montana clematis. Its becoming overgrown. Is this a good time to cut it back to the wood, or would I kill it"?
Yes - you can cut it back, but don't over do it, as if you go too close to the wood, you could shock it. Take off the heavy growth and thin it out. You can cut back fairly heavy if you want, just not too close to the wood.
Q. B.C Borne. Tallagh, Dublin.
"I have a Victoria plum tree. Its become top heavy over the last while. Can I cut it back, if so, what is the best method to use"?
Yes, cutting it back now should be no problem. But go gentle on it.
Top tip: If you give it a high potassium feed, this will help SLOW the growth, as the energy will go into producing flowers and more fruit etc for next year. This applies to all flower / fruit bearing plants / shrubs / trees.
Q. Andrew. Synge street Dublin 8.
"I got an oak tree about three years ago in a pot. I planted it in my back garden in a good spot, but, I seem to have more of a oak bush than a tree! It just seems to be spreading out, as opposed to actually growing. What can I do"?
The 1st ting to do is take the bottom branches off it. Thin it out. And this is a good time of year for doing it. That way, the energy will go into the stem of the tree and will facilitate growth, not bushing.
2nd, you should LOOSELY tie it to a stake, with will guide it in its growth. But do it loosely.