Hurray hurray for the 1st of May!
Events in May
Rare and Special Plant Fair
Airfield, Overend Way, Dundrum, Dublin 14
With over thirty nurseries at this expo, this is a fantastic fair open to the gardening public. As the name suggests, the idea is to bring to bring rare and difficult to source plants, all under one roof for you to purchase. It is also an opportunity for you to visit a garden of exemplary note, one that you may not otherwise be able to visit.
Usually runs in early May (this year for example, its held on May 10th 2015), it is a must for both the serious and curious gardener or horticulturist. For more, vist the Rare and Special Plant Fair website.
Q. Ava, in Churchtown
"What are the best types of scented plants for to set in my garden?"
Here are a few that I would recommend for any garden.
- Philadelphus (Mock orange). Its a twiggy plant in winder, but when it comes into flower in the summer, woe! It has a fantastic scent and brings a wonderful aroma to your garden. Look out for one called 'Sweet Clare'.
- 'Richard Grey' lavender. Has a lovely dark flower and silver foliage. Just needs lots of sunshine and good drainage.
- 'Night scented stock'; this is one of the favourites. It is a great time to plant this. Simply pick a sheltered spot, sprinkle the seeds in loose soil and you will have a wonderful scent come August.
- 'Sweet Pea'. You can buy the plants if you have missed out on sowing the seed, and they will flower again in summer. Keep in mind, they have to be cut to keep them going.
And finally, another favourite.
- 'Graham Thomas' Honeysuckle. Buy in now and plant it. Graham Thomas is a selected version of the wild honeysuckle, its a creeper which can grow its way through other shrubs, and it emits a fabulous scent. Also, it will encourage the bees to take a visit to your garden, which is always only a good thing.
Q. William, in Kildare.
"Is now a good time to dig and re-seed my garden? And should I use a rotavator?"
It can depend on your soil, but a rotavator is a great thing to use, especially if your planning on growing a vegetable garden. If the ground is very stoney, this can be hard on the rotavator, so make sure to take it easy as you go, and to pick up and discard the stones that are brought up.
If your doing a lawn, make sure to then rake the soil and level it.
Q. Caoimhe, in Greystones Wicklow.
"Is mulching your beds every year required? If so, should I add it once or twice a year?"
It depends on the plants. Some can be greedy! If its a greedy plant do it twice a year.. The mulch does two things. One; it keeps the moisture in (great in a dry summer / plants that need to be kept moist), two; it feeds the plant.
Q. Hannah, in Booterstown Dublin.
"Help! How do I combat slugs? My garden is riddled with them!"
Ah - the age old question! There is Nematodes for slugs. You make them up in a watering can, they are a living organism and will only effect the slugs and will do you no harm. You can get ones that specifically and solely target slugs. They are perfectly harmless to children, pets, and other wildlife, and pose no threat to food crops. In fact there are millions of them living quite happily in your garden right now. You can get them at any good garden centre and should help. Read more about Nematodes here.
Also, use the old beer can buried in the garden trick. The slugs will be drawn to it and end up drowning - but this will be an on going battle till the end of time alas!
Q. Derick, in Naas Kildare.
"Whats the best low maintenance hedge? Around 4 to 5 feet high?"
Keep in mind, it is you who will predominantly dictate the height. There is a wonderful rose called 'wild edric' that lends itself well for hedgerows.
Now, its an informal hedge - blooms from June to October, and gives a lovely sent to the garden. Grows to about 6 feet and has really nice double pink flowers. Its a very good alternative to your standard hedging.
Q. Harry, in Offaly.
"I have golden acres trees growing on each side of the avenue, but one side has grown larger than the other. Why would this be?"
If could be from one side having competition with other plants etc for nutrients, or it maybe that the soil on one side is not draining as well. I would check the soil. You could then use a slow release feed or an organic mulch.
Q. Clare.G in Rathfarnham.
"I have a apartment balcony, I built a flower-box the length of it and set wild grass so that I would have something all year round. What would you recommend that would give full flowers? I also want to run a climber around the rails, what would you suggest?"
Go with the seasons if you can. There is always something beautiful in season. In August, you can get the bulbs for next spring, and you can pot them and be ready for next year. In relation to the climber, you could get a thorn-less rose. Be careful how you train it. But it will give off a fantastic scent which will waft in through the windows of your apartment. Another one that you could mix with this is Clematis. Also, you can get lovely miniature holly plants that look well all year, and produce the classic red berry come autumn / winter. Go with the seasons and mix it up.