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Welcome to our dyg garden blog, giving you all you need to know about planting, designing and choosing plants.
Every autumn we plant the tulip bulbs that weren't sold in our shop. In Spring we use them as cut flowers and I think: "Silly people - if they had bought these they would have these beautiful flowers now". They really are one of the prettiest, easist and most joyous flowers around: just as good in messy, informal gardens as they are smart city gardens. Some of them, such as the fabulous yellow-orange 'Ballerina' come back year after year and bloom in our garden in long grass: a great way to hide the messy foliage. All tulips make the most fabulous cut flowers.
Here are some tulips - grown by us and used in bouquets in the shop.
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED. WELL DONE TO OONAGH BUCKLEY WHOSE ENTIRE PURCHASE WAS REFUNDED!
This weekend (Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of April) is our first birthday weekend. We celebrate this by giving one lucky shopper everything for free!
Simply put your till receipt in the box provided, with your phone number on the back, and we'll pull a name out of the box on Monday morning. The customer whose name is pulled out will be refunded in full! If you buy a packet of seeds for €2.25, kit out your flowerbeds for €150 or purchase a Biohort shed for over €1000.00, the winning receipt will be fully reimbursed. You will be notified with a phone call on Monday morning. We'll ask one of our neighbouring shopkeepers in as a witness - we don't want to be accused of cheating! Good luck and see you at the weekend!
The closing date for applications has passed for this postition. Sorry.
Sometimes we buy plants in small numbers and these come and go quickly in our shop. Because of this we cannot get all of them up onto our website. Below is a selection of some of the many trees and shrubs we currently have in stock that have not made it onto our website. For details or to purchase, please contact us via phone or email....... we ship nationwide.
Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' €20.50
Acacia pravissima €19.95
Acer davidii 'Serpentine', €24.95
Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' 'Deshojo', 'Dissectum Viridis' 'Sangokaku' €29.95
Amelanchier alnifolia 'Obelisk €12.95
Aralia spinosa €29.95
Araucaria heterophylla / excelsa €59.95
Azara lanceolata €9.95
Camellia, many varieties from Mount Congreve, from €9.95
Cercis 'Forest Pansy' €38.95
Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' €54.95
Chimonanthus yunnanensis €12.95
Chionanthus virginicus €12.95
Cornus contraversa €29.95
Cornus 'Eddie's White Wonder' €29.95
Cornus kousa 'China Girl' €34.95
There are many reasons to have plants in pots. You may not have a garden, but a balcony or roof terrace instead. Or you may need to bring greenery and colour to a part of the garden where you can’t plant into the ground such as beside the front door or on the patio. You may want to grow a type of plant that doesn’t want to grow in the conditions that your garden provides: in a container you can manipulate the soil type and the drainage far more easily that you can with open ground. Another good reason for gardening in pots is that you may be renting your house or apartment. If you plan on moving at some point, you can have a mobile garden that you take with you when you move, eventually planting things into the ground when you have your own garden.
Pretty well all plants can grow in pots. In a garden centre, people often ask “What plant should I put in my containers?’” My response is normally to ask where the container will be going (ie sunny or shady, exposed or sheltered) and how big the plants should end up. It’s worth bearing in mind that most pots end up in more exposed parts of the garden, and many of them are for apartments where there is more wind and exposure to the elements than at ground level. The other big consideration is if the plants are going to be in an extreme of either sun or shade. You need very different plants for an essentially shady north-facing aspect than you do for a sunny south-facing area. (See my listing of top plants for containers below).
In all seasons, there is one area in the garden which we enter - or at least pass through - every day. It greets us in the morning and it brings us home every evening. It welcomes visitors and it hosts farewells. It brings in the new and ushers out the old. It's the garden path or, more precisely, the path to the front door.
A path to the front door, lined with Box (Buxus sempervirens) in a garden designed and planted by us (Howbert & Mays)
In winter we may just pass along it with our collars up and eyes down. In summer we may linger with spirits raised. But whatever the weather, the garden path is probably the most frequented part of the garden: which all goes to make it a Very Important lace. A front garden - and most of all the garden path, or the route to front door if there isn't a precise path - shows how you want to present yourself to the world. A well-loved front garden and unkempt back garden raises the same important question which you can have about your car: is it more important to clean the outside, and show a good side to the world at large, or to clean the inside because you're 'worth it' (and want to be clean and comfortable too.)
There isn't a lot of colour about in January, but there are still plenty of things to bring life to the garden. Here is a selection of plants, pots and other items in our shop, all taken in eary January 2013.
Festuca glauca grass and white Cyclamen in a black 'Artstone' bowl planter: an excellent combination.
Spring is only around the corner: a peaceful couple of hours was spent arranging a full stand of Suffolk Herbs organic vegetable and herb seeds. There is plenty to look forward to.
Our new Biohort storage shed: this is the best garden storage shed we have ever seen: discreet, secure, well-designed, compact and stylish.
'Artstone' window box planted with variegated ivy, Gaultheria and red Cyclamen.
One of several paintings by artist Maggie O'Dwyer - this one of ivy leaves and berries. Many of her paintings and prints are based on botanical themes, and her 'Botanical Alphabet' prints are very popular.
Birch robin nesting box for larger birds such as blackbirds and robins.
It's not all doom and gloom in these dark days of winter. In the garden there are some subtle delights that bring cheer on even the greyest of days. In a summer garden these plants would be out-shone by bigger and brighter delights. Yet in winter they have the lack of background distraction to draw our full attention. Many winter-blooming plants are highly fragrant and their sweet smell can be surprisingly powerful given the small size of the blooms.
The sweet fragrance of Sarcococca confusa (known as Sweet box or Christmas box) is powerful enough to waft around the garden, though like most fragrant plants it should be located somewhere where it will be noticed: no point in having a wonderfully fragrant plant at the far end of the garden which nobody ever gets to except in summer. As it is a plant that prefers a shady spot it is ideal around the base of the house or in the part of the garden that gets least sunlight. It's perfect near a path - or even as an edging plant to a path - or interspersed with shrubs, ferns or bulbs. Another benefit of this plant is that is makes an excellent cut flower: the glossy leaves and fragrant flower makes it an excellent choice for a winter flower arrangement.
As the temperature drops, leaves respond with dramatic changes in colour. From yellows and oranges to burnt reds and ochres, nothing gives us that 'autumn feeling' more than the turning of the leaves. Here are some highlights: all easily grown in Irish gardens.
Autumn colour in the garden centre: Cotinus, Acer, Nerine, Hydrangea 'Limelight', Fothergilla.
Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' (Golden honey locust): an excellent tree for small to medium-sized gardens. This tree has 'autumn colour' from spring until late autumn, as the leaves are a wonderful shade of pale yellow. In Autumn this yellow deepens to a very rich shade. This is a tree that prefers some shelter from strong winds, and it grows well near walls or houses: it is a popular street tree in many countries and it has a tall, narrow habit. Its small leaves never cast too heavy a shadow and its light, shimmering foliage brightens up a dark spot in the garden.
Hamamelis x intermedia (Witch hazel): there are lots of different varieties of Witch hazel, depending on the size and colour of the winter flowers. Hamamelis has fabulous autumn colour and is a highly prized shrub for a lightly-shaded part of the garden. It makes an excellent specimen plant or can be part of a woodland garden. The leaves are similar to our native Hazel (Corylus, which also has excellent autumn colour) but with more shades of orange and red. It requires soil that is neutral to acid and grows to an approximate height and spread of 3 m x 3 m.
Modern houses have bigger windows than old ones. Picture windows, sun rooms, sliding glass doors – these are relatively new concepts. The ‘big house’ of old may have had big windows, but for everyone else, home was a fairly dark place. So, what do these big windows have to do with gardens?
Big windows looking into the garden at our own home.
Most modern gardens are as much for looking at from inside as they are for actually being in. You could even argue that they are more for looking at: we see them while we eat our breakfast, watch our TV and cook our meals. But how often do we actually enter them? They play a huge part in the way our home feels. They are practically in our living rooms and, if we’re lucky there’s a great view beyond.
Despite our mild climate, the outdoors in Ireland is a fairly inhospitable place for much of the year. It’s dark for most of our waking hours over the winter. If you have a job or go to school, it’s possible that you’ll only have the chance to see your garden in daylight for five or six hours per week. For those hours it could be cold, wet or windy: the grass is water-logged, the ground is slippy. You really don’t want to be outside. Of course, we do have glorious summer days when we can really be in the garden, and we should never forget them. But we should not plan our gardens around them.