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Welcome to our dyg garden blog, giving you all you need to know about planting, designing and choosing plants.
On the surface, January is a pretty colourless month, and there isn't an awful lot going on in the garden. But if you look closely, you will see that 'God is in the details' of the plant world. Two subtle favourites, both in bloom in our shop at the moment, are Sarcococca confusa (Sweet box / Christmas box) and Hamamelis x intermedia (Witch hazel). They both have a delicious scent and both flower at a time when, delicate as they are, they can make themselves noticed. The glossy, evergreen leaves of Sarcococca, along with the sweetly-scented small white flowers, make it a most useful plant. It's excellent in shade and is a slow-growing plant that should be somewhere its fragrance will be appreciated. Hamamelis likes a sheltered spot in sun or light shade, and requires neutral to acidic soil. It also has excellent autumn colour and is considered one of the 'essential' plants for the winter garden.
Christmas comes right at the time of year when you are least likely to be thinking about the garden. On the other hand, Spring is around the corner and there is nothing a gardener likes to do more than planning ahead. It's also good to give something useful. The things that we sell are designed to be useful or pleasurable in the garden, and everything is high quality.
Here is a list of garden gift ideas for gardeners, all of which are in stock and can be delivered in plenty of time for Christmas. If you're nervous about stock or delivery cut-off dates, just call us on 01 2020027 before ordering. And do drop into our shop - we have many things that never make it ont0 the website.
Gardeners like to give and receive as much as anyone else. Here are some snapshots of the shop this December.
2013 - 2014 season. Browse our range of keenly-priced, well-established bare root plants. Order online. Nationwide delivery.
Many trees and shrubs can be planted bare root - ie without soil or pots. This is done during the 'dormant season', when plants are not growing and they can be easily transplanted. Planting bare root is cheaper, easier and faster. Many of the bare root plants for sale on this website cost less than €1.00 each, and most of them are good-sized plants between 60 - 90 cms tall. It generates less waste (there are no pots to get rid of) and the plants are far easier to transport and the plants establish and grow very quickly. Most commercial forests are planted with bare root plants, known in the trade as 'whips'. The fastest way to plant a bare root tree or shrub is to cut a T-shaped incision in the ground and slot the plant in, firming it in carefully and checking that the roots start to flare out exactly at soil level. See our range of excellent value bare root trees and shrubs - delivered throughout Ireland.
This is a question that people ask us all the time: when is the best time to plant plants in your garden? It's confusing for people who aren't experts. There has been a campaign in Ireland for the last few years, every spring, called "It's Garden Time". This campaign is run by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board and is also associated with "Bloom", the main garden show for the country, held at the start of June each year. "It's Garden Time" is heavily promoted, so it's no wonder that people are a litttle confused. Didn't we always learn that autumn and winter were the ideal planting seasons?
Of course, spring and early summer are lovely times to enjoy the garden, and there is plenty of work to be done then. This is a time for sowing seeds, filling gaps and tidying up. However, the best time to plant is actually at the end of the summer / autumn / early winter. If you think about it, the soil is still warm, the plants are preparing to wind down and there is less pressure on keeping things watered. The days are shorter, the sun is cooler and plants have some time to settle in and establish themselves before they need to reawaken again in spring and start using their roots.
This week we have been asked to design and plant a tiny roof garden in Dublin city centre: right opposite Government Buildings in fact. Several flights up, the 'garden' is only visible from the bathroom of a smart hotel suite. The 'garden' isn't even accessible: it's just a view which could be very pleasant. It's currently a dreary tunnel of black asphalt which does nothing but detract from the smart room inside. Our proposal is to hide the asphalt with a thin layer of Wexford beach pebble and to plant a series of terracotta pots with Pinus mugo and Tulbaghia violacea (two of the toughest, hardiest plants that we know for such difficult situations). As the garden can only be seen from one angle (the window), the pots and plants will hide the drab walls and concrete sills and will survive the challenging environment of a roof garden. There will be drip irrigation on a timer as well as occasional maintenance.
What a view over the rooftops of Georgian Dublin!
A view from the window and, looking the other way, of the window
What a great Summer we have had: sunshine, warmth and blue skies! And may we have many more of them.... The weather has helped us all to enjoy the garden this year more than most years. Although plants got off to a slow start, they have caught up and it has been a good year for gardens - though too dry for some plants.
A new deck chair delivery in - we've lined them all up so we can decide which one we like best.
Penstemon and Phlox
Plants and people enjoying the sunshine!
Verbena, Cat statue and our new director's chairs.
We're tidying up our benches! Please come and join us for a 50% off plant sale on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of July in our Monkstown Garden Shop - Howbert & Mays Gardens. (Selected stock only).
We specialise in interesting and unusual plants, the vast majority from Irish nurseries. Irish growers have great knowledge and know better than anyone what works - and what doesn't work - in our unpredictable climate. What's more, the plants hardly need to travel: no big road miles on homegrown plants! We have an extensive collection of plants and cater to the serious gardener as well as to those who appreciate lovely plants, common or uncommon. We're putting hundreds of plants in our sale, including trees and shrubs such as Azalea, Cedrus, Cercis, Davidia, Edgeworthia and Magnolia. We will have climbers such as Hardenbergia, Pandorea and Vitis. We will include roses, perennials and ferns....... all in all, if plants seem a little expensive normally, now is the time to buy them!
For lovers of plants and lovers of lists, here is a snapshot of what we had in stock earlier this month. Our stock changes constantly so some of these plants will have already gone. On the other hand, lots of new plants will have come in. Many, but not all, of the plants will be included in our 50% off sale.
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!