The Garden in July

This is the fifth summer we've been in this house and I can honestly say that its the first year the garden is starting to feel really established.  The trees, the herbaceous border, the clematis.  All giving the feeling of maturity and structure.  Of course, most things are in full bloom in July, which adds to the richness of it all.

I tend to be a bit of a hands-off, guerrilla gardener and will "have a go" at seeing what works well on its own, with minimal interference from me.  But this year I've decided to use a potassium feed on the flowering plants as well as the bog standard organic seaweed feed I usually give them.  The results are easy to see.  Many more blooms on the roses, marigolds, petunias and dahlias.

A word to the wise - if you keep flowering plants in pots, they need more water and more food than plants in the ground.  It will work, but they require a bit more effort from you to be at their best.  I've also had a great result using nematodes th…

Nearly Midsummer 2017

Á chairde! Tá sé lár an tsamhraidh i sa ghairdín agus is iad na bláthanna áille.

Here we are again.  Its a beautiful day, the sun is splitting the stones and the garden has vaulted into full bloom.  One of the reasons I love gardening isn't just getting my hands into the earth, but watching the transition of seasons throughout the year.  It might seem slow but the change from barren winter beauty to lush summer abundance is truly incredible.

The garden is changing and growing fast.  The peonies are at their end, the last blooms about to shatter.

As the peonies bow out, the regular roses are prepared to take centre stage.  I have three rose buses at either side of the peonies.  They are all varieties of pink and one is classified as a blue rose.

The lilies & crocosmia are also getting ready to bloom.

I only have one dahlia in bloom at the moment, recently purchased from a garden shop.  They other three dahlias in the garden I've had for a few years and will bloom later in…

A plague of greenfly, garlic water and mystery plants: this week in the garden

Its heading to be a great summer season but so far 2017 is the worst year for green fly I've ever seen.  Usually they get stuck onto the tulips but don't seem to harm them and that's that.  But this year, my gods. They are covering any and all new growth on the roses.  They don't seem to be affecting them too badly (yet) and haven't attached themselves onto any other species (yet) but its time for them to go.  I don't use any pesticides so I've been picking them off and squishing them by hand and then spraying with soapy water but this has had little effect.  So this afternoon I sliced an entire head of garlic and put it in a pot with just boiled water from the kettle to steep.

I left it for a few hours and then bottled the garlic water to spray onto the roses after removing as many greenflies as I could.  I'm going to add another spray tomorrow and might have to keep this up fortnightly but if it works, great.

Aside from that, I haven't been too …

Cásca i sa ghairdín

We were away for a week over the Easter break.  Whenever I return home (and truly, nil aon tinteán mar do thinteán fein) I am immeasurably grateful when: 1) the house is still standing and whole; 2) the garden isn't a complete disaster area; 3) I can still manage to pay all my bills.  Gratitude, hey?

We might get to take a break but the garden doesn't.  I arrived back to find the grass in desperate need of a cut along with roses beset by green fly (aphids) and weeds coming up throughout some of the beds.  It took me the better part of two days to knock it back into shape but hard work is good work and the effort has paid off.  The last big job I have now is to get more veg seeds sown in the planter boxes, which should happen later this afternoon.

I am absolutely smitten with aquilegias (columbines) which I've never had before but now have in flower boxes in the front garden.  The blooms and later seed heads are stunningly, delicately beautiful.  I'm told they are prol…