News - Page 36

Sow exhibition onions

Sow exhibition onions now to give them the longest possible growing season and maximise their chances of reaching whopper size in time to clean up at the local horticultural show this autumn.

Growing giant onions is right alongside super-sized pumpkins and unfeasibly long carrots as gardening challenges that are impossible to resist. You’ll find all you need for your prizewinning campaign at our garden centre here in Listowel, from module trays and prop...

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Ireland’s maverick garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin, is returning to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Ireland’s maverick garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin, is returning to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time in three years.

He’ll be creating the British Eccentric’s Garden, sponsored by Harrods and inspired by the inventions of William Heath Robinson. The garden appears to be a classical design at first, full of terraces and topiary, a sunken Italianate pond and octagonal folly. But in true Diarmuid style, all is not as it seems: the box balls bob up...

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Give the greenhouse a good scrub

Give the greenhouse a good scrub and you’ll not only work off all that Christmas overindulgence – you’ll also get a warm glow of satisfaction from getting a job done which really pays dividends later in the year. You'll winkle out overwintering pests from their nooks and crannies, and by washing off all the algae and dirt you'll also let in lots of light: you need every bit you can get at this time of year.

You'll need an ordinary garden hose – if yours...

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Daffodils are blooming all over the country

Daffodils are blooming all over the country in the unseasonally warm weather this December. Weather forecasters say it’s the warmest December in nearly 70 years, with temperatures widely in the mid-teens – about 10°C above the seasonal average and more like what we’re used to in May.

Tropical air from the Azores blowing in from the south-west is behind the warm air, along with the El Nino weather phenomenon which happens when the waters of the Pacific become...

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Bring in strawberry plants for forcing

Bring in strawberry plants for forcing to enjoy your earliest-ever juicy, sweet berries this summer. You’ll find everything you need at our garden centre here in Listowel, from potted strawberry plants to containers, compost and feed – and while you’re here, why not treat yourself to a brand new greenhouse to put them in!

An early variety of strawberry, like ‘Honeoye’, is best as they’re already bred to fruit earlier in the season. Pot them up about six...

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The nation’s four finest trees have been chosen

The nation’s four finest trees have been chosen and will now go forward to compete with trees from all over Europe for the title of European Tree of the Year.

The four trees beat 230 rivals for their titles in a public vote run by the Woodland Trust. Flying the flag for England is a 250-year-old wild pear tree – probably the nation’s oldest, but now under threat because it stands right in the path of the HS2 high-speed rail link. Wales chose an oak grow...

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Lift and divide rhubarb

Lift and divide rhubarb while it’s still dormant to keep it producing those long, sweet stalks for many more years to come. It’s also a good time for planting new crowns, so pop down to our garden centre here in Listowel and take your pick from our great range of varieties from super-early cropping ‘Timperley’s Early’ to productive traditional favourite ‘Victoria’.

Rhubarb grows so enthusiastically given a rich soil in sun or part shade that older clump...

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Get your binoculars out – BirdWatch Ireland is live!

Get your binoculars out – BirdWatch Ireland is live! Now in its 15th year, Ireland’s most popular garden bird survey has begun. For the next 12 weeks you can report back on which birds visit your garden – and in doing so help contribute to conservation efforts across the country.

BirdWatch Ireland is expecting over 1000 people to take part, and for the first time you can enter your results online. Just go to

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What to do in the garden in December:

It’s nearly Christmas and we’re in holiday mode! Time to get outside and pick festive greenery for wreaths and decorations. While you’re out there, there are a few more jobs you can be getting on with too:

General tasks:

  • Cover empty soil with clear polythene to warm the soil and keep it workable
  • Cover compost bins with cardboard to prevent all the goodness being leached away by winter rains


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December's plant of the month is Sarcococca

December's plant of the month is Sarcococca – also known as Christmas box. It’s a great addition to the winter garden: not only is it evergreen, but it’s also very sweetly scented, filling the garden with an aroma of vanilla. Its fragrant white flowers decorate the garden over winter and early spring, and as if that wasn’t enough they’re followed by red and black berries.

You might think a shrub with such scent and beauty would be tricky to grow – but S...

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