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January/February 2013

To see a sample of the current issue of Ireland's best-selling gardening magazine, click the image below.


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Plant swapping!

 

Rachel Darlington looks forward to a special get-together


I find it is never a good idea to be too tight when it comes to plant swapping. Some people will not part with any plant without knowing that they are receiving its equal. This is a very short-sighted philosophy, especially in a gardening club where you are constantly meeting with your fellow gardeners. Someone may not have anything to swap today but kindnesses are usually repaid twofold.

 

Besides, what do divisions of plants cost us anyway? They cost us a little time but they also benefit us in helping to hone our propagation skills! And isn't it so much nicer to know that your extra plants will bring a smile to someone's face rather than just make an addition to the compost heap?

 

And as for receiving plant swaps, I find that other's choice in plants are often refreshingly different from my own. Such swaps offer the chance to try something that you wouldn't normally have bought, something different in colour or habit from your usual purchases. One such recent discovery for me was a hardy form of osteospermum. Frankly, I did not believe it could be hardy so would never have bought it. A chance donation from a friend later and I am in the process of clothing a difficult slope with this superb plant.

 

And then there is the story of the fabulous Dryopteris filix mas ‘Cristata Martindale'. When my friend gave me a division of his, I was unsure how to treat this first fern in my garden. But now I would not be without it. It looks fabulous all year beside the elegant Kirengeshoma palmata, in the shade of Hydrangea aspera.

 

In winter, the plants that change hands are mostly very sad-looking. Often they have nothing showing above the surface of the soil or, at best, some withered foliage. What a great leap of the imagination to believe that the ‘empty' pot you have just been given will spring forth next year with healthy foliage.

 

But in the depths of winter there is nothing nicer to look forward to than a gardening get-together. By the time the presents and pudding are done, we are in the mood for some good gardening banter and a plant swap. The Christmas get-together of the www.Garden.ie Club takes place in January and provides both.

 

This year, the meeting is taking place on 13 January at Johnstown Garden Centre, Naas. If you are a member of the on-line club, or join up now, and you want to attend, then please contact club member TheH (Hazel) on the www.Garden.ie site.

 

 

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