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See a sample issue of The Irish Garden!

May 2007

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Planting fruit trees, Magnolia wilsonii, and dividing trilliums

We came late to growing anything useful in this garden - I refer to a lack of fruit and vegetables. Last year we had a reasonable supply of vegetables and this year we decided to redress the fruit deficit. At Easter, when one of our strong sons-in-law was visiting, holes were dug and compost mixed and, with the added help of four grandchildren, we planted five apple trees and one Victoria plum tree. We had a few apple trees before but they were on a badly drained spot and they became very shaded as other trees grew. Truth to tell we neglected them and eventually we took then out, as they provided neither blossom or fruit. The new site is open, sunny and very sheltered. Ralph is looking forward to apple tarts, as for me, I'll settle for apple blossom. We have also earmarked a spot for some blackcurrants and gooseberries and maybe a few raspberry canes. I can't see it all being achieved this year but a start has been made.

I haven't yet planted the area where the eucalyptus came down. I am dithering between planting the snow gum as intended, or changing direction completely and going for a Magnolia wilsonii. The fact that the magnolias here were never better than they were this April has, I suppose, coloured my thinking.

We made full use of the very early and dry spring to divide and replant some of the perennials that were getting old. Some of the smilacinas were growing around a dead centre and the division has done them the world of good. Others, such as the Pacific Coast iris and Liriope muscari were congested and didn't flower as well as they should have last year. They look better also, as do asters, alstroemerias (the Princess Hybrids) and crocosmia.

I am totally and utterly besotted with trilliums.

Speaking of alstroemerias I am yet again trying to get rid of Alstroemeria aurea, commonly known as the Peruvian lily even though it hails from Chile. After four attempts to kill it with Roundup, it is now covered with black plastic and will remain covered until every last vestige of it is no more. As the years went by it produced a forest of leaves and very few flowers. I'm sorry I ever heard of it.

I eventually have a few trilliums that can be divided. They are not congested but I am trying to spread them in an effort to increase their numbers here. I am totally and utterly besotted with trilliums. I am fortunate to have a daughter living in Scotland and after trawling the length and breath of that country in search of good trillium plants I am at last building up a good selection of them here. I am very nervous of dividing them but my tentative efforts seem to have been successful. Time will tell.


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