25 January 2010 13:06:29
Chilean Fire bush on the cover of the January newsletter
I just got the newsletter from the Irish Garden Plant Society in the post today - the Society seems to me to have been a well kept secret heretofore. They have a long list of seeds and plants that are available to members - well worth joining for that alone. But they also have a range of activities throughout the year based in Dublin(mostly at the National Botanical gardens), Cork, Belfast and other venues too. I am amazed I haven't heard more about this society in the past. Every Irish Gardener should be a member, in my opinion!
The website is http://www.habitas.org.uk/igps/index.html
To join just send your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org
and they will send you an application form - it's €30 but worth it I think. The newsletter is very informative and a journal is published periodically.
19 January 2010 11:01:15
Home grown flowers
I just got Sarah Raven's kitchen and garden catalogue in the post and I have to say I am almost giddy with the array of gorgeous flowers and veg and all the fabulous photos. Anyone interested in growing flowers for cutting should defintely check it out. You can order online but I would recommend requesting a catalogue as there are few catalogues out there as colourful and informative as this one. And there is 10% off for first orders. Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook is on my wishlist too but first I have to grow the veg!
17 January 2010 21:02:42
Charlie and Eimhin
I see on the Garden.ie news section that the Fota House Plant and Garden Fair is on on the 11th of April. ( I think this is a plant fare at Fota House, not specifically a House plant fair!!). I also see that there is a Rare and Special Plant fare on Sunday the 9th of May at Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Thats a great spot for it I think. I didn't make it to last year's one in St Annes although I remember reading that some Garden.ie members had fun at it - Jacinta maybe?
This photo was taken at the Rare and Special Plant fare in Castleforbes in 2006 which was attended by none other than Charlie Dimmock who posed for a photo with my daughter....
I think Garden.ie should have a calender to let us all know what is happening that might be of interest to gardeners as there is a lot going on out there that we don't hear about until after the fact.
17 January 2010 13:01:55
Red Abyssinian Banana
Answer. When it's a Banana!
I just got my first Cannas last year (thanks to Clara) but now I have discovered a plant with similar foligae that is totally new to me - the false Banana. Living in the midlands these types of exotics are a risk for me but with the prospect of moving to the seaside I see a whole new world of plants opening up in front of me. And one I am keen to investigate is the Ensete, or Abysinian Banana also known as false banana. Apparently it is grown as a food in Ethiopia and is a very important root crop. The fruit, although related to the Banana, is not edible.
I've also been reading the wonderful 'An Irishman's cuttings' by Charles Nelson which I got for Christmas. It is amazing the amount of botanical history all of us Irish Gardeners are completely unaware of, and how Irish botanists and hortuculturalists were at the forefront of many plant discoveries and introductions over the years. Which brings me to Fitzgerald Nurseries in Kilkenny who are today at the forefront of plant breeding and introductions in Ireland and who produce the lovely Red Abyssinian Banana along with lots of other interesting foliage and flowering plants. Check them out at http://www.fitzgerald-nurseries.com/plants/
12 January 2010 16:47:17
Alys Fowler's forthcoming book
With TV gardening programs being such a contentious issue :-) dare I mention that Alys Fowler has a show coming up called 'The Edible Garden' which is supposed to be on BBC2 over the next couple of weeks. Not sure when it starts - hopefully next week but I'd say it will be well worth watching as Alys is a true professional!
12 January 2010 12:38:42
Ulmus glabra 'Horizontalis' or weeping Wych Elm
I took this photo in the Gardens of the Brighton Pavillion, not knowing what it was. I have since discovered that it is actually a Weeping Wych Elm tree that was planted around 1900. The Brighton area seems to be a stronghold for Elm trees as it holds the national collection. There is a strict control system in place to avoid the dreaded Dutch Elm Disease, which seems to be working very well as there are over 30.000 unaffected elms in the area.
08 January 2010 12:39:28
The Winter Garden at Wakehurst
I had the pleasure of visiting Wakehurst Place in Sussex just after Christmas. Garden visiting at this time of year ususally leaves you cold in more ways than one, but Wakehurst is really lovely, and there is plenty to see and do there. It is also known as 'Kew in the Country' as it is a sister garden of Kew. There are 188 acres to explore, but we only managed a small part of it as the weather wasn't great. My favourite part would have to be the Winter garden with lots of plants that look good in Winter and with the backdrop of the impressive country manor house and the walled garden next door, it is a magical setting.
Even though many of the borders were bare, I came away with a list of plants to add to my 'plants to get' list. Lonicera 'Winter Beauty' with a beautiful scent; Contoneaster frigidus which was laden down with gorgeous red berries; I liked the simple combination of a white barked birch surrounded by black ophiopogon, or black lily grass - a bit stark maybe but it would suit a modern garden; the bright pink berries of Sorbus oligodonta; Clematis cirrhosa; I saw a huge Cryptomeria japonica elegans tree which turns pink in the winter- I have a small shrub of this plant but on a large tree the colour change is much more pronounced. We walked through giant redwoods, which are only babies compared to those in their native habitat but still very impressive.
And then there is the Milennium seed bank but more about that later! There are lots of gardens to visit in Sussex but most of them are closed at this time of year - with good reason I would say, as they couldn't have nearly as much going on in them as Wakehurst. I picked up a copy of Beth Chattos 'The Damp Garden' for £8 in the shop there which I was delighted with. Given the weather this year we may all be turning our gardens into bog gardens! My camera wouldn't focus properly as it was on the way out so my photos aren't the best but I'll try to put the ones that are almost in focus in an album.