Gone potty- containing my gardening

by Ciaran Burke
Table with planter

Table with planter- summer 2014

Last year we moved from our one acre garden in Co. Mayo to rented accommodation in Co. Kildare. We thought that not having a garden to care for would be a very difficult change. When we moved to our new apartment, a converted oat loft above stables on a stud farm, we brought with us plants which we had either dug from the garden in Spring or plants that had been growing in containers.


The views from our new apartment are great, but the view of the apartment is not so exciting. It provides challenges; it is west facing with the evening sun shaded by large old beech trees, a compacted gravel yard, a large concrete water tank, a plastic oil tank and temporary cabins used as office pace by the stud farm.

Alnus fruticosa dwarf seedling (8 years)

Alnus fruticosa dwarf seedling (8 years)

So we placed some pots, added a few more, bought a few flowering plants and inspired by a trip to IKEA we invested in some decking tiles. Now one year on, we love our container garden. It includes seed raised treasures like our dwarf Alnus fruticosa and bushy Betula also-sinensis. Miniature blue hosta, yellow peony roses and double columbines all raised from seed. In a large pot is a gooseberry trained as a standard also from seed.

Alnus fruticosa and alpine pot

Alnus fruticosa and alpine pot

The plants detract from the grey utilitarian surroundings, add colour and life to the bleak hard surfaces and attract bees to add a buzz in summer. Our landlord loves what we have done and our collection of 140 pots is continuously expanding. Being able to potter, pinch dead flower heads, trim an odd branch, squeeze a greenfly or simply smell the scent of a flower brings us endless pleasure the whole year through.

Hosta sieboldianna seedling - dwarf

Hosta sieboldianna seedling – dwarf

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