Archive for ‘trees’

March 13, 2017

Trees from seed 

by Ciaran Burke

In the autumn we had down seeds of a number of tree species.

Now at in the beginning of March, we are starting to see the first signs of growth. One of the first species to appear was Sorbus magalocarpa. we were delighted and excited to see a small seed leaves year from the soil.

And as soon as the first true leaves had grown print out the seedlings into small pots. Now they are growing on in the tunnel. Since then a number of other three species have started to germinate.


It is an exciting time of year when the garden is full of potential and the gardeners full of expectation. As we watch more ceilings appear every week The joy of seeing you seedlings in their small leaves and shoots above the compost surface never diminishes.

November 20, 2016

Sow seeds for great trees in future

by Ciaran Burke


Autumn is a great time of year for collecting seed, and sowing it. Many tree and shrub species can be sown in autumn, in fact they need a winter chilling before they can feminists in Spring. This requirement for cold exposure is called cold stratification.

Leave trays of sown seeds in a sheltered spot outdoors over the winter.

Watch out for signs of germination in Spring and then bring them into the green house.

A covering of horticultural grit will help to reduce the growth of miss in the surface of the compost.

November 7, 2016

Autumn kicks

by Ciaran Burke


You can hear the light crunch, the shuffle of the fallen leaves, rustling into new formations as feet shuffle through the gold and bronze of autumn’s yearly fall. Kicking leaves and watching them fall again and hearing their rustling call, it is a simple joy.

Lonicera gymnochlamydea


Along the branches, shining globes of brilliant red, the fruit of the species, an invitation to the birds, to eat and enjoy; to spread the seed. Until then we can admire their construction, their placement and their presence upon the boughs.


Paths dappled with red and orange, the fallen leaves in late autumn sun are like fallen confetti, the celebration of the changing seasons. 

Crocus speciosus


And still there are blooms, unaware or just defiant of the onset of winter, their place in the seasons defined by their evolution. Reminding us that even as the days get shorter and colder, the garden still grows, and beauty lives; redefined, the colour of bark, the texture of a stem, the shade of a leaf and persistence of a fruit.

Acer griseum


Winter is coming, but the garden lives in, nature slows down but does not stop. And we should not stop enjoying the beauty of nature. Wrap up warm, go for a walk, visit a garden or work in your own,take time to admire the majesty of trees, breathe in the sharp crisp air band the embrace the changing seasons.

The photographs in this post were taken in Mount Usher, National Botanic Gardens Kilmacuragh and Birr Castle.

Here are links to each of the gardens;

http://www.mountushergardens.ie

http://www.botanicgardens.ie/kilmac/kilmvisit.htm

http://birrcastle.com/

June 20, 2016

Under planting in pots

by Ciaran Burke


The space beneath trees and shrubs trained as standards offers the opportunity for gardeners to add an extra layer of colour and interest. In our collection of pots that form our garden, I look upon these spaces with great interest, an opportunity not just to squeeze in more plants, but to select plants that will complement the primary ten want of the container.

Recently I brought home from my work a Fuchsia magellanica that I had trained into a standard. After planting it in a terracotta pot and carefully placing it, the bare compost that was the plants new home demanded my attention and I had to find a few more plants to fill around the bare base of the newly planted shrub. While at Johnstown Garden Centre in Naas I picked up the very attractive Dianthus ‘Fire Star’; nicely fragrant and the deep red flowers were a perfect compliment to the red sepals of the fuchsia flowers. A small potful of  Sedum oreganum joined it, the reddish tinge of its foliage the reason for its selection and then an unnamed Pelargognium, a trailing variety with dark red flowers. Now the picture was complete.


In another a pot a combination from a couple of years ago continues to entertain;nth rough the dense foliage of a Liquidambar orientale a cheerful Potentilla scrambles without a care while the ever curious and intrepid stems of Parahebe perfoliata wander to explore every empty centimeter of the compost. The beautiful blue flowers dangle freely from the foliage of its larger pot cohabitant.


Even in the smallest of our pots there can be a chance to combine. On a table is plant of Tsuga canadensis ‘Minuta’, it grows in th lid from a terracotta roasting dish into which I drilled drainage holes. Covering the compost is a miniature lawn of Sagina subulata that gets studded with tiny and dainty white flowers in summer.

Under planting also provides benefits such as reducing weed growth and can actually reduce water loss from the compost by evaporation, the plants act as a mulch. Gardeners often need to find a place for just one more plant, have a look at your pots, there maybe plenty of space waiting to be filled.

June 22, 2015

Two little big surprises from seed

by Ciaran Burke
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Alnus fruticosa – dwarf seedling

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Betula albosinensis – 9 year old in centre at back of deck

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Buds of dwarf alder

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Bark of dwarf Betula albosinensis

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dwarf Betula albosinensis in spring

We made a list of all the plants that we are currently growing in our container garden. Some of the plants we brought with us from our old garden. Included in these are a number of plants that we raised from seed. When growing plants from seed, each one is genetically distinct from the others. Although the majority will usually look quite similar when growing trees such as birch or alder, occasionally one can be pleasantly surprised. In 2006 we sowed seed of Betula albosinensis and an unusual alder, Alnus fruticosa. We potted up the germinated seeds and after a few years some plants were planted in the garden. From each of the two species, we got one individual amongst the seedlings which displayed characteristics remarkably different from the rest of their seedling batch; dwarf bushy plants! In the case of the Birch, after nine years our selected plant now measures less than 1 meter and has a bushy habit, all other plants grew much taller and average about 3 meters or more. From the alders only two plants survived, one growing to 2.5 meters, typical of whet on would expect, but the other is hardly reaching 30cm and retains a distinctly bushy growth habit. The dwarf plants from each batch we dug up and now grow as prized plants in our containers. With Plants that we have propagated ourselves, we create a stronger attachment when compared to bought plants. Seed raised plants have the bonus of potential individual interest, diversity and the potential to be something special.

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