May 24, 2017

An hour drifts by…

by Ciaran Burke

It has been a long day, and a long drive home, but the sun was shining and the air was warm. After having something to eat we wandered downstairs to have a look at the plants. Our collection of pots and the narrow strip at the base of a wall that we have planted gets us out for a bit of air, and we enjoy the beauty of the blooms and seeing bumble bees buzzing about.

Over the last few years we have been constantly adding new plants and pots to our collection. Where once we had an acre of garden to tend, now its the 180 pots, or there about, and the plants at the base of the wall that is our garden. We rent an apartment, an old converted oat loft on a stud farm. When we first moved in, there was little in the way of botanical interest, but it did not take long for us to make an impact. Potted specimens from our old garden were laid in position around two small wooden decks that we built. Then we tried out some plants in the gravel at the base of the wall.

The wall runs along a driveway that has to be kept clear for the occasional farm machinery, and our deck areas are north west facing. There are rather unsightly portacabin structures and great big ugly concrete water tank. Despite all this, we have our haven of plants. Unusual trees and shrubs thrive, and standard trained shrubs such as Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo d’Or’ and standard gooseberry add height and detract our eyes from the unsightly structures.

We walk outside and admire individual flowers, noticing the first new blooms of Hemerocallis citrina, a nocturnal flowering daylily, and bend down to sniff its delicious scent. Then some dead-heading is done, a few weeds are plucked, I decide to add some organic fertiliser to some of the trees, and then do some watering. Before we know it, an hour or more has passed. A precious hour spent amongst the plants, the stress from the day has gone, a new energy has replaced the weariness of the working day and a smile has replaced a frown. Such is the power of the garden, or in our case, a collection of pots.

Standard gooseberry

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;

October 25, 2016

5 Autumn blooming Perennials

by Ciaran Burke

I originally put together this short video featuring these hardy herbaceous perennials a few weeks ago. They are all still blooming well, thanks in part to the mild weather, no frost as yet.

The plants featured were photographed in two locations; our pot garden (Anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise, Verbena bonariensis, Erigeron karvinskianus) and where  I work with The Garden School at Marlay Park.

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