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Perfect Early Spring Perennials

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Let’s consider some of the earlier perennial plants that do so much to extend the growing season in the garden. As a garden designer, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve people’s enjoyment of their outdoor spaces, and even though the year’s still young, there are so many beautiful plants that can brighten up borders in early spring, so it’s well worth seeking them out.

The nicest narcissi

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March is the month when daffodils really come into their own and look wonderful planted en masse, especially around the base of mature trees. You can extend the daffodil season, however, by introducing different varieties so as to enjoy golden yellow or white blooms from February right through to April.

Final Call for Hedges travelling to...

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February is a good month to crack on with planting a new hedge if that’s on your to-do list for the coming year. You can of course buy hedging plants in pots and plant them at any time of year as long as the ground isn’t frozen, and if you only need a small number of plants that should work well.

The Lovely Lenten Rose

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One of the challenges facing a garden designer is how to make a garden look good all year round. The choice of plants for spring, summer and even autumn is endless, but when it comes to the colder months of the year you need to rely heavily on shrubs and ornamental grasses that will add colour and structure even in winter. Fortunately, there are loads of these to choose from and I relish the challenge of producing planting plans to suit different locations and soil types – always remembering that they need to look good and perform reliably. When winter flowers are needed, one of my favourite plants to design with is the hellebore or Lenten Rose.

Woolies, Wellies and Jobs to do!

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Regular readers of Gardenwise will know that I’m firm believer in making your garden work all year round and in enjoying it for twelve months of the year. It’s very tempting as the days grow shorter and colder to retreat inside and forget all about the garden until spring rolls around. Whether we like it or not though, the garden’s still there and still visible from inside all winter long, even if we’re not spending much time outside. A little time and effort now will help keep things looking well throughout winter and beyond and ensure that the garden is ready to spring into growth next year, ideally without too much winter weather damage.

Dare to Bare in the Garden this Season

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With November approaching, the bare root season is about to begin, so it’s time to think about how you can make the most of this if you’re planning any changes to the garden. First though, it might be helpful to explain what exactly bare root means for those not in the know as these terms can be confusing if you’re not of a horticultural bent!

Think pink this October

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You’ll be seeing a lot of pink this month and if you don’t know why, then lucky you. Most will know that in this part of the world, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month when pink is the order of the day to raise awareness of this dangerous disease and remind us all to be vigilant, as thankfully, when detected and treated early, outcomes for those affected can be much better than in times past. This month you’ll see magazines with pink covers, designers flogging pink frocks and all manner of products from phone covers to lipstick to kitchen utensils produced in limited-edition shades of pink, with many donating a percentage of proceeds to breast cancer charities both here and in the U.K.

Tiny Treasures to seek out now

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Yay, it’s time to go shopping! Depending on your gender, this is either a cause for celebration or a reason to run away - far, far away – and hide until the danger is over. If you’re a bloke, don’t worry, it’s not clothes (or even worse, Things for the House) – it’s September and time to stock up on spring flowering bulbs to lift the spirits and bring colour and cheer to the garden after the grey dreary days of winter.

Colours for Champions

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At this stage of the week I hope the hangover has eased if you joined in the celebrations on Sunday – and Monday – and Tuesday….although I’m sure the sense of euphoria throughout the city and county will last a good while longer, and rightly so. As the champions prepare to return to their well-deserved welcome in the City of the Tribes, as well as towns and villages throughout Galway, the green-fingered might like to consider showing their appreciation in a horticultural way. After all, flags and banners in the county’s colours of maroon and white have fluttered from windows and decked our streets for weeks. Why not include our window boxes, hanging baskets, front gardens and even roundabouts – all areas where the hard working members of our Tidy Towns groups do so much to cheer up and beautify our streets for everyone’s benefit.

Keep borders glowing for a golden end to Summer

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Do you ever find your garden is lacking in late summer colour? Sometimes June and July can be the best months in the garden and by August and September, there isn’t much happening in the borders to bring colour and movement. Early flowering perennials have gone over and most flowering shrubs do their thing in spring and early summer, leaving them green and unexciting for the rest of the year.

 

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