I think everyone will agree with me when I say that winter is here and as harsh as ever. My backside is positively frozen after a day of working outside and the time has come for my fluffy socks to make a reappearance. Not long now and we will be decorating Christmas trees, and stuffing our faces with goodies. How bad. But until then we still have a few things to do, and a few more to plan ahead and today I’ll talk about those.
Lots of our customers are asking us about bare-root plants. All is good now once the temperatures dropped and all bare root plants are ready to be purchased. Trees and hedging can be dug in straight away or you can store it for a while as long as the roots are protected from frost and dryness. The best way to keep your bare-rooted plants is to put them into a bucket with soil or sand. Things are a bit different when it comes to rhubarb.
When possible you should dig it in as soon as you can, this way the stools will not dry out. Always look out for those little pinkish nods, the more the better. The last bare-root plant to mention today is the strawberry. Those are strong, healthy and very hardy plants and usually half the price of the potted ones. Set them into a window box or a tray if you can’t fire them straight into the ground and enjoy fruit from next May onwards.
With the amounts of leaves falling everywhere, it could be a good idea to create some excellent compost for next season. Grab yourselves an old coal bag and pack it full of leaves from your gardens. Leave it somewhere out of sight, behind a shed is possibly your best bet. Just don’t forget it’s there next year. It will be an amazing addition to your beds and borders. And the best part is- it’s absolutely free. If you have no leaves in your garden (lucky you) feel free to call us in Clarenbridge, and we will share, gladly 😉
The dead-heading season is still going strong if you have winter bedding in pots. Cyclamen need your attention every second day or so, pansies and violas once a week probably. Don’t neglect your containers, especially when so much effort has gone into them already. But if you feel that this ship has sailed and gone there is still time to add some stuff in to make them presentable for the holiday season. Calocephalus brownii, Gaultheria, Ivy and mini Skimmias will always save the day.
You will be buying a Christmas tree soon. There are a few things we always try and tell our customers when it comes to keeping it alive throughout the holidays. First of all, delay putting your tree into the roasting living room or a hall for as long as you can. But I know how the excitement always gets the better of us, so when you do bring your tree indoors make sure it is set in a stand with a reservoir for water.
Top it up a few times a week to keep your tree fresh. There is another little knack you can use. A dash of white lemonade or sprite will also help in keeping it greener for longer. The last thing to remember is to ask one of the sellers to make a few incisions on the bottom of the trunk. This will enable the tree to drink the water a bit better.
The last thing I would like to mention this week is probably the most important of all. Do not forget about our birds. With the cold set, they will need all the helpings of seed, fat balls and nuts they can get. And should we get a lot of frosts they will also be struggling for fresh water. So if you have all the bits needed start using them. If you don’t, you might start dropping hints or write your letter to Santa and ask him for some bird feeders and seeds. There is an excellent selection on the market that won’t cost a fortune.
Those are the few things to watch out for in the next few weeks. Among other hundred or so, I know. I think no matter how crazy the lead-up to Christmas is, we will always have January to recover. Let’s regroup and rethink everything that requires sorting. All I will focus so, for now, is getting our Christmas trees ready, and the lights to go up and enjoy as much as I can. Because “it’s the season for it”.
Magda O’ Byrne.