In the Garden
Rhododendrons are grown for their spectacular flowers from late autumn to summer.
They have a wide range of garden uses from the dwarf alpine varieties to the larger woodland types. The latter are fantastic for brightening up shaded parts of the garden. Compact varieties are great for growing on shaded patios in containers or shrubs.
Rhododendron Christmas Cheer is a dense compact evergreen shrub. I have one positioned on either side of my gates, having moved them from my garden in Dublin eight years ago. They are thriving here, although I still feed them throughout the autumn to encourage lovely big flower buds. Christmas cheer is one of the earliest to flower and its flowering time is usually late winter to early spring. However, mine are flowering now and this is not an uncommon event when conditions are as mild as they have been.
Before you buy any rhodos, it is worthwhile carrying out a quick soil test first to make sure your soil isn’t too limey. Neighbouring gardens with healthy looking rhododendrons is a pretty good indicator too! These acid loving plants should be planted with plenty of ericaceous soil, such as Brown Gold. There are miniature varieties available that can tolerate limey soil but if you don’t want to take any risks put them in pots!
DJ Murphy’s garden centre and florist in Bandon has all you need for beautiful pots and hanging baskets this winter. Tete-a-tete daffodils and muscari are for sale ‘in the green’.
Miniature red berried gaultherias and an abundance of ornamental cabbages, violas and pansies are available as well. All making for an absolutely stunning and very tempting display outside his shop! Use any combination of these bright and cheery winter flowers to inject your pots and containers with a new lease of life. If you need new pots he has a fantastic selection of these for sale too in all colours, shapes and sizes.
DJ’s home at Kilumney, Ovens is open to the public again next weekend in aid of Marymount Hospice and Saoirse Alzheimers Unit, West Cork. Support these worthy causes and gape in awe at his wonderful indoor floral arrangements!
Things to do this week…
- Raid your nearest industrial estate and make your own compost heap from unwanted pallets
- Bring in canna lily’s
- Clean, cover or put away your garden furniture
- Feed the birds
- Protect winter cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli from pigeons with netting.
- Cuttings taken earlier may now have rooted, the polythene cover may be removed in stages. Put holes in it first
- Check stored apples for rot
- Divide rhubarb now to maintain vigour, leave any surplus bits to wither completely before placing on the compost heap or they will take root there!
For gardening tips and lots more including vouchers for Christmas take a look at my website www.gorgeousgardens.ie, you can also find me on Facebook at gorgeousgardens and follow gorgeous gardens on Twitter!