Saturday, 14 July 2007


My vegetable patch has had a serious growth surge over the past week. From a distance the area looks full and lush, but on closer inspection this is mainly because of weed growth, the dock leaves and thistles look very healthy indeed. I decided to wade in and dig out the invaders before any of them go to seed. Clearing the ground was very similar to treasure hunting as I found my long lost watering can and my favourite garden spade, which I haven’t seen since late spring. I’ve also found loads of potatoes, which is very strange, as I didn’t plant any this year! I must have had some potato peelings in my compost. I found a clump of rhubarb that I didn’t know I had too. Julie had put in a crown that she had got from a neighbour. Some plants have unfortunately disappeared; the peas and leeks just couldn’t compete in the thick undergrowth. My biggest success story this year is the garlic; they’re so large you would swear they came from a supermarket!

Kildare Growers Show
Last week I made it to the Kildare growers show in Kill, Co Kildare. The venue is a great opportunity to talk shop with other people in the horticultural industry. There were in the region of 150 companies exhibiting their products. I decided to concentrate on finding out about watering and heating systems when I first arrived. When I had all the relevant catalogues pushed into my carrier bag I was free to wander around aimlessly to soak up the atmosphere and have a look at what new products are going to be on the market in the near future. Here are a couple of things that caught my attention.

Lighting for the garden is getting more popular. Every year sees new designs. There is even a small light to brighten up your hanging baskets when everyone’s tucked up in bed. I spotted some very sturdy granite and steel posts that had bright halogen bulbs enclosed in the tops, one of the designs, called “Rusty” was exactly that, a light attached to a 1m rusty steel pole, don’t laugh, but I actually thought they were good value at about £200 each, (top quality rust) There is a good range of solar lighting on the market if you can’t be bothered with all that electric cable buried in the garden. Most of the ones I saw were plastic and a bit wobbly, but I’m sure they are o.k. as long as the children don’t try to pole-vault over them. These have the advantage of easily being placed anywhere in the garden and you can move them around to suit your mood. I was assured that we have enough sunlight to power these lights all year, but I haven’t tested this out for myself yet.

Bamboos are very trendy at the moment. Most varieties are actually well suited to our climate, although some need protection from the salty winds we get. These plants, (like the rusty pole), do seem a bit expensive at first, but after the initial shock of parting with your hard earned money, give very good value. A carefully chosen plant will give a lifetimes pleasure with the soft rustle of their leaves and graceful movement. Some species are quite invasive and are best grown in large containers on the patio. The plants range from a groundcover to over 10 metres tall so you wont be stuck for choice.


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