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03/08/2021

Gardening with James Vaughan: Spring is just around the corner

Gardening with James Vaughan: Spring is just around the corner

As the weeks progress we are seeing the spring starting to evolve and spring flowers to develop. We have daffodils flowering in our garden and are waiting for tulips, hyacinths and grape hyacinths - just to name a few. I am still planting the last of any bare-rooted trees and shrubs I have.

These cost less than potted, shop bought plants. I ordered these on-line from a garden centre in Cork and they arrived three days later, all packaged securely. An additional advantage of ordering online is that the choice is greater.

It also allows you to research and plan your garden from the comfort of your living room.

Some of you may have been lucky enough to have received cut flowers for Valentines days recently. If this is the case, then follow these steps to try and get the most from them.

Cut flowers can look fantastic and can really brighten up a room. But they do require some maintenance to keep looking their best. Firstly, never put cut flowers near a bowl of fruit. The methane gas given off by ripening fruit will prematurely age your flowers.

Before you place the flowers into a vase for the first time re-cut the stem ends- cut off only about 1 inch. This fresh cut will ensure that the stems can continue to ‘suck up’ water. By the same token, make the cut as steep an angle as possible. This increases the surface area of the cut, again, increasing its ability to ‘suck up’ water.

Replace the water at least every other day. This keeps the water fresh and prevents the water becoming stagnant. Fill the vase to around three quarters full. This will provide good ballast and help prevent the vase from toppling over.

Remove leaves along the stem to ensure no leaves are submerged under the water line. The submerged leaves will quickly rot and begin to decay the flowers. Remember to keep the water topped up. Taking these steps will ensure that your bouquet lasts for up to two weeks.

At this time of year, I like to make gardening plans for the coming year. I will decide what worked last year and, more importantly, what did not. I will also start to plant some seeds this time of year. One project planned is to set out a lawn area. We have a large area of rough grass which we need to prepare to turn into a lawn. This will be a great space for our young twins to run and play in.

We started on this project last year with the help of my father-in-law Donal Fitzgerald. It was with great sadness that we lost Donal last week after a short illness, bravely fought. More than anyone else Donal helped me with the garden and acted as general dogsbody to my schemes and plans.

We did amazing work together, the benefits of which we will witness for years to come. So, Donal, we will all miss you. You fought the good fight. You finished the race. You kept the faith. And, everybody, please keep safe.

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