Kildare gardening column: Now is the time to keep the weeds down

In The Garden with Jo

Kildare gardening column: Now is the time to keep the weeds down

We might be standing still but Mother Nature marches on

These really are exceptional times. It is almost surreal. We are experiencing a mixture between time standing still and actually not knowing where each day has gone.

Mother nature, on the other hand, stands still for no one, and as such our nursery is still needing attention every day.

We are right bang in the middle of our planting period at the nursery, and with all the plants growing suddenly at an exponential rate this is our busiest time right now.

We would usually have all hands on deck and lots of overtime available, but now we have three key staff only working in different locations on the nursery planting on their own, a job that usually is done by three to four men. It’s a slower process, as well as being solitary - having to plant each row, then go back and walk in, straighten, stake and tie each tree.

This year we had decided to do something we had been planning for a couple of years.

We will still do it as this year as it still seems relevant and important. The positive news is that, in this small period in time since the Covid-19 lockdowns began, the Earth's ozone layer has seen a dramatic improvement. It is key that we all try to keep this in mind with the choices we make now and going forward.

Our news on the nursery is that we are making the change to the way our trees and hedges are planted. We used to leave bare ground between the rows, where weeds then took hold and the need for additional manpower and sprays became necessary.

This year we are taking the opportunity to plant our rows between the trees with a fertility building mix that not only creates lots of bulk and nitrogen but also improves the structure and fertility of the soil.

It looks pretty and attracts bees, butterflies and other wildlife with its scent and pollen and there is no need for sprays.

Our earth has started to recover and we all need to do everything we can to help continue this process.

Weed now

In other news we have had so many people telling us of their conquests in their gardens.

The extra time on their hands and the need to feel like they are doing something fulfilling has meant that many people at home are making improvements to their homes and gardens, doing all those jobs that have been put off for years. We are delighted to assist in whatever way we can.

We have started a weekly ‘what to do’ in the garden for those who are a little new to all this gardening lark but actually are seeing the rewards right now.

This week, the weather is still a little cold and windy but the days are getting noticeably longer and the sun feels a little stronger when it does pay us a visit.

The plants that kick the season off are already raring to go, breaking out of bud or pushing their way through the surface of the soil. By keeping the weeds down around them, this enables you not only to keep one step ahead while we have the time but enables the newly emerged plants to get ahead.

Hand weed delicate areas. Examine clumps of perennials and divide any with perennial weeds. You can also attack any perennial weeds because they’re easier to get rid of at this time of year – just when they’re breaking through the ground.

Budding trees

Magnolia and cherry, along with other blossom trees, are starting to break from bud into flower.

I know when my own cherries in my driveway come into full flower it really is a sight to behold and I look forward to it each year.

I will document them this year so that you can all see the beauty of them but for now I will leave you with an image of the wonderful Cherry Parade that we planted in the Relaxation Garden in the Galgorm Hotel in Ballymena.

We had a vision when planting this avenue of trees through the centre of the garden towards an orchard garden planted as espaliers in rows like vines. The vision came into being and it's a delight. Stay safe and enjoy the garden.

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