Gardening: My time to hang up the trowel

Gardening: My time to hang up the trowel

Phyl Boyce in her garden

Last chapter at the Leader

It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to finish this chapter of my gardening adventures and allow some new gardener the opportunity to contribute their inspiration and advice to readers of the Limerick Leader.

Since I started writing for the Leader 14 years ago I never imagined it would evolve into such a long running article. I have enjoyed every article and the feedback from readers. I would like to thank the wonderful staff of the Limerick Leader throughout the lifespan of the article and for giving me the opportunity to contribute.

Finally I want to finish off by thanking all the wonderful readers who have maintained their interest over the years, I would like to wish you all continued satisfaction and enjoyment from their gardening adventures in the future.

Pyracantha (firethorn) is a plant enjoying a huge surge in popularity. This is easy to understand, as pyracanthas are some of the most versatile evergreens. They can be planted as an ornamental and vandal proof hedge or they can be trained to cover a garden wall or fence.

In late spring the branches are covered in a mass of small white flowers like the hawthorn blooms. In autumn the plant is covered with berries in vibrant colours like white, yellow, and red which will last until they are eaten by birds in December.

Pyracanthas will grow happily in most fertile, well-drained soils in full sun or partial shade. Plant them in autumn or spring, working in plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost into the soil before planting. One of the most popular ways of growing pyracanthas is to train them into a formal shape such as an espalier on a wall or fence. To cover a small area a trellis is suitable. For a large area use wires attached to a wall or fence posts. Leave a vertical gap of 18 inches between the wires so you can train the plant to any size you want.

To train a newly planted pyracantha, tie its strongest branches to the wire on either side of the main stem and remove any small unwanted branches.

In subsequent years continue to tie branches onto the support wire to extend the framework. In June when the berries have set remove unwanted growth on the top and prune away unwanted growth so that the berries can be seen and enjoyed more easily.

Skimma is an evergreen shrub grown for their attractive glossy leaves, flowers and large red berries which last all the year round, birds do not eat them.

To obtain berries a male and female plant must be planted in the garden.

Pernettya is a small evergreen shrub, 2-3 feet tall, that produces tiny flowers in June. In autumn and winter it produces bright marble sized berries in a range of colours such as white, red and purple.

Plant in autumn or spring in moist well drained acid soil in sunny position. A male and female plant is required to produce berries.

Garden Club Notices

For those starting to plan their December activities the following events are coming up and will provide a host of inspiring ideas for Christmas decorations and flower related gifts.

The Maigue Flower Club will host a Gala night in the Woodlands House Hotel, Adare on Tuesday December 4 with a demonstration by Mary Keogh commencing at 8pm, non members welcome to attend also, cost €10.

The Limerick Flower and Garden Club will host their monthly flower night on Tuesday December 11 in The Greenhills Hotel, Ennis Road, Limerick, the theme on the night will be A Christmas Carol. On the night guests and non members will be welcome also, cost €10.

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