Bibhinn Collins at the launch of the Limerick Garden Festival
WE had the pleasure of attending the second Limerick Garden Festival last Sunday in Limerick city’s Milk Market. There were over 50 stalls, packed with exciting plant, garden and food offerings.
I found some plants for sale that otherwise would be very difficult to source. I managed to get a young plant of Buddleja globosa- a Buddleja with orange flowers. I am very much looking forward to years of appreciation each time this plant flowers. There were all-day garden talks and demonstrations on all things gardening. We bought our twins along and they had a great time.
We have had a taste of our first strawberries of this year at home. The plants are two-year-old plants, and so, will provide a bumper crop this year. They will also provide a bumper crop next year (year three). After the third year and all subsequent years the strawberry plants will be old and won’t provide as much fruit. You are better off replacing old plants with new ones every few years.
We have been planting out our summer plants over the last couple of weeks. We have some sweet pea, Cosmos and Tuberous Begonia. Begonia’s get the ‘tuberous’ bit because they are grown from tubers- or thick roots. The tubers look something like wet teabags. I purchased our tubers from a retailer and planted them in March. We planted them in seed trays and place them on a sunny windowsill. Over the weeks they sprouted and those shoots grew larger and larger as the weeks passed. At this point they are starting to flower and are around thirty CM tall. Once the tuberous begonias are planted out they will flower until the first frosts arrive- round the end of October. At this point the tubers need to be lifted and stored indoors as frost and cold may rot the bulb if left outside over winter.
The perennial plants that I sowed seeds of several weeks ago are now being potted on. The plants were sown in seed trays in a heated propagator. The heated propagator gives all seeds a better chance to germinate. The reason I decided to grow perennials from seed was to save expense. With such a large garden- over an acre- we simply couldn’t afford to buy all our plants from a garden centre. I try to grow several different types of perennial plants each year and so, over the years, we can build up a large collection of various plants. This year I am growing Penstemon, Salvia and Lupin.
I have previously grown Lupins from seed and they give a great bang for your buck. Each seed grows into a plant around three feet high with about a dozen flower spikes a foot long each. There is the added benefit with Lupins that the bees just love them. There are literally hundreds of varieties of perennials you can grow from seed so go on- give it a go.