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Art of Floriography for Mother’s Day

Floriography, also known as the language of flowers, is the art of communicating through the symbolic meaning of different flowers. This practice dates back centuries, and it has been used to express a wide range of emotions, from love and friendship to grief and sympathy. Flowers have been an integral part of human culture, and they hold a special place in our hearts, especially when it comes to celebrating important events like Mother’s Day.

Here are some of the most popular flowers and their meanings for Mother’s Day:
Roses are a classic symbol of love, and they are a perfect way to show how much you care. Pink roses symbolize gratitude and appreciation, while red roses represent deep love and respect.

Clematis is a beautiful flower that symbolizes ingenuity, beauty, and creativity. It comes in a variety of colours, from pink to purple to white, and each shade has its own unique meaning. Giving clematis flower on Mother’s Day is a great way to show her how much you admire her creativity and unique perspective on life.

Carnations are a traditional flower for Mother’s Day, and they come in a variety of colours, each with its own unique meaning. Pink carnations symbolize a mother’s love, while white carnations represent purity and innocence.

Lilies are elegant and timeless, and they symbolize beauty and grace. White lilies are often associated with motherhood, and they represent a mother’s purity and devotion.

Daisies are cheerful and bright, and they symbolize innocence and purity. They are a perfect way to show your mother how much joy she brings to your life.

Peonies are a symbol of good fortune and prosperity, and they represent a happy and fulfilled life.

Tulips are a symbol of perfect love, and they represent the bond between a mother and her child. They come in many colours, and each shade has a different meaning, from pink tulips for affection to red tulips for true love.

Daffodils are a symbol of new beginnings and fresh starts, making them a perfect flower to give your mother on Mother’s Day. They represent hope, optimism, and joy, and they are a reminder that even in difficult times, there is always a reason to smile. Yellow daffodils are especially fitting for Mother’s Day, as they symbolize respect, love, and compassion, all qualities that are synonymous with motherhood.

Flowers have the power to evoke emotions and convey messages that words sometimes fail to express. This Mother’s Day, consider giving your mother a bouquet of flowers that hold a special meaning for both of you.

Or why not consider giving her the gift of gardening…. Our membership will give her 12 months of interest. It’s a beautiful way to show her how much you care, and to express your gratitude for all the love and support she has given you over the years. Click here to purchase a gift membership.

 

Grow Lights

Grow lights are artificial light sources that are designed to provide the specific spectrum of light that plants need to grow and thrive. They are commonly used in horticulture to supplement natural light, particularly in situations where natural light is insufficient or unavailable.

There are several types of grow lights available, including fluorescent, LED, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. Each type of light offers its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice will depend on factors like the size and type of plants, the available space, and the budget.
Fluorescent lights are a popular choice for indoor gardeners because they are relatively inexpensive and energy-efficient. They are also cool to the touch, which means they can be placed closer to the plants without causing damage. However, they are not as bright as other types of grow lights, and they may not be sufficient for plants that require high light intensity.
LED lights are another popular option because they are very energy-efficient and can last for many years. They are also very versatile, offering a wide range of light spectrums that can be customized to the needs of specific plants. However, they can be more expensive than other types of grow lights, and some growers may find that they do not produce as much heat as they need.
HID lights are the brightest and most powerful of the grow lights, making them a good choice for larger or more demanding plants. However, they also generate a lot of heat, which means they may require additional cooling or ventilation to prevent damage to the plants or the light fixtures.

Here are some tips on how to use grow lights in horticulture:

Choose the right type of grow light: There are several types of grow lights available, including fluorescent, LED, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. LED lights are the most energy-efficient and offer a wide spectrum of light that is optimal for plant growth.
Determine the light requirements of your plants: Different plants have different light requirements, so it’s important to understand the needs of the plants you want to grow. For example, leafy greens like lettuce and spinach require less light than flowering plants like tomatoes and peppers.
Position the grow lights properly: Position the lights so they are the right distance from the plants. Too close and the plants can burn, while too far away and they won’t get enough light. A general rule of thumb is to place the lights about 6-12 inches above the plants, but this can vary depending on the type of light and the plant’s light requirements.
Use a timer: Set a timer to ensure that the plants get the right amount of light each day. Most plants require 12-16 hours of light per day, but again, this can vary depending on the type of plant.
Monitor the temperature: Grow lights can generate heat, which can be harmful to plants if it gets too hot. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust the distance between the lights and the plants or use a fan to circulate the air and lower the temperature.
Water and fertilize as usual: Plants grown under grow lights still need to be watered and fertilized according to their normal schedule. Be sure to check the moisture level of the soil and the nutrient levels regularly.

Grow lights can benefit growing seeds in several ways:

Provide consistent and reliable light: When growing seeds indoors, natural light can be unpredictable and unreliable. Grow lights provide a consistent source of light that can be controlled to ensure that the seeds are getting the light they need for optimal growth.
Accelerate germination: Grow lights can help seeds germinate faster by providing the ideal light spectrum and intensity that seeds need to sprout. This can help you get a head start on the growing season and produce healthy, strong plants.
Promote healthy growth: As seedlings start to grow, they need the right amount and spectrum of light to continue growing strong and healthy. Grow lights provide the right type of light to help seedlings develop strong stems and leaves, and can promote vigorous growth.
Extend growing season: By using grow lights, you can start growing seeds earlier in the year and extend the growing season beyond what is possible with natural light. This can be especially useful for gardeners in areas with shorter growing seasons or limited sunlight.

Overall, grow lights can be a valuable tool for anyone growing seeds indoors. They can provide consistent and reliable light, accelerate germination, promote healthy growth, and extend the growing season, all of which can help produce healthy, strong plants.

Foraging Spring Greens

Foraging for spring greens can be a fun and rewarding activity, but it’s important to be careful and knowledgeable about what you’re picking. Here are a few tips:
Research the plants: Before you go foraging, do some research to learn about the plants you’re looking for. Make sure you can identify them correctly, and learn about any potential lookalikes that could be dangerous.
Know where to look: Different plants grow in different environments, so it’s important to know where to look for the plants you’re interested in. For example, nettles and dandelions are often found in open fields and meadows, while wild garlic and wild leeks are often found in wooded areas.
Harvest sustainably: When foraging, it’s important to harvest in a sustainable way so that the plants can continue to grow and thrive. Only take what you need, and leave some behind for the next person or animal.
Avoid polluted areas: Be sure to avoid foraging in areas that may be polluted, such as along busy roads or near industrial sites.

Some common spring greens that can be locally foraged include nettles, dandelion greens, wild garlic, wild leeks, and chickweed. These greens can be used in a variety of dishes, such as salads, soups, and stir-fries.
Identifying wild edible plants can be challenging, but with proper knowledge and guidance, it can be done safely.
Use books, websites, or apps that are reliable sources of information on wild edible plants. Make sure to cross-reference information from multiple sources to ensure accuracy.
Study the physical characteristics of the plants you want to identify, such as their leaves, flowers, and stems. Learn the key features that differentiate them from other plants, as well as their growing habits and habitats.
Observe the plants closely, and use all of your senses to help you identify them. Pay attention to their smell, taste, texture, and colour.
Begin by identifying plants that are easy to distinguish from others, such as dandelions, chickweed, and wild garlic. Once you become more confident in your identification skills, you can move on to more challenging plants.
If you’re not 100% sure about a plant’s identification, don’t eat it. Some plants can be toxic, and ingesting them can cause serious harm.

There are many ways to use spring greens in cooking. Here are some ideas:
Nettles: Nettles can be blanched to remove their sting, and then used like spinach in soups, stews, and pasta dishes. They can also be used to make pesto or dried for tea.
Dandelion greens: Dandelion greens can be added to salads, sautéed with garlic and olive oil, or used in soups and stews.
Wild garlic: Wild garlic can be used in place of regular garlic in recipes, or added to soups and stews for a mild garlic flavour.
Garlic Mustard: or Jack by the hedge is a common spring green used in sauces, with bread and butter and with lettuce in salads.
Chickweed: Chickweed can be used in salads, smoothies, or cooked like spinach.

When using foraged greens, it’s important to clean them thoroughly before using them in cooking. Rinse them well in cold water to remove any dirt or insects. Additionally, it’s important to only forage for plants that you’re absolutely sure are safe to eat, as some plants can be toxic.
Remember, foraging for wild edible plants requires knowledge, experience, and caution. Make sure to do your research, consult reliable resources, and follow proper safety protocols when identifying and harvesting wild edible plants.

Happy Hydrangeas

There are several different types of hydrangea, each with its own unique characteristics.

Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla): Also known as mophead or lacecap hydrangeas, these are the most popular type of hydrangea. They have large, round flower heads that can be blue, pink, purple, or white, depending on the pH of the soil. Examples include ‘Endless Summer’, ‘Nikko Blue’, and ‘All Summer Beauty’.
Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata): These hydrangeas have cone-shaped flower heads that can be white, pink, or red. They bloom on new wood, so they can be pruned back in late winter or early spring. Examples include ‘Limelight’, ‘Pinky Winky’, and ‘Quick Fire’.
Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens): These hydrangeas have large, round flower heads that can be white or pink. They also bloom on new wood, so they can be pruned back in late winter or early spring. Examples include ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Incrediball’.
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia): These hydrangeas have cone-shaped flower heads that can be white or pink. They also have distinctive oak-shaped leaves that turn red in the fall. Examples include ‘Snow Queen’ and ‘Alice’.
Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris): This hydrangea is a vine that can climb up trees or walls. It has white, lacecap-like flower heads and grows well in shade. Examples include ‘Miranda’ and ‘Moonlight’.

Each type of hydrangea has its own care requirements, but here are some general growing tips:

Soil and Light: Hydrangeas prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They also need adequate moisture and prefer partial shade to full sun. However, some types, such as panicle hydrangeas, can tolerate more sun.
Watering: Hydrangeas need regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
Fertilizing: Hydrangeas benefit from regular fertilization. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply in early spring and again in mid-summer.
Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Winter Care: In colder gardens, protect hydrangeas from harsh winter winds and frost by covering them with burlap or a frost blanket.

Pruning
The method of pruning hydrangeas in spring can vary depending on the type of hydrangea you have, so it’s important to research which type you have and how to care for it properly.

Here are some general guidelines:
Deadhead any spent blooms: Remove any dead or fading blooms by cutting back the stem to the nearest healthy set of leaves.
Cut back old wood: For hydrangeas that bloom on old wood (last season’s growth), such as mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, prune them back before new growth appears in spring. Cut back any dead or weak stems to the base of the plant, and trim back the remaining stems to the first healthy pair of buds.
Remove dead or damaged branches: Trim back any dead or damaged branches to the base of the plant.
Prune back new growth: For hydrangeas that bloom on new wood (this season’s growth), such as smooth hydrangeas and panicle hydrangeas, prune them back in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Cut back the stems to the desired size, leaving at least two healthy buds on each stem.
Shape the plant: If you want to shape your hydrangea plant, prune it back to the desired size and shape after it finishes blooming in late summer or early autumn.
Remember to use sharp, clean pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant and in general, avoid pruning in the autumn, as this can remove flower buds for the following year.

Hydrangeas are a popular and beautiful flowering shrub that are easy to grow and maintain, making them a great choice for both beginner and experienced gardeners. With their large, colourful blooms that can last for several months, hydrangeas can add a splash of colour to any garden or landscape. With several different types to choose from, hydrangeas offer a variety of options to suit different growing conditions and preferences. Additionally, they are attractive to pollinators and can help create a wildlife-friendly garden. Overall, if you are looking for a low-maintenance, versatile, and visually stunning plant, hydrangeas are an excellent choice.

Nettles and their benefits (leaves)

Taken from the excellent Neantóg  March Newsletter 2023
by Gaby and Hans Wieland

Nettles are just amazing plants. They are a fantastic source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron and zinc. They are also rich in chromium, manganese, iron, copper and chlorophyll. Nettles are a good source of Vitamin A, B-complex, Vitamin C (ascorbates and bioflavonoids) Vitamin D and E. They nourish and support the immune system, create strong, flexible bones, can help to reduce fatigue and exhaustion and can help to normalize weight.

At this time of the year the young leaves are used.

In the kitchen nettles can be used instead of spinach or as a mix. Nettles are much higher in iron and contain 7.8mg per 100g compared to spinach with 4.1mg. They contain 630mg per 100g calcium, compared to 126mg spinach. For the nettle soup recipe click here.

As a medicine nettles can help to ease and prevent sore joints. Usually taken as a strong nettle infusion (30g dried nettle leaves per litre of water):
Steep dried or fresh nettles in hot water for at least 4 hours or overnight, strain and drink 1-2 cups a day. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days. You can reheat it if you prefer it warm. A nettle infusion or herbal tea can also be used as a hair rinse.

In the garden you can make nettle water, often combined with comfrey, to feed your garden plants with liquid nitrogen. Fore more on liquid fees read HERE

We will continue to inform you of the use of different parts of the nettle (seeds, stem, roots) as we go through the year.

Check out Neantóg excellent website full on information, recipes and growing tips.  www.neantog.ie

Gardening in March: what to do

March is a great time to get started on gardening in Ireland, as the weather begins to warm up and the days get longer.
Here are some gardening tasks you can do in March to prepare for the growing season:

Start by removing any debris or fallen leaves from your garden beds. This will allow you to assess the condition of the soil and identify any areas that need to be improved. You can then add compost or other organic materials to enrich the soil and provide nutrients for your plants.

March is a good time to start planting early vegetables like peas, broad beans, lettuce, and spinach. These crops can be planted directly into the soil, as long as it is not too wet or waterlogged. You can also start seeds indoors for later transplanting.

It is also a good time to prune shrubs and trees, before new growth begins. Cut away any dead or diseased branches, and shape the plant as desired. Be sure to use clean, sharp tools to prevent the spread of disease.

Potatoes are a favourite crop in Ireland, and St Patricks day is the traditional time to start planting them. Chit now and they you can plant seed potatoes directly into the ground, or in containers if you have limited space.

If you want to attract bees and other pollinators to your garden, consider sowing some wildflowers. March is a good time to plant wildflower seeds, which will grow into colorful blooms throughout the summer.

Dividing perennials is another important gardening task to consider in March, especially if you have established perennial plants in your garden that have become overcrowded or are not producing as well as they used to. Dividing perennials is a way to rejuvenate the plants, promote healthier growth, and increase their overall lifespan.

To divide perennials, start by digging up the entire plant from the ground using a garden fork or shovel. Carefully separate the plant into smaller sections, making sure each section has enough roots and healthy shoots. Replant the divided sections in their new locations, spacing them out evenly and making sure to water them thoroughly.

Some common perennials that can be divided in March in Ireland include daisies, black-eyed Susans, irises, and daylilies. Dividing perennials in the spring also allows them plenty of time to establish new roots and grow before the hot summer weather arrives.

Dividing perennials is a great way to expand your garden, fill in empty spaces, and keep your plants healthy and productive. It’s important to remember to keep the soil around the newly divided plants moist for the first few weeks, and to protect them from direct sunlight until they have established themselves in their new location.

Now is a good time to start preparing your lawn for the growing season. Rake away any fallen leaves or debris, and apply a slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth. If you have bare patches, you can sow grass seed or lay turf.

By clearing debris, preparing the soil, planting early vegetables, pruning shrubs and trees, starting potatoes, sowing wildflowers, and caring for your lawn, you can set yourself up for a successful and productive growing season.

Rewilding…

In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards rewilding our gardens. Rewilding is the process of restoring natural ecosystems and allowing them to function without human intervention. This concept has gained popularity due to its potential benefits for the environment and our own health. In this article, we will explore why we should consider rewilding our gardens and the many benefits that come with it.
Benefits for Nature
Rewilding our gardens can provide a crucial habitat for wildlife, particularly insects, birds and small mammals. With the decline of natural habitats, urban gardens can play an important role in supporting the survival of these vital species. By creating an environment that is more hospitable, we can help them thrive and maintain the important role they play in our ecosystem.

Insects: By planting native species of flowers, shrubs and trees, gardeners can attract a diverse range of insects to their gardens. This can include butterflies such as the small tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock, as well as bees, hoverflies, and other pollinators.

Birds: By creating habitats such as bird boxes, feeders, and water sources, gardeners can attract a wide range of bird species to their gardens. In Ireland, this can include birds such as the blue tit, great tit, robin, blackbird, and goldfinch, among many others.

Mammals: By allowing areas of the garden to grow wild, gardeners can provide habitats for a variety of mammals, including hedgehogs, shrews, mice, and even bats.

Amphibians and reptiles: By creating a pond, gardeners can provide a home for amphibians such as frogs and toads, as well as reptiles such as the common lizard.

Benefits for Climate
Gardens that have been rewilded can also help mitigate the effects of climate change. By allowing natural vegetation to flourish, we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Plants absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store it in their tissues. By allowing natural vegetation to grow, we can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil.
Benefits for Our Health
In addition to its environmental benefits, rewilding our gardens can also have positive impacts on our own health. Studies have shown that spending time in natural environments can have a positive effect on mental health, reducing stress and anxiety levels. In addition, gardening itself has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
What can we do?
Gardeners can play a crucial role in supporting local biodiversity and protecting the environment by rewilding their gardens.

Here are some ways that gardeners can contribute:
Plant native species: Gardeners can support local ecosystems by planting native species of plants, which are adapted to local conditions and provide important food sources for native insects and birds.
Create habitats for wildlife: Gardeners can create habitats for wildlife by incorporating features such as log piles, bird boxes, and bee hotels. This can provide homes for a variety of creatures, including insects, birds, and small mammals.

Pruning Roses

As spring approaches, it’s time to start thinking about pruning your climbing roses. Pruning is an essential part of rose care, as it helps to keep the plant healthy, encourage new growth, and promote beautiful blooms. Pruning climbing roses in early March is particularly important, as it is the ideal time to cut back the plant before new growth begins in the spring.

The first step is to remove any dead or diseased wood. This helps to prevent the spread of disease and encourages new growth. Next, remove any old or unproductive wood, cutting it back to the base of the plant. This will encourage new growth from the base and help to promote a more compact and healthy plant.

Once you have removed the dead and unproductive wood, it’s time to consider how you want your rose to grow. If you want a more formal appearance, you can prune the plant to a specific shape or size. Alternatively, if you want a more natural look, you can prune the plant to encourage it to grow in a more free-form manner. This will depend on your personal preference and the type of climbing rose you have.

In short, cut back any dead or diseased wood, and then remove any old or unproductive wood. Next, tie the remaining canes to a support structure, and prune back the side shoots to two or three buds.

Popular Climbers:

‘New Dawn’: A climbing rose with delicate pink blooms that have a mild, sweet fragrance. It was first introduced in the 1930s and has since become a favourite of many gardeners. ‘New Dawn’ is a repeat bloomer, meaning it produces blooms throughout the growing season. It can grow up to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide, and it prefers full sun to partial shade. It’s a hardy rose that can tolerate colder climates, making it a popular choice for many gardens.

‘Golden Showers’: This climbing rose produces stunning golden-yellow blooms that have a mild, sweet fragrance. It was first introduced in the 1950s and has since become a classic choice for many gardeners. ‘Golden Showers’ is also a repeat bloomer, producing blooms throughout the growing season. It can grow up to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, and it prefers full sun to partial shade. It’s a hardy rose that can tolerate colder climates, making it a popular choice for many gardens.

‘Climbing Iceberg’: A lovely white climbing rose that produces large clusters of flowers with a mild, sweet fragrance. It was first introduced in the 1960s and has since become a favourite of many gardeners. ‘Climbing Iceberg’ is a repeat bloomer, producing blooms throughout the growing season. It can grow up to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, and it prefers full sun to partial shade. Another hardy rose that can tolerate colder climates, perfect for our Irish gardens.

Overall, these climbing rose varieties are popular choices for their beauty, hardiness, and ease of care. When pruned properly in March, they can continue to thrive and provide stunning blooms throughout the growing season.

Airfield Estate Gardens

Ardan Garden

Ballintubbert Gardens and House

Ballycommane Garden

Ballyedmond Castle Garden

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Ballyrobert Gardens

Bantry House and Garden

Belvedere House Gardens & Park

Benvarden Garden

Birr Castle Demesne

Blarney Castle and Gardens

Burtown House and Gardens

Caher Bridge Garden

Colclough Walled Garden

Collon House

Coolaught Walled Garden

Coolwater Garden

Dawros Gallery & Garden

Dower House

Drimbawn Garden

Dromana House and Gardens

Festina Lente

Fota House – Victorian Working Garden

Gash Gardens

Glenarm Castle Walled Garden

Glenavon Japanese Garden

Hester Forde Garden – ‘Coosheen Garden’

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Hunting Brook Gardens

Irish National Stud and Gardens – The Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra’s Garden

Johnstown Castle, Estate, Museum and Gardens

June Blake’s Garden

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Kilgar Gardens

Killruddery House and Gardens

Killyreagh Garden

Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens

Kilravock Garden

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

Lodge Park Walled Garden

Loughcrew Gardens

Medina

Mount Congreve Gardens

Mount Stewart House and Gardens

Mount Usher Gardens

Oakfield Park

Old Deanery Garden

Patthana Garden

Rothe House Museum and Garden

Rowallane Garden

Salthill Garden

Seaforde Gardens

Seanabea Cottage

Springhill

Strokestown Park Gardens

Tourin House & Gardens

Tullynally Castle Gardens

Tyrrelstown House Garden

Woodville Walled Garden

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