Out of the blue with Garden Landscaper in Dublin Eugene Higgins
Out of The Blue...
It is so easy to happen, a mature shrub or tree suddenly dies, it has taken up a far bigger space than anticipated, or a dig has taken place in your garden in search of a burst pipe or lost cable. The list is endless the result is predictable though, out of the blue there is an unplanned large empty space, in your garden and it’s the middle of the Summer and immediate action is required.
I was faced with this dilemma only recently when a crazed variety of Carex part of the Sedge family, which is thick leafed grass in simple terms, seeded quietly into a clients large front garden. It came under cover of Bark Mulch that was not processed properly and so very quietly and unnoticed, as the garden had other similar grasses, it took hold growing to over a metre wide and high and numbered over 20. They needed to be extracted and space they had taken up in the garden was breathtaking.
Bark mulch processed properly will help suppress weeds and hold moisture in the ground. Bringing poor quality mulch to a garden means there is a possibility of introducing weeds, pests and diseases to the garden. Make sure to identify a repeatable supplier if it looks anything other than dark brown there is a risk of introducing a host of problems.
So the indecent Carex dug out we needed to select a good anchor to offset the new plants. A Tree in this case would, create an impressive setting; I offered 3 choices, with Evergreen Oak top of the list. The client agreed and so then we turned to the selection of plants. The objective being high colour impact in the summer months.
August is prime time in the garden it is the month to admire your hard work as the Summer has allowed plants to mature and that was how I wanted from our planting. They are at their peak of growth and colour a plant that always looks good throughout the summer and well into the autumn is "Verbena Bonariensis" it produces a haze of purple flowers at shoulder height fro July to mid Autumn.
It is native to tropical South America and I chose it as is a tall and graceful perennial that most importantly, does not need to be staked. Its slender stems reach up to 120 cms and 90 cms wide and are adorned by a crown of flowers that will even stand up well in windy areas. Barring severe gales, to which it can recover quite quickly if it is tidied up, it, will spring back quite promptly.
15 Verbena were planted with need to find a smaller but yet engaging flowering plant of equal impact. Geum 'Lady Stratheden' is that plant a cheerful perennial with semi-double vivid golden yellow flowers, each 5cm wide on arching stems and are described beautifully by there accompanying label "as graceful yellow rosettes sitting on scalloped, fresh green leaves" it originally came from the island of Chiloe off the coast of Chile and was introduced in 1921 it grows to about 45 cm and eight were planted.
The flowers come in a tremendous flush in May and June and will continue to appear for most of the summer. There capacity to flower for a long time makes the geum a plant that sits in a very complimentary below the taller Verbenas. A dash of Orange was also required and Gaillardia Grandiflora (Blanket Flower) “Arizona Sun” is that plant. Its daisy-like flowers are Orange –Red –Yellow and are produced from early summer to early Autumn and add a bit of sizzle to the garden plus attracting nectar-seeking butterflies. Blanket Flowers are valuable in the summer border for their very long season of bloom.
Finally Argyranthemum, there are endless varieties in this family; many growing to enormous heights so the aptly named "Pink Petit" was my choice. It’s a compact daisy with a descent flowering season from June until October. If one dead heads regularly, it can really prolong the amount of flowers, alternatively a light trim after each major flower flush this will also encourage more blooms. It's an easily managed plant and if it's not too cold it can return year after year... I prefer it to Osteospermum which as many fine merits but its flowers can close up dull days or during poor weather. Ireland cooler summer days does not deter a daisy and they are generally a tough trouble-free plants for the duration of the flowering season. Blue flowering Perennials were dismissed as not having high enough impact as we wanted to make a splash towards the shady edge of the bed. I dropped in a few Coreopsis "Rising Sun" Yellow flowering with a mahogany red centre flowering from June till September and growing to an agreeable 25 cm.
Watering has had to be frequent to get the best out of this somewhat instant solution. The roots will not have had time to establish themselves and rain will not be sufficient to maximise the performance of this impulse project. An essential ingredient is "Seamungus Seaweed Fertiliser" which I use to great acclaim in all gardens that I work in. It is harvested from the Irish coastline and has been applied in regular amounts. Finally a descent water sprinkler is required plus bottle of Tomato Food full of Potash preferably an organic one will ensure maximum flowering. Banana Skins will do similar job as they break down with great haste. Digging them into the soil around the plants that need encouragement to flower will also coax extra flowers, and contribute to, what can best be described as a Blaze of Colour with the demented Carex long forgotten about thankfully.
Top Tips for planting Perennials…
.. 1… You will need to dig a hole at least twice as wide as and slightly deeper than the perennial's container. Mix the soil you've removed with organic compost and fill in around the roots.
..2…Always Gently tip the plant out with one hand on top of the compost to support it, taking care not to damage any emerging shoots.
.3….Position the perennial in the centre of the hole then fill in the gaps around the sides of the plant with soil mixture, firming it down gently and get rid of any air pockets and make sure it's secure and watered.
4…. Keep mulch at least 5cm away from the base of the plant.