22/03/2021

TTC Gardening Corner

Update 22 March 2021

Apart from bulbs one of my favourite winter flowers is Helleborus. What is not to love about a plant which gives us such a range of colours when very little else is in flower? Hellebores are easy to grow, and since they are perennials, will continue to bloom for a number of years. Another bonus of these lovely plants is that they also provide much-needed food for pollinators. The common name of hellebore is Lenten rose as their rose-like flowers tend to appear in spring around Lent. However, nowadays some of them start to come into flower around Christmas. The flower-like structure can last for several months, changing colour as it fades. The leaves are normally evergreen but can get a bit ragged in the cold winter months. They tolerate a wide range of growing conditions which really means you can plant them almost anywhere in the garden. However, they perform best in partial shade in rich, moist soil with good drainage. Hellebores like a bit of space to grow also so try to remember that when you are planting. I have been guilty of trying to shoe-horn hellebore into a tiny space just because I had to have one more specimen!

Hellebore planting and care tips:

Don’t plant too deeply as this may reduce flower production. 

In winter, as the new foliage and flower buds emerge from the centre of the plant, cut back the old leaves to the base. This improves the overall appearance of the plant as the old foliage can be very tatty at this point and can also reduce the incidence of hellebore leafspot.

In Spring use a top dressing of manure or compost which will give them a boost.

Don’t let them dry out particularly in Spring and Autumn when they are coming into growth.

They look lovely planted with spring bulbs such as snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and muscarii (grape hyacinths).

If you are looking for some unusual varieties Mount Venus Nurseries is always a good place to source hellebores. Every year they have a special hellebore weekend but it is unlikely to go ahead this year due to covid19 restrictions. Check the website for updates and they will still be available to buy online at https://mountvenusnursery.com.

Finally one way in which to enjoy hellebores indoors is to float the flower heads in a bowl. Try it and you will really appreciate their delicate beauty.

Update 22 February 2021

Meanwhile, in Templeogue Tennis club we in the gardening group are trying to do our bit for bio

Hellebore planting and care tips:

Don’t plant too deeply as this may reduce flower production. 

In winter, as the new foliage and flower buds emerge from the centre of the plant, cut back the old leaves to the base. This improves the overall appearance of the plant as the old foliage can be very tatty at this point and can also reduce the incidence of hellebore leafspot.

In Spring use a top dressing of manure or compost which will give them a boost.

Don’t let them dry out particularly in Spring and Autumn when they are coming into growth.

They look lovely planted with spring bulbs such as snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and muscarii (grape hyacinths).

diversity. We don’t use any weedkillers or chemicals relying mainly on weeding keeping the soil in good health by mulching. We have a pile of logs in an area behind courts three and four to provide habitats for beneficial insects and we have planted a wide variety of flowering plants to encourage pollinators. Bird boxes are located in the trees close to courts three four and five to provide birds with some protection. Our pride and joy this year however was our wild garden which was in full flower when we returned to tennis in June.

Noelle sourced the seeds from Sandro Cafolla of Design by Nature http://www.wildflowers.ie/design-by-nature/contact-us.html.  It does get a bit untidy looking when the flowers go over. However, prolonging the flowering season is possible by adding some pollinator-friendly perennials and this was to be a project for 2021.

The following photographs were taken last year and I have included the names of some of the wildflowers:

We look forward to seeing how it all develops this year. Meanwhile it might be worth looking at your gardens and see if there are any opportunities to try out some of the ideas to encourage biodiversity in your outdoor space.

Click here to find out more about Biodiversity for your Garden

TTC Gardeners


January 2021

There isn’t a whole lot available to do at the moment in terms of exercise apart from walking, but it does allow us to observe the changing seasons in a way we may not have taken the time to do in busier times. It is a good time to take note of what is looking good right now. Every year at this time I am always struck by the beauty of bare stems and interesting barks. While much in the garden in this month can look pretty tatty, and let’s be honest, downright bleak, sometimes you can really be overcome by something really stunning like the beautiful silver birch which sings out against a stark wintery background.

Betula Utilis

Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ Silver birches in the grounds of Terenure College. This group of silver birches never fail to enchant. Beautifully positioned on this tiny island with the bridge in the background it is a truly stunning winter scene. You may sometimes catch a glimpse of the egret against a backdrop of bare stems and emerging foliage.

Prunus Serrula

The stunning mahogany bark of Prunus serrula. This is a tree which looks beautiful at any time of the year but it really comes into its own in the winter time. The bark peels off in strips revealing a lovely gleaming bark which shines in winter sunshine.

Hamamelis Mollis

Hamamelis mollis – Witch hazel (in the grounds of Terenure College). A beautiful winter flowering sweetly scented shrub which is always a welcome sight. It flowers on bare branches but some of the old foliage has managed to cling on to this specimen.

Snow Drops

Snowdrops – a lovely symbol of Spring

So enjoy your walks and take a moment to observe what nature reveals to us when everything is pared back by winter. If anyone wants to send us in photos from your gardens or from your walks please feel free to do so. Also if there is a topic you would like to see covered or a question you would like answered please email dunnemurray@hotmail.com and we will try to do our best to help.

Till the next time

Fiona x

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Location: Templeogue Tennis Club, Templeogue Village, Dublin, D6W K402 

Telephone: 01 490 2760

Email: info@templeoguetennis.com
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