Looking Good Now
Spring is well and truly underway in Dublin and this year we have been really spoilt by the fantastic display of magnolia and cherry blossoms. If you happen to be in the city centre, do make sure to visit Trinity College Dublin where you will find the most wonderful cherry blossoms in Botany Bay and beside the Geography Building.
A lesser known flowering tree and firm favourite of mine, is Amelanchier lamarkii commonly known as the juneberry, serviceberry or snowy mespilus. This white-flowering tree, currently on display in gardens everywhere, is great for a small space and provides beautiful autumn colour - definitely one of my go-to trees in the spring.
Jobs In The Garden
This month is also a great time to start softwood cuttings. We kicked off our Saturday Workshops last weekend with a practical on how to do just that and for those of you who couldn't make it, here are a few tips I shared on the day.
Softwood cuttings should be taken early in the morning from new growth which has been put on this season. When collecting plant material, gather cuttings approximately 10cm long and keep in a sealed plastic bag to prevent them from drying out. When prepping your cuttings, make a cut directly under a node (where the leaves emerge) and remove all the lower leaves. Pinch out the very top leaves and leave just a pair below. This prevents moisture loss and by pinching out the top leaves, encourages the production of roots. At this point you can dip the cuttings in rooting hormone powder but the cuttings can succeed without.
Pot on the cuttings in a compost mix of equal parts compost and coarse grit. Ideally, the cuttings should be put into a heated propagator but if you don't have one of those you can simply cover the pot with a plastic bag and situate near a radiator, making sure to keep an eye that the compost does not dry out. With this method, you can expect results within the month. Some species suitable for this treatment include Argyranthemum, Penstemon and Pelargonium and Buddleja, Fuchsia and Hydrangea.
Gardens to Visit
This month is a great time to visit the National Botanic Gardens at Kilmacurragh, in Wicklow.
Right now, there is a fabulous display of Rhododendron which is a must see at this time of year.
Hurry though, as their flowering period will only last for a short time.
Happy April Everyone!