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May Gardening Newsletter

Garden Bursting into Colour

Each year in May, the entrance to the historic Botany Building is clothed in the most exquisite display of mauve wisteria flowers. These pendulous racemes perfume the air with a fabulous blousy scent that wafts around the front of the building for all to enjoy. A firm favourite of bees, their flowering period is relatively short-lived but this is the case for many species that flower at this time of year.

Looking Good Now

Herbaceous perennials which are looking good now include gems like peonies both tree and shrub alike with their papery thin petals, followed by bearded irises and oriental poppies. I think we can forgive them for their short display when spoiled with the array of colours they bring to the garden. They act as a great buffer between the bulbs of early spring and the longer-lived perennials that give enduring interest over the summer like Salvia, Penstemon and Alstromeria.

Jobs In The Garden Prune your spring flowering shrubs Ribes sanguineum, Forsythia, Philadelphus and Weigela. These are winter/early spring flowering varieties so should be pruned immediately after flowering. Keep it simple, prune flowering stems back to strong new shoots and each year, prune out about a fifth of the older stems to encourage new growth. Time to stake your herbaceous perennials Helps to prevent plants splaying under the weight of heavy rain. Prevents them from being blown asunder in windy weather. Also prevents pets from flattening your favourite plants when you're not looking! Species which need support are generally those which grow up to and over a metre in height. These include Peony which often need support for their heavy blooms, Thalictrum with its wiry thin stems, Echinops which you can enjoy frost on later in the year, Delphinium and Aconitum to name a few. What to use? I prefer using twine and bamboo canes but you can be inventive and harvest hazel branches which are commonly used as a support for peas and sweetpea alike. Other attractive support systems are woven willow domes, lovely examples of which are in the herbaceous borders in Powerscourt. Try not to tie them too tight as they look more natural if they can can move slightly in the wind.

Feel free to share this newsletter and most importantly Happy Gardening Everyone! Hazel

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