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How to plant and care for raspberries

How to plant and care for raspberries 0

Site and aspect

  • The ideal situation for raspberries is a sheltered, sunny site with fertile, humus-rich, free-draining soil, preferably slightly acid to neutral. They will tolerate partial shade, although the fruit won’t be as sweet. 
  • What they won’t tolerate is poor drainage, heavy soils or thin chalky soils.
  • Space the plants around 45-60cm (18in–2ft) apart if planting in rows.
  • Rows should be at least 1.5m apart; 1.8m is better. 
  • Once established, raspberries like to spread, so it’s a good idea to choose a site surrounded by grass, so you can mow off any unwanted suckers
  • Maria Collard
Planting Native Hedges

Planting Native Hedges 0

Hedges have been planted & tended for a long time in Ireland. It is likely that man was deliberately planting trees as long ago as the Bronze Age. The origins of the first 'plant nursery' are lost in the depths of time. Was it when a man, or woman, pulled up a little plant and moved it to where they wanted it? or broke off a piece of willow and pushed it in the ground near their living quarters to make basket making easier?

Undoubtedly some of the earliest fences were made from willow and hazel rods stuck into the ground and woven and often the willow would have taken root. Later the need for stock proof hedges would have brought Hawthorn & Blackthorn to the attention of the farmer.

  • Maria Collard
Hellebores for the Winter Garden

Hellebores for the Winter Garden 0

Gardens can look very bare in the winter months, but there are some wonderful winter-flowering plants, and hellebores are some of the best. They are very long-flowering, and look wonderful with snowdrops and evergreen ferns, which enjoy the same conditions, and it’s really worth setting aside a partially shaded corner for them, even in small gardens, to brighten this dismal time of year.

If you have room for a winter-flowering deciduous shrub or small tree, many hellebores, ferns and some bulbs do really well planted underneath them. Plant hellebores within view of the house, go out to look at their exquisite blooms on mild days, and pick a few for the house – the flower-heads are really pretty floated in a bowl of water.

  • Maria Collard
Choosing and growing spring bulbs

Choosing and growing spring bulbs 0

Spring bulbs are a joy in late winter and spring, bringing colour and hope to the garden. Whether naturalised in grass, planted in borders or containers, or forced indoors for Christmas, there are bulbs for every situation, and autumn is the time to plant them.

Success with bulbs means planting fat, firm bulbs (discard any shrivelled or mouldy bulbs), in the right conditions, and at the right depth (generally, 3 times the depth of the bulb). All bulbs need well-drained soil; if your soil tends to lie wet in winter, add grit to the planting hole. The one exception is beautiful, chequered snakeshead fritillaries, which tolerate quite wet soil, and thrive in damp meadows.

  • Maria Collard
Perennials for late summer colour

Perennials for late summer colour 0

Starting into flower after midsummer, late summer perennials fill the garden with colour, often until the first frosts, and sometimes beyond.  They work well surrounded by spring bulbs, grasses and earlier-flowering shrubs and perennials for colour in your borders from early spring to late autumn.

Many modern perennials are even better value, flowering for months from early summer onwards. Geranium Dragonheart, with large, black-eyed magenta flowers is a low-growing cranesbill which will wind through and even up into other plants, suppressing weeds and knitting together your planting in the most delightful way.  Geranium Rozanne, a bigger cranesbill with blue flowers with white eyes, also flowers for months on end.

Other long-flowering perennials include rudbeckias (cone flowers) with their lovely chrome-yellow daisy flowers...

  • Maria Collard
Choosing and growing grasses

Choosing and growing grasses 0

Grasses have been much taken up by garden designers in the last decades, and gardeners are using them more and more, too. Grasses give a wonderful sense of mobility and beautiful, gentle sound in the garden, and they are wonderful with perennials in a border, as part of a prairie planting, or even in containers. The quality of their flower- and seed-heads is enhanced when they’re back-lit by the sun, and persisting seed-heads look entrancing when frosted. They give value and interest for months, with long-lasting spikelets (flowers) and equally valuable foliage.

There are cool-season grasses, which flower by midsummer, and warm-season grasses, which flower in late summer or autumn. Some are fluid and loose, and some are structural, architectural plants; some are evergreen, and even those that aren’t make attractive ‘skeletons’ in the winter, especially lovely when frosted. They are not all green, either – there are beautifully coloured and variegated grasses. Most like to be in full sun, but there are some that thrive in shade, and there are others that will cope with coastal exposure. In short, there’s a grass for every garden, small, large, courtyard, patio or balcony.

  • Maria Collard