Paraic Horkan on Radio 1's Today with Sean O'Rourke

Paraic Horkan on Radio 1 – 01/07/2016

Mid summer is the time to start enjoying your garden. Summer plants are beginning to flower but if you haven’t started yet don’t worry it’s still not too late!

The weather over the last 6 – 8 weeks has been just fantastic, great growing weather. The heat has been stored in the soil and with the moisture from the last 2 weeks or so, plants are just jumping from the soil! Now is a great time for planting; hedges, trees, roses and shrubs will all do well if planted now.

RosesRoses

This time of year, at the end of June, is the perfect time for planting roses. They are coming into flower now and are going to flower right up until November and often up until Christmas. This means 5 – 6 months of flowers if you look after them properly! When it comes to taking care of roses during the summer just follow these key three steps

  1. Once a month put on Rose Rescue to eliminate aphids and blackspot
  2. Once a month put on a granulated feed
  3. Deadhead your plants, removing old flowers as they begin to fade

A great rose to plant right now is a variety called Troika (the word troika means ‘the power of three’) and this rose is a triple-threat! It has fantastic colour, a great scent, and is a disease resistant, very hardy rose. This is a hybrid tea rose which means it produces very large blooms and is fantastic for cutting.
A wonderful variety of rose bush is called Nostalgia. This is pink in bud with very dark foliage. When the bud opens it reveals beautiful white petals with a deep red rim, and a pure white centre. This is a really easy to grow rose and now is a great time to plant them!
Another great variety is called Fragrant Cloud, which as the name suggest has a wonderful fragrance. This is a very easy to grow red rose. A beautiful blue rose, Rhapsody in Blue, is a brilliantly scented rose. It contains many flowers on the stem with loads of buds yet to come.

Cottage Plants

Some other plants we might consider are Cottage plants. There was a large focus on these at Bloom in the Park this year and they looked simply stunning. Plants such as delphiniums, lupins, peony roses; plants that you will remember your grandmother growing.
A wonderful Cottage plant is the Arum lily. A wonderful dwarf variety is Nero. Most people are familiar with the large white flowering lily but this is a beautiful alternative that is in bloom at the moment. It has speckled leaves and comes in a variety of colours: yellow, pink, orange, and white. They can be planted now and it is recommended to plant them in groups of 3 or 5.

Lawns

Lawns could do with a little care right now, the dry weather over the last few weeks can put a lot of stress on a lawn and allow weeds like clover to come to the fore. Over the last two weeks with the added moisture the lawns have received they have really greened up, but now is a great time to feed an existing lawn, sow a new lawn, or just repair patches.

There are different mixes of grass seed available depending on your needs. A great, easy to maintain, mix for a family lawn with children and pets is called Green Velvet. This creates a great looking lawn that is easy to maintain but is also very robust!

Cuttings

Now is the perfect time for taking cuttings and propagating plants. Plants such as flowering geraniums, hydrangeas, fushcia, and even roses can all be propagated from cuttings at this time of year.

  1. Take a small cutting about 4 inches long
  2. Strip off all the leaves except for one at the very tip
  3. Take off any flowers or buds that may be on the shoot
  4. Dip the end of the cutting into some rooting powder
  5. Put the cutting into a mixture of Growise compost and perlite
  6. Place in a pot and in 3 weeks time it will have rooted

Paraic’s Top Tip

There is a variety of mint known as Eau De Cologne, which is a very fragrant plant. If you diffuse the leaves into hot water and use it as a spray around the house it will deter flies, bluebottles and all the black flies. It has a smell which is very pleasant to us but that flies dislike, so spraying on windowsills and doors will help to keep the flies away!

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