Not long after moving into our new/old house, we chopped back a lot of overgrown shrubs at the top of the garden. Although quite neglected and leggy, the rhododendrons and ... looked fine but we wanted to get a better feel of what sort of area we had and how much space we would eventually have for vegetables.
My intention after hacking down the shrubs was to hire a skip and have the lot taken away to be recycled at the council depot. We have close neighbours now and I don’t think a bonfire would go down too well as one of them usually has washing hanging up outside on the line.
All of the shrubs larger trunks have been cut with a chainsaw and put into an out of the way corner of the garden to season and dry out for next year when I can chop them up for burning in the fire.
Apparently there has been a big rise in chimney fires over the last 2 years and burning damp wood is one of the reasons mentioned as it forms an inflammable layer of oil in the chimney, another reason is the increase of wood burning stoves being used for more than just burning wood, anything and everything is being burned to save money. Another financial reason seems to be that people are not getting their chimneys cleaned as often because money is tight in the recession. I was told to add the potato peelings to the fire to clean the chimney. I’m not sure if it works but it does eradicate the small plants that sometimes grow in the compost heap from the potato peelings.
The remaining shrubbery has been piled high in the middle of the clearing and we decided that €120 for the skip hire was too much to pay. If we had a larger garden I could just leave the pile to rot down, but we need to get it moved. Our solution to the issue is to get lopping.
I have been working my way through the pile with the loppers, patiently chopping up the twigs into pencil sized lengths and filling up coal bags. It actually doesn’t take long to fill a bag and the resulting twigs added to the front room fire has actually been saving us money as we are using half the amount of coal as usual. So it’s a win, win situation. We have saved €120 on the removal of the waste and I would say we will save €100 on coal and the smaller waste that is too fiddly for the fire will go back into the garden as a mulch after I have passed it though the shredding machine. It’s also great exercise for me and the dogs as they enjoy chasing after the sticks and pulling them out of the bags after I put them in. Apart from the temporary mess there are no down sides to this form of recycling in the garden. I love it.
As I am out lopping I’ve been spotting some new growth in the garden. It looks like we have a clump of crocosmia coming up and if the dogs stay off of the rockery area we should have some interesting geraniums popping up. I am not really ready to add more plants to the garden yet until we know what we have already, but if doesn’t stop me from looking at what’s new for 2012.
New Flowers for 2012
As usual there are a lot of new flower varieties out this year with something to please even the gardener who usually just grows vegetables, like me.
Argyranthemum 'Upsy Daisy Blush' Half-hardy Annual. These daisy flowers grow 1.5m (5’) tall in just a couple of months from a spring planting. These half-hardy climbing argyranthemums produce masses of 7cm (3”) wide blooms, that slowly fade from pink through to white,
Hibiscus 'Hardy Giants Collection' Rose Mallow, Mallow. Hardy Shrub. Superb Rose Mallows bearing huge flowers of up to 30cm (12") across! Bred in Nebraska by the Fleming brothers, the 'Van Gogh's', the shrub has short lived flowers that appear throughout the season.
Oleander Collection. Nerium. Hardy Shrub. Hardy summer patio exotic . The sweetly fragrant, funnel shaped blooms flower through the summer and well into autumn, followed by fascinating bean-like seed pods. They make a good hedge too.
Dahlia 'XXXL White'. Half-hardy Annual. A ‘dinner plate’ dahlia that doesn't need staking! Twelve years of breeding have produced this extra strong, extra sturdy Dahlia, with extra large blooms up to 30cm (12") across.
Buddleja 'Flower Power'Buddleja x weyeriana 'Bicolor', Buddleia, Butterfly Bush. Hardy Shrub. Blooms transform from deepest violet to rich butterscotch yellow for an enchanting kaleidoscope of colour. This colourful, low maintenance butterfly bush has a neat compact habit – just perfect for small gardens. Height and spread: 200cm (79").
These are just a few of the plants on offer and no doubt the local garden centres will be stocking even more as the season moved forward. It’s always a bit of a trial and error finding new varieties that will do well and thrive in our climate, but that’s the fun of gardening!