Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bloom in the Park Dublin

Not much time for putting up new posts as we have just finished our "Lawnless & Orderly" display at Bloom RHS judging takes place this evening so fingers crossed we might get a medal.

Here are some preview pictures just before the gardens were finished and judges doing their rounds. The standards are very high and gardens finised well on time.

Dominick Cullinanes Aubergine Garden where he uses our Cordyline Festival Grass, Agapanthus Bluestorm and Carex Everest

Bord Bia Whitehouse Garden replica before completion

Picture preview of a few other Bloom 2009 Gardens.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

MyPlant Staff Allotments

MyPlant staff Allotments
Have any companies out there organized allotments for their staff? At FitzGerald Nurseries we have and hopefully later in the year we will be able to share our experience with other companies who might be interested in this type of initiative.
Ok so it might be a bit easier for us as some of us are trained horticulturists but we are a bit rusty on growing our own veggies. Like many farmers or others who were brought up when the vegetable plot was a common sight we too have lost the plot (no pun intended) for a while so now we are trying to catch up. This was something we wanted to do for many years and now the catalyst to begin again has arrived.
This year we set up our company allotments beside the nursery. Five staff are actively getting their plots up and running. This pilot scheme looks like its going to bear rewards with a good harvest later this year. After a slightly late start things are now beginning to pop out of the earth. And some interesting varieties of vegetables will be on show later in the year. Vaida and Akvile who are from Lithuania have brought their own seeds from Lithuania with varieties of Cauliflower, Cabbage, Beans and other veg that I have not heard of before so this should be fun to see how these varieties do in our Irish Climate. Ann was off to a good start with her potato seed she brought up from her West Cork home surfacing now and lots of other veg now well established in Anns plot. I have tried out again this year some French potato varieties specially suitable for sauté and salads. We exhibit at a French Horticultural show each year and the last two years I have purchased some varieties commonly used in the Loire Valle area of France so more about these later in the year when we will see how they have performed. I have picked out some French beetroot, onion and carrot varieties to see how flavour and texture compare to home grown varieties.

Sweet Potato (Ipomea batatas)
Sweet potato is one of those healthy and beneficial foods which has been introduced to the Irish diet and supermarket shelves more noticeably in recent years. Normally quite expensive to buy compared to other vegetables so I reckon very well worth trying to grow.
After 12 months research into the possibilities of growing this root vegetable in Irish conditions I have selected the variety Beauregard Improved as the most likely to succeed in our climatic conditions. With fantastic co-operation from some colleagues in USA I managed to get certified stock from Louisiana. Ideally Sweet Potato will require growing in protected greenhouse but we suspect some reasonable yield can be achieved out doors with this variety. Sweet potato can also be grown in patio containers and once our trials are finalized we will post instructions on how to do this in 2010. Testing on how this plant grows in the Irish climate has begun. Already we have fantastic reaction and demand in UK so this plant looks like its could be a success story for 2010 allotment gardeners.

Watch out for future posts about the MyPlant staff allotments and our results on trying some new things just as we do for our garden plant varieties. If you would like to comment on this post please feel free to do so.

Setting up Stand at Bloom
Our set up for Bloom in te Park started Saturday we delivered the grasses to Rebecca Thorn for her inspiringly simple Amongst the Grasses personal retreat design It looks like Rebeccas garden will come together for the big event.

Delivered plants to Dominick Cullinanes Aubergine Garden which looks fantastic already, well planned, professionally executed and bang on schedule. What more can you ask for from a professional like Dominick. See more here

Met up with Peter Donegan who will not be at Bloom this year. Peter constructed imaginative gardens at Bloom in 2007 and 2008 and has been great help to first timer Rebecca Thorn in making sure her concept gets completed on time. Well done Peter good to see such fantastic selfless co-operation. See more about Peters other energetic passions

The Bloom team under direction of Gary Graham are doing a fantastic job again his year despite challenging budgets they have stuck to their vison of presnting a top class internatinal Garden Festival righ her ein the heart of Dublin. They deserve a serious support for this dedication and resolve.

One of the first and most encouraging signs of change in public service dedication to changing the awareness of children and aults to vegetable and fruit gardening has been the walled fruit flower and vegetable garden run by the office of public works. This should not be missed when visiting Bloom!! I visited it yesterdan and the qualityof work, presentation, content, range and scale has increased again this year. This is an important piece of work and deserves recognition. See more on Park activities here . Together with the An Bord Bia Food Dudes program this garden at the Phoenix Park marks positive chage in the perception of Horticulture as a "Nescessary Life Skill" see our MyPlant Article from March 2009.

More reports and pictures from Bloom next week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two Tickets for Bloom

Win two tickets to Bloom!!
The first person to identify and tweet @PatFitzGerald this plant variety correctly gets two tickets to Bloom for Thursday or Friday next week. Take a look at the picture closely. One hint check out
@doneganland will be assisting me in judging, he is an expert in competition judging! Judges of course are disqualified from entering the competition.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Thought

A thought for current times! This quotation below is something I read about 12 months ago and wrote down on my desk. It is very relevant and possibly should be considered in troubleshooting more often.

“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists”

Philosopher Eric Hoffer

So can we depend on the current bunch of learned, certainly there are many learned people around but just as certainly we should question their credentials.

Monday, May 18, 2009

MyPlant Water Collection

New Water Collection initiative

We can now report our new water butt is up and running and the first phase of our plan to collect all roof water for recycling to irrigation on the nursery is well under way with this not so little water butt fully operational.
Ok so its a little bit more than a water butt !!! Thats a 3.5 metre high tank and 65,000 imp gallons thats almost 300,000 litres.

More later in the year as this water conservation program develops.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dont miss out on making some savings on your tickets to Bloom this year.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drought tolerant plant for containers

A tough drought tolerant plant for Balcony and Patio gardens.
Fasciularia bicolor
Scarlett Pineapple. For the small balcony or patio space we have plants such as the hardy Bromelia Fascicularia bicolor from mountainous cliff faces of Chile which can resist the most difficult of conditions including drought, cold and exposure to wind. Commonly known as Scarlett Pineapple this plant looks fantastic all year round in a container and then once mature in September will give you a wonderful treat with its bright red foliage bract and metallic blue flower. Better again Scarlett Pineapple is extremely drought tolerant so requires little care once potted correctly in Shamrock MyPlant container compost mixed 2 parts Shamrock to 1 part MyPlant vermiculite. Scarlett PineApple has been grown by knowledgeable plants people since the late 80’s in UK and now can adorn even the most novice gardeners patio, balcony or garden a touch of exotica from South America yet thoroughly adaptable to your garden or outdoor living space a must for your collection and it will stay with you for years with little care. See for more information.

Easy Care Container Plants

Easy care Plants to liven up small gardens, balconies and patios all year round.
Put some life and colour into your home surroundings Summer, Autumn and Winter. In today’s topsy-turvy world the one place we can have some refuge and surround ourselves with beautiful things of our choosing is our home and garden. Whether you have a small garden a balcony garden, a large garden or something in between, the plants you choose to surround your home with are an important part of the ambience you create. At MyPlant we have been thinking of your changing plant needs as we develop the MyPlant range. One of the basic considerations in our plant testing for the MyPlant range has been what garden and living spaces are going to be like in the future and how much energy do we need to grow these plants for you.
A number of years ago I developed a presentation called ‘New Plants New Spaces’ for a nursery conference and since then I presented this paper on a few occasions. This concept has become part of the MyPlant philosophy for testing different plants from microclimates around the world to use in applications which in some ways mimic the plants natural environment.
If we look at the modern garden plant container or patio border as possibly more like a crevice in a high altitude rock face in Chile, a shaded woodland a dry hill slope in Japan or a sandy free draining seaside dune in New Zealand we can begin to get more of an idea what type plants we need and how adaptable they can be for urban living spaces. Together with this idea of what we need in this changed environment we combine the skills of plant breeders. These breeders with a lot of help from nature come up with numerous attractive varieties which give us longer lasting and more easily maintained plants for the small garden or balcony container and our long term enjoyment. Today we have a much wider choice of plants for these close to house spaces than ever before and through the MyPlant selection process we now bring many of these exciting plants from our own breeding and our international breeder colleagues for everyone to enjoy and decorate the new ‘outdoor room’.
If you live in North West Europe the thought of anywhere being sun baked and dry may seem ludicrous in past summers but try sitting against a white or light coloured wall on a sheltered balcony or patio even on a normal summer day for hour after hour without protection then maybe you can sense the drying heat your plants must tolerate. If you try the same test in winter then a sense of how strong a plant must be can be appreciated. In such situations and especially without optimum care the choice of plant is crucial so that you get the best value for your money.
In selecting plants for the MyPlant range we want to explore all possibilities and boundaries to conventional patio and balcony gardening and take the complication out of gardening to leave more time for the enjoyment which is ultimately what the garden, balcony or patio is for.
Over the coming months we will highlight some of our MyPlant introductions to give a seasonal attraction to your living space no matter how large or small. Hopefully you will come prepared into 2009 for more adventurous container and small space gardening. We want you to consider plant shape, form and foliage more as a year round exciting solution for your outdoor home. In the long term we want you the customer to get a good feeling about your plants but more importantly your living space. Like many things in life it is not what we sell to you that is appreciated the most, it is how our plants help make you feel which is the longer lasting gift. In difficult times more than anytime we like to be surrounded by some special things. We believe our plants are such special living things that give all the natural green benefits of nature year round.

You don’t need to own a garden to enjoy a plant and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy MyPlant™.