My Garden by Philippa Thomas.  

Wishing all our Dalkey residents, our relatives and our drop-in-friends the happiest of Christmases and then Wishing Us All, Warm Wishes, Good Health, Hope, A Little Sparkle and of course, a touch of ‘Green Fingers’ For This New Year, 2016.

Most of us, love the month of December, for being so Christmassy.  We all seem to be wrapped up in some sort of celebration.  Look hard enough and you will find some little hidden treasure each day in your garden, on your walk, be it in the park, the roadside, Killiney Hill, Dillon’s Park, Harbour, Bullock Harbour etc.  Are we set for Our Winters Tale …. And our brand New Year, 2016.

January gardens are inching towards spring but they are also ready to retreat when our weather is fiercely icy.  But now, it is still deep winter when snow and ice are likely to arrive and so many of us love to welcome its elements.  Frost will put paid to our currant crop of blooms.  Although the Jasmine’s flowering season is far from over; it flowers from November until April.  Then, we see crystalline like drips or droplets of glistening, gleaming ice and snow sprawling and ravaging effortlessly and indescribably beautifully all across and around our local surroundings and landscapes.  So, maybe over this Christmas festive season, try and snatch some quality time, to wallow in some sense of tranquillity, wonder and peace.  Just to be quite alone is absolutely essential for one’s sanity sake.  Maybe sit on one of our welcoming benches somewhere and seize that moment, watch and observe our spectacular seascapes and skies, maybe overlooking Killiney Beach and Bay or pick up our super telescope at Coliemore Harbour and see if our incredible seals are ‘chez nous’ – gracing us with their intriguing presence.  Are we not spoiled for choice?

The joys of our gardens are that each year brings a new canvas on which to paint our dreams and the time to start is now and January brings lengthening days when our plants once again, respond to extended light.  Remember, every garden needs a space to escape prying eyes, even the smallest area.  Trees can provide a haven of privacy and calm.

In Praise of Trees

Wood is one of our greatest gifts.  It is the only renewable source we have, oil wells will run dry, coal mines will run out of coal etc.  Think of the beauty of a tree; in spring, summer, autumn and winter.  Each tree is unique and though we know it is Oak, Beech, Ash, Sycamore, Lime, Yew, etc. it’s life is different depending on its position during its growth.  Its growth rings can tell us its age, the type of winter or summer it has endured and the direction of wind, during that growth.  What about maybe planting a beautiful Holly Tree?  Hollies are seasonal stars of the winter garden.  Hollies come into their own in providing winter structure, especially when dusted with snow or frost which in turn, emphasise every prickle and leaf edge.  Hollies excel in providing structure, texture and colour year round – they truly reflect light and sparkle in winter sunshine, – agree?

Apparently, the fruits of Holly are technically drupes not berries.  Female Hollies generally are grown close to a male Holly in order that pollination takes place, hence their gorgeous berries.

If you are buying a living Christmas tree ensure it is container grown.  Usually containerised trees hold needles longer than cut trees.

Might Do, Maybe December & January Jobs: –

Christmas Wreaths

Weeping Birch twigs make an ideal basis for wreaths; wind a bunch of them around to form a circle and slot pieces of evergreen foliage such as Eucalyptus or Ivy between them.  Decorate with dried mandarin or apply slices, cones, winter berries, bawbells, cinnamon sticks, dried limes – whatever takes your fancy.

Kiss Me Quick!

There is ‘more’ to Mistletoe than an excuse for kisses at Christmas!  It is an evergreen that has fascinated people for millennia.  This plant lives in the sky and never touches the ground.  It settles itself on dormant deciduous hosts which as in some apple trees, etc.  Why not dangle a spring and as well as giving someone a warm hug, admire its seasonal beauty.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops are a welcome sign that spring is on the way.  Did you know that the temperature inside a snowdrop’s inner bell is two degrees warmer than outside despite their apparent fragility, they are amongst the most robust of flowers.  So, why not consider planting a few snowdrop species in their green (they say, always best to plant them in their green foliage after flowering.)?

House Plant Care this Winter

Best really, to choose plants that like the conditions you can provide in your home.  Maybe move plants to south-facing windows so that they can receive more light.  Remember, windowsills can get really cold at night and then, on the other hand, radiators can be far too hot.  Some plants do very well sitting in a tray of pebbles or hydroponics and kept damp.  Grouping house plants together helps raise humidity levels further.

Dalkey Newsletter – December/January 2015 Issue