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Paraic Horkan on Radio 1 – 20/04/2016

flowering cherry photo

This week on the Today Show with Sean O’Rourke Paraic talks about Spring Flowering Trees, pruning roses, and garden ponds.

We’re having beautiful weather lately, the temperatures are rising and we should soon be seeing significant growth in the garden. It’s perfect gardening weather to plant trees, vegetables or herbs, so let’s get out there!

Right now the warmer temperatures mean that the soil is finally getting warmer, but it is still very moist, perfect for planting some spring flowering trees. Some beautiful trees to think about planting now are the flowering Cherry, the Laburum or the Cornus. You can buy three or four year old trees at your local garden centre right now, and if you plant them now they will even flower this year.

The Flowering Cherry was our plant of the month for April and for good reason. It’s beautiful flowers add wonderful colour and it’s available in several varieties, so there is one to suit every garden! There are several types of flowering cherries for those whose gardens are on the smaller size, some of which can even be grown in pots. A beautiful variety Paraic recommends is

The Laburnum is another fantastic choice for your garden. A deciduous tree, it is also known as the Golden Shower Tree or Golden Chain Tree. The leaves are trifolate, somewhat like a clover, typically between 2-5 cm long. It has yellow pea-flowers that hang down loosely, roughly 10-40 cm long in spring, making them very popular garden trees.  The yellow flowers are responsible for the old poetic name ‘golden chain tree’.

Once again if you plant this tree now, it will flower in your garden this year. Another wonderful choice for any garden would be the flowering Cornus. Flowering Cornus trees are grown for their showy coloured bracts in late spring and early summer, while shrubby Cornus are grown for their vivid winter stem colour. There is a beautiful variety called the Cornus Kousa Milky Way, which has wonderful white star like flowers which comes into in May and has fantastic red berries in Autumn.

rose plant photoIf you haven’t pruned your roses yet don’t worry there is still time. It’s perfectly fine to prune roses up until late April in colder weather, like we’ve been having lately. In general you will be pruning just before the plant breaks dormancy after spring’s final frost. We need to prune to encourage fresh and new growth, but also to remove older, less active wood. Roses need to be pruned back quite hard, somewhere between 6 and 8 inches from the soil level. Remember to feed your roses well after you have pruned them, and then again about once a month after that with a handful of good rose fertiliser. If you want to plant new roses do it today and they will flower by summer. It’s a great time to plant scented roses such as Mum in a Million or  Precious Amber. Plant now and you will get some beautiful colour by August.

garden pond photoNow is also a great time to add a pond or a water feature. They are much easier to install than a lot of people think they are. All you need is power source for a water pump which will circulate the water around your pond. Adding a new pond is actually very easy!

  1. Mark out the area where you want to place your pond.
  2. Dig out the soil, you don’t need to dig very deep.
  3. Have a shelf or a step around your pond, this is where your plants will be placed.
  4. Line your pond.
  5. Put in a water pump, add a water feature or sprinkler if you desire.
  6. Fill up your pond with tap water.
  7. Introduce fish or plants to your pond.

pond photoYou should always think of safety when installing a pond. Never dig too deep, and you can always add pebbles or large rocks to the center of a pond to reduce depth. Occasionally ponds will need to be topped up with water, but generally the rain will take care of this task. Once a year you will have to do some maintenance to keep your pond healthy. Remove about 1/3 of the water from the pond and replace it with fresh tap water. You may also want to add a pond cleaner to clean the water at this point. A great one is Fresh Start. This will clean the water, remove chlorine and start the oxygen moving. It as also a good time to add some fish or plant feed to really give your fish and plants a boost. If you want to add some plants water lilies or other oxygenating plants will help your pond to thrive.

Paraic also answered listeners questions ranging from the proper soil for hydrangeas, how to clear bluebells, slow blooming camellias and much more. Click here to read Paraic’s answers!

You can listen to the show below by clicking on the play button.

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