What are Perennial Flowers and should I have them in my garden? These are questions that I'm often asked here at Rockbarton Garden Centre. Perennial flowers are simply flowers that will flower year after year, They generally die back into the ground during the winter, but come spring they revive when the temperatures increase enough for growth. There are literally thousands and thousands of varieties of perennial flowers, Some suit a shady corner, some suit a sunny border, others flower all summer and still more flower during the autumn months when there's very little else colour left in the garden. For today, I'm picking some of my top Perennial performers, the reason being, that these in particular put on a great show and flower for really long periods of time.
Do you have any favourites in your garden? I'd love to hear about what your favourite plants are.
I'll be posting in the next few weeks about my favourite trees, so watch this space. I'll also be advising on the right plants for a shady spot in the garden that may need something colourful to brighten it up! If you'd like to keep up to date about my blog, then just enter your email address and I'll email you our latest post and any offers that we have here at Rockbarton Garden Centre.
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Now, here's that top 5 perennials that I promised! Happy Gardening, Lynda
Erysimum Bowles Mauve
These purple/mauve flowers are stunning in the grey/green foliage. Erysimum Bowles Mauve will flower from April right through until August. This is a perennial wallflower and will come back year after year and it is extremely hardy. It likes the soil to be well drained, so avoid anywhere it's going to get water logged, It enjoys a sunny aspect and can spread up to 3 feet or 1 metre if it's given the room. (Pictured is the Erysimum just in bud)
Are you looking for something to do with the kids for the Easter break?
We are having an Spring Fair, with food from Happy food at Home, BBQ Blasta, Lydia will be back with her famous cupcakes, Lough Gur Pottery will be here to let you try your hand at making a little pot., along with Cookie & Crumb and The Green Apron will be here with their award winning preserves. So why not come visit us on Saturday 31st March 2018 for a relaxing day out at Rockbarton Garden Centre.
We are proud to announce that the Easter Bunny will also be here to help the children in their hunt for all things chocolate, The children will also be able to enjoy face-painting, making their own clay pinch pots and more on the day. Available slots for the Easter Egg hunt are booking up fast so to avoid disappointment please don't delay in booking your place, its really easy to do, just click on this link GET TICKETS.
Have you small children in your house and are not sure what to do with the garden? Are those goal posts in the garden taking up lots of space? Have you got all lawn and not much else in the garden. Maybe your just not sure where to start?
Over the next few weeks, I'll be offering ideas on helping you to plan out your space. The plan is a starting point and will likely evolve over time as you develop your garden. People tend to make ongoing changes as their tastes evolve. Indeed, as your children grow, your garden grows and the requirements of the garden space changes. At the start, there's no point in putting in lots of delicate flowers that your kids are likely to trample on. You want hardy, robust plants that will stand up to a little abuse, but you also want it to look like a space that's to be enjoyed, is attractive and pleasing to the eye.
One of the first things that you want to decide on, is where to locate a patio or seating area. Do you like to entertain during the summer months? Have a family barbeque? Sit out with a glass of wine or cup of tea in the evenings? What are you going to use the space for? If it's for eating then it's best if it's somewhere close to the house where you don't have to trek up and down the garden every time you've forgotten the ketchup? I would recommend that you grab a chair and a cuppa and sit down where you think you'd like to have your patio. Is it really sunny - ok, it's not sunny today, but does it get full sun? What about during the evening? Is it windy? The last thing you want to do is spend money on a patio, sit down to your bbq and realise that the wind is howling through and you can't enjoy the space.
Is there anywhere else in the garden that you want to have a seat. I have a little corner marked out for myself that I'd like to have a seat in. There's nothing planted there right now, it's surrounded by a hedge but I'd really like to put a seat in that corner. It's really peaceful, it gets sunshine during the day. I'd like it to be a little hidden so that if there's anyone else in the garden they might not see me (ok, fine, it's a place to hide from the kids!). Do you have a place in mind for yourself. Some people, like to have a small table and chairs further down the garden, not to eat in really, but sit down with a cuppa - I'd be happy with just a bench. If there is somewhere that you'd like, again bring out a chair, sit there for a little while. Can you hear lots of traffic, some might not mind the noise but for others it's too much of a distraction and they want to be able to hear the birds chirping.
I'd highly recommend bringing out a chair for a few days, try out a few different parts of the garden that you think you might like to have a seat. Close your eyes and imagine what you would like to surround yourself with - evergreens, ferns, flowers coming up in Spring, daffodils, tulips, or lavenders that are really scented during the summer. Gardening is really personal, it's your space, to sit back and enjoy with your husband, wife, family or friends. It's something to be enjoyed and treasured, it's a journey. Happy Gardening, Lynda
If you'd like to get updates on continuing this journey together, then please send me your email address by clicking here and I'll keep you updated.
Shrubs that are scented add another dimension to our garden, especially at this time of year when it can be so quiet in the garden with not much happening, or so you might think. I was passing a flower bed yesterday and the shoots for the snowdrops are already peeping through the soil and before you know it the daffodils will be shooting up too.
You might have seen recently that I mentioned the Choisya Sundance (pictured here on the left), which I have found is really scented. I think it smells a little like basil, it is an evergreen shrub. If you are not familiar with this variety of Choisya then it has yellow leaves, which really stand out in the winter garden, it gives a great glow of colour. It does flower, but I would grow it for the foliage and the scent alone!
Sarcococca confusa, is another great shrub for the winter garden.
It is also as known as sweet box, or Christmas box. It is another evergreen shrub, which means that it keeps it's leaf all year round. There are white flowers on it during the winter months following with berries which may last throughout the year. It is really a sweetly scented shrub, hence it's common name Sweet box.
It likes the sun, but can also do well in part shade too. You don't really need to prune the Sarcococca, but you can prune anything that's damaged once it's finished flowering.
Viburnums are another great winter flowering shrub to have in the garden. They require a little space but are worth having with their tiny white flowers, amongst the narrow evergreen leaves.
There are so many different varieties of Viburnums that there is a book dedicated to all of them... which is called Vibernums by Michael Dirr. This variety of Viburnum is tinus. You don't really need to prune this Viburnum, but if you do want to cut it back the best time is during May. If you're planting this in the garden, remember it likes sunshine, but it will do well if there's a little shade too!
Mahonia, is one of my favourite winter flowering shrubs. I think it's the mass of yellow flowers and the prickly leaves, (which the kids have learnt not to touch, and if I'm ever asking for help, this is one they'll just refuse on sight!)
It flowers from November through to April depending on the weather. It's evergreen leaves can be a little prickly. However the shrub has an abundance of yellow flowers during the winter months, followed by blue berries. It can grow tall, but you can keep it in check by pruning it once it has finished flowering. Mahonia's can do well in a shady area too, so if you're looking to brighten up a corner, this can work well.
These are just 4 examples of winter flowering shrubs that would look great in any garden right now. We have them all in stock at Rockbarton Garden Centre and we'd love to help you pick the right plants for your garden.
Happy Gardening, Lynda
December is traditionally the time for the Christmas trees and our Fresh Irish Christmas Trees arrived here at Rockbarton Garden Centre on Wednesday 29th November.
Have you a date that you traditionally put up your tree? I know some like to have it up for the Late Late Toy Show. In our house we celebrate one of the kids birthdays on December 6th and I like to celebrate this and put up the Christmas tree after this date.
But either way, no matter when you decide to put it up if you want it to last through the Christmas season then you need to ensure to keep it watered. I place a pot precariously under the tree filled with water (well Bryan does!) and the base of the tree sits in the water!! Others like to put it in a bucket of sand or soil, but the main thing is to keep it watered so that it will stay fresh. Try and put the tree away from the fire or radiators, so that it won't dry out too fast.
Christmas wreaths are another lovely Christmas tradition. I make wreaths using natural foliage, with cones, ribbons and lots of sparkles. I can make wreaths that are suitable for your door, or for a loved ones grave. There are always a large variety in stock and you can pick between using just natural decorations with limes, lotus heads, or go for something more colourful with reds, golds or silvers. I can make to order, so just get in touch if you would like to order something
Order form for Christmas Arrangements
We have Christmas Wreath Workshop here at Rockbarton Garden Centre every year, where everyone makes their own Christmas Wreath, using fresh foliage sourced locally. We use holly, Golden King with lots of red berries, eucalyptus and pittosporum. These are all different coloured foliage, with different leaf sizes and shapes which adds to the texture of your wreath. I also supply all the decorations, dried oranges, limes, lotus heads, cones, along with baubles, ribbons and bows. There is never a shortage and you get to fill your Christmas Wreath, so that it is full of colour and vitality. You will be the envy of friends and neighbours when they see your fabulous Christmas wreath on your door.
Hear more about our wreath classes 2018 - I will email you before the date to remind you that it's on.and the details of how to book.
I also make table centres using fresh flowers and foliage, in oasis with candles, robins and cones, maybe even a few apples! As they are all made using fresh materials, , , these are normally available from the 13th of December, I use lots of fresh foliage and flowers and find that if they are made after this date they will last through the Christmas period. They area a beautiful addition to your Christmas table.
Wishing you and your family a safe, enjoyable Christmas.
Click here if you'd like to order any of these items
I didn't get a chance to take any pictures at the Christmas Boutique Market, Ciara from Happy Food at Home, I hope you don't mind me sharing yours.
What an amazing day yesterday at our Christmas Market. Thank you so much to all of our traders that were here, they really made the day a huge success, the variety of stalls, the warm welcomes, makes it so easy to hold our annual boutique fair.
A HUGE massive thank you to all that visited yesterday, we hope you enjoyed the complimentary mulled wine, Get West archery and Roisin Meaney storytelling. Our little tea shop for the day was a huge success, it was great to see so many people sitting down and enjoying the chat and craic throughout the day. We hope that everyone that visited enjoyed the day as much as us (although I do have to admit, feeling a little tired today!).
But all of this would not be possible without the huge support from both my family and Bryan's, it was all hands on deck. David (Bryan's Dad) was directing cars and traffic along with Eamonn (my brother), Muireann (Bryan's sister) and Suzanne (my sister) were manning the coffee shop, serving tea, hot chocolate and coffee!! Mary (Bryan's Mum) provided the very warm welcome at the gate serving our complimentary mulled wine. In the background my own parents were taking care of my David, John, Ned, Mary-Anne and baby Levi, while cooking dinner, so when the market was over we'd a hot meal to eat. Without all this help from our families, we would not have gotten through the day. Also a huge thank you to our friends and neighbours that helped out and lent us equipment for the market. I must add that we'd a lot of help from our families before the market, getting the coffee shop set up and ready, putting up marquees, working long evenings after a days work. We truly are forever grateful to all and everyone that makes our Boutique market fair a huge success. We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, Thanks for all the support, Lynda & Bryan
Thank you so much to our customers who took the time out to write some fabulous words about our market. Here's some of the things that you had to say
"Great day today at the Christmas market. Wonderful atmosphere and some beautiful stalls. Well done Lynda and Co. Already looking forward to next year!!" - Karimi Nash
"What a lovely afternoon at the Christmas market in Rockbarton Garden Centre. My small man had an absolute ball playing archery which I might add was free. We loved our hot chocolate & marshmallows ,the stalls were all just fabulous & the beautiful array of plants & shrubs was just amazing. Last year was brilliant & this year ye really outshone yourselves yet again. Well done Lynda, Brian & all the family I can’t wait for next years one already!!" Rosaleen Hartnett
Fab day yesterday.Loved the mulled wine - Maura McNamara
What a fantastic afternoon spent with great friends at Rockbarton Garden Centre Christmas Fair. We thoroughly enjoyed the family friendly and festive atmosphere! There were any amount of potted plants, Christmas trees and wreaths available and so many beautiful local crafts and food! The story time & hot chocolate went down a treat with the little ones! Wonderful job Rockbarton garden centre, especially Lynda and all your elf helpers!! - Michelle Farnan
Had the most wonderful Christmas market today in Rockbarton Garden Centre, Linda and Brian you worked so hard for a great day hopefully enjoyed by both traders and visitors, as traders we never know what the day will bring , so when customers come and we traders have a laugh... life is good. Theresa The Green Apron, SamCookie and Crumb, Claire Sandwich Sisters. Linda I am in love with Space... and baby Levi. Many Thanks for a wonderful day ❤️❤️ - Ciara Brennan, Happy Food at Home
I want to plant a hedge, but I'm not sure what to plant in my garden?
Is it that you would like a native hedge, where you will have berries that will become food for birds and hedgehogs? If this was the case you could choose something like whitethorn, blackthorn or holly and it will also provide a windbreak for you in your garden.
Or would you like something that's just for windbreak but you want it to be evergreen with leaves all year round. If this is the case then you could choose something like Laurel, Privet, Griselinia, Buxus (Box), Yew,
Is it that you like to see your hedge changing through the seasons, Whitethorn, Beech, Hornbeam and Ribes (flowering currant) are all hedges that loose their leaf during the winter months, and are what's known as decideous plants.
From November to March is a great time to purchase and plant your hedge the reason being that you can buy plants which have bare roots. This simply means that there is no pot or compost, it's just the plant with roots. It is transplanted from my garden to yours without letting the roots dry out. This means that you are paying a lot less for your plant, for example a laurel in a pot might cost you €5, but as a bare rooted plant it is only €2. You might think that there's not much in the difference, but if you are buying a hundred plants then it is a saving of €300.
There are lots of plants that can be used for hedging and the majority of them can be purchased bare root from now on, including Whitethorn, Beech, Laurel, Griselina, Berberis, Escallonia, Hornbeam to mention but a few. There are a few exceptions to this such as Red Robin and Portugese Laurel, both of which are evergreen but can only be purchased as potted plants
If you are not sure what is the bests plant for your garden, the email Lynda firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to answer any questions that you have. Rockbarton Garden Centre is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and we'd be happy to help you pick the right hedge for your garden, Happy Gardening Lynda
Intensive Gardening Workshop
Our Intensive Gardening Workshop will start on Tuesday October 24th at 9.30 am. This interactive, hands on workshop to help you to learn and develop new skills to help your ornamental garden reach it's potential.
As part of the workshop you will learn how to propagate perennial flowers, by division and by cuttings and how to plant them in another part of the garden.
Learn all about:
The class will give you the opportunity to learn new skills while also learning about new plants, flowers and shrubs that would look great in your garden. It presents participants with an opportunity to take stock of their existing garden and plan the way forward. This Autumn is the time to set your plans in place to have a re-vitalised ornamental garden next Spring.
You will also cover details about Spring bulbs, how to know what is best for your garden and pots. You will learn how to plant up your bulbs to make an eye catching display that will be the envy of all your friends! Along with how to maintain your bulbs year after year. As summer is drawing to a close, we will also cover a little about your summer bulbs and what to do with them now.
Click here to book.
As we are approaching the winter months, it is a great time to learn what it is that you can do in your garden now that will help your garden to settle in for the winter and be ready for the growing season in the Spring. I will give you tips and advice on how to put the garden to bed for the winter.
I am looking forward to introducing you to gardening in a friendly, interactive way that will help you to learn new skills and new information that will use in your own garden. There will also be refreshments served during the class.
Please click here to book your place on our gardening workshop on October 10th
What you will need to make new Lavender Plants
Keep an eye on our blog to see how the children got on when they bring back their plants in 4 weeks time.
If you would like to know more about our next Children's class then please click here to register your interest.
Are you tired of your summer bedding, or maybe they no longer look as well as they did over the summer. There are lots of colourful flowers available to brighten up your pots. Opposite is an example of a window box that I have planted using the Autumn/Winter bedding.
There are lots of plants available right now at Rockbarton Garden Centre that can be used to brighten up your displays. I have used a mix of Cyclamen, Dianthus, trailing ivy and violas in the boxes above. We have Chrysanthemums, Heathers, and Pansies all in flower right now. These colourful flowers are grown specifically for this time of year and can last right through the winter months and on into spring.
I like to use coloured window boxes at this time of year. In this picture you can see the pink of the window boxes. The bedding won't trail down out over them as the petunias do in the summer, so it is nice to see the bright colours on the window sills with complimentary flowering plants inside them.
There are lots of plant combinations that you can use together in your window boxes or pots and it doesn't necessarily just have to be the bedding. You can use asters, grasses, or heucheras as centerpieces, surrounding them with pinks or yellow violas. Striking colour combinations along with textured foliage can make your pots stand out and offer a really warm welcome to your door.
If you would like to brighten up your pots/window boxes then stop into us here at Rockbarton Garden Centre and we'll help you pick out the most suitable plants. Alternatively, you can bring your pots/window boxes and I'll fill them for you with plants and colours that will compliment you and your home.
We are having an Adult Gardening Workshop on October 24th, if you are interested in learning more about the masterclass then click here.
4 Week Children's Gardening Course
Our next gardening course for children starts this Saturday 9th September. As part of our curriculum, we will be learning about vegetables that can be sown and flowers that can be planted during the winter months, both from seed and bulbs, as well as learning about fruit trees and the importance of bugs!
Learn all about:
This class gives children an opportunity to learn in a relaxed atmosphere, while all the time having fun and learning new skills. Children are encouraged to pick something up to bring home during the course so that they can watch and learn from growing something at home.
Working together as a team, the children can expect to learn about winter plants, what they can sow as seeds now that will grow during the next few months. There will be bulb planting and learning about the different type of bulbs and how to sow them, along with the seed sowing. It is a practical class, with hands on work experience for the children.
Click here to book.
Last weekend, children who took part in our last gardening class came back to see the fruits of their labour and take home the produce they had worked hard on. There were lots of vegetables sown, both from seed and as small plug plants. The children went home with organic red and white onions and carrots. They had a great time digging up their crop and learnt all about harvesting the crop, why certain plants didn't thrive, why others were damaged by caterpillars, how the onions grew so big and why do they taste differently. The children were very proud of their hard work and were delighted to bringing home their dinner! Throughout the last course some students brought home carrot seeds, lettuce seeds and even sweetcorn that they planted them here at the class and brought them home. Each week there was a discussion during the class on how their project at home was growing.
Book our next 4 Week Childrens Gardening Class Here
Lynda is married to Bryan and they have 5 children, Together they have created a garden centre with the perfect plants, shrubs, trees and flowers to help you create the ornamental garden of your dreams !