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30 Minutes In The Garden This Weekend

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Would you rather be sunbathing than slogging away in the garden this weekend? Well Eugene is here to show us how spending a half an hour in the garden can make all the difference.

Eugene Higgins - Daddy Cool
I was born into Horticulture in a plant nursery/garden centre in north Co Dublin started in 1940 by my grandfather, so my excuse is, "that its in my blood".

On leaving school I worked in various Dublin radio stations and spent my spare time working in the family run garden centre, this soon reversed after spending an intervening number of years in Australia.

Over the last 12 years I have been combining Horticulture and media work.besides working on the Afternoon Show since season 1 my media contributions have also included:

. BBC   Room For Improvement (Season 1)
. FM 104  Claire McKeon Show
. Lite Fm Dublin Saturday magazine

In 1999 I returned to retailing opening Colour Green Garden Centre in Malahide Dublin, which won "Best Specialist Garden Centre 2002-Ireland".
In 2004 we subsequently moved the business to Tullamore, Co Offaly, where we have a lot more space around us and have concentrated on developing our Colour Green Landscaping Services. Our highlight to date was, being commissioned last year by the Afternoon Show to restore a nursing home's spectacular Japanese garden that had run into serious disrepair (Carrigoran Nursing Home, Co Clare).

I am currently working on an exhibit suburban style landscaped garden in Dublin with a working title of "The Garden Gallery" based at Blackbanks' Garden Centre, Raheny, Dublin which should be completed by late Spring 2008.

Eugene will speak about some easy jobs that one can do in the garden in just 30 minutes this weekend.

Plant bedding plants - 10 Minutes
With the dramatic improvement in the weather its time to start thinking about summer bedding plants
. Mimulas, €3.95 for 6 plants - Likes shade
. Nasturtium, €3.95 for 6. Keep these in pots to control their growth. This plant does well in shade and its fresh leaves are great in a salad
. Nemesia, €4.95. This is an underrated summer flowering plant. With the development of new varieties on the market Numesia can grow u to thirty inches in height. If you put it in a sunny sheltered spot it can return for a number of years and may flower for up to seven months.

Create your own kitchen plot - 10 Minutes
You can create your own little plot for the kitchen with tomatoes, rhubarb and herbs very easily.

Tomatoes, €3.95
Mini Tomatoes, €1.95
For both of the above, begin growing them indoors now and when they begin producing small hard tomatoes then move them outside.

Rhubarb - €5.95
Ensure that you plant this in a sunny area. If you plant Rhubarb this year you could start picking sticks of rhubarb next March. The trick is to not pick any or very little this year. This will benefit next years crop and when it matures around July you'll have plenty to pick from.

And herbs .

Again this is very simple to create and these herbs are suited to being grown in Irish gardens. If you are planting herbs ensure that they are planted in a sunny area of the garden. If the weather deteriorates then take them back indoors.  Remember that although lavender has a large rooting system that it still prefers to grow in a tight spot.

Thyme - €3.95
Rosemary - €3.95

Plant three great plants for summer - 10 Minutes
Clematis Josephine Evijohill, €15.95. Most gardeners love these climbing plants. There are many varieties with a huge range of colours.

Deutzia Hybrida "Strawberry  Field", €12.95. This plant grows well in most soils. Make sure that you always cut back after flowering.

Grevillia "Canberra Gem", €10.95. This plant comes from a family of 250 species that are native to Australia and Tasmania. Grows well in coastal areas that are no too far North away from cold winds. It enjoys a sunny area in the garden and grows to 1.5mt high. It is evergreen with a crimson red colour and interesting needle like leaves.

And don't forget working with the kids!
Pick up some children's tools and get the kids to help out planting your herbs. They'll love planting and looking after these as they are very easy to grow.
Price of kids tools - €27
Tools include . Broom, Spade and Rake
Plus Eugene's Baby grow gift came from

Eugenes tips for the week
. Ensure that you are continuing watering the garden in this hot weather. Particularly newly planted plants.
. If the weather gets bad over the next week or so delay sowing vegetables, wait until weather improves
. Check all of your plants that are situated in pots. They will have grown considerably over the last few weeks and may be outgrowing their pot!
. Begin fertilizing flower gardens as this will certainly help them grow strong through the summer.
. Keep vigilant for pests. As the weather improves more and more pests are going to be looking to attach plants in the garden. We covered pest removal two weeks ago on the show so check the website for some great tips on how to rid your garden of pests.

Bedding Plants .
. Mimulas, €3.95
. Nasturtium, €3.95
. Nemesia, €4.95

Kitchen Plot .
. Tomatoes, €3.95
. Mini Tomatoes, €1.95
. Rhubarb - €5.95
. Thyme - €3.95
. Rosemary - €3.95

Summer Plants
. Clematis Josephine Evijohill, €15.95
. Deutzia Hybrida "Strawberry  Field", €12.95
. Grevillia "Canberra Gem", €10.95
Kids Tools
. Kids Tools - €27

With thanks to Blackbanks Garden Centre - 01 8327047
With thanks to baby nation, Irelands newsest online store for exquisite baby and children's clothing, toys and light furnishings.
To contact Eugene Higgins -