Pests – Prevention for indoor and outdoor plants

It’s time time of year when pests can dampen all your fantastic gardening efforts! Here are our top tips for keeping pests on indoor and outdoor plants in check this summer!

OUTDOOR PLANTS

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly approach for dealing with your pest problems, check out our green solutions and prevention methods below.

Pest Control

Green Pest Control Solutions

A natural approach to keeping pests away is the use of strong-smelling plants, like garlic, onions, chives and scallions. A simple home remedy of crushed garlic cloves mixed with water in a spray bottle can be used to spray your indoor and outdoor plants. The pungent smell deters pests like aphids and rodents from entering your garden. Ladybirds can also help with your garden clean-up by eating away your unhealthy bug problem for you. For slug onslaughts, you can trap them with a shallow container filled with beer. Snails and slugs will be attracted to the smell and find a way to crawl in, but then they get stuck and you can toss them out all at once.

Snail

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Plant Pest Control Prevention Methods

You can use pesticides and other spot treatments to kill a pest problem that already exists. Start by doing a clean-up of your garden. Insects like hiding out in weeds and any other places that provide easy cover. This includes high grasses – so remember to regularly mow your lawn. Once you remove these hiding spots, you will hopefully force any unwanted garden visitors to seek other easy hiding places outside of your garden. Remember to feed your plants as well to keep them healthy and strong.

Sowing a lawn

INDOOR PLANTS

Methods you can use to Control Houseplant Pests

Syringing plants. Many household plant pests can be controlled, at least in part, by washing the plant periodically with a vigorous jet of water. This is particularly effective for spider mites and aphids, which are most readily dislodged.

Handpicking. Larger houseplant insects can be controlled by handpicking. This is especially useful for scale insects and mealybugs.

Sanitation. Seriously infested plants are often best discarded because they usually require lengthy and extraordinary efforts to control the pests.

Indoor houseplant insecticide, preferably systemic. Follow the instructions on whatever product you have and again don’t forget to feed your house plants to keep them healthy and strong!

Drop in to get any further advice you might need!

Best wishes,

The Powerscourt Garden Pavilion Team

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Easter at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion

The Easter holidays are on the horizon and that can mean only one thing; trying to keep the kids occupied! This is where the garden comes into its own. It’s great to get the kids outside and involved in tidying up the garden or planting some colour for the coming months and here at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion we have the perfect kid-sized tools for digging, as well as a great choice of seeds designed to spark their interest in gardening.

Easter Bunny

 

Turn it into an adventure looking for bugs with magnifying glasses and studying them up close with one of our bug viewers. If you’re squeamish about bugs even better; let the kids chase you around the garden! There’s nothing better than hearing them laughing, and remember, you used to do that too when you were their age. Encourage them not to be afraid of spiders even though you might be – you could use this to your advantage!

Easter

When those April showers strike, a little imagination goes a long way. Arrange some stray twigs that you may have tidied from the garden in a vase and create an Easter tree. There are egg painting sets here at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion to decorate your tree with, or you can add ribbons, chicks and ready-decorated eggs from our selection to your creations.

Easter

Kids like to go all out for any occasion so why not decorate your home with the pastels of the season? You could decorate your front door with one of our wreaths or your kitchen table with a fun chicken-shaped bowl or an egg cup with none other than the Easter Bunny on the lid. Keep things simple and have lots of fun; remember these are their childhood memories that you are creating, so let’s make them special!

Easter

All of the team here at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion wish you a very happy Easter, and we look forward to hearing about all the fun you have had over the holidays.

Best wishes,

Penny

Growing Potatoes and Tomatoes – Our Top Picks!

We hope you had a lovely St.Patrick’s Day. It is getting to that time of year when the weather is warmer, the evenings are longer and everyone wants to get outdoors! It’s a great time of year to garden and particularly to grow your own. This week, our horticulturalist Justin Smyth gives his top picks for potatoes and has some excellent advice on growing tomatoes.

Grow Your Own

POTATOES

HOME GUARD

Home Guard is one of the best first early potato grown in Ireland.  It is available to buy from mid-February. It has a fluffy texture that improves as the season progresses.

MARIS PIPER

Maris Piper has a golden skin colour with dry creamy white fluffy flesh of good flavour. They are a good all-rounder, excellent for roasting and the one of the best chipping variety available. Indeed, they are the variety of potato most favoured by chippers throughout Ireland.

Growing Potatoes

SARPO MIRA

Naturally blight resistant and currently grown by approximately 300 researchers around Ireland.

When to harvest potatoes:

  • 1st Earlies : May – July
  • 2nd Earlies : July – September
  • Main crop : September – May

Tomatoes

TOMATOES

If you’re not sure what type of tomato you want to grow and are a bit overcome with the huge range available, I would try ‘Gardener’s Delight’ It’s a beautiful, juicy cherry tomato that is really easy to grow.

For greenhouse cultivation: sow from February to March.

  • Sow seeds on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp, seed sowing mix and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite.
  • Place seed trays in a propagator at a constant temperature of around 15-20C (59-68F) until after germination, which takes 7-14 days.
  • When seedlings gain 2 true leaves, transplant into individual 7.5cm (3″) pots of compost and grow on at a minimum temperature of 15C (59F).
  • When growing in a heated glasshouse tomato plants may be transplanted at the end of May or when the first flowers are showing, if earlier.
  • Allow 3 plants per growbag, or one per 25cm (10″) pot, or plant tomatoes directly into the greenhouse soil.

All above varieties are available in Powerscourt Garden Pavilion.

See you soon at Powerscourt!

Justin

Store Renovation and Spring Launch at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion

Store Renovation and Spring Launch at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion

Nothing says ‘Spring’ like a visit to the tranquil Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow with its tree-lined avenue, and gardens filled with dozens of daffodils and cherry blossom trees. Located within the estate is Powerscourt Garden Pavilion which has recently undergone far more than just a spring clean!

Gardening

Powerscourt Garden Pavilion will shortly be launching its newly renovated store, brand new spring range and lots of new offerings. Join them for their ‘Spring Launch’ on Sunday 22nd of March from 12 to 5pm for an enjoyable afternoon to celebrate their new look after 14 years in business.

Enjoy sampling delicious treats from the Powerscourt Garden Pavilion food range, face-painting for kids and offers on their spring and summer ranges. All are welcome to attend. Find out more at www.powerscourtgardenpavilion.com/events

Things to Do in the Garden this March Part 2

Here is par 2 of your March gardening to-do list from our Garden Pavilion Manager Claire Hayes. Let us know how you are getting on with your garden this month in the comments section below 🙂 Look forward to hearing from you!

Pest and Weed Control

  • Herbaceous perennials infested with couch grass and other perennial weeds should be lifted so the roots of the weeds can be removed. Improve the soil by digging in organic matter before replanting.
  • Clear up weedy beds before mulching. Lighter soils can be mulched now, but heavier soils are best left until March, when the soil is warmer. Mulching with a deep layer of organic matter helps to condition the soil, suppress weed growth, insulate plant roots from temperature fluctuations, and conserve soil moisture during the summer.
  • Top dress spring-flowering alpines with grit or gravel to show off the plants and to help prevent stem rots. Mulch may need replacing after weed removal. 
  • Remove weeds from around the bases of young trees.
  • Mulch and feed shrubs, trees, hedges and climbers after pruning, to give them energy for the extra growth they will put on after cutting back.
  • Prune established bush and standard roses as they start growing but before any leaves unfurl. Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers fade.
  • Put rabbit guards around newly planted trees and shrubs to protect the bark .
  • Regularly inspect plants, and also the structures of the greenhouse and conservatory, for glasshouse red spider mite, whitefly, thrips and other pests.
  • Careful attention to the undersides of the leaves, and to each plant in turn, can spot early infestations that would otherwise be missed.
  • Control with approved insecticides and biological controls, and hang yellow sticky traps to help monitor numbers of flying pests.
  • Brush up fallen compost and debris, and pick off dead leaves from plants. This will help prevent pests and disease spreading.

Weed

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Lawn Maintenance

  • Turf can still be laid, provided the soil is not too wet or frozen. Work from planks, to avoid compacting the soil. Do not walk on newly laid turf, and leave it undisturbed for several weeks to allow the new roots to establish.
  • Mow the established lawns if the weather is mild enough and the grass shows signs of growth. Ensure the first cut of the season is light, raising the blades 0.5cm (0.25in) higher than the usual cutting height.
  • Where lawns are to be grown from seed, prepare the ground for sowing by cultivating, levelling and then firming the soil. Doing this now will allow the soil to settle prior to sowing later in the month, or in April.
  • In late March apply a high nitrogen spring/summer lawn fertiliser to encourage good, strong growth to help the lawn recover after the winter.
  • Straighten lawn edges using a half-moon turf iron and a board, or use sand to mark out a curve, which can then be cut out with the iron.

Lawn

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General Maintenance

  • Continue with hard landscaping if the ground is firm. Try and finish projects early in the month, to free time and space for much needed maintenance and planting as the spring begins.
  • Remove dirt and algae from walls, paving and patios.
  • Check and repair pergolas, arbours, arches and fence if needed.
  • Give watering cans a good scrub out to prevent fungal disease.
  • Take action to remove algae from paths if they start to become slippery.

Summer Garden

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That list should keep you busy in the garden for a while! Look forward to seeing you at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion soon 🙂

Claire

Things to Do in the Garden this March Part 1

It’s hard to believe that it’s already March! It’s a great time to get active in the garden and plan for a fabulous summer garden in a few months time.

Our Garden Pavilion Manager Claire Hayes has put together a gardening to do list for the month of March. Here goes!

Sowing, Growing and Planting

Continue to plant deciduous hedging plants, shrubs, trees and climbers.

This is the best month for planting roses in heavy soils or in cold areas. Avoid planting in areas where roses were previously grown, otherwise new introductions may suffer from replant disease.

Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a balanced fertiliser (such as Growmore or blood, fish and bone), sprinkling it over the root area before hoeing into the soil surface. This will particularly benefit young, weak, damaged or heavily pruned plants.

Rose
Roses will benefit from feeding with a granular rose fertiliser as they come into growth. Hardy annuals can be sown in pots or modules to provide colour in the garden. In mild areas you can sow directly outside. Marking out irregularly shaped seedbeds and broadcasting drifts of different seed gives a more natural look.

Early spring is an ideal time to plant herbaceous perennials, including Geranium, Astrantia and Oriental poppies.

Plant summer-flowering bulbs. Prepare the soil first, to ensure that drainage is sufficient to prevent the bulbs rotting. Anemone coronaria tubers need particularly well-drained soils.

Geranium

Plan a continuous crop of cut flowers for this summer add Perennials such as delphiniums and annuals to produce a useful and beautiful display.

Pot up houseplants showing signs of being root-bound or top dress large containers with fresh compost.

Indoor forced bulbs that were in the house for winter displays, but which have now finished flowering, can now be planted into the garden, taking care not to disturb the roots.

Daffodil

Pruning and Propagation

Divide and/or plant bulbs, such as snowdrops (Galanthus) and winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis), if not done last month.

Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate, those that have become too large for their allotted space, and those that are flowering poorly or have lost their shape.

Continue to deadhead winter-flowering pansies and other winter bedding. Pansies will carry on into the spring and even to early summer, if attended to frequently.

Deadhead the flowers of Narcissus (daffodils) as they fade, but allow the foliage to die down naturally.

More gardening advice will follow from Claire later this week!

Mulching – Our Top Tips!

This week’s blog focuses on mulching and our horticulturalist Monica Schmidt gives her top tips of the whys, whens and hows of mulching!

Why?

  • Helps control weed germination and growth.
  • Can improve soil fertility as certain mulch types decompose.
  • Gives planting beds a well-cared-for look.
  • Helps reduce soil moisture loss through evaporation.
  • Insulates soil, protecting roots from extreme summer and winter temperatures

MulchImage Credit

When?

One of the main reasons you’d mulch in autumn or early winter would be to protect the plants from the cold, but more importantly from alternating freezing and thawing temperatures. If plants or bulbs freeze and then thaw and then freeze and then thaw, the roots and bulbs get damaged.

Ideally, one would put down their mulch a bit earlier, just after the first hard frost (the frost will put the shrubs and perennials into dormancy)

How?

As beneficial as mulch is, too much can be harmful. The generally recommended mulching depth is 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm).

Mulch

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Problems Associated with Improper Mulching

  • On wet soils, deep mulch can lead to excess moisture in the root zone, which can stress the plant and cause root rot.
  • Piling mulch against the trunk or stems of plants can stress stem tissues and may lead to the development of insect and disease problems or stem girdling roots.
  • Some mulches, especially those containing fresh grass clippings, can affect soil pH and may eventually lead to nutrient deficiencies or toxic build-ups.
  • Mulch piled high against the trunks of young trees may create habitats for rodents that chew the bark and can girdle the trees.

With what do you mulch?

Composted wood chips can make good mulch, especially when they include some bark and leaves. Fresh wood chips also may be used around established trees and shrubs. Avoid using fine, non-composted wood chips, as soil nitrogen may be taken up by the roots as the wood chips decompose.

See you soon at the Pavilion 🙂

Monica