One of my Australian Tree Ferns, Dicksonia Antartica which I thought had died in the frost of 2011 has produced a little frond. I am delighted. These exotic ferns are very easy to grow and can be grown in pots or in the ground. The fronds (their leaves) can grow up to 8 feet and are hardy up to –10C. Tree ferns need to be kept moist in summer and not left to dry out. Kiernans Garden Centre beside Douglas court shopping centre have a great selection at the moment with prices from as little as €69 for quite a tall one. You can buy them from Mr Middleton for as little as €16.95 but these are very small. B & Q sell them from time to time as well but the prices I saw in Kiernans recently would be hard to beat. A good-sized tree fern looks brilliant in a bed outside your front door, on its own or in a woodland setting.
We sowed John’s pumpkin seeds at the weekend. It is amazing how quickly the year goes by. We stuck several seeds into a large plastic container on the patio and made a make shift mini-glass house over them to keep them cosy and moist which will encourage germination. They are having a race with the ones on the playroom windowsill and those sown directly into the ground. It was fun finding the right sized branches to stick into the pot, these tied together with a little string formed a small wigwam which will keep the clear plastic bin liner up off the seedlings. We are growing a giant variety this year and have already prepared a large bed with heaps of well rotted manure. These super hungry beasts coupled with my young sons thirst for cash at Halloween when he sells them will undoubtedly present a space dilemma later on. I suppose I could try interplanting the pumpkins with my precious perennials and roses in the flower borders. Planting vegetables in this way is the latest trend, especially since gardens are so much smaller nowadays. But just how far I’ll be willing to go in this regards remains to be seen. When it comes to the garden I am a form over function person. Neat little rows of swiss chard, lettuces and cabbages look wonderful in a mixed bed. But I’m not so sure about large unganly pumpkins!
The variety of devices on the market now for veg growing in small spaces is brilliant. Everything from tomato cages, hanging tomato planters, climbing patioplanters, potato barrels, strawberry tubs and lots more are all available at well stocked garden centres and at your local co-op. Remember if you have a small garden, terrace or balcony to make use of the vertical space too, interplant your clematis and other climbers with runner beans and squashes and you will be amazed at how easy it is to optimize your limited plot. So off you grow and plant those edibles!